You are on page 1of 2

A general decline in the usage of English in Malaysia, spoken or

written, is hardly a deniable fact these days. I remember reading an


article quite a number of years back about an Australian Law Professor
lamenting the drastic (in his view) deterioration in English proficiency
of his Malaysian law undergraduates since the early 70s, through the
80s, going on to the 90s approaching his retirement. He was appalled
by the lack of English mastery among the Malaysians compared to
their early counterparts who were not only much more competent in
expressing themselves lucidly in English, but also displayed greater
confidence in conducting themselves.
Notwithstanding that I am neither a professor nor a native English
speaker, I have personally encountered many instances of poor
command of English among Malaysians. They hold positions whereby
one would expect a more than superficial grasp of English that is
deemed necessary, with the like of custom officers at airports, tourists
information kiosks operators, museums information officers and such
to whom, sad to say, a huge majority are in the rote, as far as
conversational English is concerned.
Although I am not an English major, I have been an Anglophile,
immersing myself in all things English, or should I say American
popular culture, in the forms of pop music, TV series and movies ever
since very young. From the earliest combat TV series to the latest
Walking Dead TV series; from the earliest Christopher Reeves
Superman to the latest Henry Cavills Man of Steel, I enjoyed watching
them all.
However, as a secondary school English teacher (non-optionist,
teaching English for 4 years) to 7th and 8th graders, the question for me

is: how do I impart the love of English in my students, to whom English


is just another subject to be had. They do not see English as a vehicle
to take oneself into the land of imagination and reasons, beauty and
discipline that can be had from mastering English. They may enjoy the
movie Transformer visually, but are totally ignorant of the puns and
the superfluous dialogues etc.; they may enjoy the TV series Walking
Dead visually- the gore and all, but totally disregard the bigger
philosophical questions raised.
I sincerely hope by enrolling in this English Teacher Program
(dubbed E-Teacher), I may channel my passion for English into more
profitable teaching practices. There are three main answers to the
questions about English teaching, which I hope would emerge from
participating in this venture, namely:
1. Methodology in casting English as an imagination vehicle,
rather than just a subject to be learnt;
2. Booster kits in eliminating conversational English shyness;
3. Meaningful English essay writing that preclude students
tendency to directly translate from their mother tongue, chiefly
Bahasa Malaysia.