lørdag, januar 20, 2007

Singapore's bilingual policy is a failure

[Addendum: To witness for yourself how atrocious Singaporean students also are in English, please read Chee's latest entry, which also further highlights the horrendous Chinese standard of Singaporean teenagers.]

Marking Chinese essays written by students almost made me want to burst into tears and tear my hair out. Or perhaps I should tear their hair out instead. I am telling you now that Singapore's bilingual policy is a complete and utter failure. My students' overall Chinese standard is so unbelievably shockingly abysmal that I almost suffered from aneurysm the first time I witnessed for myself the incredibly pathetic Chinese standard of Singaporean students. They wrote wrongly even the simplest of words, and it was so extremely horrifying that I was rendered totally speechless. They have such a weak grasp of the language that their sentences are all syntactically incorrect, their understanding of the most basic words is almost non-existent, their ability to absorb new content is astonishingly lacking. Yes, I understand that as a teacher I am supposed to guide them patiently, but they are not even meeting the lowest of expectations! Can you imagine a 9-year-old English student not knowing how to spell the word 'swimming'? I am sure you can't. And my students are already at least 13 years old, and some of them don't even know how to write 'swimming' in Chinese!

Oh poor Lee the Father of Singapore, you invested so much faith in the future of our country - your decision to implement the bilingual policy was made in ardent hope that Singaporeans would one day become truly linguistically eloquent and effectively bilingual - but your efforts have all come to naught! My heart cries for you, Lee the Father! I shall now daintily dab my tears dry with a pink handkerchief. Forgive me - I can't cry you a river as much as I want to, because Singapore is such a puny island that it will definitely drown in my tears if I do, and then all Singaporeans will die (I can hear a cello weeping in the background)! *gasp in horror*

Lee the Father stares at me in disbelief as his jaws hang slightly loose. He finds it difficult to bring himself to reconcile to the fact that his bilingual policy is a failure.

OK, anyway, just to prove how bad Singaporean students are in Chinese, I shall now show you snippets of their essays. When it comes to words that they do not know how to write, they would scribble down the hanyu pinyin of those words instead. And the worst thing is, they can even get the hanyu pinyin wrong. Their essays are so incoherent and they mutilate the language to such an enormous extent that when marking their essays I was repeatedly reminded of Miss M.. Tragic, isn't it?

I hope the following will make you laugh, though it really wasn't funny for me at all that I had to endure essay after essay of such unacceptable nonsense:

“他fa xian地上有la圾,于是把la圾丢进la圾tong里面。他心想如果新加坡是一个爱wei sheng的国家,地上就没有la圾,也可bao护hua jing的花草树木和家中就没有蚂蚁和zhang lang.”

“他打点话给他的朋友,可是他的朋友没有在家。他不可以明白那些说的话。他很hun luan,他不知道什么人说华文什么人说ying文。他打点话还打点话。”









Alright, right now I desperately need to take a rest and calm myself down before I explode. See you around.

10 kommentarer:

Hammer sagde ...

American students have abysmal language skills for the most part.

In my child's school they are trying to teach everyone Spanish. The students cannot even speak or write the language of their own country with any fluency.

Bilingual policies are usually a disaster when not applied aggressively and at an early age.

SirWhale sagde ...

Family background plays a role too. If a family doesnt encourage the use of any language other than their mother tongue or worse, condemn those other languages, the child would probably never develop affinities with the languages at any stage in their lives.

TrainRider sagde ...

There are many facades presented by this phenomenon.Trust me, I ought to know, being who I am :P

ZX =) sagde ...

o_O Oh my you must have suffered intensely marking those 'essays'! (Or should I call them 'la 圾'? ^^) Brighten up! =D Just think that all the jackasses in S'pore have unfortunately gathered in your class and you'll feel better! =)

grey灰 sagde ...

I think i can only understand the first one among the rest Muahaha Happy Markin! ^^

wei shi sagde ...

Haha... this is hilarious! Don't worry, your anguish will end very soon! Best of luck till then!=)

estelwen sagde ...

ok that was... interesting... i'm sure u wld come to love these bunch of "adorable" kids. o.o

Jingoistic sagde ...

worst language skills are in England. We are famous for it!

echizen sagde ...

... Those are simply amazing, in a bad way. You have my complete condolences. :x

the usual stuff sagde ...

As a form of symphaty towards your grief, I must say that the only thing worse than marking junior highs is marking COLLEGE students, who are suppossed to take writing classes. Imagine the professionals of my country not being able to write a simple memo in their mother language! Forget about trying to teach English to them. And don't believe I have not tried =(