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Improving English of Filipino Students: Fact or Fiction?

The urge to improve English for Global competition has stepped up the production of computer-assisted lessons; intensified teacher training; fast-tracked printing as well as distribution of communicative texts and manuals for a good price; spawned seminar-workshops at national and regional levels; drew imports of human resource to tackle English improvement needs of Filipino students; and obliged the creation of committees in the improvement of teaching English (CITE).

Vital questions to ask

Vital questions to ask focus on: What is there to improve in the flurry of promoting English for global competition? Can we achieve an internationally acceptable Filipino English that operates as an Asian version of American English which remains our historical heritage? Where do we start and how? Who sets and assesses the quality of English language acquisition from primary, secondary, tertiary and graduate level? How often have we heard the much quoted deterioration of English among our students! Have English teachers and concerned educators taken a good grip of “deteriorating English” that cannot seem to get out of the rut?

Expectation on the improvement of English

After the stir on the improvement of English among our students, without implying the same need for many English and non-English teachers, expectations arise. One surmises a boom of instructional materials, noticeable increment of learning English beyond current status, determined leadership or collaboration to improve Filipino English, and teacher confidence in making the improvement of English really happen. Several academicians contest the label, Filipino English, as it probably connotes sub standards. Instead, this should become a challenge to establish a Filipino brand of English, acceptable in usage at the international scene.

What it takes to improve English

What does it mean to improve English of our students? True, we need to train English teachers and all other teachers for that matter to employ invigorating teaching-learning approaches that facilitate efficient operation of English. The purposeful search for teaching strategies which must proliferate in all other disciplines encourages teachers to excel in their trade and capture student desire to acquire and use targeted skills in English. A critical factor calls for the creation of pleasant, non-harping, and naturally communicative atmosphere for learning English. At the responding end of the teaching process, students themselves must aspire and work towards operating the English language machinery because they want to be proficient in it. Thus, the drive to improve English must spring from students themselves, to be facilitated by teachers who also strive to stream line their own English; to be pushed by developers of instructional materials who target the needed skills of students; and to be synergized by each school. The school administrator who takes a hand on the English language program helps pave the way for improvement of English.

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