Wednesday, July 4, 2007

"Speak English Only" policy in schools

It is a fact that students' opportunities to use the global language in school have become very limited or even non-existent. Even in the classroom where English is supposed to be actively used by both students and teachers, one overhears them discussing lessons or issues in the dialect or native language.

Why? What's wrong with that? What's wrong with using our own native language? Those who ask these questions are those who do not help improve one's command of the target language. So what? It is hard to deal with those who are skeptical about using English as medium of instruction, especially if these skeptics are teachers who argue that students must be given freedom to express their answers in any language they are more comfortable to use.

I beg to disagree because these students are paying to learn in school and if they do not get proper training in effective communication skills then the school has failed these students. Schools, and this includes mentors, should have policies that support the efforts of English teachers to improve students' facility of the language. One way of doing this, and which is being done by many schools today, is by assigning "English Only Zones" wherein students automatically are required to use the language the moment they transact business or do any activity in these places. For example, places which will be best for such purpose are: the library, classrooms, offices, clinic, canteen. What happens if students do not follow such policies? The schools should craft their own ways of penalizing or punishing these students who break the rules. After all, these policies are made for their own good.

No comments: