To do well in any subject you must be able to think correctly! Thinking skills are something you can learn and develop. Ask yourself questions as you read your textbooks and notes. Talk to other students whom you notice have good thinking skills. You can also sharpen your thinking skills by taking IQ tests available in books or the Internet, or playing games that require thinking such as word games.



Improving English Language Proficiency In Schools

Last update: 28/03/2013
By Hazlinda Hamzah

PUTRAJAYA, March (Bernama) -- "Our students are showing vast improvement in their English language proficiency tests," a headmistress of a secondary school told Bernama here recently.

She said in the 2011 Penilaian Menengah Rendah (PMR) examination, 50 students had obtained an A grade in the English language subject, with the number rising to 85 in the following year's examination.

"Students today need to speak more in English. Eventually, their confidence level will improve, and they will be able to converse more convincingly in the language," the headmistress said.

For primary schools, the current education system, which was implemented three years ago, focuses on the school-based evaluation or the 'Pentaksiran Berdasarkan Sekolah' (PBS).

The English language subject in secondary schools is now in the second year of the PBS assessment method.

There are six bands of assessment, depending on an individual achievement, for students to prove their proficiency on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

SCHOOL CURRICULUM

The education system today in the primary and lower secondary levels is no longer examination-based. Language is certainly a subject that needs to be used daily, expressed in speech, and not just tested in the written form only.

Noorshazeele Zakaria, a final year student at the International Islamic University Malaysia (UIA), said when she was in a higher secondary school, a few years ago, her English teacher was always concentrating on article-reading and grammar-learning.

"The use of English in the classroom then was necessary. My friends and I enjoyed our English language classes, and we spoke as much English as we could.

"In my primary school days, English language sessions were fun. Now that I am in the university, English is the language used as a medium of instruction mostly," she said.

"Our course presentations are done in English, and I find those earlier exposures during school time very useful," she added.

During her time in primary school, her English language teacher injected numerous games into the daily lessons to motivate and bring interest to students.

STANDARD

"As an English teacher, we assess our students at all times, be it in the class or during short conversations outside the class.

"The students who we speak to cast impressions on us at all times, and we can evaluate them continuously to chart their progress," a former English teacher explained when met in Shah Alam recently.

Under the current PBS system, students are evaluated without depending on the 'paper and pencil' test.

"The previous test only allows a one-time evaluation. Some students do not do well in tests, maybe because of anxiety or an unexpected ailment on the test day, and that is certainly unfortunate.

"Assessment based on the PBS system is more holistic, and it covers the students' skills. The evaluation is according to specifications and the skills acquired during a class, on an on-going process," explained a Selangor District Education Officer, also a former teacher in a public school.

Once a student has met the criteria necessary to reach the assessment level that coincides with the curriculum taught in a class, the assessment will proceed to the next level of skills, and students are given a chance to improve their achievement.

The focus of the 12-year Malaysian Education Development Plan, for 2013- 2025, is to produce young Malaysians conversant in the English language.

This will enable Malaysians to use English comfortably at their respective workplaces.

This development plan is geared towards fulfilling the concept of 'quality' for every young Malaysian to realise and to produce success in the field of education.

Parents, teachers, students, and the whole community at large should co-operate to allow students to develop holistically where their intellect, emotions, and physical wellbeing, among others, are concerned.

-- BERNAMA