The Challenges Will Learners and Teachers In Malaysia Face In Learning and Teaching ESL/EFL

Scientific Essay, 2009

9 Pages

Amirah Hamizah (Author)


Generally Weaver, J. C. (2003) defined globalization refers to the expanding connectivity, integration, and interdependence of economic, social, technological, cultural, political, and ecological spheres across local activities. In an increasingly globalized society, empowered individuals communicate across cultural and national boundaries as citizens of the world. Su?z-Orozco, M., & Sattin, C. (2007) said individuals have access to new technologies that afford them unprecedented ways to reinterpret, appropriate, contest, and negotiate mass distributed texts in multiple forms. These global interactions force a heightened sensitivity to audiences with different interpretive positions, and necessitate an examination of underlying cultural assumptions and beliefs that frame intercultural communications.

Therefore, teaching global English means the ability of teachers to equip students with knowledge of global literacy and the critical awareness of how globalization defines and positions their languages, symbols, identities, communities, and futures. Consequently, English educators and teachers of English need to envision the subject of English within the contexts of global mass mediation, multimodal communications meaning communication which employs multiple modes of expression, migratory populations, and transnational economies. However this is no easy task since, as Crystal (2003) pointed out, no language has ever had so many speakers and played such a broad range of roles, locally as well as internationally .

Moreover, any challenge to the dominance of English as a global language will need to be based on more than a favorable set of geopolitical circumstances. English language is an advantage because it has the criteria to be a global language i.e amenable to unplanned and user-driven adaptation. As English language does not have complex inflectional morphology, tonal phonology, and a primarily logographic script, it is more favourable compared to other languages in the world such as Chinese. A global language needs to be facilitated by a cluster of linguistic factors including minimal inflectional morphology, non-tonal phonology, and a non-logographic script.Were these key linguistic features not to be found it is predicted that even geopolitical realignment on this scale such as Chinese will not be sufficient to displace English as the dominant global language in the 21st century.

Furthermore, The trends now the relative number of English native speakers will decrease compared to the population of the world while the number of speakers of English as an additional language will rapidly increase. So whereas a century ago, native speakers of English greatly outnumbered second language speakers of English, a century from now the relationship will be reversed (Graddol, 1997). This is because globalization involves the shifting of populations across domestic and international lines as a result of the intensifying economic, social, and cultural exchanges within different societies. At present, there are over 185 to 200 million transnational migrants from every region in the world, with the United States as one of the leading receiving countries in the northern hemisphere (United Nations Global Commission on International Migration, 2005). It is important to consider the socioeconomic, political, and demographic realities of mass migration, and to question its link to asymmetrical relations of power while making explicit its roots in colonialism and imperialism. According to Suarez-Orozco and Sattin (2007), global issues such as child and sweatshop labor, outsourcing, and global warming should have a place in today's classrooms, particularly in preparing students to become critically engaged, responsible, and active global citizens.

Now days, there is no hesitant due to fact that the status of English language of becoming a forerunner in worldwide communication as it has become the language of choices in most countries of the world. Hence, English has play an important role in united the country in the world bringing them together. As a result, many people are being involved in the teaching sector of English to people of foreign origin. Despite that, the heightened interest in the English language, teachers frequently face various difficulties and challenges while teaching English as a foreign language meanwhile the students also facing the same predicament as the teachers. According to Chia-Ming (2008), majority students who major in English not only face the challenges in learning, acquiring and mastering English but also the type of knowledge to be equipped for future globalised markets and advanced skills.

In Malaysian context, the most emphasizes issues in the education ministry sector is that the use of English language in teaching Science and Math in English, which replaced with Malay language. This change has to do with the new government policy in education. The implemented of this action in the education system have brought such a huge problem towards the teachers and students. The sudden change is hard to be accepted by as the teachers are used to teach in Malay language. Because of the lack of experienced teaching in English they tend to code switch terms to Malay Language from English. That makes the study becoming more complicated. Moreover not all the teachers can speak English fluently and this somehow does affect the quality of teaching the Math and Science using the English language. While for students, they also prefer to code switch to their mother tongue language as it makes them understand certain terms much clearly.

According to MCA secretary-general Dr Ting Chew Peh (2002), it will affect the nature of Chinese schools because the students’ proficiency and fluency level may improve, but the results will be a flop. He also explained that Mandarin was the administrative language and teaching medium used in these schools. As for the Tamil schools and Vernacular schools they also faced the same problem. Because of this matter the government decided to withdraw the proposal of implementing teaching Science and math in English. Now, teachers and students are given the chance to teach and learn in their own preferred language. Still the problems do not stop there. Learning and teaching English as the second language per say also has become problems. Most experience and well-versed English teachers were asked to be transferred to the urban areas as the spouses have connections or working in the higher government sectors which politically can help them. In fact, some of them never ever teach in the rural areas at all due the politically help of the superior officers. Therefore, the rural students are left with young inexperience teachers or with non optionist teachers who have to teach English due to imbalance distribution of English teachers. So English Language divide can be detected clearly between rural and urban students by comparing their UPSR, PMR or SPM results generally.

In Malaysian context it can be seen clearly when mingle with each other socially teachers and students alike would use Manglish which make them feel more at ease and easily accepted by any Malaysian. There are pros and cons to this. Firstly, foreigners may not understand what they are talking about. Secondly, students may write Manglish instead of proper English or use Manglish during seminars or any formal functions which expected them to use Standard English. In return, most Malaysians especially the new generations are not good in the using English language nor are they good at using their mother tongue. Therefore, both mother tongue languages as well as the second language deteriorate badly.This can be noted that many Malay students manage to get a pass only both Bahasa Melayu as well as English and yet they manage to score other subjects.


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The Challenges Will Learners and Teachers In Malaysia Face In Learning and Teaching ESL/EFL
University Kebangsaan Malaysia  (Center of language learning)
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Personal views regard of challenges that learners and teachers in Malaysia have to face in learning and teaching ESL/EFL.
Challenges, Will, Learners, Teachers, Malaysia, Face, Learning, Teaching, ESL/EFL
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Amirah Hamizah (Author), 2009, The Challenges Will Learners and Teachers In Malaysia Face In Learning and Teaching ESL/EFL, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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