A Study on Attitudes of Teachers and Educators Towards Singlish: Don't Pray Pray

Teh Jane Khim

English Language Honours AE, NIE, 2000


    This study on the attitudes and perceptions of teachers and educators towards Singlish was done with the focus on some of the pedagogical and sociolinguistic issues arising out of the use of Singlish in the classroom and in the wider Singapore society. The issues concerning the use of Singlish in the classroom were inextricably linked to the declining standards of English among students in Singapore schools and the need to maintain a standard of English which is internationally understood. This study also looked at the factors which caused the fall in standards, including the media and focussed specifically on the local sitcom 'Phua Chu Kang Pte. Ltd.' as it was noted for its liberal use of 'Singlish'.

    It was found that the attitudes of teachers and educators in Singapore towards the use of Singlish in the classroom were unfavorable. Teachers and educators alike felt that Singlish had its place and functions in the wider Singapore society but the use of Singlish in schools should be discouraged. They were concerned over the effects which the widespread use of Singlish would have on students. Teachers and educators felt that a standard of English must be maintained in order to be understood by the international community, besides the need for communicative competence amongst students.

    The popular use of Singlish in the media was not the only factor which has caused a decline in standards of English amongst students. Teachers felt that lack of formal grammar instruction in the current English syllabus was an important factor and agreed with prescriptive measures taken by the government to increase the standard of English amongst students. However, the educators had their reservations with regards to the effectiveness of such measures because they felt that grammar teaching alone would not successfully increase students' English proficiency.