I am a Malay born in the East Coast of Malaysia. For people who share my background, usually their English are below average. My English is not that excellent, but its okay. Its comprehensible. And I do quite well for English during high school, performing even better than some KL students.
And when I compare myself with my youngest sister (std 6) when I am at her level, I feel very grateful.
A lot of my classmates in school and uni don’t believe this, but I am actually performed very badly in English when I am in std 4. My vocabulary was very limited, I can only read English books that have a lot of pictures and during exam, I will just answer according to my intuition. Ikut sedap mulut as they say it in Malay.
But starting std 5, my English improved tremendously.
From a D student to an A student in a matter of months.
I would like to tribute these 3 most important people:
Ms Yong– my std 5 English teacher. She is very patient and firm. She used to be a class teacher for students in “Kelas Pemulihan”, so she definitely has experience teaching “slow” students. I learned to put up a proper sentence in English during this time. If I am not mistaken, she teach us to create a simple sentence with four words first. And then when I am able to do that she will guide me to construct a sentence with 5 words, and then 6 and so on. I remember her husband was an avid photographer. I bought a picture of Hale-Bopp comet from him. I misplace the picture soon after that. 🙂
Ms Shamala-my std 6 teacher, she is witty and make English very enjoyable. My grammar improve here and during this time only I truly understand tenses in English and be able to use it correctly.
Last but not least is my dad. Since I am in std 4, he will buy me Star or NST during weekend. Now for some of you this is normal. But hear this. My dad cannot read English. Thus, he bought the paper ONLY so that I could read them. And, I think he knew at that time that I don’t read the papers. Saya hanya tengok gambar.
I am a kampung boy. Even the newspaper was too complicated for me. (remember, when I am in std 4, my English was very bad). But he bought it anyway. Every weeks without fail. And sometimes he did not buy his newspaper so that I can have mine.
Walaupun permulaanya saya cuma tengok gambar (sports), tapi bila dah masuk darjah 5, saya mula baca sikit-sikit.
Mula-mula baca sukan, lepas tu artikel-artikel menarik di bahagian tengah.
Saya rasa saya mula baca penuh bila masuk sekolah menengah. Itu pun saya skip business section (masuk Uni baru start baca).
When I reflect back, it touched my heart. Well, my dad is certainly not the best dad in the world. Not even for me (a lot of people claim theirs are the best). Not me. I think there are better dad out there.
But he certainly has tried his best. I admire him for that. This is one trait that I hope runs in my blood too.
I am eternally grateful for these people as they had opened a whole new world for me.
What I think of PPSMI?
Ummairah is the product of it. And I can say that I am not that satisfied with the result. I am all for improving students’ English, but I think there are better ways to do it.