College Recognised TEFL

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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:

Z.N. - Malaysia said:
Problems_for_Learners_in_MalaysiaMalaysia is a mulitracial and multicultural country, and English would most often be taught to a multilingual, rather than a monolingual group. There have also been recent debates on whether English should be taught as a second or foreign language, with a suggestion that it should be as a second language in the urban areas, and as a foreign language in rural areas, because English is spoken more widely in the cities, where the exposure to Western culture and influences is greater. Learners can be categorized into four ethnic groups: Ethnic Group % of population* Main Language Malay 50 Bahasa Malaysia (or Malay) chinese 24 chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, etc.) Indians+Others 15 (7+8) Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam + Punjabi, thai Indigenous 11 Iban, Kadazan (* 2004 estimate) Bahasa Malaysia is the official language and medium of instruction in government schools, and English is taught as a compulsory secondary language. With an average school education of thirteen years, and about 200 minutes of English class per week, a majority of school leavers and the workforce are able to speak English, but with varying degrees of proficiency. These varying degrees of proficiency can be attributed to the attitude of the learners. Most believe that the reason for learning another language is to be able to communicate, and as long as the communication is understood, non-native speakers should not have to worry about being accurate. Apart from this nonchalant attitude towards learning English, there are other common problems. In speaking, Malaysians are inclined to use Manglish (Malaysian English), which consists of phrases originating either from a laziness in speech, or a direct translation of Malay (relatively concise compared to other languages), and gives rise to such phrases as 'Off the light', to mean 'Switch off the light' and 'Got or not?', to mean 'Do you have it, or not?'. They may be excusable if uttered in jest, but there is a growing number among the uninitiated who believe that these phrases are acceptable. Added to this, is a tendency to emphasize words or sentences with 'lah', 'ma', 'meh', and interjecting pauses with 'ni' or 'ar',etc. which are habit-forming and can crop up even in formal speech. Malaysians are also fond of mixing English with their first language when speaking, and to repeat words for emphasis, e.g. saying 'slowly, slowly' instead of 'very slowly', or 'little, little problems' instead of 'all the little problems', etc. All these 'language infractions' can be pointed out in class, and 'offenders' can be asked e.g. to read an extra passage as a 'penalty', so that they would remember them as mistakes and be less inclined to repeat them. Problems with pronunciation also vary among ethnic groups. Malays often have problems with th's ('brudder' instead of 'brother') and o's ('lorcal' instead of 'local'), and with ending consonants. chinese have difficulty with r's and l's, and Indians tend to be heavy on the r's and t's, and have problems with v's. I believe the problems are universal for the last two ethnic groups. These problems can be corrected with a lot of word drills and choral repetition of e.g. 'red lorry, yellow lorry' or 'Ann met an ant, and an ant met Ann...', etc. The lack of English proficiency shows up more jarringly in writing--in emails, reports, and presentations. This is when organizations start to notice that they need to have their employees trained in Business English. The root cause, I believe, is the liniency with which grammar is treated in many schools, where students are let off with sentences such as 'It is pain.' instead of 'It is painful. This leads to students, and later workers, not being very open to having their English corrected. At work, they are more willing to accept corrections for technical and procedural, rather than grammatical errors. Besides inherent problems with pronunciation, I believe the root-cause of problems for learners in Malaysia is the ineffective approach to teaching English in many government schools, and the attitude of the students themselves. Following the ESA methodology for TEFL/TESL, teachers should be able to teach efficaciously, and make English less daunting and more enjoyable and meaningful for learners.

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