Friday, July 24

Extra Reason To ROFL

Guessing from my other ROFL posts here & here,
I'm sure you know what I'm going to talk about!

There's extra reason for me to ROFL because:
English teachers in rural areas will get extra incentives!
What extra incentives?
Here's a clue...
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

These incentives would be over and above those already accorded to English language teachers currently serving in rural areas!
There is no indication as to how much this incentive will be but I'm guessing it's probably going to be at least as much as what ETeMS teachers are currently getting & will probably stop getting after 2012.

~~~~~
The first question is what makes rural English teachers so great that they should be given an extra allowance? Aren't teachers in the urban schools working just as hard?

In the opinion of this rural school English language teacher...
Two things: exposure & relevance.
These are what urban students have plenty of & what rural students have close to none.

Why is exposure important?
Because exposure gives a student more language options to use for different situations & functions.
It diversifies their knowledge & facilitates indirect/self learning.

Exposure can come from TV shows, movies, the Internet, newspapers, books & etc.
Rural teachers are at a great disadvantage because the availability of English language media is questionable especially when you have to travel a long distance via boat or 4WD to your school.
This means that they will have to go out of their way to find necessary materials & media to give their students enough exposure.

I myself delve through the Internet (with an unreliable & unstable schoolnet connection), textbooks, reference books, magazines & newspapers (all of which I have to carry on my back from the city onto 2 different boat rides to get to school) for resources.

Why is relevance important?
Because relevance gives the students a purpose or function for what they are learning.
It is directly linked to their motivation to learn the language.

Relevance comes from personal ambition, parental pressure, prospective career requirements, societal norms, usefulness of the language in society & etc.
Rural teachers are at a great disadvantage because the English language will not find much use outside of the classroom in the immediate society.
Furthermore, the career ambitions of the students (exp: fishermen, farmers, labourers, bumming & etc) & the limited interest that many parents show in their children's education further reduces the relevance of English.
This means that teachers will have to MAKE learning English relevant.

Personally, I am an iron fist ruler of the classroom.
Do the work or you will be punished.
Do it well & you may (or not) be rewarded.
I MAKE students use & learn the language in the classroom.
I do encourage them to use it outside of the classroom & I have developed several meaningful classroom activities for it but I still don't see any changes.
The English language continues to be of limited use.

In conclusion, English teachers in rural areas face greater obstacles & have more on their plate compared to English teachers in urban areas.
Their methods have to be different.
It will be found that the preparation & implementation of these methods are often very taxing on the individual teacher.

~~~~~
The second question is why should English language teachers be singled out for an extra allowance? Aren't other subjects being taught in rural schools too?

Our education ministry emphasises on the Malay language (BM), the English language (BI) & the sciences (Math, Science, Physics & etc).
Among all these subjects, I believe that English is the hardest to teach.

The Malay language is similar to many vernacular languages spoken in rural areas.
It is also the national language, the language of government administration &, not to mention, a subject that students are required to pass in SPM.
It is very relevant and exposure to it is easily obtained.
Therefore, there should not be as many problems teaching Malay as there would be teaching English.

Science subjects were fondly referred to as a 'dead' subject by my teachers.
It is black or white. There is no way to dispute it.
1+1=2. There is no question about that.
Acid+Alkaline=Salt+Water. No question there neither.
Therefore, science subjects can be observed, practised and mastered.

The challenge that exists for science subjects is the medium of deliverance.
If science subjects were to be taught in English, then all science subject teachers should be given the extra incentive too.
They might even deserve a higher allowance because they are exposing the students to both content knowledge & scientific vocabulary in an unfamiliar language.
A double learning burden. Science + English at the same time.
However, this will not be a problem anymore because science subjects will be taught in the Malay language soon.

Now, why is English the hardest to teach?
English is like a foreign language in the rural areas.
It is even scoffed at as a 'Bahasa Orang Putih' (white man language).
It has little use. Nobody speaks it but the teachers. You don't need it at the market. You don't need it at the clinic. You don't need it at the government office. You don't even need it for work.
This language is not required for anything in their lives except the early grueling 11-13 years in school.
This leads to little motivation to learn & perhaps even some resistance to learning.
Even then, we rural teachers still have to teach & get students to learn it.

In my opinion, English teachers in rural areas experience more difficulties than the teachers of other subjects.
The extra incentives are more than deserved.

~~~~~
Just to make those of you who are reading this with great bitterness feel better...
I know our government very well.
I know them so well that I know that if they were to give someone extra money, I know for sure that they will also give that someone extra 'meaningful' work to do.

I can guarantee you one!
Sure got some farnie thing we have to do one!
So don't be so jealous la...
Got come, got go ma!

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