Maths and science in English – Live it with, ok?

I am one of those parents who have seen all, been there, done that where parenting is concerned.  I used to be a very kiasu (competitive) mother, keeping an eagle eyes on my kids’ studies and was a strict disciplinarian.  Those days when I have scheduled time for them to do their homework, study, extra works etc etc.

Somehow, along the way, I realised that life is too short to be bothered too much.  Life is meant for living happily.  One life, live it.  Here today, gone tomorrow.  Top of the class, middle so-so or right at the bottom, it doesn’t matter anymore.
So, my eldest son had a dramatic switch from Maths and  Science in Bahasa Malaysia (our national language) to English within a year.  He never make a single peep of complaint.  Then, my second son has a breather of going from Standard Six to Form One to make the switch.  As for my third son, he entered Standard One, studying both subjects in English.

For them, it is no problem because we speak English at home (ok, broken Hokklish) and they do have lots and lots of books in English.  You know, those DK series and stuffs like that?   It is an easy transition for them to learn multiply instead of darab.  No problem with faeces instead of tahi.

However, my third son has major problem because he cannot catch up with his Bahasa Malaysia as BM is the only subject he studies in BM.  (other than Kajian Tempatan and Moral which are non-UPSR subjects, so who cares)  His BM suxs to the max.  I can’t do much about it because language  is not something you can master overnight.   We gave him Doraemon, Mutiara Naga (Dragon Ball lah) and all sort of comic books to entice him to read BM.  Still struggling but UPSR is another two years.  Don’t worry, be happy.

Tapi…mampus lah!  I baru terbaca mengenai masalah ini dari blog SassyMP, Sdri. Teresa Kok. (apamaciam, ada gaya jadi setiausaha politik tak? kehkehkeh)

The survey done by education ministry has proven that this policy has failed. The education ministry should change the policy immediately and should not wait till 2008 as announced by Hishamuddin two days ago. By prolonging this failed policy, we will only sacrifice the maths standard of more students regardless of race.

Yannaday…..ini maciam, mati lah…..Belum sempat anak saya biasakan diri, sudah mau tukar lagi kah?  Tak boleh kasi itu semua orang tak tau Bahasa Inggeris punya hor… terus terperuk kat belakang kelas?  Mengapa kita harus bertukar fikiran, bertukar polisi tanpa merancang dahulu?  Pada pendapat saya, kita harus mengajar matapelajaran sains dan matematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris kerana kedua-dua matapelajaran ini adalah untuk kegunaan global.

We cannot keep changing policy like this.  Now that we have changed to English, let it be.  These students have to keep up with their English.  There is no  easy way out.  Just like how all the  non-Malay speaking children have to get used to learning Maths and Science in Bahasa Malaysia.

As I see it, some of these children who are stucked with lousy performance will remain the scapegoats or rather guinea pigs of a bad decision.  Too bad, but that’s life.  English is a universal language.  So, whether those Chinese, Tamil speaking kids like it or not, they have to learn it.  Those rural Malay boys, learn it.  Just like how my #3 son struggled with his BM.
FINAL WORD – Stop being so fickle minded.  Stop trying to be ‘Seperti tikus menampal labu?’ (eh, correct ah?)  Someone/some kids have to be sacrificed.  That’s life. It is English, learn it or live with it.  DON’T CHANGE AGAIN!

15 Replies to “Maths and science in English – Live it with, ok?”

  1. Can’t agree more with this. Let the policy be; I’ve ‘witness’ the pros of it. My poor bro sux at English during his secondary years but when he got no choice to study Math & Science in his Form 6 years, i saw magnificant improvement. Now he don’t have to struggle with English in his Uni years 🙂

  2. *boohoo* im their guinea pig..the 1st batch to use English in Maths & Sci since Form 1. we were given few diagnostic test last year which was SUPER easy……..i wondering how did they diagnose it when all the thing was easy..and huh..it failed? tsk!

  3. I prefer maths and science to be taught in English, I can still remember sifting through dictionaries during foundation to find out what the heck does co-efficient mean and finally found out its just a pekali.
    At least the current batch won’t go through the hassle of fitting into university after SPM / STPM
    My BM went down the drain ever since I left school, because now I hardly use BM to converse and I don’t read BM novels ( most of them are too lame).
    English is the way to go, BM can be taught in school and can be used for non technical subjects like History etc but Maths and Science subjects has to be in English.

  4. When I was studying in university, there were many students from Malaysia that came in from the alternative system i.e., Sekolah Pondok or those really Rural Sekolah Agama. They came into the Matriculation system with really zero understanding of English, spoken or written to talk about.

    But by the end of two years of intensive training; 24 credit hours ad nauseam of English Language studies (Excluding another 12 Credit hours of other subjects) they came out speaking and writing the language plus I didn’t have to do running translations of un-subtitled movies for a friend anymore.

    Who are they now Bankers, Lawyers, Businessmen, Public Accountants and Officers of the Court etc etc etc (Et cetera 3X like King Rama III in King and I).

    That is not to mention those students from Beijing and Korea who we had to communicate with sign language as if we were deaf and mute. There were also those sub-continental students one of whom took the word document= dock-men= bad people who take away your things (Apparently his father told him at the airport “Beware of Dock-men” meaning his passport and student registration papers. So this fellow kept his eyes peeled for these “men who dock people”).

    The moral of my story… I agree with Lilian… biarlah anak-anak itu. After all how many Politicians up there came from the Malay Mandarin or Tamil system and now speaking England like mother-tongue ony?

  5. Chan Lilian, you got malay chinese or tamil schooling? still can blog in England speak Maa.. You at home, small girl last time got speaking England ar?

  6. I love learning Maths & Science in English. My parent also learn Maths & Science in English at their time coz they go to Sekolah Inggeris, e.g Penang Free School. (forgot the name of my mother’s school). I myself studying at High School Bukit Mertajam, Penang (Pak Lak also use to study in this school before). Learning Maths & Science in English is very helpful compare in B. Melayu. Examples, when u watching discovery channel & n. geographic it’s easily for u to understand those scientific words if u learn in english compare to if u learn in bahasa. Summore, when u go to universiti, u also have to learn in English.

    But some of ur comment are too harsh, e.g.

    “…Tak boleh kasi itu semua orang tak tau Bahasa Inggeris punya hor… terus terperuk kat belakang kelas?…”

    and some more else. Tak semestinya anak awak berjaya, kita boleh kutuk anak orang lain yang tak berjaya. Tuhan tak menjadikan kita semua pandai OK. We must learn to respect others, even though they have problem to cope with their studies. We shouldn’t kutuk-kutuk laa. Respect others OK. In my school there are some students also have a difficult time learning Maths & Science in English. I try my best to help them. And some of my friends are actually getting better.

    I’m not saying that I not agree in this system (learning Maths & Science in English). I support this system OK.

  7. Totally agree with u, auntie! I was the guinea pig who has to switch from BM to English suddenly in Form Six. But it wasn’t that bad. In fact, I prefer English to be taught in Science and Maths coz the only subject I was taught in BM is Pengajian Am while the rest are in English. My BM was quite okay so I have no problem abandoning the subject aside. Hence I was so used to English that my BM became so lousy. Now suddenly switch back to BM when in university (coz Malay here cannot understand English) and I forgot the BM word for gradient and probability so I wrote the English version, the lectuer marked me WRONG!!!
    When I argued, she said in all broken like the Ten Commandments English that those weren’t the term used and I couldn’t do anything about it coz it’s the policy. Kanasai!
    Y have to change to this and that and make our younger generation confused and blur when they are already halfway sesat? Those apeks up there really never put their brain in gear before putting their mouth into action wan. Geram betul!

  8. Aiyo so pity…. My year is the last year Sc & Math in Malay, then my juniors use Eng. Now the gov wanna switch back again? WTF?!? Gov dunno brain grow where…

  9. CLF – Yalor, keep changing policy sure die wan. There are going to be students caught with bad grasp of command of BM trying to get used to BM in Maths and Science (which is way, way diff).

    Clare – Ya, if they had taken the decision to change, then at least stick to it for like another 20 years or else, they are going to end up with two batches instead of one batch having problems with BM.

    Teh whatever – Take a chill pill and the door is over there. (red box with white x on the top right corner) If you are not my regular reader and cannot get my tone of reference, I don’t need these sort of comment. Don’t waste my bandwith and diskspace.

    Sooi2 – Yeah, they are going to use our children education in their political wars too.

    fire80 – Gua 100% Bangsa Malaysia, I tarak tau Mandarin, only BM and English.

    dylan – So true, if we have better grasps of English, it helps in every way. That’s why they musn’t change back to BM again cos it is not progress but merely accommodating the masses.

    Jamie – Actually, if every students would take some trouble to learn English more, then, they wouldn’t have to suffer so much. But the thing is everyone wants to rely on their mother tongue, hoping to get the Govt. to lower the standards to help them out.

    Sylvia – Yeah, once the students are forced to master English, then, that’s that. A good decision is one we stick to, doesn’t matter what the outcome but keep striving to improve.

  10. Singapore does 2 languages. They teach the main subjects in English, and the choice of mother tongue is given to the students. So a malay suka-suka boleh take cheena and vice versa. that’s why we go no problem. all eh tat chey one. recommend they follow us.

  11. Sien ler.. all this plague keep repeating every few years. Let politikus touch education and the next generation is going down the drain. So parent need to pay more attention than the previous generation. 😉

    IMHO, the language is one issue, the quality of the teacher is just another issue. Some teacher is really don’t know how to teach, whether in English or Malays, they still sux on it. And not to forget the 35+ students classroom.

  12. My daughter is less than 2 years old and she can understand both English and Japanese, and later will introduce Malay, Mandarin and Cantonese.

    http://daddyparentingtips.blogspot.com/2009/07/tip-161-reading-in-both-languages.html

    I can’t see why we cannot take 1 step forward to integrate the BM textbooks few years back with the current English science and maths text books. Its a lot of effort, but why move backward instead of forward. We can allow students to use either English or BM to answer in the exams as long as the maths and science principles are correct.

    Some good will surely come out of the dialectics at work between both languages instead of choosing either one. We need new advancements. We need Malaysia Boleh. Not some power struggle between languages.

    When will Malaysia advance and not hold on to race and language as stumbling blocks but embrace our differences as advantages?

    Daddy Parenting Tips´s last blog post..Tip 161: Reading in both languages

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