PHONICS

The efficacy of phonics study among the young learners in Malaysia has been proven to be a failure.  A theory is only acceptable as a law if it yields the same results with learners from other parts of the world. If it doesn’t, then it is just a theory. Numerous examples with the same rate of success among various groups of learners spread over different regions will prove the soundness of the theory of phonics learning leading it to become a law. Unfortunately, it doesn’t when it comes to phonics learning.

In Malaysia, young learners could hardly remember the sounds of the words after attending phonics classes. The evidence of failure using the phonics method is wide and sufficient enough over the whole country. Teachers who stick to the ‘alphabetical method’ to teach reading yield better results. There are three different races in Malaysia with their respective idiosyncrasies. They pronounce English words differently leading to numerous headaches among teachers. The so-called English learning specialists in Malaysia know the problem of teaching phonics very well but they dare not admit its failure.

The ‘alphabetical method’ of teaching reading has been used for centuries in English speaking nations with success. Most of the teachers who teach English around the world today are products of the ‘alphabetical method’ of reading. The soundness of this ‘alphabetical method’ of reading (over a period of centuries) is a testament to its success. Phonetics or phonics study should come at a later stage when the students have had a good grasp of the sounds of the words.

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