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.
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...