There has been so much discussion on the recent education debate on the weightage of the mother tongue examination in primary school level. Indeed, mother tongue may have been hard for us to learn, and not everyone is able to cope with two languages. But sometimes I feel that the arguments used against mother tongue is really weird.
I remember someone once wrote to the forum and argued that there are people who are good in all subjects other than the mother tongue, and so mother tongue should be reduced to have lesser impact on scores. That’s retarded. There are people who are good in all subjects other than english too! So that’s not a logical argument!
But what I think is that there is some truth with respect to mother tongue being too difficult. But I also agree that reducing the weightage would result in people allocating less importance and time to the language. So perhaps what we should all look into is to change the way we conduct the lesson? Make mother tongue fun so that it would be interesting. Language doesn’t have to be boring.
But I guess we’re in a national crisis now. You need good teachers to bring out the fun in any subject and adopt innovative ways that make it easier to learn. But yet, after having decades of using the wrong method to teach (hey this is what our MM said ok), we have perhaps produced very few people genuinely interested in the language. And from the small pool of people who end up pursuing mother tongue as a major, we would not have much choice of selection. And from that, it would mean we won’t have the best talents teaching the language.
And this is a vicious cycle. The teacher isn’t good, and hence the student won’t be great either. Mother tongue continues to be boring and difficult. Students continue to shun it, and they become the teachers and the cycle continues. It doesn’t help when people see teaching as a tough job. Plenty of people do not want to become a teacher. Tough time, long working hours, CCAs on top of making homework. Having to organize school activities on top of the already heavy workload. And not so high pay. We can’t attract true talents to pursue a career in teaching. And this contributes to the problem.
So maybe we should tackle all these issues first. Having advertisements on “If you said both, you should be a teacher” or “Leave no child behind” simply does not make me feel like being a teacher. After tackling the issues and making mother tongue fun, then can we consider the rest. We should exhaust all means before reducing the importance of mother tongue. Other people are learning Mandarin already. Why should we forsake the things we have built? My generation has gone through it and survived, so we should all try to continue trying to be bilingual. And bilingual might not mean being good at both language. I just feel that knowing the language and being able to use it in normal everyday conversation is also good enough. It would be sad to have our future generation only care about english and what is practical. The beauty of other languages must not be eroded. We must protect the culture behind the languages.