第二百二十六期:國際教育
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發刊日期 2017年8月11日226
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新加坡大學生來台 分享學英文經驗
資料來源:新北市新店國小 | 2017-08-11 | 作者:Theresa撰寫,郭儒斗主任翻譯 人氣 26

英語說故事活動入班教學入班教學  新店國小在上學期多一位新成員,她是來自新加坡的四年級大學生Theresa,除了加入學生的英文學習課程,Theresa每個星期也會有一次說英文故事的時間,由於Theresa說起繪本故事格外的生動有趣,因此深受全校小朋友喜愛,也提升了大家對學英文的興趣。

   Theresa回到新加坡後,應輔導室的邀請,又寄來一封信,分享她對於新加坡與台灣兩地學生,學習第二語言的差異,並提供給新店國小同學她個人學習語言的秘訣,原文及翻譯如下:

Learning a second language: Difference between the Singapore and Taiwan experience  

Singapore, with English as its official language, can be said to be quite effective in developing a society of bilingual citizens, where most are able to speak English and a second language, also known as their Mother Tongue language (母语). For Chinese, the Chinese language; for Malays, the Malay Language, and for the Indians, the Tamil language. The Mother Tongue Language Policy (母语政策) requires all students to study their respective official Mother Tongue Languages. These language classes are offered from primary school (小学), through secondary school (中学) and even up to high school (高中) for some students. These languages are also part of the subjects tested in national examinations such as the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) that the sixth graders take, as well as the ‘O’ level examinations taken by secondary school students, reflecting the importance placed on learning a second language by the Government.

 

Zooming into the Chinese language, apart from initiatives introduced in schools to get students to learn Mandarin, Nation-wide campaigns are also introduced to encourage citizens who are not in school. For instance, there was a 华语酷 campaign launched in 2004 with the tagline: 华语 cool, use it, don’t lose it. This campaign is targeted at the English educated Chinese Singaporeans (受英语教育的新加坡华人), who currently does not use or speak Mandarin.  Events lined up to engage the target audience included Movie Marathons (consisting of Mandarin movies), television programs as well as the involvement of traditional media such as newspapers.  I personally feel that this concerted effort to engage both the younger and older populations is a reason why we have successfully managed to acquire a second language.

 

In a country where majority of the population is Chinese, we have plenty of opportunities to use Mandarin in our day-to-day conversations with others, especially at the heartland/ neighborhood areas (邻里区). This helps to cement our learning because the environment provides a platform for students to use and practice their mandarin language. At home, it is also not uncommon to hear conversations with a mix of English and Mandarin.

 

I feel that the environment plays an important role in nurturing a generation of bilingual speakers, which may be why children in Taiwan are finding it a little more difficult to acquire English as a second language. Apart from the practice they get during English lessons, most students do not use English in their day-to-day life, especially in Taiwan where the official language is Mandarin. Exposure to English typically begins at elementary school age as well, which might compound the problem because research has found that the ability to learn a second language diminishes with age. The younger the learner, the better they are at mimicking new sounds and picking up pronunciations. Preschool years, especially the first three years of life, are believed to be a vital period in a child’s life. In contrast, children in Singapore are exposed to a second language from birth, which might explain why we are able to pick up Mandarin more “easily”, although it is never easy learning a second language.

 

With that being said, I am a believer of “practice makes perfect”, if one is determined enough to master a second language, he/she will make it. I personally witnessed this because I have seen how the Mandarin speaking ability of my peers deteriorate since we have graduated from secondary school and it is no longer compulsory for us to take Mandarin classes.

 

學習第二語言:比較新加坡與台灣的語言學習經驗

 

    新加坡雖以英語為其官方語言,但多數居民同時能說英語及第二語言,而第二語言就是新加坡公民自身的母語,如華人的母語是華語;馬來人的母語是馬來語;印度人的母語是泰米爾語。新加坡政府在促進其社會多元語言及其文化的融合發展方面是積極且頗具成效的。

    主要的母語政策中在教育這個面向,就規定學生們必須學習各自的母語,而且會在一些國家考試中設定母語這項考科,例如「小六會考」、「中學生普及學測」,顯示政府非常重視學生學習母語的規劃。

    單就華語而言,除了學生就學階段的母語相關學習規範之外,還有許多鼓勵非在學人士學習華語的全國性活動,新加坡政府在西元2004年發起的「華語酷」活動,用「華語酷、使用她、別丟棄她」文宣鼓勵原本僅受英語教育的華人學華語,活用各種型態的活動及媒介,包含華語電影、電視節目及華文報紙等。有了這些資源整合並投入青少年與老年族群的華語學習,我認為是新加坡華人學習華語能夠成功的原因。

    另外一個原因是華人在新加坡占了人口的多數比例,因此華人有需多使用華語的機會,從鄰里間到市集鬧區,不管是日常生活對話或工作所需,都會用到華語。所以,我們的環境本身已成為華語學習的平台,任何華語學習者就在「生活」之中運用及練習其華語能力,甚至回到家庭裡,會發現混和英語和華語的交談,是極其平常的現象,若要養成具備「雙語」能力的下一代,「語言情境」扮演了第二語言(華語)學習重要角色。

    反觀台灣的第二語言(英語)學習環境,就無法讓小孩在學習第二語言時那麼順利,因為學生大部分都只在英語課中學習英語,加上考試引導了學習的目標,生活中沒有充分的機會讓他們練習和運用英語,在台灣由於「語言情境」空乏,降低了學習英語的動機與成就感。雖然,一般小孩是在小學學習階段就開始接觸英語,符合研究推論,學習第二語言的能力,會隨著年齡增加而降低,年齡越小愈有利於第二語言的學習,他們對新的聲音感到好奇願意模仿,對發音的元素敏感,運用起來自然不彆扭,但新加坡的孩子從一出生就必須適應「雙語」情境,入學前在家裡及社區中便已開始浸潤在雙語的生活之中。學習第二語言,本非容易的事情,新加坡比台灣做得較為順利,主要就是新加坡的小孩從出生就開始接觸第二語言,並在家庭、社區及社會上,自然的使用第二語言。

    同時,我也相信「練習造就完美」,如果學習者有充分的決心,即使資源與環境不盡理想,只要個人想要學好第二語言,她/他就會辦到。新加坡的第二語言學習條件似乎是比台灣好些,然而,我也觀察到許多新加坡同儕在學校畢業後,因為沒有了華語課的要求,便疏於練習和運用,結果他們的華語能力便退化了。


 
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