English as a Tool for a High Scholastic Competency- Aerone Joshua M. Morante
A Library Research Paper Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements in ENG 2 (College Writing in English) under the supervision of Prof. Noel K. Torreta Second Semester 2011-2012 In the Philippines, it is foreseeable for a person to see public signs written in English-“biodegradable”, “non-biodegradable”, “stop”, “no smoking”, etc. Not only in the Philippines, majority of the people in the world are now exposed to the English language and can understand simple English instruction. The English language is so influential that it became international language.
Many countries, like the Philippines, already imposed the teaching of the English language in order to achieve a higher competency rate than other countries in terms of education. Moreover, there are some problems that make the teaching of English in the Philippines a disadvantage instead of an advantage. In the midst of this, the benefit of learning the English language, such as a high level of scholastic competency encourages the Filipino students to continue to learn and be proficient in English.
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In assumption that almost everybody in the world has already encountered the English language-by listening in radio or through reading magazines, even just for a day, one can perceive how far a language can reach and how powerful it can be, considering that it is the international language. However, encounters such as this would not stop a curious person from having questions on how one language can become an international language. Fowler (1965) tells us how Americans has largely influenced the world in the field of literature, arts, and media.
Their writings and plays become famous all over the world. So as the English language, has reached the standards of becoming the world language. One in every ten people in the world speaks English. It has even become the only medium of communication for some countries with different language or dialects. It is obvious that the influence that the Americans or as we say it, English speakers had brought to the world, made up the largest contribution to making the English language the most known language globally.
Crystal (2003) proved that influence drives a language to become famous in his statement where he said, “Why a language becomes a global language has little to do with the number of people who speak it. It is much more to do with who those speakers are. ” Even though, knowing all these spectacular events that happened as to how the English language became the world language is not enough to answer the questions on how English words had evolved to what it is today.
In 1975, Williams characterized the history of language not as a sequence of events but rather, “something created and shared and created by an entire people…. Though we can claim that many famous men, like Shakespeare, have once influenced languages, it will only happen once along the development of language. History of language is very hard to narrate for the reason that it is not like a history of events where one can arrange it with accuracy. On the other hand, English historians described how language had been an everyday refinement of billions of words spoken by millions of people in every minute of every day. As for the English language, in which its stature now, it owes to all the people of the past that used it.
English has indeed, made a special place in the world where people wants to communicate with each other. It is quite noticing that the English language has a different nature from any other languages in the world. On the observations by Canare, “The English language has numerous irregularly spelled words (2011). ” Filipinos, for example, are used to a consistent spelling system where one symbol or letter represents only one sound. In contrary to this, the nature of the English language has a different diversity of usage of symbols. This causes difficulty and onfusions in the learning of Filipino students of the English language. In the Philippines, English is not a new language. Many Filipinos can understand and even speak English fluently. According to Velasquez-Ocampo, “The Philippines is known to be one of the largest English speaking countries in the Asian region. It has been recognized that one of our advantages over our Asian neighbours is the ability of a good portion of our population to communicate in English (2004). ” Reminiscing the past, after the Spanish regime, the Americans took over the Philippines.
It was also the time when the Americans impose the teaching of the English language to Filipinos. Since then, English has been part of the curriculum of the Philippine education. In the Article XIV, Section 7, of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, it states that: “For purposes of communication and instruction, the official languages of the Philippines are Filipino and, until otherwise provided by law, English. ” This regulation has been strengthened when in May 17, 2003, the ex-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered Executive Order No. 10, section 1 where “English shall be taught as a second language, starting with the first grade and shall be used as a medium of instruction for Mathematics, and Science from at least the third grade level. ” This particular event shows how significance the English language has influenced the Filipino system of education because even the government prominently supports the teaching of the English language in the Philippines and is a requirement for education. Not only used in instruction of Mathematics and Science, English is also taught as another subject in the Philippines or in other words, as a foreign language.
According to Marckwardt, the concerns in teaching English as a foreign language in some country was with what drives the students in learning it. He mentioned that, “…students are highly motivated, but it is primarily a motivation toward a practical use of the language. ” Moreover, I agree to his conclusion that the key to a more effective learning of the language is by understanding its culture or to be direct, say, the culture of the native speakers of the language. However, in 1965, Allen explained how English should be taught as a second language rather than as a foreign language: When English is taught as a second language it is often more fundamental to life and functioning of the country than when it has foreign-language status. But it is not only as a common basis of communication in the face of linguistic diversity that English is important, but as what has so often been called a window to the outside world as well.
“Similarly, a Ministry of Education report for 1959 advances the following argument for English in Pakistan: ‘It is one of the world’s richest language in respect to the vocations, it has good facilities to insure speed in reporting the results of scientific and other research. It is also interesting that this report concludes, ‘but it should be taught as a functional language rather than as literature…it should be studied as a means of communication. ’ This suggests that despite the greater time and attention given to English where it is taught as a second language, the cultural objective may have to be somewhat more indirect by-product than where English is taught as a foreign language. ” The Filipino students, indeed, have adapted to the English language as a means of instruction in schools. Students are used to seeing English instructions in examinations and reading books that are printed in English.
Nonetheless, though English has long been a part of the Philippine educational system, it is alarming why there is still a large number of failing Filipino students in English courses. The teaching of English has been mandated to the curriculum because it should give students the skills and confidence to communicate globally with the international language but it seems like many of the students see it as a disadvantage. In an opinion article of Isabel P. Martin (2008) in the Philippine Daily Inquirer she described how the English language is now being feared in the Philippines: In the Philippines, the language most feared is English. I see this in my students who joke that their nose bleed after they talk in English; in my friends who claim that they speak English only when they’re drunk; and in my doctor who suddenly switches to Tagalog after I tell him that I teach English. We see this fear of English in classes where students feel stupid because they mispronounced a word; in contact centers where applicants take accent neutralization sessions; and in English review centers that continue to mushroom throughout Metro Manila.
Fear of English is also manifested in predictions that the country is approaching an English-deprived future; in House bills that seek to make English the sole medium of instruction in schools; and in courses or training programs that focus only on developing grammatical accuracy. ” This misconception of the English language must be clarified among the learners and the teachers. In addition to his article, Martin (2008) gives as an idea of how to avoid the obstacles in the learning of the English language: Teaching and learning English in the Philippines may be a difficult task, but it need not to be a frightening experience. So much has already been spent on testing proficiency of teachers and then training these teachers to become more proficient in the language. But simply focusing on testing and training, without recognizing the multilingual context of teaching and learning English in the Philippines, only reinforces fear of the language. ” I believe that English should not be feared for any reasons.
Martin stated that, “Nothing in the sound system or writing system of English makes it superior to other languages. ” The person, himself is just the one making reasons to fear the language. We should not think that accurate grammar, without any errors, is the requirement to learn to speak English. This is the usual attitude towards English that makes it difficult for many Filipinos to learn it. Manny Pacquiao, as given example by Martin (2008), is one famous Filipino we should follow foe his confidence in speaking the English language, although he is not as good as the native speakers of English.
On the other hand, I agree with the proposed resolution by Martin that in teaching the English language, “…it should be introduced slowly and gently, with much respect for their first languages. ” Discussed by Allen (1965), it is said that the indication that general education has deteriorated is, when the number of failing students in secondary schools, in the teaching of living foreign languages have been equal to those failing in mathematics, history, and science.
In addition, success in language learning will not be achieve when the teacher of it, because of the fear that his students will not learn or his inability to teach, will avoid the hearing, speaking, and writing exercises and just only with the readings. Because of the increasing number of English language learners, every teacher of English, as said by Casteel (2010), to achieve their goal of developing their learner’s academic performance, the teachers must know the different strategies to help the student’s progress in the language and field of study.
There sure are many approaches that will be appropriate for the specified problems of the Filipino students. Fries (1949) suggested a method on the manner of teaching English to students. To summarize Fries’ article, the student’s time is not long enough to achieve mastery of the English language. Yes, it would be impossible to develop every student in such the way they could speak good English in every single moment. However, molding the students to the habit of using English would make it possible for their extensive growth even after leaving school.
In other words, this motives and desires would be better than any other inculcating tool toward the goal of teaching the English language. One example of this was the story of Montaigne (1533-1592) in the book of Allen (1965). In spite of the fact that Montaigne was born with French tongue, he gives us an idea of how he learned Latin in a natural process. An excerpt from his essay, “De l’institution des enfants,” tells us that he had gotten as pure Latin tongue as his master without any books, rules, or grammar but by just mingling with two Latin countrymen and by frequent conversation and practice.
Despite of the hindrances, there are strategies to aid the non-native English speakers, in this case the Filipino students, in learning the English language. Another example was Comenius’ (1592-1670) suggested approaches in his ‘Juana Linguarum Reserata’. I believe it would be a better strategy to use a “limited and selected” vocabulary only but concentrate more in “learning sentences rather than disconnected words. ” For this reason, it is better for a language-learner to have an experience talking with a native speaker of the language.
As for John Locke (1632-1704), “Languages”, as he said, “were not made by rules of art, but by accident and the common use of people. ” Fowler (1965) mentioned that the factors interfering the teaching of English as a second language had led to the unanticipated deterioration of general competence in the very countries where English is being taught as the language of instruction. For an instance, when a child enters school, do we introduce him to the writing system of his own language before we begin to give him an oral command of English or vice-versa?
I agree, just like how Fowler argued about it, the word “second” in teaching of English as a second language must be taken into scrutiny. It is obvious that our different dialect here in the Philippines, as Fowler asserted, “…the native language comes first- Cebuano or Ilocano, or whatever it may be- the Tagalog-based national language- and then English,” confuses Filipinos on the precedence of the languages. In other words, English becomes a third language, even though it is taught as a second language or used as a language of instruction of schools.
This means that it would be necessary to carefully organize and continuously revise teaching method and materials in our classrooms until we meet our goals, because as Fowler added, “It is obvious that no single pedagogical approach will suffice for all these situations. ” It looks as if the one that will break the barriers stopping a person from learning the English language is interest. By experience, we all know that when a person is interested in a certain thing, the person tend to set aside the factors that will stop him from getting that thing. Relatively, the Filipino students must have the interest while learning the language.
To give the Filipino students the interest to learn English language, it must be first expound to the students the significance of learning the international language. In this way the students will see the privileges in having the knowledge of it, and eventually learn it with enthusiasm. Fowler (1965) discussed the significance of learning the international language in her work: “As the arena of modern warfare shifts from the battlefield to the conference tables of the United Nations, the burden of the world safety rest on the verbal skills of statesmen, diplomats, national leaders, and delegates to international conferences.
Tomorrow’s diplomats and statesmen, the students who will use our miraculous new inventions, are in our English classes today. Will their study of language assist them in using language more accurately, wisely, or responsibly? ” It is clear how the society gives a favorable trust in the English language. As stated by Fries in 1949, good English had long been a concern of the educational system. We can see how students spend most of their school time studying English as a required subject of the school curriculum.
From the support given to this subject by the community and the school authority, it is worth noticing how important it is to be knowledgeable of the English language. One of the great contributions of language, specifically English language, was in the field of communication. English language, because of its popularity, had bridge different countries. English offered an aid to the language barriers that stops a country from communicating from another. In 1965, Fowler asserted the role of language in the world communication.
More than how it changed the world, language with the aid of modern technology, paved the way in revolutionizing our communications. As we can see, speaking and listening consumes the largest function of our verbal communication. From the moment we wake up and listen to radio or television news until the late night shows, we encounter a torrent of language which gives us an idea of how we are living in an increasingly oral world. For the teachers and students to have a good and open communication with each other, according to Pellegrini (1984), language serves as a powerful tool in teaching and learning in schools.
Furthermore, the school is also responsible for equipping the students with communicative competence through the use of language. This communicative competence means competence in oral and written modes of expression (DeStefano, 1987). In relevance, “competent membership in the classroom community obviously involves academic skills and abilities” (Mehan, et al. ,1976). Hence, the knowledge in international language brings a beneficial tool in the means of communicating with the world. It is not only in communication that knowledge of English language is significant.
For an instance, if a student encounters a book which is printed in English, without the knowledge of the language it will be impossible for that student to understand it. The student will lose the interest in it and the knowledge that the literature could have imparted him will be wasted. It would be of great advantage for us to have the knowledge of English in many aspects of our studies especially in literature. As to Charles Fries (1949), “All agree that the study of our literature- English and American- is a most valuable part of the school curriculum. Almost all of the subject books the students read in their entire school life are written in English. Thus, this gives us the knowledge to meet the world standards. Likewise, the contributions of the English language do not stop at communication and Literature. Applying all the knowledge of this language, a student could skillfully work in different field of study such as writing. There are, indeed, many negative sides to learning the English language in a country of patriot people; and there are walls that slow the student in the learning process such as emotional barriers and misconception of the English language.
In spite of this inconsistencies, if we are about to measure the weight of the good and bad effects, there are still greater reasons for the Filipino students to study English. We all know that the next generations are the one who holds the future of a nation. This generation, after a few years, will take the place of the present generation. In order to have a guaranteed future for our nation, the teachers must ensure that their students achieve a high scholastic competency.
For the Filipino students to achieve the world scholastic standard the students must be competitive in every field of study; the students must have the ability and skills in communicating with the world to represent his nation. This can only be done with the aid of the English language which is global language. The proficiency in the English language will give the Filipino students the skills that he needed to be competitive. Thus, the best tool of the Filipino students towards a high scholastic competency in literature, technical works, and global communication is his knowledge and proficiency in using the English language.