Implementing the Teaching of Phonics in Malaysian Primary Schools
Keywords:standard-based, phonics, innovation
The Standard-Based English Language Curriculum for Malaysian Primary Schools was introduced by the Malaysian Ministry of Education in 2011 beginning with the teaching of Year 1 pupils. The curriculum is modular in design comprising the Listening and Speaking, Reading, Writing, and Language Arts modules. An innovation introduced in the curriculum was the teaching of early reading skills using phonics as a method in the Reading Module. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the Year 1 English Language teachers participating in the study understood the innovation, the problems that they faced with regard to it and how they implemented it in their classrooms. A survey questionnaire was distributed to English Year 1 primary school teachers and case studies of selected teachers were conducted. The data were analysedquantitatively and qualitatively. The findings showed that the respondents rated themselves at varying degrees of understanding. The problems that they reported concerned the ways of teaching phonics, the lack of phonics knowledge and the lack of training provided to teach using the phonics strategy. The findings also revealed the different ways that the teachers taught phonics. There is a need for solutions to address the training needs of the teachers.