I have bought several books on Maths and Science in English for primary schools to teach my children. You have to first become a student before you can become a teacher. Guide to Career Education can be your resource for teaching and learning. Some of them are excellent bilingual English/Chinese books. I have been teaching my kids Maths and Science in English from the time they were in Std 1. They are going to be Std 2 and Std 4 next year. I also help them with their Maths and Science in Chinese by using an electronic dictionary and bilingual Maths and Science books.
My preference would be for them to be taught Maths and Science in English in school but since it is not happening and I don’t forsee it changing anytime soon, I have no choice but to do teach them myself. As a parent, I feel that I need to be in the background always ready to provide them with the balance they need in life. I send them to a strict Chinese school, so I try to provide them with entertainment, play and relaxation at home. If I send them to a school which is more relaxed than, I will be there to guide and push them harder in their studies.
It is the same with Maths and Science in English. Since I think it is important for the kids to learn Maths and Science in English, I will teach them myself if it is not being taught in school. It is not difficult to teach. Maths and Science, unlike languages is all about concepts. The concept is the same. Once the children grasp the concept and understand the lesson, it is only a matter of teaching them the terms.
My girl just brought back her Std 4 books for next year. I am relieved to see that she still has the Maths and Science Books in English textbooks for the year 2012. Or should I feel sad that she will be burdened with yet another year of carrying extra books for subjects that teachers are teaching only half heartedly because they have no choice.
Unlike my Std 1 boy who is learning Maths and Science in Chinese, my girl had the chance to learn Maths and Science in Chinese as well as in English. However, the school takes a rather laid back or relaxed attitude in the teaching of Maths and Science in English. I can’t say that I blame them since it will be discontinued. Why should school time and resources be spent on something that will be phased out soon. There are only a few periods for Maths and Science in English. The test papers are very easy and given almost like an afterthought. There is hardly any homework for Maths and Science in English and most of the time, it is taught in a hurried manner to finish off the syllabus at the end of a term or school year as if to get it out of the way.
With such an attitude, it is better that the kids learn Maths and Science in Chinese alone. They won’t have to go through the burden of learning the same subjects in two languages in school and carrying extra loads of books to school, especially when the teaching of Maths and Science in English is half hearted. Even if given the choice, they will never choose to do any Maths and Science tests in English because they will be better at it in Chinese since the emphasis has always been on teaching Maths and Science in Chinese even though they were given a ‘choice’. I don’t see it as a choice really, it appears more like a burden, an extra thing that teachers are forced to get out of the way. It is not a bonus to be able to learn it in two languages under this sort of circumstances or learning/teaching environment.
So, that means it is up to me to teach my kids Maths and Science in English. I am not good in Chinese so I find it useful to teach them in English and then later go through the Maths and Science terms in Chinese with them. I am thankful for the bilingual books. It helps the kids improve both languages as they grasp the concept. My only wish is to see the Maths and Science books in English or the bilingual Maths and Science books being continued to be published by publishers and sold at bookshops. It will be a sad day, when even that stops soon after the Maths and Science in English is phased out.
I just found out from my girl that she had to return the Maths and Science Books in English for Std 4 next year. I guess she won’t be learning them in English anymore. She is in Std 4 next year. My son who is in Std 2 will not be learning them in English since he is the ‘pioneer’ year for the switch back to teaching Maths and Science in mother tongues. Looks like this mother will have to work harder.
There still appears to be some confusion as many are unsure on whether the subjects will still be taught in English and until which year. So here is the schedule for the phasing out of teaching Maths and Science in English.
Well, looks like that schedule for phasing out is outdated now…