English Language Policy Changes in Malaysia: Challenges and Practices in Content-based Classrooms

By Juliana Othman.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Malaysia implemented its new education policy of teaching mathematics and science in English in 2003 in a move to keep abreast with global developments and have greater access to science, technology and business knowledge. In order to understand the impact that this new policy has on classroom practice, this study was conducted to find out how teachers of science met the challenges of teaching through the medium of the English language. Fifty three science teachers from various secondary schools located in a sub-urban area in the state of Selangor participated in this study. Questionnaires, written protocols and audio-taped interviews were used to obtain feedback from the teachers. The results indicated that the respondents faced pedagogical challenges such as lack of teaching skills in integrating content with language teaching and English language proficiency. In turn, they employed various strategies to cope with the challenges. Implications for teacher education and professional development are addressed.

Keywords: Malaysian Language Policy, English for the Teaching of Mathematics and Science (ETeMS)

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 7, pp.257-266. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 597.493KB).

Dr. Juliana Othman

Senior Lecturer, Department of Language and Literacy Education, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia

Dr. Juliana Othman has been involved in language education at various levels for the past 12 years. Currently a teacher educator at the Faculty of Education, University of Malaya. Her research interests include teacher development, bilingual education and second language acquisition.


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