Headshot Young Girl

Rooban Arumugam

VIA21

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Challenge

The implementation of CEFR and the introduction of the SuperMind Cambridge textbooks in Malaysia came with the hopes of helping lower primary pupils to achieve native-like fluency and accuracy in their English proficiency. It comes in line with the needs of Shift 2 in the National Educational Blueprint that highlights the importance of proficiency of languages learnt, be it Bahasa Malaysia or English. These materials are introduced as an exposure tool of the target language. There is, however, a glitch in this implementation. The bane of CEFR is its source material, the Super Minds Cambridge Textbook. The textbook is not set in the context of Malaysian cultures and norms instead of previous English textbooks. The textbook which is a paragon of Cambridge English is set in the western context. Though learners in Malaysia are considered ESL learners, with the Super Mind textbook, learners are introduced to foreign concepts and lexicons that they could not relate to. During the lower primary level, learners build on their vocabulary repertoire that will eventually help them in their upper primary where they have to face ministry sanctioned assessments. Vocabulary is the building blocks of learning English. It is not far-fetched to say that vocabulary is the foundation that cements the capacity of communication. In the moment or foreign choice of word information in disparate, vocabulary plays a pertinent role in devoting oneself to the precondition for communication. The use of the Super Minds textbook introduces learners to vocabularies that are arguably quite foreign. As the medium of dissemination, teachers feel the mounting pressure to explore ways to facilitate the learning process.