One of my favourite Malay proverbs, or peribahasa as it is habitually called, is "sediakan payung sebelum hujan." In other words, this means "prepare the umbrella before it rains." Malaysians often use this proverb to describe situations where one should be prepared before trouble (or sometimes, disaster) strikes. Why is this related to learning how to listen and speak Malay in Year 6, you ask?

The primary school Malay syllabus describes listening skills as the ability of students to listen carefully, to verbally understand different situations of speech, and to be able to respond in those situations. On the other side of the coin, speaking skills are about the ability of students to communicate with others, build relationships and present information, opinions, feelings and ideas in creative and critical ways, along with the use of proper pronunciation and intonation. You can also check out our guide on listening and speaking skills on Year 6 Malay.

Picking up the skills in Malay speech and communication, earlier on in life, builds a solid foundation for students to master the language, which can benefit them across their study life and later on in adulthood - or in a sense, students are preparing the umbrella before it rains.

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Why should I learn Malay in Malaysia?

Would it really be worth it to master the skills in listening and speaking Malay? As a Year 6 student, you may be wondering: what can I do in Malay? Here are the top reasons to learn Malay in Malaysia:

  • United we stand: Bahasa Melayu is the nation's unifying language, as it is the one language every Malaysian is brought up to use. At school, making friends and connecting with peers, or even reaching out to a teacher for help, becomes simpler since Malay is the popular choice for communication among a multitude of races and cultures.
  • Get out and about: You don't need to be a 30-something to start becoming a tourist - when you are skilled in Malay listening and speaking, you can easily get a taxi, ask for directions, order food, buy trinkets... Just knowing how to use the language in formal or informal situations can get you traveling in no time, and - the experience becomes more worthwhile.
  • Easy peasy lemon squeezy: Did you know the Malay language makes no use of plurals, verb tenses, conjugations or gender? The language is fairly simple to learn, even if you just learn a Malay online course. Malay also happens to use the alphabet, just like English does, so that's one step closer to mastering Malay if you know your A to Zs.
Learn Malay simple
Apart from being a unifying language and one you can conveniently get around with, Malay is fairly simple to learn! Source: pexels.com

What is listening and speaking in the primary school Malay syllabus?

As with all pathways towards mastering a language, proper usage of grammar is emphasized in the module - but what does this mean for Year 6 students studying at a typical primary school in Malaysia? If you are studying at a local school, you can expect to fulfil these learning standards when learning how to listen and speak Malay:

  • Listen, understand and pronounce different types of sentences and parts of sentences with proper sentence structure;
  • Listen, understand and respond to questions and commands correctly based on the order of sentences across various situations;
  • Have conversations using appropriate honorifics and pronouns;
  • State requests and reasons in formal and informal situations;
  • Learn public speaking to accurately convey information and practise proper language;
  • Discuss and give opinions in critical and creative ways;
  • Tell stories with correct intonation and pronunciation while using flowery language.

Do you want to know what the module for Year 6 Malay listening and speaking looks like?

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How does the Malaysian education system work?

While it is up to the teacher to choose the teaching and learning methods that cater to students' abilities, several techniques and teaching aids are used in the classroom to effectively enhance the listening and speaking skills of Year 6 students in the Malay language. Let's take a look at some important techniques used to teach Malay listening and speaking in the Malaysian education system.

  • It's getting HOTS in here: Since 2011, the Malaysian Primary School Curriculum Standard (KSSR) has emphasized Kemahiran Berfikir Aras Tinggi (KBAT), also known as Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS). HOTS refers to the ability to apply knowledge, skills, and values in reasoning and reflection to solve problems, make decisions, innovate, and create. Year 6 teachers and students use thinking tools such as mind maps, Thinking Hats, and higher-order questioning to encourage inquiry-based learning and problem-solving.
  • Time for some Edutainment: What most call Didik Hibur in the classroom, edutainment in the Malay Listening and Speaking Module allows Year 6 students to experience a learning environment with an element of fun. Through edutainment, students learn to pick up the Malay language with creative learning tools and strategies, and are free to experience fun learning with the nation's own education-based channel for students.
  • Do a Project-Based Learning: This teaching and learning method directly involves Year 6 students in exploring an issue, their investigations, and presenting their findings. Just like its name, students carry out projects by integrating existing and new information to create something new. Apart from encouraging students to use the Malay language as they carry out these projects, teachers are also evaluating students' progress and quality of learning, guiding them to learn Malay in Malaysia.
  • Help your Self-Access Learning: A method that is especially popular at this time of the pandemic, self-access learning helps students learn independently: students are allowed to select activities, self-evaluate their work and monitor their own progress, gearing them towards taking charge of their own learning. In addition to inspiring independence, Year 6 students can pick up Malay sounds and speech easily by exploring Malay resources on their own.

Feel free to also look at the topics in Year 6 Malay listening and speaking.

Primary school Malay syllabus
When learning to listen and speak Malay, Year 6 students experience a variety of teaching and learning methods that encourage independent learning, such as HOTS and project-based learning. Source: britishcouncil.my

How to better learn Malay listening and speaking?

Exposure is key to learning how to listen and speak Malay well and at a faster pace. Would you like to know how and where you can effectively learn Malay? Here are some tips to improve your skills in listening and speaking Malay:

  • Talk to Malay speakers: Get yourself into the groove of picking up unfamiliar phrases and learning to respond to them by practising with others who speak Malay! Look out for peers in your class who are native to the language or use the language to communicate daily, or talk to your neighbours and relatives who are Malay speakers. Using Malay in casual conversations and relaxed chats, especially if you do this more frequently, will guide you towards the common phrases used for listening and speaking Malay.
  • Entertain yourself: Movies, television shows, podcasts, music... what about trying a good ol' Malaysian drama, or sinetron? A fun way to engage yourself in listening and speaking Malay can be right from the comfort of your home and devices! A news channel can teach you how Malay is applied to formal settings; a podcast can guide you to speak casually with your friends. This can be an enjoyable way to refine your listening and speaking skills effectively since you can entertain yourself with a variety of resources!
  • Take it online: Why confine yourself to learning only in the classroom when you can expand your horizons over the World Wide Web? Nowadays, Year 6 students can enrol to learn Malay online, even if it is just for improving listening and speaking skills! Aside from enrolling in online classes, there is also the option of using language apps to better your understanding of the language - naturally, you will also learn how to get familiar with the native Malay way of speaking.
  • Be patient with yourself: Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will your listening and speaking skills in Malay jump from 1 to 100 after just a few practices! What may be easy for others may not necessarily be easy for you, and learning to be proficient in Malay can take time and a whole lot of effort (which can be very discouraging). As you are on your language-learning journey, we ask you to be kind to yourself.

How about helping yourself with some useful resources on Malay listening and speaking skills?

Learn Malay online
Talk to Malay speakers, do with some entertainment, take online classes... whatever you choose to do to improve your Malay listening and speaking, be kind to yourself! Source: channelnewsasia.com

Where to learn Malay online course?

If you are looking to enhance your listening and speaking skills in Malay, you're in luck! Superprof offers the best platform to help you with seeking out your perfect Malay tutor - in fact, there are over 270 Malay tutors to choose from, and over 100 of them are native speakers! You can find a Malay tutor by looking up our website of private tutors: just key in "Malay" in the search engine and give it a go.

You will notice that each tutor presents his or her tutoring description, lesson rates, student reviews, and whether the tutor is offering the first class for free. In addition, you can create a free account on Superprof, which gives you permission to book a class or message a Malay tutor if you're interested to start listening and speaking Malay.

Be exposed to hearing how Malay words are pronounced, the ways native Malays communicate, and practise with Year 6 Malay worksheets - Superprof will help get your language-learning journey on its way!

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Ayleah