Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fluency VS Accuracy

So, as all of you know, I'm currently studying for my second degree. Although the scope of study is boring to many, but I had the choice between this course and Counseling, offered by UUM, off-campus programme, held every weekend at UMK. So since before this, I've said once that if the uni is behind my house, there's no excuse for me not to study. Now, I've no reason not to enroll in the programme.

Before this, I've blogged about the dilapidated condition of the classroom given to us although we've paid double the amount than on-campus students. And also, we didn't get the Kad Diskaun Siswa 1Malaysia just because we're part time students. What kind of justification is that when we paid our fees like other students? Or maybe it's just UUM? And don't get me started with the problem of registering for subjects for every goddamn semester. And the lackluster attitude of the help desk; as if we're somehow responsible for their system's unreliability.

Nonetheless, that's not what I want to blog about today. What I really want to talk about is as what the tittle above stated. When you're taking your second degree or when you call yourself a TESLian, then make sure you possess both fluency and accuracy. If you're taking a masters degree but still pronounce simple words wrong or make simple grammatical mistakes, then people's perception of TESLians would definitely be tarnished. You've a degree in the language and now taking a second degree in it but a secondary student can speak better than you? Weird, isn't it? Humiliating even. Blame it on the autocorrect then somehow when it comes to spelling of even the simplest of word, you've to stop and think whether what you're writing or typing is correct. Or blame it on American tv shows that somehow invaded our tongue like a ninja and make us Americanized. But at the end of the day, you have no-one and nothing to blame for your lack of proficiency but yourself.

I'm not saying I speak RP. Nor do I have perfect English knowledge. But I tried. Ever since I was a kid, I'm a book addict. A habit that no rehab can cure. A habit that cost me book shelves purchase higher than other average person would buy. A habit that would definitely prove to be handy when paying for tax. A habit that landed me the role of Guru NILAM (Nadi Ilmu Amalan Membaca), a reading programme initiated by the gov to make reading a lifelong habit for school students. I guess it worked on me since I've been a lifelong reader. That, together with my parents who are both avid readers, guarantee my love and devotion for books, traditional and ebooks.

Also, I listen to English songs. A habit cultivated also by my parents who love oldies. Although I listened to a genre that most of us considered noise but it's not the 'noise' I paid attention to. It's the lyrics. I can vouch my English 111/9 SPM paper grade that the A1 that I got was the result of these songs. Unlike other songs, metal songs have elaborated lyrics. Sometimes, you've to refer to the dictionary to understand the meaning of these words. So, if you want to be good in English, listen to English songs.

When I was accepted into Teachers' Training College, I had abundance of time when I mopped around, feeling homesick all the freaking time. So, since JB was the capital of pirated DVDs (I was only a student at that time, a gov scholar with only RM399 to live off monthly in a big city), I bought a lot of DVDs of English movies to watch during my free time. I have to say, I learned a lot from many subjects by watching these DVDs alone. May it be animation, horror, rom-com or even God awful boring movies will give us something new, not just entertainment but more than that. You'll learn so much more from movies than sitting in a classroom. Your tv screen or laptop screen speaks more than your teacher can in an hour and a half of those movies. And watching movies with happy ending can make you feel happy for the character you're rooting for. Whereas for movies with bad ending or no ending makes you realize life is fragile and the characters as well as people in real life are vulnerable to life's little mysteries that nobody can predict.

Hence, the notion of English as a high status language is obsolete in this age when exposure of English is everywhere and any Tom, Dick and Harry (I use these guys a lot in my post) can be proficient in English of only they've the right attitude and interest to do so. My principal keeps saying that as English teachers, we've to be fun so that students will learn English. On contrast, my lecturer summed it up nicely by saying, "nak fun sangat (learning English), pi fun fair la!"

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