Here are some recent TEFL headlines from around the region.
South Korea: Language education ‘starts in the womb’
Bilingual education starts from womb, a research team led by Krista Byers-Heinlein and Janet Werker from the University of British Columbia claims to have found. The researchers compared the reactions of newborn babies whose mothers are monolingual in English with those of mothers who are bilingual in English and Tagalog.
India: English radio lessons… Exit UNICEF, enter government
After the UNICEF decided to discontinue the implementation of “Interactive Learning Through Radio” programme in Uttar Pradesh from next academic year, the state government has decided to implement the unique scheme on its own.
Nepal: Unique school aims to be the ticket to equality
Beginning with 850 students in the 2001 and teaching up to Grade 3, the first Satama (“equality”) school now has over 3,500 students. The founder, Uttam Sanjel, said “I had no idea that it would be so popular.” The medium of instruction is English – considered a passport to success – because parents and guardians in Nepal prefer private English- medium schools over Nepali or other vernacular language schools. Satama schools have entrance fees that are much less than other private schools, allowing Nepalis–however poor they are–to send their children to private school.
India: The road to English to begin with mother tongue
What is common between ‘pencil’, ‘railway station’, ‘programme’ and ‘machine’? These are English words used in Hindi, Punjabi and other languages. And a professor has found a novel way to use these words in teaching of the English language. Professor Anil Sarwal, linguistics expert and faculty member at DAV College, Sector 10, has identified 12,000 such words. The aim behind compiling these words, according to Professor Sarwal, was to use one’s mother tongue to teach the English language. “If encouraged to learn English by beginning with words that are known to them, the ice between learners and the English language will start thawing,” Professor Sarwal says.
India: Lend an ear, mind your languages
A recent report by the NGO Pratham shows that less that 50 per cent of children in Class I could even identify capital letters in English. Parents, especially from rural and semi-urban families, see English as a gateway to better opportunities for their children. They send their children to English-medium schools. In most of these schools, children learn Maths, Sciences and other subjects in English, without knowing English. This situation has led to an increasing number of educators advocating that schooling should be in the mother tongue only.
Vietnam and United Kingdom: British Council helps improve English teaching in Vietnam
The British Council and the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam (MoET) will inaugurate a bilingual website (www.teachingenglish.edu.vn) in early February. The website is part of the Access English project, which has been launched by the British Council in across South East Asia to support changes in English language teaching.
Australia: 8 English schools won’t reopen
Voluntary administrators in eight English language schools say that the schools will not reopen because of the financial situation. They say they are working with the federal department of education and state government departments to find arrangements for the 2300 international students.
Cambodia: Cambodia’s minority languages facing a bleak future
More than 20 languages are spoken in Cambodia, lathough most are minority languages and face extinction in the coming decades. For Jean-Michel Filippi, recording the language is one way to preserve a cultural view of the world.
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