Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Language Barriers

Language had been one of a major problem in teaching and learning session to these Temiar pupils. Their mother tongue is not Malay language but Temiar language. So, malay language is a second language and English is the third language.

For some of the level 1 pupil, Malay language is so new to them. They never really hear or use Malay language at home especially to those who live far in the village. So, Malay language is new to them. In the early teaching, I have to repeat several times the instructions or explanations given to them. Then, I need to add with body language and facial expressions so that they can get what I want to tell them.

Right now, I can see some differences about their ability to understand the instructions and explanations. Yeah, I still need to remember to use simple language and I also learn some simple Temiar words to make the pupils feel comfortable with me. They love to hear I said their language. I can see that they smile and giggle when they hear I say the simple words in Temiar language. Some words that I remember and always say out in the class are like "uduh" = this (ini), "utoi"= that (itu), "ileq"= Understand (faham) and a few more words. I believed that the other teachers also know some of Temiar words and they also use it in their class.

In the level 2 pupils, they were more confident to use Malay language to interact with me. However, most of the time, they will still speak Temiar among them which sometimes makes me a little bit uncomfortable because I cannot understand what they saying. But as long as i can deliver the knowledge to them, that is enough to me and as long as we can develop a good relationship between teacher and pupils that is more than enough. In teaching level 2, we still need to consider using short instructions and straight forward so that they were not struggle to understand what we want to tell. In teaching year 5 pupils, I do keep speaking in english too and also introduce them with the English term for mathematics although it is not the priority. I believed that it will help them in learning
In my opinion, problems always come where ever, when ever or what ever condition we are. The important thing that we need to know is how to handle the problem. Weather we want to celebrate the problems as a new interesting opportunity or see it as a disaster of our life. If we look it as a positive opportunity, I believed that it will move forward to positive results but when we see it as a negative disaster then it will lead to a negative result. Let us choose to smile first when any problem arises and then start to figure out how to handle it. It works most of the time to me but as normal human beings we still need to remember that we are not perfect. Yeah, that makes me realized that although i am teaching in the school that have language barrier, it is not an excuse for me to stop from trying new thing when teaching the pupils ;)

p/s: Happy holidays to all the teachers and pupils.... Wish that they will not only play during the 2 weeks and just forget everything that they learn in school before... ;) I know you guys will not do that (positive thinking :P haha)