14 Oct '11, 2am

Children whose parents speak mainly Mandarin at home will struggle with 3 subjects instead of just 1, says our reader.

I AGREE with former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew that we should speak Mandarin at home, but not as the main language ('English in school, Mandarin at home'; last Saturday). There is a strong emphasis on the command of English when a child enters Primary 1. Mathematics is now taught using heuristics and a pupil without a good foundation in English will have difficulty understanding the problem sums. The science curriculum is also more intensive now and requires the ability to express concepts clearly in English. Of the four subjects in the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), three are taught in English. Since English was made the medium of instruction in schools, parents naturally chose English as the main language at home. This is especially so for parents who have struggled with English because they spoke mainly Mandarin or dialect when they were growing up. Childre...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/STForum/Story/STIStory_723092...

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