Should Science and Mathematics Be Taught in English

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Should Mathematics and Science be taught in English
English, by any standard, is a dominant language of the developed world. It is now a medium of instruction in the world and should be taught in Mathematics and Science subject. The implementation of English in science and mathematics in school is essential due to the use of the English language globally. However, teachers who are incompetent in English will have difficulties with the change of language used in the subject and teaching school subjects in the local language enhances understanding for learners as well as paves the way for more potential natural development. Contributing to English’s status as the world’s most common second language is that it allows students to play on global platform, have career advantages and easier information access.

Teachers will face difficulties in the change of language in school subjects especially for those who are incompetent in English. The Malaysian government declared to execute a new policy in the national education system in 2002 which is to implement the English language in schools for teaching of Mathematics, Science and technology subjects. The Malay language was formerly used as a language of instruction in these subjects (Ong and May 2008, 142). This act has affected many teachers and students around Malaysia, mainly those who have poor English background. The change of implementation of language used will lead to change in teaching practice as well (Ong and May 2008, 149). They will have to look for efficient teaching methods to make sure students understand the terms and definition of the subjects in English and their local languages and it will not be an easy task. Language use to teach Mathematics and Science will be reverted to Bahasa Melayu in national schools or in vernacular school on 2012 onwards which was decided by the Malaysian cabinet. “ Teachers who are competent in English in secondary school is only 19.2% and 9.96% of primary school”, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin said, explaining to the Government’s decision to change to education system back to Malay ( The Stars 2009). Research on students in urban and rural area was made and graphs on Achievement trends Grade in UPSR for Mathematics and Science subject was made (Refer to Appendix 1 ).

In addition, learning school subjects in local language enhances the understanding for learners especially for those non-English speaking countries (Refer to Appendix 2).Teaching school subjects in their local language paves the way for more potential natural development as well as making their countries proud. Many great mathematicians who has shown great performance abroad comes from China (Xinhua News Agency 2004). There are students who are intelligent but the language used to teach in schools are one of the factors that affects the students performance. There are many non-English speaking countries in the world which has modern technologies and are developed which are on par with some of the most advance countries. Countries such as Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan has students, mainly in the eighth grade that continuously achieve Mathematics and Science with excellence and these countries uses their local language to teach their basic education and only uses English as a part of a compulsory curriculum. It is ironic that English-speaking countries such as United States and Philippines are among the rare end in Mathematics ( Tapang 2012). It shows that teaching school subjects in local language can also bring up the standards of the country to world class level. Teaching Mathematics and Science in the vernacular is not an obstacle to achieving excellent grades in those subjects and it could also hold firm a country’s language status and bring it up to a world class level. Nevertheless, the use of English language is expanding throughout the world and people can interact internationally and are able to share their opinions and...
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