Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Teacher's Thoughts...

Terengganu's reputation for being No. 1 for 9 consecutive years when it comes to the UPSR result is nothing to give a blind eye to.  This year alone, 3664 or 15% of the 23 9444 candidates obtained all A's including in their English paper, obviously.

Now, the question I would like to pose is, why can't Terengganu produce similiar results in the PMR examinations (English paper)where we are shamed by other states that did not get as many excellent students during the UPSR examination? However, some may say that it is because these candidates were gruesomely drilled to face the examination that they lack the proper understanding in the usage of the language. But, I digress because where there is drilling,  if I am not mistaken, the students would have had memorized certain sentence structures. Therefore, simple grammatical mistakes namely in the use of the Subject-Verb Agreement should not have been made. 

For example, a common mistake made by most of the 5As students who register at the school I teach is

i.   " Ali and Abu is brothers"
ii.  " I are the first child."

Another frequent mistake that these students make even until the day that they are about to take their SPM English 1119 is :

i.  "At here, we had a great time"
ii. " The next tomorrow, we departs for home"

Do not misconstrue me, for I am not implying that it was easy, peasy and weasy for the English teachers of the primary school to produce these "A" students, it definitely is not!! But, unlike the questions in PMR or SPM students would have had to deal with all sorts of questions be it writing a letter (formal or informal), a report, an article, giving instructions, writing recount on events or experiences.  Needless to say, different formats have a different tone, using different tenses and vocabulary.  With respect to this, it is incredibly unjustified for people up there to use the UPSR result as a benchmark!

Having said this, one might bloody say (you know who you are) that the PMR teachers including those teaching the students in their first and second year of secondary school have not been doing their job(S)! WTF????? The truth is, we HAVE been doing our job but it is insufficient if the teachers are alone in the battle for success whereas students prefer to be spoon-fed or to be drilled again and again and again with no consideration at all towards completing their homework which, in fact is a good practice of the language.  

PMR and SPM is horrificly different when it concerns the sentence level and also the maturity of thought.  It is insufficient for the students to simply elaborate a single phrase into a proper sentence and think that they will score A's for English.  They need to elaborate that single idea and turn it into some sort of a reading pleasure, captivating the readers' interest and bear in mind that all these must be done within a limited time served with stress as a condiment and having the lack of proficiency..this does not come to an advantage for some students. Thus, doing their homework and seeking assistance from their language teachers is a must to train them to be proficient users of the language and a lot of effort and practice is imperative for a student to achieve excellent results in their English tests.

Another thing is, the students are not capable in grasping the fundamental aspect of excelling in English which is having ample vocabulary in hand with the use of proper grammar simply because for one, they are LAZY and EFFORTLESS.  In other words, they refuse to read texts or materials written in English giving lame excuses such as "Tak paham setarang.." ( I don't understand a single word.) It takes two to tango, bebeh!  You must seek the language for the language to seek you.  Vocabulary does not come magically or through waving your secret wand but you need ample and consistent/constant reading.  If the love for reading English materials ( porn not included!!!) can be incalcated, I can guarantee that they can multiply the deposit of vocabulary in their bank of words. 

Last and not least, another factor to why we cannot achieve remarkable performance in the English exam is because most of the students boldly express their refusal to use the language on a day-to-day basis.  I can't blame them on this one because some are being ridiculed with taunts like " berangan nak jadi omputeh", " Mung nok sangat ke jadi mat saleh" or the most popular.." fuyoh...speaking mung Awang..hebak.!!!! Pah nih buley lupo budu lerr..owk??" (All these are their friends mocking them using the language).  My colleagues and I, without a doubt, do feel embarrased at times to be speaking in English where the society deem it as something as not a norm but for the love of teaching and educating, we forget all that negativity and brave the tides in front.  Without using the language, how does one think that they are able to grasp it?  Speak the language, then only can you master it. 

Tell me, and I will forget.
Show me, and I may remember. 
Involve me, and I will understand.
 (Confucius, BC 450)

It's as simple as that..students can understand the knowledge if they participate in the process of teachings. Ye dok?? ( me, trying to be a Terengganu gal)  This is just my humble worthless opinion based on my students.  I may be wrong.

This is my plain rambling for today...


Melissa said...

Your blog is beautiful.

It's nice to meet you.

Rosfida Abu Sufi said...

Thank you. What an honour to have you visit me..Glad that you came and do drop by some more!

Wan Sharif said...

Nngajar ning kerja mulia, Kalu ikhlas boleh pahla sokmo sokmo..
nok cari ikhlas tu susoh lah pulok..ko ho ko ho lah ..

Semuga segala usaha meninggikan taraf intellektual bangsa di terima sebagai amal bakti yang baik..
Wan Sharif

Rosfida Abu Sufi said...

En. Wan,
Hahaha...refreshing to be able to read some local dialect from one who writes so well in English..

Ye..betul tuh..memang bukan mudah nak betul2 ikhlas..ada masa mulut terlepas kata, tangan terlebih ringan..And yes, I will take it one pace at a time!

Thanks for dropping by...drop by more often, your comments are enlightening.

Anonymous said...

reading english porn is the best! not included as best material? deng! hahaha..

Anonymous said...


I roam about as and when I am free. By chance I stumbled and descended here. I was never trained as a teacher but I can never be tired of reading about education in Malaysia. Admittedly I view what is being done in many Malaysian schools and universities with disdain, full of fury signifying nothing. Many school principles I have come across, and teachers ( you excluded for good reasons) care more for their grades of 48 , 50 , 54 etc., less for the unfortunate of Terengganu in particular. There has been excessive emphasis and hoo-ha over ‘exam format’, achievement of A’s and ‘breaking school records’. Terengganu education system is, to my mind, highly politicised. All things are ‘taraf antarabangsa’. UDIM was ‘modeled’ after CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY, said the politician initiating the move to ‘upgrade’ the prestigious KUSZA to a university ( I can afford to laugh at this having once spent some days and nights at the ancient Clare College, wondering whether this politician ever pedaled a bicycle along the narrow roads of the campus). The Vice Chancellor of another university talked of his great ambition to see his university enrollment reaching a figure of over 24,000, proud of being able to offer places for over 2,000 new intakes this year, not a word uttered on courses offered and their relevance to the life of the graduates four hard years of hard days’ nights later. I know of one graduate who just got married to a restaurant operator and helps out there after failing to get a job. Another graduate spent four years and is without a job.

Every year I get told by senior teachers of exam ‘leaks’ prior to UPSR exams. Pure and malicious rumours are they? You are honest to your job. I salute you. Do all that you can, performing the way you believe best without fear or favour. Rome was not built in one day. It called for dedicated and skilled craftsmen. You are right. Something is wrong.(btw I regret to say that I have a personal dislike for any reference to f*… in a blog, no matter how utterly disgusted one may feel over something – more so from one involved in education.)

I am truly sorry for having taken so much space, carried away so fast like being in the Monsoon Cup race, billed among the world’s greatest races and putting Isle of Wight to shame!
Awang (this time)

Rosfida Abu Sufi said...

Che Su- i know, a killjoy kan not being in one of the best reading materials..

En Awang..(today),
Yes..those malicious rumors no matter how hurtful should not be left disregarded. Where there is smoke there is fire, do you not agree? It is a pity for those genuine teachers who enslave themselves for these A students to be slapped with such claims that put their efforts down the drain. I have heard of these rumors not from one but from many..many senior teachers, to be honest.

Now, education in Terengganu is currently being treated as a political platform only to draw votes. We know of the factors that lead to the downfall of our academical reputation when compared to the UPSR however, nothing much has been done to solve it. Year in and year out we do post-mortems but what have we done to improve the standard of teaching? Where are the so-called excellent teachers to brainstorm ideas with other much experienced teachers in order to come up with ways to improve our students?

Terengganu anjung ilmu... Insyaallah.. I keep my fingers crossed. Until then, use me all they want for I am willing to work my fingers to my bones in my attempts to " Memperkasakan akal dan budi"

Drop by again when you are free..or better still, make your time be free to drop by again!

Wan Sharif said...

Ha ha if you think my english is good.. then I will have to introduce you to kata kama and Anak si Hamid; the former had work as reporter and the latter was An english teacher and critical writing at aur local U..
These two blogs in my view offered exquisite english.. hingga menjilat jari.. my 2 cents opinion

Rosfida Abu Sufi said...

En Wan,
Don't be humble ler...kalau nak menjilat jari, I prefer KFC!!! hehehe..

Anonymous said...

I am here again and am terribly, terribly surprised to see how serious it has been your response to my by-the-way sort of comment. Thank you, young lady. I see very fine qualities in you, needing perhaps a little hint here and there to polish that diamond beneath. Your stay overseas, I am simply presuming, has had some influence on your way of thinking, positive in many aspects with little smudges when viewed from traditional Malay culture which, in turn, is largely Islamic based. So for instance ( ‘Is this another one coming?’ you are now beginning wonder what’s next) I used to exclaim very freely with such expression as ‘I cross my fingers.’ That was long, long ago when I was growing up and developing my own personality outside the Mlaay environments. But then when I returned to base I realized that many traditions are religious oriented. A line in Surah Alkahf suddenly opened my eyes. Our Prophet was chided by Him for making a promise one day without saying ‘if God willing’. Cross my fingers has a little of that ‘+’ and its reference point. Similarly’ touch wood’ is believed to have some reference to the wood (sacred?) used in making THAT cross.

Now you can shut your laptop in my face with “GTH with you. Who are you anyway?” Indeed I often wonder who I am really and what I am trying to do. Say it and I promise I will not bother you again for sure. Don’t keep your fingers crossed! Insya Allah all will be well.
Awang (yet again)

Rosfida Abu Sufi said...

Oh DAMN...
Wooppss..DARN..I never knew that! Touch wood is commonly used by almost anyone who I know who knows how to speak English.
Cross your fingers..haaaa...what else??
See..I told ya, I take it seriously..if they are constructive!
Come again, oppss again..no sexual connotation intended..*wink*