**This post was shared on my Facebook page on September 24.
I know of some parents who send their children to British Council for them master the English language. Their feedback after a few months is that they don’t feel their children were progressing the way they expected them to.
I know of some parents who send their children to an English medium preschool. They then notice that their children’s English deteriorate after entering primary school.
I’ll cut to the chase and share why this is so: No practice.
Our children learn the language and wait till the next class or lesson to put what they have learnt into practice. Cause when they speak in school, they get mocked. At home, they get stuck in their comfort zone of speaking in their first language, Malay.
Yes, I am putting an emphasis on us Malays. Most Chinese and Indians speak the English language if not at home, with their friends. And they do not mock each other for trying or when a mistake is made.
I finally got the chance to watch Ola Bola last week and I noticed something. Muthu spoke to Ali in Malay. But Muthu spoke to Chow Kok Keong in English. Chow Kok Keong would speak in Malay when speaking to the whole team. The coach, Harry Mountain, would speak in English to the whole team and everyone was forced to respond in English. Why couldn’t Muthu and Chow Kok Keong speak in English to Ali and Abu? How do we expect to improve if we only use the language when using it is the only option left?
Harsh? It is the honest truth.
We don’t practice the language. We learn it. But we don’t practice it. So how do we help our children? Start speaking with them. Start encouraging them to speak. Be the support system they won’t get out there. Create a new comfort zone for our children, an English speaking environment. It starts at home.