Misconceptions of Learning English in the Philippines

    There have been numerous adages attributed to teaching; many of which have become cliched. However, it doesn't mean those brilliant ideas do not carry any amount of truth one way or another. One of the most  cliched among them is, "Teaching is a noble profession." Of course, and so are many other professions. I hate singling out teaching becasue I don't want to downgrade other professions in that aspect. I always believe that being noble comes from within; from our intentions and actions. Well, intentions are difficult to evaluate, hence the generalization.

    Being an English teacher here in the Philippines can be overwhelming. Maybe because we have become so Westernized that we sometimes prefer English over Filipino; as are the sentiments of teachers in Filipino subjects. Perhaps this is the effect of the charm of the bewitching Western world; that magnet left behind by the American colonizers drawing Filipinos to want that "American dream". (However, this is not true to everyone.) Believe it or not, parents even train their toddlers to speak English for numerous reasons, one of the most appealing are the following:

 
•TO SOUND INTELLIGENT

           This notion of intelligence is dated way back - that if you speak English, you are intelligent. On the verge of the Multiple Intelligences popularized by Howard Gardner, such is true. Particularly that falls on the Verbal-Linguistice Intelligence. Before Gardner, linguistic intelligence, together with Mathematical prowess, was hailed measure of intelligence and thus placed on a pedestal. But with Gardner's theory conquering the modern education, linguistic intelligence is but one of the many. Moreover, I do not condone with the idea of training toddlers to speak English for that facade. I still believe in learning the "mother tongue" first.

 
TO LOOK RICH

          Yes, of course that. Filipinos have this funny notion that if you speak English, they would assume you are rich. Maybe this is somehow connected to the first reason; Once you sound intelligent, you are rich. This is not entirely true but tracing back to our roots, this could still be associated with colonnial mentality. Back then, only the rich can afford school.

 
•TO PREPARE FOR SCHOOL

          English is already one of the medium of communication in most private schools in the Philippines. So if the little one's already know the language, they would excel in school. They would be ahead or maybe at par with everyone else depending on which school they have enrolled.

 

          This only proves to show how vital the English teacher's role is. Even when such maybe rooted from misconceptions. Anyhow, misconcpeions are not absolute; they can be fixed over time. Healing is manifested when the English teacher is to slowly unfasten the clutches of misconceptions and prune the twigs of prejudices with realizations that learning English is far beyond sounding intelligent; looking rich nor being ahead in school. It is learning how to communicate without intentions of being better than everyone - hence communication to unify diverse minds.

 

 

 

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About me

I am urged to write for my students. I may not be the greatest among writers but I want to show them the possibilities of the tasks I ask them to do. That I do not just simply demand; I ensure learning by example. Thus I lead by example.