Travel in the Philippines
"I got second in our contest, lolo." says a child to his grandfather.
"That is good. Who got first?"
The child mentions a girl classmate.
"Who got third, then?"
The child mentions another girl.
"You mean, girls are smarter than boys?"
"Nope, lolo. You are smarter than me."
I could not help myself but to ask the grandfather how old the little girl was, and he answered 8. I really could not help myself also but admiring the child for she was so fluent in speaking the language. The grandfather, too, was so good in using the language, a good language model for his grand daughter, that is why the child was so competent in communication.
You are right, the little girl was enrolled in a private school.
This communicative competence of a child must have been the product of being surrounded by people using the language say, at home, in school, on the playground, etc.
Immersing a child to the language early on is sure-fire thing to her learning. Language teachers and reading experts believe that influences by the environment are predictors of a child's competencies when she is already in a social setting where language is used for communicating.
The Filipinos have been good in English though there was a deterioration of competencies among learners due to some reasons.That's why, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered Department of Education under then DepEd Secretary Edilberto C. De Jesus in 2003 to improve the teachers' competence in using English as medium of instruction in core subject areas like Mathematics, Science and Language and Reading.
In fact, for five years now the National English Proficiency Program has been in effect and still in the thick of developing teacher's competence in English through mentoring. A mentor is expected to help a newbie teacher embrace the beauty of using the language as medium of instruction thus creating opportunities for learners developing their communicative competence.
Just recently, Deped Secretary Jesli Lapus was happy to inform the public that the efforts made by public school teachers in teaching core subjects in English is laudable.
But of course, it really takes time and great effort on the part of the teachers to help their pupils totally embrace the importance of English as medium of communication.
To ensure positive results of this endeavor mentors are trained regularly and teachers are given chances of honing their teaching craft through various skills trainings. Teachers only need an open mind to change and prove their worth as effective and efficient facilitators of learning.
The author is a mentor of teachers in elementary grades in the Philippines. Aside from being a grade school teacher, he is also contributing articles to magazines just to make good use of his spare time. He has joined writing contest in the past, but until now, he is dreaming of bagging an award! This is why, he is now trying his luck in this endeavor--blogging-- to find his niche and somewhere, somehow find a way of publishing a book.
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- English Proficiency Among the Pupils in Public Schools in the Philippines - A Dream? -- Larry Icabandi Nabiong