oleh : Azlina Dollah (77)
Jerantut, Pahang Darul Makmur
UPSR result was announced recently. Congratulations everyone! Amidst the joys and satisfactions of five As, there are some who think that their children could have done better.
Being a mother and a teacher, I wish to share some of my personal experiences regarding bringing up my own children and other people’s children (read:my students).
I have two children, a girl and a boy. Both are studying in IIU. My girl is in the third year doing Business Administration and my boy is in his first year doing Engineering. Both scored five As in UPSR and nine As in PMR and five As plus five Bs in SPM. No, I’m not gloating here. As you can see they did not do that well in SPM.
Being a mother, I was proud when they passed with flying colours. Oooh! See the leg lo! Of course lah scored, mum’s a teacher. But when they did not do as well in SPM, I tend to blame the teachers. Waah! My children did well at UPSR and PMR so they must be smart lo! How come they didn’t score in SPM? This must be the fault of the teachers/ school/ system etc. And mind you, I am a teacher teaching in secondary school for the past 25 years. So was I at fault? Who is to be blamed?
DO WE NEED TO BLAME ANYONE?
Let us look at one of the most pressing issue of the moment; Science and Mathematics in English. Hold the bricks everyone! Let me first enlighten you on to the crux of the matter.
ETeMS was designed to develop teachers’ language proficiency and practical competence to deliver their subject matter in English Language. It involved 240 hours of instruction delivered through face-to-face interaction and self instructional packages. These were to be supported by “buddy system” where teachers can get further help from identified resource persons (read: English Language teachers) in their locality (read: school).
Phase 1 of the English for Teaching Mathematics and Science (ETeMS) was implemented for the first time between September and December 2002 throughout the nation for approximately 30 000 math and science teachers (who were supposed to teach the two subjects to Year 1 and Form 1 students in 2003).
The programme was conducted in two parts – 5 modules distributed over a period of 5
weeks – each module requiring 2 days of face-to-face interaction and a 5-day block of extended face-to-face interaction to provide a sustained period of immersion in the English language.
At the end of the 240 hours, the teachers were given a diagnostic test comprising of
comprehension questions and grammar. Top scorers were then offered to be state trainers (JU= jurulatih utama). Validity and reliability of the test left much to be desired though (no benchmark- top scorer in the particular group).
Then, these state trainers are entrusted with the training of teachers teaching Year 1 and Form 1 students in schools in each district using the same set of module and time frame. A few English teachers were roped in to help out with the grammar part of the module. Mind you the state trainers were not paid anything. Only travel claim to and from training places. The best part is for the two days face-to-face interaction which runs for 5 weeks – travel claim is only for 1x pergi 1x balik for 1 taxi seat (3 meals are thrown in daily). You can claim from house/office whichever is NEARER.
So tell me my learned friends, what do you really expect from the teachers who went for a 240 hours ETeMS course? Many of these teachers attended the course not out of their own interest or even have the choice. On top of that, the state trainers were
just dispensing what they copied from their master trainers without fully comprehending what they were parroting.
Theoretically the programme should suffice considering teachers are supposed to at least have a pass for English language at SPM level plus English is after all acknowledged as the second language of this country. Furthermore, MOE spent millions of RM on hardware and courseware to facilitate teaching and learning process. But reality really bites as many of you would be willing to dwell into.
...... to be continued