When discussing the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) in Singapore, it’s common to compartmentalize the subjects into separate categories. However, in reality, the skills learned in one subject, such as English, often overlap and contribute to success in other subjects. Understanding English well, in particular, can dramatically affect a student’s performance across all areas of their academic journey. Here are some reasons why this is the case.
English is the medium of instruction in Singaporean schools, meaning that textbooks, exams, and classroom lessons are all delivered in English. Therefore, a strong command of the English language is imperative to grasp the concepts taught in other subjects like Mathematics, Science, and even Mother Tongue.
In Mathematics, while numbers form the primary language, the comprehension of problem sums and complex questions requires a good understanding of English. Many students stumble over mathematical problems, not because they lack computational skills, but because they struggle to understand the language used to pose the problem. Therefore, strengthening English language skills can lead to more accurate interpretation of mathematical problems and consequently, higher scores in Math.
When it comes to Science, students are often required to explain scientific phenomena or justify their understanding of certain concepts. This task requires not only an understanding of scientific facts but also the ability to articulate these facts clearly and coherently. Having a good grasp of English, therefore, can enable students to present their scientific knowledge more effectively, contributing to better performance in Science exams.
Similarly, Social Studies require students to read, comprehend, and analyze a variety of texts, from historical accounts to current social issues. To score well, students must articulate their thoughts and present cogent arguments. Proficiency in English enables students to understand the nuances in these texts, construct well-reasoned responses, and engage in meaningful discourse about societal issues.
Even in the Mother Tongue subject, English plays a role. While the subject is taught in languages other than English, a portion of the curriculum covers the translation of phrases and sentences from the Mother Tongue language to English and vice versa. Hence, a student with a good understanding of English can potentially perform better in this component of their Mother Tongue exams.
Moreover, the learning materials for all these subjects, including textbooks, notes, and supplementary resources, are typically written in English. Thus, having a strong command of English enables students to independently read, understand, and learn from these resources, fostering self-directed learning and broadening their knowledge beyond classroom teaching.
Finally, English proficiency aids in overall cognitive development, enhancing skills like critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving, and communication. These skills are not subject-specific but rather are integral to the learning process in general. A student who can think critically, solve problems, and communicate effectively is likely to perform better across all subjects.
In conclusion, a strong foundation in English language skills plays a crucial role in academic success across all subjects in the PSLE. By working on their English proficiency, students can unlock their potential, not just in English Composition and Comprehension, but in every other area of their academic life as well. Therefore, it’s worth investing time and effort in enhancing English language skills to support overall academic excellence.