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HOLY CROSS COLLEGE

FACTORS AFFECTING COMMUNICATIVE DIFFICULTIES IN USING THE


ENGLISH LANGUAGE AS A MEDIUM OF VERBAL OF EXPRESSION OF THE
GRADE 11 SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS - HUMMS STRAND
AT HOLY CROSS COLLEGE SCHOOL YEAR 2016 - 2017

A Thesis Presented to
Holy Cross College
Sta.Ana, Pampanga

In Partial Fulfilment Of the


Requirements for the Subject
Language Research

GERSHON G. SERRANO
MICHAEL M. COLIS
AUGUST 2016

Chapter 1

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The Problem and Its Background

Introduction
There are reasons why it is difficult for students to communicate
using the English language.
English is the universal language and every nation regarding
their physical, geographical and cultural differences must accept
the notion that they need the English language to communicate
with one another. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Current
English (Moore, 1997), communication is defined as, The activity
or process of expressing ideas and feelings or of giving people
information.
The significance of communication can be found within the
context of a human existing as a social being. As a human being,
managing life in the course of interaction between other members
of

the

entire

society

makes

communication

inevitable.

Communication occurs through the medium of a language and it is


presented in two different forms which are written and spoken
(Brown & Yule, 1983). The importance of spoken performance of a
language

is

becoming

performance capability.

more

prominent

over

the

written

It is because the ability to speak a

language reflects a persons personality, self-image, knowledge of


the world, ability to reason, skill to express thoughts in real-time
(Louma,2004).
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The ability to communicate in English is imperative to


everyone. As Filipinos, since the English language is not our first
language it is hard for us as second language speakers to fluently
speak in English. We have to perfectly understand the sounds
system of English which is phonology, the meaning of words
whether

connotative

or

denotative

(semantics),

and

the

arrangement of words (syntax). Whether verbal or written, the


adherence to follow grammar rules is also important. The
gestures, tone, pitch and stress of each spoken word also carry
meaning in the communication process. Many students nowadays
are not aware that little by little they are losing their ability to
express their thoughts and feelings using the English language.
We are now living in the 21 st century and it is very important
to note that the use of English language in communication is a
global phenomenon. Communicative competency is one of the
competencies that is needed to be taught and developed by the
learners. In the K-12 curriculum, the students are expected to
become communicatively competent using the English language.
It is one of the skills that is needed to be improved.
As the researchers are doing their observation in the Senior
High School in different strands: HUMMS, ABM, STEM and
TECHVOC, they found out that some students are having a hard
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time expressing in English when their teachers asked them a
question during class discussions. The students are asking
permission from the teacher if they can answer the given question
in Tagalog or Taglish.
This is the reason why we come up to this language research.
We like to know the different factors that affect the communicative
difficulties in using the English language as a medium of verbal
expression among Senior High School Students.
Three factors are notable why students are having difficulty in
using the English language as a medium of verbal expression. One
is learner factor in which the students themselves are the reason
why they cant communicate in English. Besides speech disorder,
the attitude of learners towards learning and using the English
language in communicating is a major problem. Without any
reason, some learners hate the English subject, because they
always think that it is not important. It is enough for them that
they can communicate with others using the mother tongue or our
vernacular language Tagalog. As a matter of fact, it is very
essential that one is able to communicate verbally using the
English language. When these learners will apply for a job abroad,
they need to pass the IELTS, in which their proficiency in the use of
the English language written and oral form will be tested. If today
they are not learning and practicing

their ability to speak in

English their dream of working abroad is quite impossible.

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The teacher is another factor in this problem. Some language
instructors are not knowledgeable enough in the usage of the
English Language. When they teach the subject, they explain it in
our mother tongue because they think that the learners will not
comprehend if they will discuss in English. On the other hand,
some teachers are using high level of teaching in English to the
point that the learners cannot comprehend. Some textbooks also
contain error that some teachers dont notice and modify them
and the result is miscommunication.
The surrounding or the environment is not encouraging the
learners in their usage of the English language, so this is also a
factor why some learners dont improve in the use of the English
language. What is being taught inside the classroom during
English subjects is not being applied outside the classroom. It is
one of the factors that affect the verbal communicative difficulties
in using the English language as a medium of communication.
Statement of the Problem
The research sought to find out the factors affecting
communicative difficulties in using the English language as a
medium of expression of the grade 11 Senior High School Students
- HUMMS at Holy Cross College during the school year 2016-2017.
These are the following questions that the research tries to
answer.
1. What are the common factors that make it difficult for Senior
High School Grade 11 HUMMS strand students to communicate
and express their ideas using the English language?
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2. How can this problem affect the students?
3. What ways can the government, school and even the students
themselves should do to diminish or eradicate the difficulty in
speaking in English?
Significance of the Study
Communication is important in everyday living. As Filipinos
we use our vernacular language to communicate with our fellow
men but the need to learn English as a second language is a must
because of the global need for it. Learning, understanding,
comprehending and speaking in English is a sign that a person is
literate.
Nowadays, some students are not aware if they will learn to
speak in English or not. Based on our initial observation among the
senior high school students in Holy Cross College, most of them
are having a hard time in expressing their ideas in English. We are
finding some reasons for this problem because some students are
starting

to

hate

their

subject

in

English

which

is

Oral

Communication in Context.
The information gathered from this research will be beneficial
for the school administrators since the results of the study may
give good response with the factors affecting communicative
difficulties in using the English language as a medium of
expression. The teachers will also have further knowledge on the
factors and reasons why the students cannot communicate and
express their ideas in English. This study will also help students to
become aware and see the importance of being able to use the
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English language in communicating. The parents will be informed
from the study considering that they play a vital role in upbringing
their children and they can also help their children to improve their
communication skills using the English language. As future
educators and language teachers it is very beneficial for us
because by this research we can device techniques, methods or
strategies to help students improve their skill in communicating
using the English language.
Conceptual Framework
Learning the English language must be applied both in
written and in oral form. The environment, teachers and the
students themselves are the factors why it is difficult for them to
communicate and express their ideas using the English language.
It is very important that these factors that causes the
students to become weak in the use of the English language must
be properly addressed and be given ample solutions and
recommendations for further improvement specially for the
students education
The

knowledge

of

English

language

can

be

used

in

communication locally, internationally and worldwide and it is


important to language teachers that they must know these factors
that cause constraint in speaking English among students.
Figure 1
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Paradigm Conceptual Framework


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INPUT
Factors
affecting
communicative
difficulties in
speaking in
English

Effects in
education of
students who
are not able to
communicate
in English

PROCESS
Assessment
gathered
through
questionnaire
administered
to students.
Results of
unstructured
interviews.
Results of
Ocular
Observation
FEEDBACK

OUTPUT
Solutions to
the problem
addressed
regarding the
factors
affecting
communicative
difficulties in
speaking in
English
Recommendati
ons on how to
improve the
English
speaking

Figure 1 shows the paradigm conceptual framework of the


research study. It adapted the Systems Approach ( Input Process
Output).
In the Input the following were included: factors affecting
communicative difficulties in speaking in English and effects in
education of students who are not able to communicate in English.
The Process covers the assessment gathered through
questionnaire administered to students, results of unstructured
interviews and results of ocular observation and documentary
materials.

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The Output gives the solutions to the problem addressed
regarding the factors affecting communicative difficulties in
speaking in English and recommendations on how to improve the
English speaking ability of students.
Scope and Delimitation
The study was confined to Grade 11 Senior High School
Students - HUMMS strand of Holy Cross College, Sta. Lucia, Sta.
Ana Pampanga for the school year 2016 2017. It involved _____
students as respondents.
Discussions of topics were delimited on the assessment of
factors affecting communicative difficulties in using the English
language as a medium of expression of the Grade 11 Senior High
School Students - HUMMS strand. The respondents described on
how they asses the different factors that affects their speaking
ability using the English language.

Definition of Terms
Communication - It is the act or process of using words, sounds,
signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to
express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone
else. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/)
Communicative Difficulties A communication difficulty can
affect a person's ability to hear, talk, understand, read,
write,
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sign

and/or

gesture.
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The

technical

term

is

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'communication disability'. We will use the term 'difficulty'
because not all people who have a communication difficulty
consider themselves to have a disability.
(https://www.crregistry.org.au/Communication/Communicatio
ndifficulties.aspx)
Language - the system of words or signs that people use to
express thoughts and feelings to each other
English Language is a West Germanic language that was first
spoken in early medieval England and is now a global
lingua

franca

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language)
Medium an intervening agency, means, or instrument by which
something is conveyed or accomplished: Words are a
medium of expression. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/)
Expression the act of making your thoughts, feelings, etc.,
known by speech, writing, or some other method: the act of
expressing something. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/)
Assessment "Assessment is the process of gathering and
discussing information from multiple and diverse sources in
order to develop a deep understanding of what students
know, understand, and can do with their knowledge as a
result

of

their

educational

experiences;

the

process

culminates when assessment results are used to improve


subsequent learning." (Huba, M. E. and Freed, J. E. (2000).
Acronyms
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K -12

the K to 12 Program covers 13 years of basic education

with the following key stages: Kindergarten to Grade 3,


Grades 4 to 6, Grades 7 to 10 (Junior High School) Grades
11 and 12 (Senior High School).
SHS Senior High School
HCC Holy Cross College
STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Strand
ABM - Accountancy, Business and Management Strand
HUMMS - Humanities and Social Sciences Strand
TECHVOC

Technology-Livelihood

Education

and

Technical-

Vocational Track

Chapter 2
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE AND STUDIES
The review of related literature and studies is very important
and relevant to the present studies. They serve as guide to help
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the researcher get information and ideas about the research topic.
These were taken from previous surveys both foreign and local.
Authors and researchers of these literature and studies have
common goal that is, to determine the different factors why some
students cannot communicate effectively using the English
language as a medium of expression.
Foreign Literature
The use of English as a second language (ESL) or foreign
language (EFL) in oral communication is, without a doubt, one of
the most common but highly complex activities necessary to be
considered

when

teaching

the

English

language

especially

because we live at a time where the ability to speak English


fluently has become a must, especially who want to advance in
certain fields of human endeavour (Al-Sibai,2004, p.3).
The focus of teaching speaking, of course, is to improve the
oral production of the students. Therefore, language teaching
activities in the classroom should aim at maximising individual
language use (Haozhang, 1997). In the past, oral communication
instruction was neglected because of the misconception that oral
communication competence develops naturally over time and that
the cognitive skills involved in writing automatically transfer to
analogous oral communication skills(Chaney,1998). However, Ur
(1996) considered speaking as the most important skill among
four skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) because
people who know a language are referred to as speakers of that
language. This indicates that using a language is more important
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than just knowing about it because there is no point knowing a
lot about language if you cant use it(Scrivener,2005,p.146).
For language learning to take place, there are four conditions
that should exist, and they are the exposure, opportunities to use
the language, motivation, and instruction.Learners need chances
to say what they think or feel and to experiment in a supportive
atmosphere using language they have heard or seen without
feeling threatened (Willis,1996, p.7). A fact that is highlighted by
second language research is that progress does not occur when
people make a conscious effort to learn. Progress occurs as a
result of spontaneous, subconscious mechanisms, which are
activated when learners are involved in communication with the
second language. The subconscious element demands a new
range of activities, where learners are focused not on the language
itself but on the communication of meaning (Littlewood, 1984).
Harmer (1982) also argued that in a communicative task, the
students attention should be focused on the content of what they
are saying, rather than the form. They should use a wide variety of
language.
According to Ellis (2003), this can be done by involving
learners in performing two types of communicative tasks: focused
communicative tasks and unfocused communicative tasks. Both of
these

tasks

seek

to

engage

learners

in

using

language

pragmatically rather than displaying language. They seek to


develop language proficiency through communication.Through

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communication learners can integrate separate structures into a
creative system for expressing meaning (Littlewood,1984,p.91).

Local Literature
If you know the feeling of rage turning into tears that do not
fall, you can guess how I felt when one of my students answered
boys upon being asked what the verb was in the sentence The
boys go to school every day.
To say that our students knowledge of the English language
has deteriorated is a gross understatement. The first, and the
most crucial, reason for their bad English is their negative attitude
today toward the language.
tayo,

Pilipino

tayo

eh.

Students often say, Mag-Filipino

Or:

Pa-English-English

pa!

These

statements give the impression that they consider it unpatriotic to


be talking in English, but do they really? Arent these words that
they have picked up from their parents and their non-English
teachers? It is disappointing that students who are taught critical
thinking in school mimic the words of fools. Saying Makabayan
ako, magpi-Filipino ako is, in many cases, just an excuse not to
learn English, a way to cover up insecurities about speaking the
language. But even when they do not say anything, you can sense
there is something wrong about how students regard English.
Whenever I ask someone to speak in front of the class, some
of the students give one another meaningful looks, or make faces
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at their classmate who is speaking. Others simply do not listen.
They dont realize that whenever they sneer by words or facial
expressionsPa-Ingles-Ingles

pa!

Nosebleed!they

discourage their classmates from using the language for fear of


being ostracized. (I hope my students are reading this.)
English is taught as early as Kindergarten in most schools, so
it is shocking for me to find some high school students who cannot
even construct a sentence. What happened during their six years
of elementary school education? I think English is not taught
clearly and adequately in grade school, particularly the parts of
speech. If students acquire the necessary knowledge and skills in
the language in their formative years (teachers, you know this),
they will not have a hard time in high school. As we know, the
older a student gets, the harder it is for a student to learn a new
language.
Intimidated
A second problem is that many Filipinos feel intimidated by
someone who speaks fluent English. This should not be the case.
No language should be viewed as superior to others. We teach and
learn English not because it is a better language than the others
but because, for now at least, it is the global language for
business, media, science and many more human activities. We
need to actively teach our students the value of English as a
second language and the benefits they can derive from being able
to write and speak it fluently.
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I always tell my students that

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English is not only for intelligent people, but for everyone who is
educated. If we are fluent in the language, there will be no feeling
of intimidation. English does not make one better; it makes one
equal to others. Lack of practice is another problem. Students
have so little time to speak and write English.
In school, they spend an hour in English class where they are
supposed to learn to be conversant in the language. But that is not
often the case because English teachers have to make time for
other language macro-skills. At home, many students spend hours
playing computer games and logging on to Facebook and other
social networking sites. The games are hardly verbal and the
language in social media is often faulty. Where is the opportunity
for the young to learn correct English?

Malpractice
If there is lack of practice, there is also malpractice. News reports
tell us of errors in textbooks, especially those to be used in K-12
(Kindergarten to Grade 12). The errors can be corrected, but what
is beyond our control is the students choice of reading materials
when they are on their own. It may surprise and worry you that the
trending books are not those with superb literary value, written by
William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe and other literary giants.
Inside the books that our students are reading these days are
comma-spliced and run-on phrases, instances of incorrect subject[Type text]

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verb agreement and sentences that end not just with one but a
whole set of punctuation marks (!?!?!?!). I find it disturbing that
anyone can publish books in the Philippines without having them
checked by good editors, and even sell them through reputable
bookstores. We learn to write by reading. So, let us not expect our
students to write well if the books they are reading are full of
errors. What students hear also affects how they learn English.
What we hear most of the time, we tend to say unconsciously. This
is why you find yourself singing a song that you hear constantly
although you dont particularly like it. Even if I say se-re-MOWnee (stress on the third syllable, mow) in class, my students still
put the stress on the second syllable because other teachers keep
pronouncing ceremony that way (se-RE-moh-ni).
If

there

is

one

English

teacher

who

uses

the

right

pronunciation but there are seven or eight others who do not,


there will be no transfer of learning in a one-hour English class.
The truth is, all of us using the language in school are indirectly
teaching English. So let us follow this simple guide: If you cannot
teach the students proper English, do not confuse them with your
English. All teachers, even those who do not teach English, have to
participate in the task of changing our students attitude toward
the language. We should give them more opportunities to use
English, to correct improper usage and to be proficient in the
language. Remember, whatever we do before our students is what
we teach them. The author, whose good English helped him
achieve a lot of things in collegefrom giving outstanding reports
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in class to winning essay-writing contests to graduating with flying
colorsnow teaches Grades 8, 9 and 10 English at St. John
Academy of Bayanihan.
Related Literature
Graduating college students, particularly those who are taking
up business and education courses must take note of a recent
study that revealed their English language proficiency at only the
level of basic working proficiency.

This particular

level of

proficiency indicates that "the person hardly understands native


English speakers, or speakers of english vis international meetings,
or could they sustain fluency & accuracy, plus discuss topics of
general interest using non-elaborate structures."
The study, conducted by HA Cervantes Knowledge Systems,
Inc., the Philippine-based firm which administers the ‘Test of
English for International Communication (TOEIC) took sample
measurements of graduating students for Year 2001-2002 from
selected educational institutions in Metro Manila. TOEIC is a global
standard of English proficiency measurement developed by the
Educational Testing Service (ETS) located in Princeton, New Jersey,
USA. It reveals how the English proficiency of the examinee stands
against the international benchmark, specifically among business
trade community. Dr. Hermelo Cervantes, HACKSI chief executive
consultant stressed that the said study showed why many Filipinos
fail to obtain foreign jobs that require passing English proficiency
certification tests. "That is why no one knows how the English
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proficiency of Filipinos stands against the global standard, not until
now, "Dr. Cervantes said.
The importance of English proficiency is global and as we can
see, many Filipinos are not aware of it. Learners are not paying
attention to their English subject, and many fails to obtain a good
grade. To say that some are good in written form of English, being
able to use it in communication is another thing. English
proficiency is not only measured through written form but more on
its actual usage which is speaking. If the learners today will not
focus on their English proficiency, our country will be left behind
by other Asian or foreign nations.
According to the article written by Tess B. Macasinag, one often
hears comments about high school graduates of yesteryears
having a better command of the English language than the college
graduates of today. This deterioration is manifested in several
ways: incorrect grammar, lack of fluency in the language, poor
reading comprehension skills and poor writing skills among others.
Clearly, Filipinos are losing their competitive edge with regard to
English abilities. Our claim that we are the third largest English
speaking country in the world does not live up to its rank. Today,
we hear anecdotal reports of call centers accepting a very small
portion of those who apply because only three of 100 applicants
are proficient in English. University professors lament the inability
of college students to comprehend and express themselves in
English.

The

most

alarming,

however,

is

the

SWS

survey

commissioned by Promoting English Proficiency (PEP) in March


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2006. The largest deterioration was in the self assessment of
ability to speak in English which fell from 54% in September 2000
to 32% in March 2006, a deterioration of 22% in six years. Now
considering this, have you not thought how much would it
decrease in another six years? 12 years? 18 years? There are
many reasons bandied about to explain the decline in English
proficiency in the Philippines. In the governments desire to
establish better our national identity, they increased the use of
Filipino as medium of instruction sacrificing English along the way.
The proliferation of television shows in Filipino and Taglish is
another attributor.
Our national language comes naturally from us; we can easily
learn it, but learning to be proficient in English must be given
much attention because as we can see, being proficient in written
and oral form of English is an advantage in the global workplace.
Lets face it, the Filipino workforce is the richest resource of the
country. This workforce must maintain good communication skills
in

English,

competitive

which
edge

will
in

ultimately
the

global

help

the

economy.

country
Our

attain

ability

to

communicate in English is one reason Filipinos are very much


sought after by foreign employers. The decline in competence of
its facility will bring negative effects on our opportunity to
compete in progress with other races. A shrinking English
proficient workforce would dissuade international companies from
investing in the Philippines. We cannot afford to lose what we
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already have. Hence, we need to relearn our English before we
lose it.
As we can see, the surveys show a decline on the English
proficiency of Filipinos. Who must be blamed for it? Is it the
teachers, the government, or the student themselves? These are
factors that needed to be given attention so that we can rebound
to our losses.
A

collaboration

government

of

the

organizations

different
can

help

government
address

this

and

non-

problem.

Providing high quality textbooks, instructional materials, reading


materials for libraries and training for educators are things that
the government can do. Media can do its part by stopping the
corruption of English in its television shows. Parents should also try
to encourage their children to read more English books rather than
watch mushy television shows. I believe that the school and the
home are the best places where Filipinos can develop good English
communication skills. Everyone from the educators to the students
should aim for quality in English education. And quality is never an
accident. It is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent
direction, and skillful execution. Let us therefore resolve to
improve our proficiency in English and restore the Philippines in its
former glory. After all from all indicators, English will continue to be
the universal language for all times to come. The time for learning
it sure has shortened, but the demands on the persons ability to
understand, speak, and write it are same, if not greater.
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The course description of the English subject of the Senior
High

School

Department

in

Holy

Cross

College

is

Oral

Communication in Context in which the students are taught and


expected

to

communicate

using

the

English

language.

Performance tests like role plays, skit and other activities are being
conducted to gauge the students ability in using the English
language. But during class discussion, the class remains silent and
most of them are not raising their hands when a certain question
is being asked by the teacher. Some are shy, some are afraid of
speaking with wrong grammar and most of them are requesting if
they can say their answer in Filipino or Taglish. The teacher needs
to make a lot of adjustment or the teacher may use other
strategies to help the students in their problem of English
speaking.
It used to be that the Philippines biggest competitive
advantage in the global job market is the proficiency of our skilled
workers in the English language. This advantage, however, is fast
being eroded by rising competition from other countries coupled
with declining mastery of the English language by our college
graduates. Recent language test results released by the IDP
Education

Pty.

Ltd.

Philippines,

an

accredited

group

that

administers the International English Language Testing System


(IELTS) to Filipinos seeking to work and migrate abroad, showed
that the Philippines is no longer the top English-speaking country
in Asia. With an overall score of 6.71, Malaysia is now the No. 1 in
English proficiency in Asia. The Philippines placed only second with
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6.69, followed by Indonesia (5.99), India (5.79) and Thailand
(5.71). This was gleaned from IELTS results in 2008, during which
some 35,000 Filipinos. 70 percent of the nursing graduates
applying for jobs abroad took the language exam to evaluate their
English proficiency in reading, writing, speaking and listening.
During a conference on English organized by the Centre for
International Education (CIE) in Manila, Andrew King, country
director of IDP Education Pty. Ltd. Philippines warned that the
continuous decline in Filipinos English proficiency could affect the
growth of the call center industry which provides thousands of jobs
at home and abroad.
In an interview with Planet Philippines, King stressed that
English

remains

the

lingua

franca or

default

language

of

international business and diplomacy. Things like international


treaties, business contracts and so on, are written in English,
because its an exact language, he says. You have to have people
that can speak, read and write it well. To operate at high levels,
you need very good English.
He states that employers in todays global market want
people that have not only international experience and good
qualifications that are recognized all over the world but also high
proficiency in spoken and written English. English has less
elasticity and flexibility so you can say exactly what you want to
say and not argue about the meaning. If you get your tenses,

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plurals and prepositions wrong, then youre not going to be
accurate.
He adds: Here and around the world, people are asking for
better competency in English. Being able to get by is not enough.
King says proficiency in English is a huge advantage for every job
seeker, even those who have no plans of working overseas.
Foreign companies in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)
sector, he notes, locally administer their contracts in English. A
foreign company wont enter into a contract thats not of their
language. For business consultant Peter Wallace, who also spoke
at the CIE English conference, comprehension is the problem. Do
you understand what youre hearing? Do you understand what it
means when you say that? These are the issues.
The biggest obstacle for the ever-growing BPO industry sector
is recruiting enough capable graduates with the required English
skills. Industry observers estimate that only three in every 100
applicants are able to gain satisfactory employment. In certain
cases, the BPO industry has taken it upon themselves to train
prospective employees so that company growth will not be
impeded.
The formal educational system is hard-pressed to train young
Filipinos in proper grammatical English, so the private sector has
taken the lead, says Frank Holz, CEO of Outsource 2 Philippines.
Observers have

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attributed the decline in

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English

skills to

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budgetary constraints and lack of proper infrastructure in the
countrys educational system.
In fairness, the Department of Education is trying its best, but
unfortunately, this generation of teachers does not have the
capability, says Wallace. King attributes the decline in English to
the poor quality and training of local schoolteachers, as well as the
continuing use of outdated or erroneous textbooks. Students are
not being taught correct English and the resources and materials
theyre given is incorrect.
Another problem, and a continuing topic of debate, has been
the educational systems bilingual policy, adopted 35 years ago
which compels schools to use English and Filipino as medium of
instruction. People use the excuse that theres Filipino English.
Filipino English is English as long as its correct. If its incorrect
English, it doesnt matter what you call it. Its just being an
apologist for peoples mistakes is wrong, King points out. The
incorrect use of the language on local TV newscasts and Englishdubbed cartoons, also contributes to the decline in English
proficiency among Filipinos. Everyday, on virtually all television
and newspapers, you hear incorrect use of prepositions, adds King.
He also blames technology such as the internet and SMS
messaging (texting) on cell phones, which favors speed and levity
but fosters poor written skills. We use abbreviations in chat rooms,
and we have created a whole new language, and texting on cell
phones has created a short language. Even cultural prejudice and
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ignorance is an issue, King laments. Snobbery - youre a snob if
you speak English. No, youre a person thats committed to learn
more than one language.
In response to IDPs released test results, the government
assures that it remains committed to improving the quality of
teachers

in

the

Philippines,

particularly

in

public

schools.

Malacaang cites a number of ongoing projects to improve the


English proficiency of teachers and students in public schools,
such as the Project Turning Around,Every Child A Reader
Program, and the National English Proficiency Program. Officials
also said the government is allotting P1.1 billion to train nearly
400,000

teachers

in

Math,

Science

and

English

skills.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Augusto Santos said he brought


up the problem during one Cabinet meeting and top government
officials agreed to do something about it.
We are part of the global community and there is economic
competition among countries in the world. Lets face it, English is
still the number one language in the entire world, said Santos.
King says that the problem could be traced to the prevailing social
and political conditions in the country. One of the issues is that
there are too many children for teachers to cope with. You can go
back to population control, so there are so many that you cant
manage within the education system. But thats a whole different
argument. One possible solution he suggests is to import external
people to analyze the English curriculum and resources, and try to
identify the issues that are affecting the ability to communicate
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accurately. Another solution, adds Holz, is to use the internet in
English training. More work needs to be done on this, but
eventually there wont be as great a reliance on instructor -led
training, he says. Rather the entire process from assessment
through delivery through final validation will be able to be done
online. Whatever the solution, King says its going to take time.
Youre not going to magically turn around a generation of people
whose English has been taught incorrectly.
It is very alarming that our government and the department
of education arent focusing on this problem. Nowadays, drug
related cases are the focus of the government. Education is not a
priority even though we hear news that there will be an increase
on the teachers salary, but this will not help diminish problem on
the decline of the learners English proficiency. What is needed is
the modification of the curriculum and reliable textbooks, good
language teachers and learners who are willing to learn the
English language.
As the education system gears up for the opening of classes
this June, the teachers, parents and students have begun to repair
and beautify the school buildings, classrooms and grounds.
Principals and teachers are preparing their lesson plans and other
requirements for the students. Amidst these activities, I hope that
our educators will plan to redouble their efforts to improve the
teaching of English in order for the Filipino to keep abreast with the
global competition. While we have heard anecdotal stories - call
centers accepting a very small portion of those who apply; tourists
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remarking on the quaint English laced with Tagalog or the local
dialect; and university professors lamenting the inability of
students to speak or comprehend in English, surveys from the
Social Weather Stations provide a stronger evidence of the sad
state of English proficiency. The March 2006 SWS survey on the
Filipino's self-assessed proficiency in the English language showed
a decline over the last twelve years if compared to earlier SWS
surveys in December 1993 and September 2000. The decline is
manifested in all aspects of English proficiency from ability to
speak and write and to think in English. Only two out of three
Filipino adults (65%) say they understood spoken English and
could read English in the March 2006 survey in contrast to three
fourths (75%) in the September 2000 and the December
1993surveys. About half (48%) could write English in the latest
survey while it was 61% in the two earlier surveys. Only a third
(32%) in March 2006 said they spoke English compared to more
than half (54%) in the two other surveys. Fourteen percent
admitted they were not competent in any way in English while it
was only seven percent 12 years ago. In the March 2006 survey,
19% indicated almost no use for the English language in contrast
to only 10% in both September and December surveys. No wonder
there is the continuing lament of not being able to land a job
despite the thick pages of the Manila Bulletin's classified ads
section. Looking through the listing one finds the following
requirements

for

Junior

Accountant

"proficient

in

English

language (oral and written);" for Field Service Engineer -"with


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effective communication skills (oral and written English);" for
Professional

Medical

Representatives

-"Above

average

communication skills (English)" and very few can qualify. The


decline in English proficiency has been attributed to the English
proficiency skills of the educators, not just of those teaching the
language courses but also those handling the other courses.
Aggravating the situation was the abolition of English as a medium
of instruction in schools. This was meant to help development a
Tagalog based national language.
Business and industry should follow the lead of the American
Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and the Makati Business
Club

whose

dedicated

to

Promoting
a

English

world-class

Proficiency

Filipino

Project

workforce

with

(PEP)

is

English

proficiency meeting high international standards. The threepronged

approach

covers

advocacy,

refresher

training

and

certification testing. Together with nearly 100 partners to date, PEP


hopes to establish at least 50 Computerized English Language
Centers (CELCs) to train 45,000 teachers and students by the end
of 2008.Teachers and parents should encourage the children to
read more English books rather than watch television shows.
Directing them to bookstores in the malls will help instill in them
the love for reading as well as reading them stories by their
bedside. Speaking to them in English and discussing the books
they have read and the stories they have heard will increase their
confidence in their English proficiency. The home and school are
the best places to meet the desires of 68 percent of the Filipino
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surveyed

who

agreed

that

developing

good

English

communication skills opened up better job opportunities for all.


Salazar M. (May 28, 2007)
This article states that even parents can help their children
improve the learners speaking skill, but the question is, are these
parents knowledgeable enough regarding the English language? If
they are not, then the school and the teacher must be responsible
in teaching the learners the English language whether written or
spoken form.
"It's raining outside, aren't they?"Thus, the famous joke goes;
funny it may seem but in reality, most Filipinos today do not even
know what's wrong with the line. For a country that boasts of
English-speaking citizens, basic comprehension is a problem that
largely exists. They say that the Philippines is the third largest
English-speaking nation in the world, but does it really live up to
its rank? There is also a decline in reading, writing and thinking in
English, the other aspects of the language in the survey. Using
straight English in the streets of Manila is rarer than freshly cut
steak, more accepted way of communicating is through 'Taglish' a
combination of Tagalog and English.
To make things worse, speaking straight English or even
'Taglish' in public makes one 'pa-sosyal', 'tryinghard' and 'conyo'
bringing a negative connotation to the language. This means that
the youth are now slowly veering away from the 'arte' talk, making
it much harder to educate them. Taking away the negative
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connotation on the language is what the Promoting English
Proficiency (PEP) project is doing. This project is an initiative of the
American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and the Makati
Business Club with nearly 100 partners working for the cause. PEP
has conducted and supported several campaigns with various
partners in line with their information and awareness drive.
Some students are being conscious when they speak in English
outside the classroom. They feel that all eyes are looking at them
when they converse in English. They care on their surrounding
thats why they wont speak English. What they think is that after
all we are in the Philippines so why talk in English? They felt
intimidated when they speak in English.
Every year, thousands of young Filipino graduates end up
jobless, no matter what university they came from. The battle of
who knows more and who is best among these graduates in their
chosen field is not the only basis that any company is looking for
and when applying for a job, good communication skills is in
English a requirement."Language is now considered a skill," says
Test of English for International Communication's (TOEIC) Bambina
Buenaventura. According to her, big companies, both here and
abroad, are now looking for good English communication skills
among

potential

employees.

Sadly,

these

companies

are

disappointed. TOEIC one of PEP's partners, is the world's leading


test of English proficiency in the workplace context, it is used by
more than 4,000 companies worldwide and administered to more
than 4,000,000 test takers every year. TOEIC is developed by the
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Educational Testing Service (ETS) based in Princeton, New Jersey,
the same world-renowned organization that constructed TOEFL,
SAT, GRE, GMAT and TSE. From the tests they have conducted on
workers of companies, the results showed that most of the workers
need to improve their English communication skills. Most jobs
require this in their newspaper ad, looking for the right employee,
the whole package and all. If an accountant is only good with
numbers, how can he/she write a report or a presentation?
Beunaventura also said that from the thousands of nurses
applying for a job abroad, many of them fail because they were
not able to meet the English proficiency requirements. This is a
problem that needs to be addressed.
Whatever strand the learners enrolled in the Senior High
School, they all need to learn to communicate using the English
language

because

they

will

need

it

in

their

work.

Oral

Communication is one of the core subjects that is being taught.


Since the Filipino workforce is one of the richest resources of
the country, they must attain good English communication skills,
which will ultimately help the country maintain its leading
competitive advantage in the global economy. PEP aims to
promote economic development and reduce unemployment in the
Philippines by developing and maintaining a world-class labor
force with English proficiency meeting the highest international
standards.

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With the decline in the youth's English proficiency, PEP is
advocating

information

and

awareness

through

its

many

campaigns. Their aim is to increase awareness among the general


public on the importance of English proficiency and how to
advance once career's both in the Philippines and abroad through
better language skills. The advocacy campaign is also aiming to
motivate the public especially the students and the youth to make
a

conscious

and

deliberate

effort

to

improve

English

communication skill. One of PEP's projects is the English Language


Training program through a partnership with DynEd. It offers a
blended approach learning, it uses teacher-led instruction and the
use of a computer-assisted language learning. This is offered in
Computerized English Language Centers (CELC). These learning
centers offer a trained teacher that will guide the students through
various lessons and tests that ensure the student's interest and
progress. According to project co-chair John Forbes, since it is the
government's job to educate their youth with basic English
language skills, it is PEP's job to strengthen the student's
knowledge through their program. The CELCs are focusing on
graduating college students. The program aims to improve on their
English communication skills, so that the youth will be ready to
compete and join the workforce with good language skills. Garcia
A. (November 17, 2006)
These articles clearly prove that there is a decline in the
proficiency of Filipinos in terms of communicating in English
verbally. Reading with comprehension can be taught by language
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learners but using the English language as a medium in verbal
communication is different from learning to read. You will only be
able to communicate first if you understand or comprehend what
you heard or listened to. If you dont understand the statement or
the question being asked, then no communication will take place.
Knowledge of the English grammar is also important. Being able to
communicate effectively is the total package of all the theories
that you learned in your English subject. Learners need to become
effective communicators to gain a good spot in the workplace here
in the Philippines but most especially if they will decide to work
abroad.

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