The Minister of Education of Colombia, Mrs Cecilia María Vélez White, declared that the evaluation to teachers of English of the Colombian schools has proven their lack of preparation:
“De los once mil que nosotros habíamos evaluado más o menos unos cinco mil no sabían hablar inglés, los otros seis mil por lo menos tenían algún rudimento de hablar inglés”.
“Of the eleven thousand we evaluated, some five thousand didn’t know how to speak English. The other six thousand had basic knowledge of how to speak English,“, said the Ministry.
Programs to improve the knowledge of English in Colombia has been established since 2006 with the intention to prepare students for a future of best opportunities. The Ministry of Education designed strategies like the adoption of international references and the development of language standards. The optimistic works of planning gathered around the creation of a curriculum, evaluation and certifications to schools and universities.
However, the evaluation made this year to teachers of English, shows the failure of any plan. Ministry Vélez White concluded that this is not only in Colombia but in most Latin American countries.
In countries like Colombia where English language has not been appreciated like necessary, any person with an educational diploma can apply to be teacher of English without the need to demonstrate that he or she can speak that language. Most of them just follow lessons on the books, even if they do not have a good idea of pronunciation and zero level of exposure to native English speakers. It is like in United States any person feel enough ready to teach Spanish without knowing Spanish and following the manuals.
Ministry Vélez White invited also persons who teach English in institutions of public education, to join a new program to improve the knowledge in that language. June 26 is the deadline for inscriptions in the educational site of the Minister known as “Colombia Aprende.”
However, big problems ask for big solutions. The Colombian society must understand that English as an international language is necessary for a nation in development like Colombia.
English classes should be done in different ways and not like a simple lesson to fill scores. Pronunciation, for example, is considered by experts as the key in learning a second language. Now well, to do so, students should listen only native speakers. Otherwise, a confusing like-English sound will come out from our young Colombians when they would meet real English speaking persons, as Miss Yeris Paolo demonstrated before the cameras.
There are many ways, of course, to get it. One: you can send the teacher and all his/her class to stay a summer in New York or Disneyland. As this proposal must be very much expensive for the Minister of Education and visas would not be surely available, there are other two more practical and cheaper suggestions: using sources like audio, videos, Internet, etc and creating international teacher exchange programs.
Of course there are other many ways to improve the skill of learning English in our schools. In a country that is just four hours by plane from Miami, English should be a common language. Young Colombians from the Caribbean region show more abilities to speak English because the touristic spots of Cartagena de Indias and Santa Marta are frequented by thousand of foreign tourists that come in contact with the population.
Exchange programs with English-speaking countries could be a good solutions: bringing foreign teachers to our country for periods while sending our teachers to those nations, could be an amazing situation that would exchange also cultures, experiences and promote our talents.
It is also curious that the Ministry of Education does not give importance to our English-speaking province. Yes, if you do not know, Colombia has a State that speaks English: the Archipelago of San Andrés and Providencia. San Andresans could be involved as masters of the national program of English… why no?
Funny English signs around the world
Visiting Non-English speaking countries can be funny if you take notice of some signs place to guide foreign visitors. Here some examples from Telf Travel Guide:
- It is forbidden to entertain guests of the opposite sex in your room; please use the lobby for this purpose. (Hotel in China)
- Please leave your values at the front desk (Hotel in Paris)
- Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty. (Zoo in Hungary)
- There will be an exhibition of art by 15,000 Soviet sculptors and painters. These were executed over the past two years. (Announcement in Russia)
- Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see the manager (Restaurant in Nairobi)
- Ladies are requested not to have children at the bar (Cocktail lounge in Norway)
- Persons are prohibited from picking flowers at any but their own graves (A cemetery somewhere)
“Good morning classe… I am Mister Bonifacio Pérez para servirle y I am your nuevo ticher of Englizz”