Education in Malaysia is an on-going effort towards further developing the potential of individuals in a holistic and integrated manner, so as to generate individuals who are intellectually, spiritually, emotionally and physically balanced and harmonious, based on the belief and devotion to God. An effort is designed to yield 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 well-being and contribute to the harmony and betterment of the family, community and nation generally stated by the Ministry of Education Malaysia on February 9, 2013. Since 56 years ago, the national education policy Malaysia has rapidly transformed many times. It begin to change when the Razak Report 1956 and the Education Ordinance 1957, which was dubbed ‘The Era of Consolidation’ was introduced and the most recent one is the introduction of the New Education Policy (Education Blueprint 2012-2025), which was approved by Cabinet on 30 January 2013.
Rahman Talib Report and the Education Act 1961 which saw the ‘Review Era’, ‘Features of the 1979 Cabinet Report’, stressed on basic education in 3Rs, reading, writing and arithmetic, a strong spiritual education and discipline elements as desired. It also placed emphasis on Malaysia-oriented curriculum. The policy adjusted education management procedure to enhance the overall quality of education. Education Bill which was introduced in 1995 was designed to generate world-class education in terms of quality to reach national aspirations. It also saw the increase of technical education & Polytechnics and introduces provisions to regulate private education. The recently Cabinet-approved New Education Policy (the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2012-2025) will be presented to the King for His Majesty’s approval before it is implemented.
Despite all the changes made to the country’s education policy has always been to maintain the essence of the educational philosophy of the MOE, no changes made resulted in improving our standard of educational, as a matter of fact, it continues to fall and still dropping even further. This is because the English language plays a vital role in the area of globalization. People need to become proficient in English in an effort to compete on the international platform. English language is also identified to be one of the factors that many graduates are unemployed. Unemployed graduates are prompted to polish their English language skills and communication to equip them better. MOE recognises that Bahasa Malaysia, as the national language, promote unity and also the main language of communication while English is the language of international communication and it is necessary to explore knowledge globally.
English is now the language of instruction at all levels of education in Malaysia, from primary to tertiary level. Communications have enabled mankind to progress and become a developed nation. Communication is very important not only for the smooth running of a business enterprise but it also similar, if not more, important to the success and growth of professional and individual executives. Deficiency in proper communication skills creates barriers and distortions that bring to miscommunication and a breakdown in meaning can have some very negative consequences for any company or business set-up. Proficiency in English is a prerequisite for any professional working in a global business environment.
Although the profession may vary, the need to become proficient in the English language is a core skill for any global workers. Employers expect labour have excellent communication skills apart from knowledge and expertise in their respective technical field. In today’s workplace, people need a variety of specific job knowledge and skills, personal qualities and attitudes, the ability to transfer knowledge and skills to different situations, and others the ability to speak English is a must in your work no matter where you work for because everything you do at work is in English. Apart from promoting yourself, we have to use English language skills to communicate with some level of business.
Communication is most powerful tool in the workplace, and improve our spoken English will help us to communicate successfully in the workplace. We will not forge ahead at work if we do not SPEAK English because it will hinder our potential. Successful organizations and companies know that effective communication is crucial to their success as it boosts productivity and promote creativity. This report will discuss the problems faced by students in learning the English language and practical suggestions for improving the English language proficiency of students in higher education institutions in Malaysia.
Why students facing problems
Many of our graduates have trouble finding jobs locally, particularly because their poor command of English Language and there are now more than 10,000 of them are still unemployed, a few after three years since they graduated. According to English experts, the reason why student’s poor in this subject includes: the lack of reading and writing English, poor attention given to the subject, vernacular speaking in schools and environmental conditions among a host of others.
•Lack of reading and writing English
Majority of students poor in English because their inability to write and read in English. This is because reading provides a logical understanding of the language and hence, improves one’s ability to speak and write the language. As a result of this, students who do not have the feeling to read ultimately failed the subject. Now most of the students admire more entertainment from the study. They dislike flipping the newspaper or article. They only use the street language when communicating with people. This is so, as writing allows one to combine the right words to construct meaningful sentences and lack the ability to formulate ideas and write cohesive texts. The more this is done, more gets to grasp the language and eventually became a very good in writing English. For this reason, those who do not heed this thought just finally failed subjects.
•Poor Attention given to the subject
Said that success go with interest. In a learning environment where students are not paying attention to the English, they lastly scored low marks in the subject area and subsequently, they become victims. Although facts that English are the main language but most students think that learning English is a waste of time on the grounds that they have a lot of notes to learn. Students need to know that English granting them access to enter in any of the universities or colleges across the world. So students pass all subjects with the exception of English is the same as nonentity. This is because nearly all English teachers use textbooks. And it makes their job easier. They are not prepared for every class. They just do the next unit in the book. And they make learning boring and ineffective. It makes students to think that learning English is boring.
•Vernacular speaking in schools
Not speak English in schools is another reason why the students who are poor in English. To this disgraceful act, they began to build a very poor vocabulary. This would lead to a drop down in their performance in English. Most of the students may prefer to speak in their native language with their friends and family members. The problem is they never hang out around and just be with their ethnic because they do not realize the importance of English language.
•The condition of the environment
English is a subject that requires a very calm environment and attentive. Creation of educational environments a conducive to their academic success and the use of educational strategies known to be effective with these students should be prepared for. There are normally 20-30 students in the class, so there is less time for students to speak English. Ordinary English class is very poor practice speaking. Teachers do not have time to go and teach them one after one and this cause they do not know their students’ understanding of the English language.
Many of us already familiar with how people feel about the appearance, but the manner in which we speak are also important. Even if we dress well, using poor grammar will indicate that we are a wolf in sheep clothing. We might look good on the outside, but we’re not so good on the inside. To be successful, we must focus on our appearance and the way we talk with people. The collective work of the teachers, parents and students are the success of students towards English language. Students should play a greater role in this aspect as to whom much is given, much is expected. Mahatma Gandhi quoted that “an ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching” means that the teacher should clearly verbally tell students what and how to do something, but the students will learn much more by actually doing it. We should practice more to get success in it. Here are some suggestions for improving the English language:
1 Speak and read the language whenever you can.
First, talk as much as you can, find someone to practice, and speak only English with them. Speak English with our friends and family. Do not be ashamed to try to speak the language. Do not fear that other people will tease you. In fact, they will admire you because of your courage and confidence. Whenever you are out and around, or even at home, think and also SPEAK OUT loud, the things you do the things that you see. Constantly keep in mind it is good to make mistakes, because you can learn from them and improve with what you did wrong and improve that. Reading can improve our speaking. Read as much as possible, look for English books, English articles and newspapers, and use a dictionary when you find words you cannot understand .Reading a lot is a good way to improve one’s grammar and learning new vocabulary and language structures.
2. Start a blog in English.
This is one way for you to practice your writing. Blog at something you like. If you are a fan of the movie, start a blog and write about your favourite films, your favourite characters, what do you think could be improved in the film, what new movie to look forward to next year, and so on. In addition to the blog, try joining an online forum, join the online community or a similar debate, and engage in online chat and more. It can help you practice your language skills too, and you can find a “pen pals” in chat rooms and message boards. Via conversation we can learn how and where to use the word. There are many web tools to help you learn English. Language Central, Live Mocha is a few of the best. Classes are too expensive, if you want to get free (or very cheap education), the Internet is a great place for learning this language.
3. Write in your diary/journal in English.
This is where you can write down any in it. But if you write something that you don’t want other people to read, make sure you hide in a safe place! Or try to not write any offensive at all in case one does not find it. You can also write about neutral stuff like places you go that day, what you ate, who you met, what you do, etc. Find someone who you consider have good English language to review your written work and have a sensible conversation with people. In this way, we can improve our writing skills in English.
4. Watch English movies with subtitles
This will be the most favourite way for students to learn English. Not only do students get to have a fun time watching the movie, they will learn new words at the same time and know how to pronounce them. Usually, students may get the movie with English subtitles on DVD. Apart from film students can watch CNN International or other English channels for example Oh My English programme. They will get a lot of perfect sentences in excellent English. Watching a TV show can help, but are only listening, not as good as it then follows up with practice. In addition, it may seem strange, but listen to popular music and then sang the songs helpful. Listen to English songs as much as possible and try to sing along. Go to karaoke.
5. Learn a new word new phrases, idioms or proverbs a day
Keep your own vocabulary notebook and write a new word and meaning in it every day. Refer to as frequently as possible so that new words will stick in your head. For example idioms like kick in the teeth, sitting on the fence, make a clean sweep, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, a man’s home is his castle, etc. When you find any new wording or sentences, write it down and meaning in your notebook. Learn a proverb a day. Poetry and humour is a good way to learn the language because they are short and full of meaning. We can use these idioms in our everyday conversations.
Crystal (2005) claimed that Standard English are not easily threatened by regional developments as standard and non-standard varieties share common core of linguistic identity that unites them. ENGLISH LANGUAGE IS emerging As the NEW GLOBAL FOR COMMUNICATION. When you improve your vocabulary, you will attract the attention of people. Depends on who you attract, the number of doors can open doors that would be closed to someone who uses the common vocabulary level. People would see you as a person with intelligence, and it will be clear that you are also knowledgeable. The industry’s most significant bit worried about noticeable GAP in Spoken and Written English. The other core competency of their employees is ANALYTICAL SKILLS or CRITICAL THINKING arises as main concern among employers. BE confident. Give yourself auto suggestions that you have good English trust me, it really effective. Suggestion for increase interest on English language begins with the creation of the school climate that cultivates academic success and empowers students.
Such environment reflects the philosophy that all students can learn and teachers are responsible for helping them to learn. A positive school environment is characterized by strong administrative leadership, high expectations for student achievement, suitable curriculum and instruction, environment save and organized, systematic assessment of student progress, and share decision-making among teachers and parents; Share knowledge based among educators about effective ways in which students learn English. Students listen to what the teachers say in English, and they might need to figure out the words in their native language to really process what has been said.
Later they would decide on response in their native language, to adapt that in response to the English language, think about the reaction to ensure that it makes sense, and eventually respond. It frequently takes years of exposure to English before students can intercept translation step and actually “think in English”. As Clyne (1992b) said that national identity is seen through national varieties and English in Malaysia is Malaysia’s identity. Being independent, English is the accretion and growth of every dialect, race, and range of time, and both the free and compacted composition of all quoted by Walt Whitman.
Malaysia’s education philosophy revisited — Hussaini Abdul Karim. (2013). (Online). Available: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/malaysias-education-philosophy-revisited-hussaini-abdul-karim. (2013, February 20)
Rajandran, K. (2011). English in Malaysia: Concerns facing Nativization. Journal for the Advancement of Science & Arts, 2. (Online). Available: www.ucsiuniversity.edu.my/cervie/pdf/paperV2N12.pdf (2013, March 1)
Halimah Badioze Zaman(n.d.). Glimpses into Research on Literacy in Malaysia. (Online). Available: http://www.readingonline.org/international/malaysia/article.html. (2013, February 16).
Johnson, S. (2008). Why Students Fail English Language. (Online). Available: http://www.nairaland.com/209773/why-students-fail-english-language#3248532
Josette. (2009). 10 Simple Ways / Tips to Improve Your English. (Online). Available: http://www.malaysia-students.com/2009/08/10-simple-ways-to-improve-your-english.html. (2013, February 22)
How to improve and develop you’re English? Thoughts, advices, and suggestions. (2008). (Online). Available: http://www.englishbaby.com/lessons/4441/member_submitted/how_to_improve_and_develope_your_english_thoughts,_advices,_and_suggestions. (2013, February 5)