Saturday, 29 January 2011

Teacher Talk 15:Year One Textbooks Errors

What are your views? Comments welcome.

(credit: NST Online)


I LOOKED at the 2011 Year 1 English textbook and to say I am shocked by the contents is an understatement.
The book is riddled with errors in grammar, vocabulary and sentence structure, more than what I have seen in previous textbooks.

Obviously, it is a poor, half-hearted attempt at writing a textbook by people who do not know the language well.

These are some of the errors (in italics) I noticed:
- He closed his eyes and fell aslept. (p28)

- Is it a pin in the tin? (p29)

- Vary the song with other actions. (p 33)

- Pat saw the map. (p41) (The correct expression should be "looked at")

- Pupils take turn... (p45)

- What do you like to have as a birthday gift? (p54)

- Pupils name the picture and segment it. (p55) (How do you segment a picture? It should be "segment the word")

- Our flag has four colours. There are blue, red, yellow and white. (p 59)

- Tom picks the mug. (p61) (It should be "picks up")

- Paste in it the book. (p62)

- After the word is formed, pupils blend to read the words. (p65) (What are the pupils blending here?)

- Pull out the two triangles apart. (p70)

- Fold both bottoms up on each side. (p70)

- Eat less sweet. (p82)

- Stress on the phonemes... (p91) ("on" should be omitted)

- Repeat the process alternately. (p95)

There are also errors in structure and logic. On page 52, in the rhyme on days of the week, Monday and Saturday have been inadvertently left out.

Expressions like "chalks, coloured pencils" (p73) should be written as "pieces of chalk" and "colour pencils". On page 112, "horse saddle" is stated as a form of transportation. Why is "saddle" used in this phrase?

The title "So Hairy and Scary" (p121) for a topic on animals that include giraffes and crocodiles is inappropriate. Another title, awkwardly written as "One word to many" (p132), could have been better worded. And throughout the book, pupils are asked to "chant" a poem or rhyme. In this context, the word "chant" is incorrect.

I lost count of the number of errors; there are just too many. Ideas and sentences are poorly linked and many of the rhymes and poems border on the ridiculous.

Writers should be cautious when writing poems. Just because we have "poetic licence does not mean we do away with sense and logic.

I noticed that there were three writers and four editors for the book. I cannot understand how not even one of them noticed the errors.

The book is published by Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka, but I am wondering whether the Curriculum Development Centre (Pusat Perkembangan Kurikulum) and Textbook Division (Bahagian Buku Teks) vetted the book before publication.

Don't all divisions in the Education Ministry work together on such matters? Why have the concerns raised by the public about the English language fallen on deaf ears?

With so many blunders, I foresee a bleak future for our education system. This is certainly not the way forward.

Teachers who are proficient would have a good laugh over the textbook content and resort to other resources when teaching English. Those who are oblivious to the mistakes will be teaching inaccurate language.

Sadly, young learners are the victims and will start off the new year learning broken English.

As far as English is concerned, we're off to bad start.


1 comment:

  1. This is especially sad as the ones who came up with the textbook is supposed to proficient in English. How can they allow such a book to be published without being proofread by others? Isn't it the normal practice of any self-respecting publishing house to check on the quality of the books they published? This just shows how much the standard of English has deteriorated in the years.


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