Better English starts in school

I strongly agree that raising the standard of English in Singapore has to start in schools ("Singlish: Friend or foe?"; June 5).

The difference between Singlish and Standard English should be made clear to students.

Singlish can be used in everyday communication for convenience. It also helps to strengthen social cohesion.

Standard English is used in more formal situations and also globally, to communicate with people from other nations.

Singlish cannot be a substitute for Standard English.

More can be done to improve the way English is taught, such as teaching students the proper way to construct grammatically correct English sentences.

Students should also learn vocabulary that extends beyond Singlish words such as "kiasu" or "shiok".

As students spend most of their time in school listening to their teachers speak, it would be helpful if teachers delivered their lessons without using Singlish.

It is essential that teachers be role models of proper speech for impressionable learners.

If schools put in the effort to create a conducive environment where students can learn and practise Standard English, then future generations of Singaporeans will be able to speak both Standard English and Singlish.

Teo Ee Lin , 15,

Secondary 4 student


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2016, with the headline 'Better English starts in school'. Print Edition | Subscribe