Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Maths and Science in English- Yes, No?

Last Sat, there was a street demonstration against teaching Maths and Science in English.

Well, well this issue had never really resolved since it was introduced six years ago, had it? I remembered sometime last yr there was a proposal to revert back to teaching Maths and Science in Malay Language and there was also tons of letter of objection written by parents/ teachers concerned against it and so Maths and Science in English stay put. Last Sat, DAP's Teresa Kok ally decided that they want Maths and Science in Malay language and so went on a street demonstration.

Personally, i do prefer learning Maths and Science in English. I was the first batch to go through STPM with Maths and Science in English. At that time, we just finished our SPM and for 11 years of our primary and secondary sch, we had been learning Maths and Science in BM, so you can imagine what a big change it was for us to adapt to learning those 2 subjects in English. The teachers were all inexperienced at teaching the subjects in English and i bet plenty of money had been poured in to buy those learning cd-roms, laptops, learning materials etc to assist teachers to cope with teaching students in English. I remembered one of the main reason the gov wanted to change both of this subject to English is because they wanted Malaysia students to be on par with undergraduates around the world by the time students gets to the university level. No doubt, every subject at university level is taught in English, so aint it better that we start early with a foundation of those subjects in English? As the first batch to experience this major change in form 6, we had a lot of translations to do and so often than not, we always thought of the term in BM and then we will be thinking of how to say it in English. It took us some time to get use to it but by the time i was in uni, i was really glad that i had had both the subjects foundation in English because most of my lecturers are from overseas and they only teach in English and almost all of them obviously do not know the BM term, so if we had not been expose to English earlier, can you imagine how much more trouble it will take us to start adapting at uni level and we will have so much more difficulty translating the terms. And for those that goes abroad, it will be even easier for them to catch up because of the foundation in English. A lot of latest journals and up-to-date references that are available through the internet are also in English medium. Why stick to BM and your source of information will be so limited? When students go on exchange or mix with students from other countries, at least they don't feel that lost when it comes to Maths and Science.

I do agree that a lot of students are weak in Maths and Science because they are weak in English in the first place. But will it made a difference if it's converted to BM and they are also weak in BM? Many rural pupils (and even urban students or in any place at all) are not only weak in English, they are also weak in BM. When you teach Maths and Science in English, those English-ed or with strong foundation in English will be able to adapt and do better. Likewise, when you revert them back to BM, only those that are already good in BM will be able to catch hold better. Teachers should be the one to polished up their English grammar and vocab first so they can delivered their lecture to students well and able to explain till their student understands. Furthermore, we can still maintained teaching both subjects in English and at the same time have extra classses for those who are weak in English to attend English lessons. If the students refuse or is reluctant to pick up the language, they will never learn it no matter what. It's exactly just as BM is not my mother tongue and i don't grow up in an environment surrounding BM 24/7, but in order to catch up with classes back when Maths and Science is still in BM, we go for BM tuitions and so on. I use the dictionary to translate terms/words that i don't understand to English (a language i have better command in). It's not a good reason to say just because your English foundation is not strong, we have to revert back to BM. It's a very selfish reason that just benefit a small community of ppl. It's really up to the students to work hard. One thing that was suggested was that students grab a strong command of English first before learning Maths and Science in English but i don't see the difference of introducing the subject right from the start and midway. If the student is already poor in handling the subjects in English from the start, introducing it midway (or at uni level) will only make him weaker and tougher to cope.

Bottomline is, if they are never gna try to improve their English, introducing the subjects in English at any level will be the same to them. Gov shd also do continuous assessment of teachers teaching the subjects in English to ensure the teachers are not having difficulty and problem themselves.

I really will like to see my children in future learning Maths and Science under the Malaysia education system in English. Please don't revert it back to the Malay language. Many of us do prefer having the subjects teach in English and as one of them who had experience the transition of having both the subjects taught in English and BM, learning in English is definitely better, more fun and more beneficial in the long run. Gov had also spent millions on converting BM to English, so don't waste taxpayers money by reverting it and having to come up with millions more to revert the whole system. It is such a waste of money, time and energy. 6 years is also too short a time to evaluate. Please don't create another hoo-haa just so that we have another topic to fight on. I'm sick of opening the newspaper and getting daily dosage of these type of fights.

I'm neutral in politics, i don't support either parties. Both parties have their pros and cons and these time, im supporting teaching Maths and Science in English and that does not imply which side of the bench i'm on.

I really like to know, how many of you will really like Maths and Science to be taught in BM (Malay language)? Do leave a comment and share your opinion. :)

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You really wanted to know,well let me ask you , have you seen people in China use english to teach at some of the subjects? People in europe n US use other language to teach at their subjects? etc; The answer is "NO", so in Malaysia, we should n must use BM to teach all subjects except english subject in order to respect our language.
Why malaysian chinese love to go oversea, will they be a 1st class citizen if they are there? I think they feel agony in others' land more than hapiness.

I agree with you on using Eng to do both subjects.

erm.. awk stay kat terengganu ke skang ni?

english is better, not admiring this language, but the fact is ... everyone is using it ~ especially in the business field. Who cares ur BM presentation or BM docs when you deal with clients? :) even jap and china company need to have extra set of docs in Eng for external usage ~

From Anonymous to Anonymous upstairs. This is not about the 1st or 2nd class, it's about the reality !!!!! Have you been in the places you mentioned above? Do you know how sad is the situation when these people tried to deal with foreign friends for educational purposes? Experience it before shooting out any judgement. Are you sure Europe is teaching their subjects in own language? Western or Eastern Europe? Are you sure China is doing that too? Do you know China government is spending huge amount to encourage their people on English study?? Chinese will be the next major language in our world, they have no worries on that! How about Malaysia? Don't be silly to consider BM. It is not even a regional language! Do not jail your mind in local news, read more ~

the basic is the most important part.how can u expect student to use weird language eg vaporisation, heat energy, sublimation etc when they are more used to terms like pengewapan, tenaga panas etc?if they cant even understand the basics how u expect them to go to higher level?teaching MM n science in english is making the smart 1 smarter and the poor 1 poorer.open ur eyes n have a look at the whole pic, dun juz focus on the elite grp.

well if your math is good, no matter what language it would be taught, you still can master it! chinese japanese and taiwanese and hongies...they study maths and science in their own languages ... yet they could achieve well

haha... accept the fact... if you are weak in english you will suck in your math and sc...
just imagine how strong is our country? one press of button by president putin from russia, malaysia will be vanish from the map...
i have seen it all... russian are very patriotic... yes they learn everything in russian...
the reason why they can do that is because their country is strong... damn strong...
they have no need to depend on foreign country to survive...
but for malaysia we need finacial support... we need teachnology and education from other country... if we continue on with pengewapan and tenagapanas... how on earch can our people understand their technology ?

hi all.. thanks for leaving comments.. ;). Well, im sure when we said we support Maths and Science in English, we don't mean that we do not respect BM. And yes, while some countries can learn in their own language, have you all ever see how much they are struggling at the international front? unless if all you want to do is limit yourself with opportunities within the country, then maybe we shd revert it back. And im in Kuala Terengganu right now. :)

for me...
i think is good to use english for S&M starting on secondary sch...
but if u wanna start with primary sch, my answer is a big NO~!
they need to hav a good english basic in order to master both S&M, which is quite impossible for most of the malaysian primary sch student...

wel,cum to a easy way..
english textbook,but teach in mother language,is it fine?

How do u aspect the student to understand the textbook when they cant even understand english??

teaching M&S in english is definitely not a way to improve english!

i don deny is good to teach M&S in english, but we cannot implement it on primary sch, where they don even hav a good english basic!

like wat ppl said previously, it only will make the good one better, the poor one poorer!

Allison, i am sure u are english educated, don think that everyone in this world can hav good english like u...

but i agree that it is good to implement it on secondary sch, as they ady hav the basic.

To anonymous don't know No.####
seems like there is some misunderstanding among each other after i read the comments.
can it be the previous anonymous was actually pointing to the doubt regarding for secondary school.
don't judge thing so subjectively.
so,in case of no further misunderstanding,shall everyone state it clearly before anyone give any statement or whatever?

the "teaching" you mean,as in a communicate language or the textbook they are going to read?

"teaching M&S in english is definitely not a way to improve english!"
-upon this point,i do agree that,if english was being the communicate language,as in,teacher explaining in english.that might be a really big problem for those student who weak in english or those who never ever learn before.they sure will be lost when they are listening..as its just like an alien language to them,might be.
-but on the other hand,a english textbook.or i shall say it,a reference book,to be more protective to what i'm going to say?well,take it as mother language textbook + english reference book.i doubt,why is it not a way to improve english?
"How do u aspect the student to understand the textbook when they cant even understand english?"
fine,when you're not understand any english word(or shall i say it,any language other than your mother language?) from any of your book that your are reading now,i wonder,what are you going to do.
i guess,the brilliant creative small kids might using the same way as you too. *smile*

so,you did agree already right?
i mean,at least,you agree that that is good to implement it on secondary school.

well,come to primary school.
'foundation' of science subject??
'basic' concept of knowledge??
'mother language' in explanation??
is it equally important to be consider?
everybody,let's ask yourself.

when you are learning maths or any science subjects in malay(or english or chinese or even japanese),but that's not your mother language.what do you tell yourself when you are dealing with complicated logic questions?in your mind,are you reasoning and explaining it to yourself in your mother language??
although,complicated logic questions,this situation we may think not going to happen in primary school.
to grip any of the knowledge,question it and accept it,the process of learning to think,is reasoning to yourself.
no doubt,someone might give an answer as
"NO,i'm using the language other than my mother language.",
well,there is a saying that:
"to master a language,you dream about it"
it can happen,in those who already master in few languages :-)
so,that is good that you can reasoning and explaining or whatever to yourself,no matter what language.
but remember,that is YOU at NOW,which already master in multiple language.
for the little kids,or let's to imagine when you were at their age,as in primary school.were you?
(can't deny,some people is just so talented to handle few language)
although,we can't deny kids learning ability and how fast they can picking up new things and how interesting they found on the things around them.
so,come to this point,i guess,everyone have some idea in mind.
the language that we rely more often while we are reasoning something,we prone to support that language to be used?
again,"teaching" as in communicate,explaining?or for textbook(to be better,reference book)?
the method to learn,the way to think,right concept and good imagination is actually more important than ever.

by the way,to anyone who suffered when previously changed the subject from malay to english.
as what i feel for those who support to teach in english,you all should feel happier and easier to learn the subject right?why is it suffer?
because of the new proper noun in english but underneath the concept is still the same as before what you had learnt in BM,and now,you all have to change your mindset into english in order to think and understand the concept well?
well,new words new things,we face everydays.everyone is learning.

that's what i thought.any thinking blind spots do let me know.
thanks for reading :-)

The no.6 anonymous, your super long comment makes me feel zzzZZZZ..., -_-

dear all, i think it will be less confusing and clearer for everyone if we all start leaving our names because we are too many anonymous. :)

In case any of you think that i support M & S in English because my BM is weak and my English is strong, my BM is not weak at all, in fact both my BM and English are equally good and i don't have excellent English either. I'm just looking at the bigger pic and my humble opinion on why is it better to be taught in English right from the start. :)

Hey anonymous who supports S&M in BM, get a brain, then get a life. Dude!

You can't even use proper grammar to argue your point!

Who the hell do you think will respect you with such horrible english? An idiot fighting for everyone to be an idiot. Typical Idiot!

Hello... I came from a British International School with absolutely no idea how to speak, or no idea what a single word of malay meant, but I had to come back to Malaysia because of the riots in Indonesia in 1998.

I started attending the local school in primary 5, and pushed myself to learn malay. I got A for BI, Maths(which was in Malay), B for both BM papers, and C in Science. And I'm not even the super smart type. In fact, I'm considered quite a lazy bum.

See? Just cos of the lazy lot of ppl who don't open their eyes to the world and what's beyond this lovely country(made uncivilized by the Rakyat and useless politicians),we lose our tourists.

First of all, the demonstrations were held almost in the heart of KL. Yes, I was stuck in it laughing at all the idiots. The tourists who happened to be there also got a taste of the tear gas.

Second, what Idiot shouts at a fire truck spraying out a foamy substance? Then they all started bumping into cars blindly and vomiting all over the side of the road. Stupid.

Anyway, my point is, don't be stupid. If other countries eat shit, you also wanna eat la? Haha! Stupid people. National language it seems. More like stolen compilation of rubbish that can't be used anywhere! Hahahahha! Stupid.

What is going on here ? war?

From where I came from, it was in English. It is convenient to communicate and easily qualify for oversea study when the time comes. Just my 2 cents.

hi everyone. I don't think any of us want any sort of war here. Let's express our opinion and at the same thing maintain respect for each other and don't call anyone stupid or use any vulgarity here ok? If not, i will have to delete the comment if it's offensive. Hope you all can understand.

Thank you. :)

To: The Asumed
-->Who the hell do you think will respect you with such horrible english?


Can anyone help to translate this in to proper English please?
Just in case The Asumed doesn't know Chinese.

Iam so use to M&S teach in eng but if the govt insist to change it to bm, what can we do? SIGH**

Teaching science and maths in English can have grave effects on Malaysia. Read my latest blog entry to find out more.