By: Cecille M. Condino, Teacher III
SDO Laguna, Liliw Sub Office
Liliw Central ES
English has always been one of the official languages of the Philippines. It was introduced into the Philippines during the US colonial occupation. With its cultural and societal implications, the ability to understand and use this language gives one a better chance of landing a better career; thus, English literacy must be instilled in our learners. It’s also one of the most important for you to learn for many reasons.
In a global context, English is the most understood language today, with 2 billion speakers across the world. It is an integral part of the transition and acculturation into other societies. To be able to learn and develop English literacy is fundamental as it equips our learners for future success in school, business, and our society at large.
There are several ways to develop English literacy in school aside from classroom discussions. One is our learners be given enough opportunities to expose themselves to the English language as much as possible — talk to themselves in the mirror, or just use casual English phrases in daily life. We know that this may sound obvious already to everyone trying to develop English literacy, but as it is not our native tongue, it is not always utilized. As much as possible, to develop this skill, we have to limit the use of the native language from time to time and focus on the target, which is to acquire English skills like speaking, reading, writing and listening.
To our students when inside the classroom, try to use common phrases in English to which our learners could respond. Even if they don’t know any of the target languages, they can still easily learn simple classroom commands. Phrases like “May I excuse myself?” and “Ma’am/sir, kindly repeat the question.” can be used to give our learners the real-life application of this in life activities. There would be times that the use of our mother tongue would be required, but still, it is the job of our teachers to expose them to the English language as much as possible. Through this, vocabulary enhancement and sentence structures will be learned easier.
Another would be encouraging our students to participate in activities outside of the classroom. An example would be writing their journal using the English language. Yes, this would be kind of tasking and boring to some learners, but still, this would give them a chance not only to improve their writing skills but as well as their way of narrating things in English. Another would be talking to a person whose native tongue is English – if given the chance. The idea is to expose them to situations and opportunities which require them to use the language.
Next would be one of our learners’ favorite things to do which is viewing movies, television shows, and series using the English language. One of the things we encounter in developing English literacy is how these students would apply them to a real-life scenario like placing a call, ordering a coffee, and giving speeches in front of large people. Through multimedia, they would be able to have a glimpse of how these people use the English language in specific situations and how the conversation flows. It may not look beneficial at first but try exposing yourselves to these things in a while, and for sure you will learn how to pick up words or phrases from it from time to time.
Lastly, we need to make our learners understand that English is important for everyone to learn. Learning English will be able to increase your chances of becoming well adept in other fields of life. In the classroom setting, it will give you an advantage in understanding critical concepts discussed like in Mathematics or Science. There are many reasons why English is important.
Developing English literacy in our learners is a must as this skill caters to almost all aspects of life. It is part of everyday life – from filling out forms to reading road signs. For our learners, may it be that the knowledge of English makes them more confident to build lasting relationships and understanding of all concepts to make them capable and competitive citizens not only of our country but of the world.