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Exploring The Teaching and Learning of English as a 2Nd Important Language in The Philippines

The outcome of individual or societal integration cannot be achieved unless the student has acquired a command of the language he learns in school. It is through this that his personality adjustment and social participation are achieved, relevant to his future professional and preparatory years in elementary school.

In addition to formal instruction, the use of English shall be encouraged as a language of interaction in school.

There is a deteriorating factor that affects so much in the interest in learning a particular language—and that is English. Some reasons are, perhaps, overloaded with subject offerings within the educational system of DepEd. Well, the answer lies in us as Filipinos who are stagnant about the intellectual skills and linguistic developments—both verbal and non-verbal.

Language mastery requires on the part of the teacher skill in noting the difficulties of the learners in both oral and written English, presuming that the secondary freshmen students of a public school have mastered the listening skill while still in their elementary years. But this does not mean that listening should be done away with. Much as the teacher wants to perfect language learning in speaking and writing, he can still require his students to practice in the open air where sounds are freely transmitted inasmuch as language is sound.

The outcome of individual or societal integration cannot be achieved unless the student has acquired a command of the language he learns in school. It is through this that his personality adjustment and social participation are achieved, relevant to his future professional and preparatory years in elementary school.”

Learning English language must commence with preschool children and they should be given the right amount of time and semi-rigid training in their education concerning the use of a language appropriately without a hassle. The only problem why we lack in communication skills as far as English language is concerned is that the pupils starting with kindergarten are not trained well by their teachers as regards the macro-skills in teaching a particular language.

Aside from that, the principles and practice of writing should be required as part of rudimentary task and professional work. The reader to whom the training is directed is primarily the technical learner who has had enough training in the fundamentals of composition to be ready for consideration with some specialized problems of technical writing.

In the second language situation, mastery of a certain language is significant to the public in the sense that it helps perceive what is lacking for them in the other aspects of communication skills; in addition to the mastery of form, it does not guarantee communicative proficiency neither does communicative practices necessarily result in such a mastery of form. In the bilingual setup, only grammatical patterns and forms are needed in the Philippine setting, and they should be taught to the point of mastery.

Another problem that needs to be raised is to reform thoroughly the art of public speaking in a distinct and strategic way of communication. In fact, giving speeches or public speaking is tremendously feared by most people from all walks of life. It has caused them to cringe in front of the audience, drop their natural warmth to zero as they talk with professionals, lose spontaneity and stamina as they relate to business people or even shrink in a casual chat. That is why constant practice needs everyone perfect at all times, and many recitations, presentations and reports inside the classrooms are shared by the artistic and creative language teachers despite the fact that learning such a language is gloomy and dragging.

Many speakers conquer fear by hiding themselves behind the slides, overheads, out-of-sight narrations, tables, copy reports, speeches of other persons and the results are devastating. Potential leaders deprive themselves of an opportunity to reach their maximum levels and potentials. It can’t be avoided to have experienced and encountered that kind of strategic approach in public speaking, and can’t be avoided that we will redound to effective outcomes of acquiring communication skills.

Yes, it is true that we lag behind others, especially with Asian countries in terms of English language communication because we neglect the value of dedication as well as rigid training every day until each of us will complete the entire course. There are a lot of factors why we can’t surpass, conquer or overcome weaknesses in communication skills, and can’t attempt to work out by degrees the reasons behind of such a poor communication.

The solution to the problems, besides knowing profoundly what is English all about and what are the structured lessons in English using the macro-skills in language teaching, is paving the way to structured lessons in English utilizing the macro-skills’ learning performance–thus attaining more developments in intellectual aspects and acquisition of language to make the valuable resource assimilate with peers and adults in developing a sense of personal growth and find a place in social and economic life adopted to this capacity and personal preference.

Attaining the language skill requires the mastery of a system that takes literally years to learn. This requires on the part of the teacher skill in noting the difficulties of the learners in both oral and written English, presuming that the secondary freshmen students of a public school have mastered the listening skill while still in their elementary years. But this does not mean that listening should be done away with.

Much as the teacher wants to perfect language learning in speaking and writing, he can still require his students to practice in the open air where sounds are freely transmitted inasmuch as language is sound. The outcome of individual or societal integration cannot be achieved unless the student has acquired a command of the language he learns in school. It is through this that his personality adjustment and social participation are achieved, relevant to his future professional and preparatory years in elementary school.

The manifestation of various teaching strategies for use in the field has perplexed a lot of public secondary English teachers whose students come from different educational backgrounds. These students come from exclusive schools which have diverse English books and students come from remote barangay elementary schools which have dearth of learning materials and limited learning experiences.

The teachers are cynical whether or not the methods they use in their classes could keep up with the standards of a good and effective teaching procedure considering a mixture of students they have in the classroom.

Teaching should be adjusted to the needs of the learners. Because of this, it is imperative to determine first their difficulties and needs so that whatever materials a teacher purports to design should be in accordance with these needs. This is what is known as directional teaching. This means an assurance of more achievements in teaching than mere teaching without any sound basis.

Bilingual teaching has become a setback in the students’ attempts to gain proficiency in English. It used to be that the Philippines’ biggest competitive advantage in the global job market is the proficiency of our skilled workers in the English language. This advantage is fast being eroded by rising competition from other countries coupled with declining mastery of the English language by our high school and college graduates. That is the reason why there is a private sector willing to invest in the Philippines in order for the Filipinos to be globally competitive when it comes to oral and written communications in English.

Philippines is lagging behind in terms of English language, both in oral and written communications as compared to other Asian and European countries. Before, it was highly regarded as the best country as far as oral and written communications are concerned; although, English is only the second language, aside from Filipino language spoken nationally by the entire region. There is a deteriorating factor that affects so much in the interest in learning a particular language—and that is English. Some reasons are, perhaps, overloaded with subject offerings within the educational system of DepEd. Well, the answer lies in us as Filipinos who are stagnant about the intellectual skills and linguistic developments—both verbal and non-verbal.

Filipinos, despite the loss of enthusiasm in the acquisition and adaptation of a modern English language, strive hard to surpass or excel in all the subjects that have something to do with English communication since the target language is used as medium of instructions in the Philippines.

The NGOs and other private sectors are very supportive of the Filipinos and find ways about speech or language difficulty in order to remedy slowly whatever problems that entailed in language communication. Failures to correct mistakes in speech difficulty are the twisted principles that must be corrected at once; otherwise, these are the stumbling blocks in learning the target language.

In previous years, the Promoting English Proficiency Project of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, the Makati Business Club and Sun Microsystems Phils., Inc. commissioned the survey. It was aimed at developing a world-class Filipino workforce with English proficiency that meets high international standards. “English means jobs,” said Rick Santos, AmCham president. “We believe that there are great opportunities in business process outsourcing (BPO), IT-enabled services, software development, and tourism in the country.”

On the other hand, the proposed English bill was authored and commissioned by Rep. Eduardo Gullas. He proposed the use of regional language in all subjects, etc.

In English bill, now a priority list
Gullas proposes use of regional language in all subjects

• Dr. Ermetes F. Adolfo Jr., a former English Dept. Head in the Secondary Level of the University of the Visayas-Minglanilla Campus, agreed with Rep. Eduardo R. Gullas, president and owner of said university to use English as the medium of instructions both in secondary and tertiary levels, including the elementary level which is the main target of language competency
• Rep. Gullas proposes use of regional language in all subjects, including pre-school to grade 2
• Principal Eutiquia S. Alday was also informed by Rep. Gullas that MNSHS is chosen as the pilot school within the Division of Cebu Province and English is the top priority

The Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council certified House Bill 305, filed by Rep. Eduardo R. Gullas (Cebu Province, 1st district), as a priority bill.
Gullas expressed confidence that his proposal will survive Congress because 207 legislators also signed as the bill’s co-authors. These include all the seven other Cebuano lawmakers.

Gullas’ proposal, formerly known as HB 4701, was approved on third and final reading in the Lower House late last year. “The bill aims to correct the defects of the current Bilingual Education Program of the Department of Education (DepEd),” said Gullas in his explanatory note. “Its ultimate objective is the improvement of the learning process in schools to ensure quality inputs.”

Bilingual teaching has become a setback in the students’ attempts to gain proficiency in English.

“Targeting the learning of two languages (English and Pilipino) is too much for the Filipino learners, especially in the lower grades. And if the child happens to be a non-Tagalog speaker, this task actually means learning two foreign languages at the same time, an almost impossible task,” Gullas said.

He described this as tragic “because books in almost disciplines are written in English.”
“Science and mathematics, for example, cannot be fully mastered by our students, thus we lag behind other Asian nations in these areas,” Gullas added.

If enacted, the bill will supersede an education department order issued 33 years ago, which implements the bilingual teaching policy in all Philippine schools.
Under the Gullas bill:

• English, Filipino or the regional language shall be the medium of instruction in all subjects from pre-school to Grade 2;
• English and Filipino shall be taught as separate subjects in all levels of elementary and high school;
• English shall be the medium of instruction in all academic subjects from Grade 3 to Grade 6, and in all levels of high school;
• In the tertiary level, the current language policy as prescribed by the Commission on Higher Education shall be maintained; and
• In addition to formal instruction, the use of English shall be encouraged as a language of interaction in school.

The organization of English clubs such as book, oratorical, debating, writing and related associations shall be encouraged.

HB 305 also proposes the use of English as the language of assessment in all government examinations and entrance tests in all public schools and state universities and colleges.

Questions in Filipino should not exceed 10 percent of the total points in the examination, Gullas suggested.

The DepEd is required to provide all the devices, training and support facilities to strengthen and enhance English as the medium of teaching.

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