Woes in English Communication.

Image from Google search.

English is called the universal language. The Filipinos' exposure to English was pronounced in the course of the American's residence in the Philippines and was not limited in schools alone, the language is widely used everywhere; at the government, businesses and industries, mass media and social institutions. It is considered a sign of sophistication and education if one can converse fluently in the English language. Throughout the colonization of the Americans, the cultural influence was so extensive that the Filipinos spoke the English language with a relatively same manner as these native speakers. Sometimes, we go as far as to sensor and look down on each other for not being able to have an impeccable grammar. Where native English speakers do not really mind if a non-native attempt to converse in broken English, majority of "schooled" Filipinos shame their own countrymen instead of educating them.

As time went on, the people who run the Philippine educational system realized that in the aspect of preserving the Filipino's cultural identity, a shift was necessitated. The educational system has given emphasis to the shift from English to Filipino language. Subjects which were discussed in English has now been taught in Filipino and extended outside of the classroom. And where government publications, businesses and other transactions still use the English language  for some technical terms that the Filipino language do not have, English and Filipino has relatively become the two official language in the Philippines and you will find two versions and translations within a document.

Because of this shift, the current generation of Filipino students have not had much opportunity to practice the English language, and because we do not speak English to each other at home, the student develops a dilemma with their communication skill in the English language. They find it difficult to convey their thoughts and emotions because they scramble to structure their Filipino language into English and the result could be problematic. The lack or absence of coherence and cohesion of the acknowledgment can be misunderstood and there is risk of miscommunication.

As a non-native speaker and English as a Second language teacher, I am sympathetic of my students who struggle to express their thoughts in English. Despite my fluency, I still struggle in many chunks of the English language, obviously, I'm sure anyone who reads this may find errors in my syntax still. Which is why it is very important for teachers to learn and gain patience and to continuously find improved techniques for a simpler and clear instructions especially for beginner students. As basic communication involves reading, listening & writing, by experience, it is also best to give emphasis on these other skills as they all go hand-in-hand together. It is impossible not to learn how to write the words if you only know how to read. How can your student identify what he's reading if he do not know how to write it, in the same way, you cannot miss a word when you hear it because you also know how to write and read it.

On my next post, I will try to illustrate how I initiate my students to the English language and what strategy I find effective in teaching the language.