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Teaching Mathematics and Science in English Language Background The standard of English Language proficiency amongst Malaysians who

have been educated in the medium of Bahasa Melayu has been a topic of debate since the 1980s. Although the Ministry of Education had launched a number of ELT programmes to raise the standard of proficiency, these programmes appeared to have had a minimal effect on standards of proficiency. Concern has been voiced over this issue throughout the 1990s. In the new millennium, developments and advances in scientific and technological advances began to make its impact as more and more of our graduates found it difficult to get the job they wanted simply because they were not proficient in English. The English language has become a basic requirement for students and job-seekers in this increasingly globalised world where it is, for now, the undisputed lingua franca. It was also becoming increasingly challenging to translate the latest technological developments into Bahasa Malaysia. Therefore, a dramatic shift in the Malaysian Educational Policy was announced in the June 2002. The Minister of Education informed the public that from January 2003, Science and Mathematics will be taught in English in standard One, Form One and Lower Six in all fully aided government schools while the other subjects would still be taught in the Malay language. The rationale for this decision was that most Science based courses in the universities were highly dependant on reference materials that are published in the English language. Introduction of ETeMS This programme was initiated by our former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed. It was called as English For Teaching Mathematics and Science ( ETeMS ). It was represented a significant milestone in the history of education development in our country. ETeMS has been proposed as an urgent interim measure to ensure that teachers of Mathematics and Science ( MST ) will

have basic capacity to use English as the medium of instruction. Bearing in mind the limited duration of interaction, ETeMS is not to be regarded as a complete language development course, but rather, one of several support mechanisms introduced by the Ministry of Education to encourage the MST to further develop their English language competence to a level that will engender optimal performance in and outside the classroom. Have you think it before, why Tun Dr.Mahathir Mohamed made the innovation at that time? This is because he wanted to encourage students to master the English Language as well as the content knowledge. He realized that English has become the global language and the language of technology. So, ETeMS will give students a voice on the international platform and assists them in tertiary education. Additionally, ETeMS was aimed to enhance the English language skills of Mathematics and Science teachers in order to enable them to reach effectively using English as the medium of instruction. ETeMS Programme In developing the ETeMS programme, the following assumptions are made. 1. The MST undergoing the ETeMS already possess the content area knowledge and the pedagogical skills relevant to their subject. 2. The MST have, at the very least, a basic level of English language proficiency acquired through instruction received in their primary and secondary schooling ETeMS draws on these existing competencies to encourage the language development of MST in 3 broad areas: ( a ) Language for Accessing Information This component aims to enhance the information getting skills, especially through reading. Teachers will develop these skills by engaging in a variety of mathematics and science texts. These texts used will include content area topics,

curricular materials such as syllabuses, handbooks etc. and texts dealing with methodological issues. It must be emphasized that the focus of instruction is to develop the language skills needed for accessing information in texts, and not to provide instruction in the content or methodology of the subject. It is hoped that as they develop these skills the teachers will be motivated to access on-line and print material to extend their knowledge of current content and pedagogy, and thereby positively impact the delivery of their subjects in the classroom. ( b ) Language for Teaching Mathematics and Science In this component the teacher will develop language for use while teaching in the classroom as well as the language needed for out of class activities related to the subject. The focus of instruction here would primarily involve speaking and writing skills, and will be supported with adequate grammar input and practice. This is the major component of the ETeMS programme. ( c ) Language for Professional Exchange As professionals the MST would conceivably wish to communicate with peers in the wider discourse community through English. A small component of the ETeMS programme will take into consideration this need of the teachers. ETeMS involves 240 hours of instruction delivered through face-to-face interaction and self-instructional packages. These will be supported by a "buddy system" whereby the teachers can get further help from identified resource persons in their locality. The ETeMS porgramme is conducted in 2 phases. Each phase comprises 90 hours of face-to-face interaction and 30 hours worth of selfinstructional materials. Phase 1 will be delivered through 5 modules distributed over a period of 5 weeks which each module requires 2 days of face-to-face interaction (60 hours), a 5-day Module (30 hours) and a self instructional package (30 hours). Approximately 30 % of the course will focus on Component A which is Language for Accessing Information, and the remainder 70 % will be devoted to Component

B which is Language for Teaching Mathematics and Science. It is hoped that with this balance in course content, Phase 1 will address the immediate needs of the teachers by developing in them the basic language skills needed to begin teaching in English. Phase 2 will be developed based on feedback received during Phase 1. It is however expected to be similar to the Phase 1 structure. The content will once again be weighted in favour of Language for Teaching Mathematics and Science white at the same time giving some attention to Component C which is Language for Professional Exchange. Furthermore, Phase 2 will develop the teachers confidence in order to further extend their mastery of English. It also develop a materials that have practical applications in their own teaching contexts. ETeMS has implemented in all primary schools since 2003. However, the National Type Chinese Primary Schools ( SJK ( C ) ) are allowed to use bilingual ( Chinese and English ) to teach Mathematics and Science according to the political decision. According to the latest statistics, 3 billion has spent for ETeMS. The statistic also show that there is one hundred and sixty five teachers involving in this programme while the amount of students that involved in this programme reaches 6 million. Governments Efforts in Succeeding ETeMS All teahers teaching Mathematics and Science in primary and secondary schools will be provided and trained on how to use LCD, notebook and other courseware. It is also a step to adopt an ICT approach. Besides, a financial incentive will be given by government to the teachers in order to motivate them to teach the three critical subjects. Moreover, all the text books and modules are changed to English medium. At the same time, software and courseware are being introduced to the teachers and students.

Problems Faced by ETeMS Having all the advantages and benefits of ETeMS in the eyes of the nation, there are some problems on the part of students and the teachers involved. Learning Mathematics and Science in English is not an easy task for many students, especially for those come from rural area. This is because majority students in rural area are those who come from poor families and the learning facilities for them are incomplete as students who are in the town and come from rich families. In addition, Negeri Sembilan Education Department deputy director of Science, Azlina Abdul Kudus said that one of the challenges faced by ETeMS is the level of proficiency in the Enlish language among teachers and students. For example, teachers who are proficient in English teaching students who are not proficient in the language, or the other way round. The latter senario will make teachers feel inferior to their students. Another senario is where both teachers and students are not proficient in English, thus forcing teachers to revert to Bahasa Malaysia or mother tongue as the medium of instruction. Moreover, some teachers do not want to take their initiative to upgrade themselves by using English for teaching Mathematics and Science. The other challenges faced by students are the lack of home support, varying levels of literacy and parents who not believe in the importance of English. Besides, many parties such as MCA, UMNO, and others still do not agree with ETeMS. They persevere to use mother tongue in teaching Mathematics and Science. For example, 5000 people marched from the National Mosque to Istana Negara to submit a memorandum to the king in order to protest against the policy of teaching Mathematics and Science in English on 7 March 2009. Matters came to a head when the crowd became unruly. So, the police were forced to fire tear gas and deploy water cannon to disperse the crowd. Publics opinions and views ETeMS has launched for 7 years, but this policy is still hotly debated by the public. Some groups feel that ETeMS should be continued because ETeMS

just like a long-term investment. It will bring back the good returns to our country at last. However, some groups still cannot accept the policy. Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir support ETeMS to be continued, but the teaching methods need to be changed to make sure weak students are not left out. Specific remedies are needed to address this problem. For the others who agree with ETeMS, they also suggest many methods in modifying ETeMS to become a better policy. The methods are including promotions, an adequate supply of teaching courseware, modules and reference books, extension of training courses and reduction of paper work. Personal View In my opinion, I support wholly with the implementation of ETeMS. This is because we cannot deny that English has become an international language being widely spoken around the world and that much of the worlds knowledge is locked within this language. ETeMS is also an important step that able to upgrade our education system in order to achieve Vision 2020. However, ETeMS still has many defects and problems until now. All these should be solved as soon as possible. For axample, the government should ensure that the teachers who are assigned the task of teaching Mathematics and Science in English are able and capable to teach the two subjects to the students effectively. Furthermore, government should upgrade the teaching and learning facilities in all the schools. Besides, I think that the Ministry of Education should introduce the ETeMS for the students start from Standard 4 and so on. For the students Standard 1, Standard 2 and Standard 3, I think that it is more suitable that using mother tongue for teaching Mathematics and Science. This is because the some theories and concepts in Mathematics and Science are abstract. When they come up to Standard 4, their thinking will become mature and they able to think reasonably. So, they will adapt themselves with the teaching Mathematics and Science in English easily. At the same time, Ministry of Education can introduce a special English course for all the students Standard 1, Standard 2 and

Standard 3. The course is aimed to strengthen their proficiency in English language. So, they can adapt the changes when Mathematics and Science are teaching in English in Standard 4. I also hope that the Education Ministry will decide quickly whether Mathematics and Science should be taught in English because the issue has become bigger and sensitive now. Conclusion As a conclusion, ETeMS is a good policy and this changing will be faced a lot of difficulties at the beginning, but it will bring a lot of advantages to our nation and country at last. So, it is hoped that, all parties concerned such as schools, teachers, parents, political parties, Non-Governmental Organisations ( NGO ) and others should co-operate with government in implementing this programme.