Monday, July 6, 2009

English lessons teach us more about life too


I COME from an era in which English was not only taught as a subject but as a language to be used daily and which determined one’s entire future.

I attended Convent school and I believe that the approach taken by its teaching of English was the correct method.

I literally began school without any knowledge of English. My siblings, family and friends came from a small kampung and we only spoke Malay among ourselves.

However, my teachers, be they English language or other subjects, all spoke English fluently and constantly corrected us. Sometimes it was the language, the tenses, words, phrases, spelling, etc.

The success story is in how English was taught then.

> In Primary 1, we were taught pronounciation at the Oral English period. We even had to sit for tests just like for any other subject, with marks given for pronounciation and reading.

> In Primary 2, we learned to spell. The teachers made us read our textbooks with the correct pronounciation and then there were tests in which we had to spell the spoken words correctly. This went on until Primary 6.

> In Primary 3, the English lessons became more interesting, with the teachers asking us to read, memorise and act out nursery rhymes in front of the class. This built up our confidence in public speaking, especially in the use of English.

> In Primary 4, we were taught to write essays, letters, short stories and manuscripts to improve our written English.

> In Primary 5, we were taught cursive writing. The teachers took the trouble to draw double lines on the blackboard and show us how to write properly. That is why almost all of us had good handwriting, which we are proud of till today.

By the end of our Primary school days, we were expected to be able to pronounce, speak, spell, dictate, write, sing, debate, do poetry and even think in English.

The students were fined each time we were caught speaking any other language during class just to deter us from speaking other languages.

I personally think learning English is a whole growing-up process that requires guidance, teaching and discipline.

NOOR LATIFAH HAMID,
Sungai Petani, Kedah.

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