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MORE countries now want their citizens to learn English.

Associate professor Phyllis Chew of Nanyang University in Singapore made the observation during the Cebu International ESL (English as a Second Language) Conference at Diplomat Hotel, Cebu City last Saturday.

She said that the trend is the result of the change in the status of women in society, increase in migration and transmigration, knowledge explosion and information technology, the writing revolution, and the rise of a global language.

“Teachers need to know these changes. English, it seems, has raced ahead of its competitors. For the last 20 years, so many want to learn it,” she said.

Chew said Singapore, for one, is attracting many Koreans who want to learn to speak English.
The Philippines, India and Malaysia are among the Asian nations that are known as good English teachers because they have been using the language as their medium of instruction, she noted.
“The fast way of mastering English now is through content. And speed is crucial in the process. Many learn English quickly because this has been used as a medium of instruction when they started school. They have been immersed in an English acquisition-rich environment since they were young,” Chew said.

Being known as a nation with a pool of good English speakers, she added, will boost the influx of international students who want to learn English.

The Koreans made up 27.83 percent of Cebu’s tourist market from January to June 2009. According to the Department of Tourism, most of them come to Cebu to study English.
Meanwhile, the knowledge explosion and information technology (IT) across the globe also signaled the need for teachers to incorporate IT in their methodology for learners, especially the young, to easily cope and “survive” in their studies, Chew said.

The IT aspect of learning is characterized by digitization of learning materials, production of e-books (electronic books) and creation of Ebraries (electronic libraries), she said.
“Integration of IT also makes online education possible and enables learners to do many things (while on the Internet),” said Chew.

She pointed out that a good method of teaching English will depend on existing variables—such as time, type of students, place and culture—that teachers have to assess before conducting their lessons. Tuesday, August 11, 2009


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