Wednesday, February 25, 2009

PPSMI, is it a solution or a problem??

Assalamualaikum...
Hope everyone is happy n enjoying their life..

Today, I would like to discuss a bit on PPSMI..
PPSMI in Malay stands for Pengajaran Pembelajaran Sains & Matematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris,
or in English, teaching Science & Mathematics using the English language..
This has started by stages since 2003 and is still a practice in schools in Malaysia..
Since then, many Malaysians have voiced out their dissatisfaction of the policy..

First, we need to know what are the objective of the Malaysian government of implementing this..
From what I heard, it is aimed to increasing the fluency and capability of students to speak in English..
In my opinion, this is a good vision by the government but I'm not really happy with the approach of PPSMI...
My reasons are:

1) Many teachers themselves are not confident in teaching Science & Mathematics in English.
If this is the case, then how can we expect the students to understand the subject thoroughly???

2) In my opinion, I don't think that by learning Science & Math in English will help in improving the quality of English among students. This is because Science & Math are both technical subjects while English is a language subject. Aside from learning the scientific term in English (which we rarely use in our conversation), we are not improving English in any way.



3) During my time in my secondary school (SOKSEK), I was regarded as among the best student in English. But to be honest, I didn't become good in English because of what I learn in primary school. I was lucky because when I was 7 years old, my mother did her PHD in Sheffield, UK and I stayed there for 1 year. So I was able to communicate in English and hence learn the language. If a person comes to me and asked about grammar, I can help him give the answer. But if he then wants to know why I answered in that way, then I would reply "Sebab aku rasa cam sedap ja bunyi" or in English "because it sounds correct". The point I want to make is that in school during English classes, we are given the teacher would come in and explain about grammar. To me, that is not the most effective way of learning English. I didn't learn English through knowing when to use the past tense, the past participle tense and so on. I learn the language through reading n communicating in English. By doing that, I learn how to construct sentences and use correct grammar at the same time. So I think if the government really wants to improve the fluency of English in school, they should change the system i.e. the way English is tested, exams, lessons in class, syllabus.
Encourage students to read and communicate using the language. That is the best way to learn English.


To conclude, I think the PPSMI should be abolished.
That is all I want to say. Plzz give me your thoughts on this issue.

29 comments:

Lili said...

salam...

aku setuju ngan pak lah. English, maths n science are two different subjects. one language n another one is technical thing. nak terer BI pon bukan ini carenye...

learning maths n science in BI will not bring up the standard of english among students but lowering the standard in Maths n science. learning in their mother tongue would be the best. for chinese primary school students specifically, its easier for us to learn maths in our language rather than BI cz we are exposed to Chinese more than english. plus, its easier to count and pronounce n write in chinese as compared to BI.

anyway, im part of the gov servant. so, i have no choice but to follow what is stated in my contract. teach maths, in BI, i think. sigh.....

hope that the system will change.. *seems quite not possble...*

tunsyed10 said...

hmmmm
i don't think it is impossible...
even now many effort is being done to abolish this system...
I hope their effort will eventually lead to success..
insyallah.

Anonymous said...

salam..
introducing myself, the pioneer batch for ppsmi..
it helped me a lot within these 6 yrs..
yup, it's pretty hard at first, but dat's a challenge for us to face..
since I've done maths n science in english since form 1, it makes life easier when it comes to writing "scientific essays" like those we had for EST..
if, ppsmi were to be abolished, it should've been done earlier where we haven't developed our skills to master in both english n the subject itself at the same time..
abolishing ppsmi, in my pov, at this stage, is not a smart thing to do..
one of my teachers once commented, it is easier to teach students from our batch than the previous ones bcuz we are already familiar with the terms frequently used in the subjects..
if u notice, the terms used for these subjects, at times, are totally different in both malay and english..
if at this level, u give a malay science book to a form 5 student, I can't guarantee that person can fully understand what is being written..
I once faced this prob when I was in form 3, I tried to read a science reference book, which is in malay version, and I could hardly understand the contents..




so that's just based on my experience alone..
different ppl will have different view on this..
sori x support korg.. ;p

tunsyed10 said...

Thx pioneer batch of PPSMI..
I respect ur view on this..
there r pros and cons to this..
The reason I wanted PPSMI to be abolish is bcoz of a more bigger view..
The view of every students in Malaysia especially those who live in rural area..
those who don't even know English to begin with...
In my opinion, it will be better to teach students the basic in English.. by doing that they will be able to learn and do anything in English easily..
even scientific essay..
Yes, I agree with you that it won't b wise to abolish PPSMI immediately..
but it should be done in stages..
like how PPSMI was introduced..
Anyway, thx for view..

Anonymous said...

nice shot...
languages n science is x stg that we can mixed up..
both are completely different.
I do heard that d quantity of students getting A's are superb but they don't have d quality s much s we required in the future.
It's true that in university,we learn evtg in english n it's some kind do help(i heard this from d batch of ppsmi).
honestly,i don't think so that they do really understand the content(I'm x insulting any1 here,n i'm really sorry if i do so)
From what i heard from my teachers in school,their marks is much lower than our batch in all science subject.for an example the highest score for add math in our batch is aroud 95-98 n the batch after mine is only around 70-75.
so do other sbj
even we do study in Bahasa kebangsaan,it doesn't mean we can't survive..
Alhamdulillah,we still score well s we do in school.
if we'd like 2 improve english among students.. we'd do stg 4 english sbj n x give burden 2 science n math teachers
ps: thanks 2 tunsyed 4 bring up this topic.

assalamualaikum

Anonymous said...

Salam
Im an English teacher at one of the gov schools. I came across ur blog while surfing on PPSMI forum. You are so lucky since ur parents went abroad to further their studies and it had open an opportunity for u to learn English in its environment, where people use English everyday & everywhere.The environment here in Malaysia is different where you can encourage pupils to read english books but will they do at home?(especially those whose parents are not well verse in English). Lastly, u may give a thought on what im going to ask u, When & where will the rural's children learn Math & Science terms if not at school with ETEMS (PPSMI) ? Will 240 minutes of English lesson per week at primary schools able to improve their English? at least while having PPSMI, they will listen more english conversation a day!
I hope PPSMI will prevail to achieve our National Education Philosophy.
Education in Malaysia is an ongoing process towards further effort in developing the potential of individuals in a
holistic and integrated manner; so as to produce individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically
balanced and harmonious, based on a firm belief in and devotion to God. Such an effort is designed to produce
Malaysian citizens who are knowledgeable and competent, who possess high moral standards, and who are responsible
and capable of achieving a high level of personal wellbeing as well as being able to contribute to the betterment of the society and nation at large.
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

After all, exam pun dwi bahasa, balajr pun dwi bahasa, reference books pun dwi bahasa...wat the heck? better to stick on this way...tak payah ubah-ubah, bukannyer kalau u answer in malay kena potong markah...
hmmmm

Anonymous said...

hmm.i agree with ur opinion,but the premise in which your ideas were based is flawed.

if the purpose of PPSMI is to improve the level of english,then I would proudly demonstrate against it since,just like u,I don't think it's a good way to improve one's english.

however,the purpose is not to improve the level of English,but instead it is to allow our children to be better equipped to educate themselves with information on the internet,which is mostly in English.by learning science and maths in English,the children will be able to reap the benefits of unlimited information on the internet to the fullest.and I believe that this is essential for continuous,life-long education in Malaysia.

this is of course just my opinion.sorry if u disagree!

Anonymous said...

I cudnt agree more with previous opinion...coz english is "Bahasa Ilmu". Try to search "PEMELJAWAPAN" in the internet...will u get any? or u shud try "EVAPORATION"....think & think!

tunsyed10 said...

Thx for ur comments and suggestions..
Yes, in Malaysia, it is difficult to create a culture of reading books in English among students..
But, I think if students are encouraged to read, listen and speak English at an early age, I think it will have a positive effect on them...
I have a little sister who was not as lucky as me to be able to communicate with UK citizens..
But she is very good in English, and at home we rarely speak English,
from what I observed, she improved her English by reading English books since she was little..
And that have given her a head start in English..

What I am proposing is a new system of teaching English..
I think u will agree with me that the system now is exam oriented..
I have a friend who got an A1 for his SPM English GCE paper but he managed to do that by memorizing an essay which luckly came out in the exam..
I think English classes should encourage students to read starting from primary school..
because that is the best time to influence students..
Let students spend most of the time in English classes to read..
And then after some time, encourage discussions among them to allow them to speak in class..
Make them think in English and not just think like a 'kamus dwi bahasa'...

Yes, PPSMI do enable students to listen to more English...
but let me ask you this:
1. Are all the teachers that are teaching Science and Math really that good in English?? Can they speak English fluently??
2. Can student use the term and words that they learn in Math and Science classes for their conversation in English??? How effective is PPSMI???


The problem with our system of education is that students are not encourage to give out opinions..
If they give out an opinion that is wrong, they will be punished and this creates a sense of fear of making mistakes among students...
I think we should encourage our students to be able to think freely and broadly..

tunsyed10 said...

On the opinion that PPSMI is to enable students to use internet to the fullest...
Yes I agree PPSMI helps in that sense...
But I think we should be more concerned on the students who are badly effected by this..
I'm thinking of students who are not even able to connect to the internet..
Those who are living in rural areas..
In my opinion, we should try to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor..
And education is the best way to do it...
But if their task is made harder and harder, it will discourage them from even trying..
We should bear in mind that students in rural areas are faced with problems even before PPSMI was introduced..
1. They do not enough equipments and facilities.
2. Parents are not supportive of their studies.
3. Lack of expertise among teachers.

With the introduction of PPSMI, it has added to their problems..
It is now even more harder for them to succeed...
Is this really what we want to achieve????
Let us ease their burden and help them to improve their standard of living through education..

Anonymous said...

"Yes, PPSMI do enable students to listen to more English...
but let me ask you this:
1. Are all the teachers that are teaching Science and Math really that good in English?? Can they speak English fluently?? <--------THEY ARE TEACHING SCIENCE & MATH TERMS, NOT THE ENGLISH GRAMMAR! AT SCHOOL WE HAVE SO CALLED "buddy support system" WHERE ENGLISH TEACHERS BEING THEIR MENTOR IN COMPLETING THE 3 MODULES BY MOE, AND ACTUALLY THERE ARE MORE PROGRAMMES FOR THEM. MOE HAS INVESTED BULK OF MONEY TO ENSURE THEY ARE WELL EQUIPPED WITH WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO IN TEACHING SCI & MATH.MOREOVER, CHANGES CANNOT BE DONE OVERNIGHT, WE MIGHT HAVE SCI & MATH TEACHERS WHO HAVE POOR COMMAND OF ENGLISH NOW, DURING THIS TRANSITION PERIOD, BUT I BELIEVE WE WONT HAVE ANY IN FUTURE! MOE IS WORKING HARD ON IT PRODUCING MORE SCI & MATH GRADUATE TEACHERS!
2. Can student use the term and words that they learn in Math and Science classes for their conversation in English??? How effective is PPSMI???<-----I SUGGEST FOR U TO FLIP ON SCI, MATH & ENG TEXT BOOKS FOR PRIMARY SCHOOL. THE SYLLABUSES AMONG THESE 3 SUBJECTS ARE INTEGRATED. YES WE ARE NOT USING SCI & MATH TERMS IN DAILY CONVERSATION BUT THEY WILL ABLE TO ASSOCIATE THEIR DAILY ACTIVITIES WITH TERMS THAT THEY HAVE LEARNED. PPSMI WORKS AS SPEAR HEADED, IT WORKS FOR ENG AND SCI & MATH AS WELL.

About those who are living in rural areas, if they are introduced with PPSMI specifically the terms, when will they be introduced? after all teaching & learning sci & math now are in two languages? the pupils are freely to choos e either to answer in malay or english. So its better to be kept that way. At least they learn it now before its too late.

About your sister, her english is good because of the environment. Graduate parents, well raised siblings, encouraged environment and so on. But for those whose parents are lorry drivers, sewerage workers and they dont have any additional reference books and only rely on what they are given at school. Do you think they will be able to overcome english? We have this so called ENGLISH LITERATURE HOUR at school which being done one hour per week meaning 60 minutes per week which i believe is not sufficient.We need more english culture/environment at school, and PPSMI did contribute!

"What I am proposing is a new system of teaching English..
I think u will agree with me that the system now is exam oriented.." YES, I AGREE WITH YOU. BUT IF WE ARE ABOUT TO THINK OF HOW TO IMPROVE THE SYSTEM OF TEACHING ENGLISH THAN JUST THINK OF IT. Think of another system and leave PPSMI with the current practice. Coz, don't steal the opportunity of the children to grab the knowledge of sci & math which the sources of the subjects are very well explained in english. We can revert the policy, if one day we have our scientists who will translate all the sources into BM which currently being done in Japan.

Sorry for disagreement. BTW, thanks for providing space for us to share opinion.

tunsyed10 said...

Plzz take a look at this link:

http://english.cpiasia.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1461:math-and-science-the-case-for-bm-2&catid=198:helen-ang&Itemid=156

Anonymous said...

hmmm regarding on those Q above..
i've seen my former teachers a few weeks ago..
so sad that malay's teachers(math n science) they r x using enlish teacher,i but chinese teachers they do so..
no offense..i'm malay too.
but this current situation do occur due to teacher aren't able to make d student understood.
hence,she/he use malay medium to teach add math..

n 1 more reason is she aren't capable to use eng she told me those..so there is no useful at all..
and surprisingly this thing happen in boarding school??
what happen now??

izuan said...

Woi dolah, ko nak kene tangkap ke..

Kontroversi habis la wei..

For me, it is more about attitude..
No komen

Anonymous said...

hurmmm.... im an alevel student.... when i was in my first year, it was very very very hard to learn chemistry in english because i dont understand the terms and how to answer the questions by using a proper scientific english.... now, when i look back to my past test paper, i felt soo ashamed of myself... fuh.... seb bek tak de org tgk paper ni coz mmg malu sgt2... and now about this ppsmi, i really agree with it because it will help student like me to learn science at the higher level... we have the idea but cant express it to our teacher juz because of our english... and now, after 1 year of studying chemistry in english, i can present my idea very well... the bsame thing goes to the school student... if they didnt start to learn science in english from now, thy will have such a biggg problem when they further their studies to the higher level.... at least they know the term to use & how to spell the words... since all the good science book were written in english at my stage, i think ppsmi will really help student to understand at least what they try to explain in that books... we dont want english to stop the brilliant malaysian student to express their ideas and theories about science (especially student from the rural area)...
thank you... sorry coz my english is not that good... =))

Anonymous said...

Hey!

Ok.I'm a secondary school student.

My opinion:

1. PPSMI is actually a way to bring MALAYSIA to another level. As you see, learning SCIENCE and MATHEMATICS in ENGLISH is not a problem; it just need extra effort from the students. If previously students can learn SCIENCE and MATHEMATICS in BAHASA MALAYSIA, why not learn in ENGLISH. Maybe the numbers of students excel in these subjects are dropping compared to the BAHASA MALAYSIA way, but quality is more important that quantity. There is no use if there 20 people that can't play football vs 5 people that who can play football. So, quality should be put first.

2. If MALAYSIANS go overseas for further studies or stays in Europe countries, they need to communicate in English or other foreign language. Thus, making it compulsory to learn ENGLISH. Besides, the syllabus in most foreign countries is in ENGLISH. If MALAYSIANS has a good base SCIENCE and MATHEMATICS, it makes it easier for students to learn.

AND IF THE GOV CHANGES THE SYLLABUS NOW, THINK ABOUT THE STUDENTS THAT ARE ALREADY FAMILIAR WITH THE 'PPSMI' SYSTEM. THEY NEED TO ADAPT TWICE. THEIR EFFORT IN LEARNING THESE SUBJECTS IN ENGLISH WILL GO TO WASTE. MONEY WILL BE GO TO WASTE. CHANGING THE 'PPSMI' SYSTEM NEEDS A HUGE AMOUNT OF MONEY, SACRIFICES NEED TO BE MADE FOR SOMETHING THAT IS NOT RELEVANT.

tunsyed10 said...

I'm not asking for the PPSMI to be abolished abruptly..
I'm asking for it to be done in stages..
like how PPSMI was introduced..

yes, I agree quality is better than quantity,
but does PPSMI really brings quality??
I'm not confident of that..
It is being proven by research that learning using the mother tongue language gives better understanding and hence produce more quality students espeacially during pre-mature stages..
What PPSMI does is just make you understanding it in another language..

And how many students from Malaysia do fly to the UK or overseas??
Is it more than 50% of the the students in Malaysia??
I'm afraid not..
The majority of students will stay and study in Malaysia...
even though they will learn in English at university level, but they can still communicate in their mother language..
So, is it right to sacrifice something which will benefit the majority, for something which benefits the minority???

thx for your thought though..
really appreciate it

Anonymous said...

Replying tunsyed10...

Good point there..
As you said that most students from Malaysia study in Malaysia.

But how about those who do?
What about the people from other countries will think about MALAYSIANS. Practically, they will think students from MALAYSIA that study in their country are the best from the country. But if the 'best' students of MALAYSIANS can't even speak fluent ENGLISH, won't it be something to be ashamed of? When attending any international meeting, our leaders communicate in ENGLISH with the other leader around the globe. Think about it, MALAYSIA one of the modern countries in the world and even can't do simple ENGLISH?

Besides, as I stated earlier on, ENGLISH is capable of bringing to bring MALAYSIA to another level.

Anonymous said...

PPSMI is abolish..

brett said...

love to see this discussion! It’s great to see you all working through the issues and also, it’s great to see recommendations for testing. In the end, it’s what your actual users do and prefer that should be your biggest driver in making these decisions.

study abroad

aimi AG said...

salam. I believe PPSMI is a problem.. looking at what really happened. there are BIG FAT gaps between the urban and the rural. it isn't the best way to integrate them. I pity the rural kids.. they could not understand English that well, what more to understand the technical terms of the subjects. besides, this PPSMI thing doesn't help when it comes to improving English. we never use the technical terms in our daily conversation, do we? if we really want both Sc and Maths to be in English, our education system should change. Having exam oriented system doesn't help at all. Because it doesn't encourage student to be street smart. They would rely on books..books..books.. without having any common sense of their general knowledge. They would end up memorizing the terms etc and not comprehending the subject well.I was in the UK during my primary years, where the school had an absolute different ways of learning a lesson. we didn't use text books at all. we rely much on other materials such as video, experimenting with things etc. This can excite the students and really motivate them to do better in class. Using the 5 senses in education really helps the learners to grasp knowledge. They should be able to explain with details what they saw, what they have explored etc. Teacher should make the class interesting by making games, exchanging opinions with the learners, and having group discussion with their classmate. if really the minister want to improve the English quality among Malaysians, do change the education system. then only they can make another step to improve the other..ok..i've been saying too much. but this is what i've been thinking about lately. thanks for ur time and effort. really love ur ideas! good job.

Anonymous said...

Replied to tunsyed10.
U said hardly malaysian will fly to overseas tofurther their studies. I wonder that do u know almost all d books and lectures are conducted in english, not only in overseas, but also in MALAYSIA. Have u ever seen a engineering course conducted in bm in an university????? if the students don't study math and sc in bi during their secondaRY level o primary level, then they might face difficulties when they move to the tertiary level, which is higher education.
Nothing is impossible. As long as the students are willing to learn, then they can do it. it has no related with what mother tongue, if u said mother tongue, which is bm is easier for u guys, then u guys are oni giving excuses, u din put much effort to learn and accept.
and allow me to ask u some more questions- english is an international language, is bm so? Does a foreigner understands bm? If Malaysian is unwilling to learn english and stick to "mother tongue" bm all the time, do u think our country can globalise or being left out? Then how can malaysia be advanced and globalized if most of the citizens do not put their commitment in?
Thank you~

Anonymous said...

salam...
im one of the English teacher-to-be..
frankly speaking, i think that PPSMI is worth 2 do..
no personal feelings here okay..
this is just my opinion or should i say it my thought..
think of the globalization..
do u really want our country 2 be like Africa?
do u know y they didnt globalize?
bcoz of their close-minded thinking..
open ur mind people..
look around u..
English is an international language..
our world "lingua franca"..
PPSMI is actually a way to bring Malaysia to another level..
As you see, PPSMI is not a problem..
It just needs extra effort from the students..
If previously students can learn Science and Mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia, why not learn in English..
Maybe the numbers of students excel in these subjects are dropping when using English compared when using Bahasa Malaysia, but quality is more important that quantity..
We need to fundamentally improve the quality of English instruction in our school system as everyone has known that a lot of the knowledge of these two technical subjects is written in English which will help Malaysian students to acquire the necessary skills that will turn them into engineers, architects, doctors, technicians, software engineers and so on..
So,pliz open ur mind..
"Quality should be put first."
Thank you.
:)
P/S : don't fight within each other..what can u get from fighting?

Saipol Jusman, Merlimau Melaka said...

PPSMI must continue for the sake of Malays . If it's dropped, Bahasa Melayu will looks to be championed, but the Malays will lag behind in so many ways that in the end even Bahasa Melayu nobody care about.
It is much easier to learn maths and science in English and communicate it in Bahasa Melayu but not vice-versa when you learn it in Bahasa Melayu but need to communicate it out in English-hell of a difficulty.

Chinese will be very happy if PPSMI is abolished because they know it is still the Malays that will be lefvt out.

Anonymous said...

Hi, It is hard for everyone nowadays regarding PPSMI issues. Both pro and con sides have their own strong points as well as fact and figures.

As I came from rural areas in Sabah, English based education is not new matters. English proficiency seminar and tuition center available as same as in peninsular malaysia.

As a parent, I want my child to be able to excel in education and possessed advantage over other student. Deep in my heart as well as other parents, "peduli la sama anak orang, aku mau anak aku pandai bahasa melayu dan bahasa Inggeris." So you all know where is my stand.

thank you to the blogger and readers.

Anonymous said...

for me,what you give,you'll get back..it depends on how the students makes an effort to learn english:D

Anonymous said...

oneChaya. I think PPSMI should be abolished. Majority of our students could not catch up with the teaching and learning math n science in english. pity on them. Yes it is good for the brilliant ones but not for the weak . once you are in tertiary level you are matured enough to learn math n science in english. usually those who continue their studies in university are high flyer students. weak students they just work in labour sector only. please abolish because i think we go to school to seek knowledge not language.I got a relative who fared badly in school but now becomes a manager working in Dhubai. can speak english . it is all depend on us. if we want it we can.

Anonymous said...

Personnally i support ppsmi must go on & pls don't think our children can't learn sc/maths in english.It's the faults/failure of our education ministry which they do not send the capable teachers who have good command of english to teach both of this subjects and let alone to blame our children? Pls go and test out your sc/maths teachers and stop to make any more blunder. Revert fully to ppsmi while when still can save it.