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JohnSurrey

I've just enrolled our 3 year old in pre-school - Nursery 1.

 

We're in Leyte and it's the only school in this town where they "teach in English" and encourage the children to speak English.

 

The reality is they use visaya because the Filipino children don't understand English... but fortunately the class size is small so the teacher does talk to ours in English.

 

I want my children to speak English, I know they will both pick up visaya along the way but I am worried they're going to end up with crap English which will hold them back later in life - particularly if they want to study abroad.

 

What can I do to help them - aside from enrol them in an international school or take them back to the UK for regular breaks etc.?

 

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We used to live on the west side of the island and our daughter (5 at the time) was enrolled in USJ Balamban campus. At the time of enrollment, the principal assured us repeatedly that all courses are

This is actually an interesting and important topic even for all Filipino families. One of the facts are the quality of English language teaching and skills has been going down for many years as was r

When I lived in AC, I met a teacher who, I was told, taught English at the local school.   She told me that, "my English wasnt good enough and wasnt what she told the children"   Aww heck, I had o

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Salty Dog

What about adaptability and being able to communicate efficiently with the people they grow up with all around them?

Edited by Salty Dog
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I was born in Kenya, at the age of 9 I was sent to the UK for my education, I was heavily bullied because I spoke a mixture of English and Swahili, without understanding which was which language. So my suggestion is, only use English in the home, never visaya, so your child learns the difference between the two languages. Both my parents spoke Swahili and English around me as a young child, hence my confusion. My sentences were a mixture of both languages and my parents never thought to correct me.

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How about seeing if you can volunteer at the school

 

I'm sure they would embrace a native English speaker

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colemanlee

So far, we have five, none of them spoke english before I got on the scene with the exception of my wife...the schools here dont teach a lot of english, but at home we speak english most of the time...the kids, 2, 6,8, 12, 20 now speak pretty good english and are able to respond to me in english...the youngest (2) can actually translate between waray waray and english ( as much as a two year old can) I advise not to depend on the schools here, but teach it at home.  I met the english teacher at the school here and she could not carry on a conversation in english with me...

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Soarking

i have a similar problem with the english taught at my sons school. They claim they teach in english, yet his english skills are poor at best and when I talk with the teachers at his school I know why.

He is now 15 and in the 9th grade, in two years we intend to go to the U.S. I think it's going to be real hard for him to adjust there as a Junior or Senior in high school without a better understanding of the English language.

Thinking about hiring a tutor.

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Scotsbloke

What can I do to help them - aside from enrol them in an international school or take them back to the UK for regular breaks etc.?

John, aside from my rugby threads bilingualism is my strong suit.  I suspect other blokes have also strong views on this topic.

 

Kids have a brilliant facility for language acquisition and can easily be comfortable in 2,3 or more languages.

 

My three are aged 13, 14 and 16 and are fluent in both English and Swedish (having a Swedish mama) despite being raised in England and Scotland.

 

Were I in Pnas....I'd read to my weans every day in English and use said language when I spoke to them.  I'd also encourage your Mrs to speak to them in Visayan.

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I would try to teach them at home as much as possible.

 

My wife's 2 sons, 12 and 14 now, came to the US with her 2 years ago. I had only been involved with them briefly during my visits to them as I reside in the US, so unfortunately I had very little influence until they arrived here. They were attending a private school in Tacloban, but I was not very impressed with the level of instruction I saw. I had them attending Kumon for English for about a year before they arrived.

 

While their English could have been better, it was good enough to easily pass the ESL exam here, and they have just about caught up to their peers by now.

 

What I really wish they had during their growing years was logic and critical thinking training, as well as a firmer hand in manners and responsibility. Any difficulties they are encountering now are related to this more than language problems.

 

YMMV, of course.

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This is actually an interesting and important topic even for all Filipino families. One of the facts are the quality of English language teaching and skills has been going down for many years as was reported by one of the leading educators here a few years ago.

 

One of the biggest developments in that direction is the new textbooks across the Visayas region are now coming out in Visayan and not English.

 

The kids here have a challenge because while learning Visayan at home they are required to learn English and Tagalog at school.

 

In many ways this is great because they should graduate knowing 3 languages but in reality recent graduates can speak less English.

 

I also have a 3 year old and she is in Kinder 1. She only speaks English because that is all we speak at home. She has a tutor for Tagalog and will learn Visayan on her own from her peers.

 

The private school she attends has big signs that say "Speak English" and I have called them on this when they do not because the other kids need to learn it. While there is cultural value in knowing Bisayan, there is very little economic value in knowing it.

 

The key I think is to teach your child English at home and make this their first language. 

Edited by JohnD
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I've just enrolled our 3 year old in pre-school - Nursery 1.

 

We're in Leyte and it's the only school in this town where they "teach in English" and encourage the children to speak English.

 

The reality is they use visaya because the Filipino children don't understand English... but fortunately the class size is small so the teacher does talk to ours in English.

 

I want my children to speak English, I know they will both pick up visaya along the way but I am worried they're going to end up with crap English which will hold them back later in life - particularly if they want to study abroad.

 

What can I do to help them - aside from enrol them in an international school or take them back to the UK for regular breaks etc.?

My children all speak English and bisayan. They attended schools here and are able to communicate adequately. I am not concerned about their English language skills for purpose of study here. In fact, they are completely comfortable in both languages.

 

If they were to attend schools outside the Philippines, I would make the effort to find English language instruction to improve upon the skills they got here. For now, I see no value in seeking out so-called international schools. Not sure there are any in Leyte that would be convenient or suitable.

 

We speak mostly English at home and that has made a lot of difference. In school, my children are usually the ones selected to do the recitation during group activities using English.

 

If you can manage to obtain English language books, that would be a super help. Some of the bookstores in Cebu have a fair number of decent books, though the majority are the titles connected to some television or movie characters. At age three, there are many choices from publishers outside the Philippines. It is as they get older the choices become harder. Even so, reading English is not necessarily going to improve the skills in writing.

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Thinking about hiring a tutor.

 

That's the best solution. You won't find any high-school graduate who can't communicate in English, whether from learning in school or watching American movies.

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Even so, reading English is not necessarily going to improve the skills in writing.

 

Why? 

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Small children are very receptive to learning other languages. Best try and buy some flash cards and make it into a game at home too. Be very wary of Filipino produced English books. It's best to introduce them to set vocabulary and build from there. The books they have here mix high school level words to kinder and I would guess your kinder is probably using books by somebody like Mitzi Boromeo would doesn't have damn clue teaching babies words like parallelogram.

 

Use different books at home with the same words as they will learn by usage and repetition. They need to cross reference reading, writing, speaking, and hearing of the same words to get good results. Total immersion works but small kids don't have very long attention span. Don't be too upset if they don't figure it out. Language is a gift.

Edited by hyaku
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This is actually an interesting and important topic even for all Filipino families. One of the facts are is the quality of English language teaching and skills has been going down for many years as was reported by one of the leading educators here a few years ago.

 

One of the biggest developments in that direction is the new textbooks across the Visayas region are now coming out in Visayan and not English.

 

The kids here have a challenge because while learning Visayan at home they are required to learn English and Tagalog at school.

 

In many ways this is great because they should graduate knowing 3 languages but in reality recent graduates can speak less English.

 

I also have a 3 year old and she is in Kinder 1. She only speaks English because that is all we speak at home. She has a tutor for Tagalog and will learn Visayan on her own from her peers.

 

The private school she attends has big signs that say "Speak English" and I have called them on this when they do not because the other kids need to learn it. While there is cultural value in knowing Bisayan, there is very little economic value in knowing it.

 

The key I think is to teach your child English at home and make this their first language. 

Three years ago I managed to get an interview with the head of language studies at a large university in Cebu city, the Dean, however told me that they had no need for a professional native English teacher, as in her opinion, English was the first language of the Philippines and therefore could be easily taught by local Filipina teachers. When I pointed out that as a native English speaker I often had problems understanding locals working in shops, offices and even banks, she replied that was obviously due to my own listening skills. Even after pointing out that I had an excellent British education and have been successfully teaching English for over 12 years around the world, she refused to accept that there was any problems with the way English was taught in Phils.

I was deeply saddened that an educated person like her could have such a blinkered view of education. Especially something as important as communication skills.

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I was deeply saddened that an educated person like her could have such a blinkered view of education. Especially something as important as communication skills.

 

It is not just education. It is engineering, business and all the rest. The simple fact is that Filipinos do not want to be told something is being done wrong or can be done better. It is a "loss of face". 

 

That is a whole different discussion but when it comes to education there should be constant pressure to improve for our kids and theirs.

 

The other day at one of the school assemblies the principal got up and started speaking Bisayan. A few years ago she only spoke English at these events.

I yelled speak English and my wife looked at me like I was crazy (I know most of you get that) and I pointed out that was what the sign said on the wall.

 

One last point: I do believe there are those who see English not as the great enabler but as a reminder of a colonial past. They in a sort of new nationalism and to keep the masses behind are doing what they can to reduce it. One example is the new textbooks which are not in English.

 

I am not the only one and remember an article in Manila Times several years ago that wondered why the President spoke Tagalog at international events when he was fluent in English. 

Edited by JohnD
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