Sunday November 2, 2008
Little voices that matter
By ALYCIA LIM, SIRA HABIBU AND C.S. NATHAN
Adults and the authorities should pause in the on-going debate about Maths and Sciench, and listen to what the pupils involved have to say.
SHOULD Science and Maths continue to be taught in English next year?
This whole year, we’ve heard from numerous parties regarding the above issue. But what about those actually going through the system? Has anyone asked what they have to say?
Not wanting to leave them out, StarEducation decided it was time we heard from the students themselves, and got their views on going through six years of primary school education with English as the medium of instruction for Science and Maths.
The students interviewed are the first batch to take those papers in that language, in the UPSR recently. And they had plenty to say about the matter.
Nasyiha Khairul Rizal, SJK (C) Soon Cheng Bukit Pinang, Kota Setar district
I feel trapped. I have not mastered both English and Mandarin. As I am in a Chinese-medium school, the questions are in English and Mandarin. When I do not understand certain terms, I do not have an option to double check in Malay.
I still have a lot to learn. But I am not giving up. I chose to study in a Chinese school so that I would not have problem communicating with people who do not understand English and Malay.
Kang Shireen, SJK (C) Soon Cheng Bukit Pinang
I do not have problems answering Mathematics and Science questions in English.
Law Khen Hong, SJK (C) Soon Cheng Bukit Pinang
I do not have problems understanding questions written in English. I think it is worth studying the subjects in English, as we would not face much problems when we enter university.
Onn Chin Seng, SJK (C) Soon Cheng Bukit Pinang
I do not have problems with English because I have done a lot of homework. Even if there was no Mandarin translation, I think I would have no problem answering the questions. To me, Bahasa Malaysia is the hardest subject.
Aina Athirah Shazali, SJK (C) Soon Cheng Bukit Pinang
I have difficulties understanding the lessons taught in English. I find it easier learning Maths and Science in Mandarin as the teachers are more fluent in that language. I had to go for rehabilitation classes because I usually got Cs for Mathematics and Science,’’ said Aina.
Celinne Teh Sze Ning, SK Bandar Utama Damansara (4), Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Doing the subjects in English was not difficult because I understand the language better than Bahasa Malaysia. Schools should continue teaching Science and Maths in English because many students speak it in school. My teachers are generally good, but some are better than others.
Dania Ariffin Mohd Hussain, SK Bandar Utama Damansara (4)
The UPSR exams were quite easy because I studied a lot, especially for science. Doing the Maths and Science papers in English was not difficult because we have been learning them in that language since Standard One. They should definitely continue teaching Science and Maths in English, because it is an international language. I also have a few friends online and we chat in English.
Sharlina Kumari Suresh Kumar, SK Bandar Utama Damansara (2)
I think studying Maths and Science in English is easier than studying them in Bahasa Malaysia. Also, we have been learning the subjects in English since Standard One. So it is not weird (CHECK!) to study them in both languages.”
Sa’Adiah Muhd Diah, SK Bandar Utama Damansara (2)
Sometimes it is difficult learning those subjects in English because I don’t really understand everything. My parents do not know much English, and I have to go for tuition classes to get help. It would be good if they taught the subjects in Malay.
Shahmayatin Islamiah Samijo, SK Bandar Utama Damansara (2)
When I have problems with my school work I ask my teachers for help, or do my homework with friends. I don’t really ask my parents for help in Math and Science because they don’t speak English.
Muhd Iqbal Syazwan Yusuff, SK Bandar Utama Damansara (2)
I use English only when I am in class, but doing the UPSR exams in English for Maths and Science was okay because I’m used to studying those subjects in that language. Maybe students should learn them in both languages or be given a choice.
Abdur Rahman Rawi, SK Bandar Utama Damansara (2)
I found the Maths and Science papers in the UPSR exams a bit difficult as I did not understand some of the questions. During school days, my parents are able to help me with my homework, but not all the time. If I had a choice, I would choose to study the subjects in Bahasa Malaysia because it’s easier.
Goh Jia Ying, SRJK (C) Yuk Chai, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
I normal prefer studying in Mandarin because it is much easier to understand. But doing the subjects in English was not a problem because I speak both English and Mandarin at home. My mother is English-educated so I can ask for her help when I’m not sure about my homework. I also go for tuition for additional practice.
Chua Yean Yee, SRJK (C) Yuk Chai
The teachers are very good here and they teach us to be comfortable with the language. I didn’t face any problems in the UPSR exams or studying the subjects in English as it is my first language. But if I had a choice I would want to study them in Mandarin because that way, I’d get to improve on my Mandarin skills.
Gan Ming Ser, SRJK (C) Yuk Chai
Learning Science and Maths in English is good because if we don’t understand some parts in Mandarin, we can get them clarified in English. I don’t go for tuition so when I have problems with my school work, I ask my teachers and parents. They should continue teaching the subjects in English because I think the language is important for doing business, when we grow up.
Pang Zhenyi, SRJK Yuk Chai
There is no difference for me, whether I learn Maths and Science in English or Mandarin. I usually go to teachers and parents to get help, and I feel that it is important to know different languages. So I read books in English, Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin.
Michelle Wong Shin Min, SJK (C) Keat Hwa (S), Kota Setar district, Kedah
We have to get used to the English terms as Mathematics and Science are also taught in English in secondary school. It is not difficult to understand the language when we get used to it.
Jeevamunissen Ramachandran, SRJK (T) Barathy, Kota Setar district
We are used to learning Mathematics and Science in English. It would be difficult for us if we have to answer the questions in Malay. Even if there were no translations in Tamil, I think I would have no problem answering the examination questions.
Sasitharen Narayanasamy, SRJK (T) Barathy
I have no problem answering Mathematic and Science in English. After six years, we are used to it.
Muhammad Irfan Najeeb, SK Raja Uda, Johor Baru
We would feel that we have wasted six years learning Mathematics and Science in English if the authorities decide to change the medium of teaching. My friends and I have been trying hard to familiarise ourselves with the English terms. Luckily the examination questions are printed in two languages. When we do not understand certain English terms, we refer to the questions written in Malay.
G. Pravin Kumar, SK St Paul, Seremban
I feel Mathematics and Science should continue to be taught in English in schools. I never had problems with both subjects as my teachers were well-versed in teaching in English. It was fun and my grasp of the language has improved.
I attended tuition classes for both subjects as I wanted to do well in my UPSR exams. Most of my friends did not encounter much problems learning both subjects in English. Although I did not get to study both subjects in Bahasa Malaysia, I am happy to be among the first batch of students to do so in English.
Darshini Sylvia Fernandez, SK Taman Rasah Jaya, Seremban
I never had any problems studying Maths and Science in English. I helped myself by looking up scientific terms in books and by watching educational programmes on television. I also attended tuition classes.
Our teachers did their best to teach us although they were doing so for the first time. I hope the authorities will allow the present system to continue as we can get more reference material on both subjects in English.
Taken from: TheStar Online 4 November 2008 - http://thestar.com.my/education/story.asp?file=/2008/11/2/education/2429911&sec=education
The debate of ETeMS in Malaysia has been a tedious and lengthy debate in our education system... Every people (adult most of the time) have their own opinion. When I read this article it struck me.. yes we adult always think that we know what is best for our children. We never put their thought into count. It is time actually for us to listen to them and not deprave them from their learning and interest. Yes from the article I can conclude that most of the children love to learn Maths and Science in English.. but there is a glitch there. Why do I say so? Because the reporter only interviewed children from urban area.. not from rural area.. Damansara, Seremban, Kota Star, Petaling Jaya, Johor Baru... where are the children from Hulu Terengganu, Tanah Merah, and my own village.. Kampung Api-Api??? They did not count them... I'm an English teacher but I do feel that learning Maths and Science in Malay is much better.. but it is hard to justify myself... All in all I would like to say that this article did not represent all the children in Malaysia.. we have to ask all of them from all kinds of backgrounds...but this is also a good effort in listening to our children..