Thursday, July 27, 2006

Better Teachers In English - Follow Singapore's Example.

As much as I view Singapore with suspicion on a number of issues, I still can't hide my admiration for the matter-of-fact way in which they deal with important things. The question of proficiency in English is something that equally affects both us and Singapore. The only difference is in the way that they handle the problem and the pathetic approaches we have attempted. Read on.....

Singapore is embarking on its annual Speak Good English Movement, and the Education Ministry has also announced new initiatives to raise English language proficiency among students and teachers. It is looking at reviewing the way English is taught in schools and will be putting more resources in teacher training and development. One pilot programme in primary schools aims to encourage children to enjoy reading, and as part of this initiative, the Ministry is bringing back retired English teachers to mentor their colleagues as a way to improve standards.

Currently there are only some 10 retired teachers mentoring around 30 teachers each, and the Ministry hopes to increase this number as more schools adopt SEED-EL or Strategies for Effective and Engaged Development in English.

They hope to increase this by about 30 schools every year, and eventually have the programme be nationwide. The retired teachers have to have taught in primary schools and they must go through a selection process and training to qualify as a mentor.

Now I know why Singapore runs rings around us in so many issues that matter.

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