The Towering Importance of the Tamil Language
Tamil is the oldest living language in modern society, with over 70 million speakers worldwide. Most of the Tamil-speaking population in the world is concentrated in India, a rising economic powerhouse, according to the World Economic Forum. This means that Tamil-speaking students will have brighter prospects if they are able to master the language and articulate themselves with competence and confidence.
In Singapore, the Ministry of Education (MOE) offers Tamil as one of three compulsory mother tongue subjects. This means that students taking the subject will have to sit for national examinations like PSLE and O-Levels. Studying and doing well for Tamil, however, is no simple feat. Unlike other qualitative subjects like Mathematics and Science, there are no theorems or formulae to remember. When learning Tamil, it is important to pay attention to the consonants, compound letters and their pronunciation. Private Tamil tuition covers such language fundamentals before graduating to the more complex intricacies of the Tamil language. Private Tamil tuition can also provide the much-needed practice outside of the classroom. Through constant usage, students will develop a flair and fluency with the language. As such, having a private Tamil tutor provides a wealth of benefits.
Tuition and the Tall Task of Teaching Tamil!
Teaching and learning Tamil can push parents and students to their wit’s end. Here are some reasons why Tamil learning is easily thwarted:
- Households Hamper Development of the Language
With most households in Singapore speaking English, students are not exposed to the language on a frequent basis. This hampers their ability to pick up the language and to use it in other settings. Mother tongue mastery begins at home, as such those that do not provide a conducive and enriching environment tend to have children who are disinterested in Tamil. However, with Tamil tuition, students will have dedicated attention and ample practice. Tamil tutors emphasize fundamental language skills such as reading, writing and speaking, which are assessment objectives for national examinations.
- The Deep-Rooted Use of English
Much like their English-speaking parents and the society they live in, children may develop apathy for the Tamil language. As such, Tamil is all too easily relegated and neglected by the new generation. It should be noted that Tamil has survived thousands of years and remains one of society’s richest linguistic treasures. To perpetuate the problem, daily life in Singapore is exclusively communicated in English and therefore using another language may seem counterproductive or ineffective. With Tamil tuition, students will develop a flair and fluency through learning how to express themselves in various issues and scenarios. This renewed interest will ensure that they are sufficiently motivated to do well during examinations.
- Being Tongue-Tied Over Tamil
Linguistically, English and Tamil are very different. The Tamil language uses an ancient script which may feel unnatural to the English-speaking mouth. The pronunciation of different Tamil vowels and constants can easily intimidate beginners. This further dissuades them from using the language at home and in public. Pronunciation problems can be corrected with the help of a qualified tutor! A private Tamil tutor ensures that students polish their communication skills to face their oral examinations without fear.
Primary School Tamil
The Primary School Tamil Syllabus focuses on essential language skills such as listening, comprehending, speech and writing. Students have to develop proficiency through constant use and practice of the language. Students will take Tamil at the Standard level from Primary 1 to 4.
Source: MOE Subject-Based Banding FAQs 2019
With the introduction of Subject-Based Banding (SBB), students will take Tamil according to their ability and aptitude. At Primary 4, students sit for an internal school examination for schools to recommend the appropriate band – Higher, Standard or Foundation. Parents can follow the school’s recommendation or opt for a different subject band for their child. Students who have shown consistency and keen interest in Tamil can also take the language as a Higher Mother Tongue (HMT) subject. At Primary 5, the student takes the band chosen by the parent. The academic results from Primary 5 should be indicative of the student’s ability and parents can re-evaluate the appropriate band for their child, if necessary. Students have to perform well in order to remain in their preferred band. At the start of Primary 6, students ultimately go with the band decided by school and sit for that respective paper during PSLE. Students taking Higher Tamil will sit for 5 subjects. These students, however, will receive special aggregate deductions if they perform well.
PSLE (Standard) Tamil Examination Components:
Paper 1: Composition
Paper 2: Language Use and Understanding
Paper 3: Oral and Listening Comprehension (includes the use multimedia such as videos)
The objective of the assessment is to ensure that students can effectively and creatively communicate in the language. To do well for PSLE Tamil, students should familiarise themselves with the syllabus, ensuring that they have sufficient vocabulary and grammar.
Click here for the latest syllabus for (Higher/Foundation) Tamil.
Secondary School Tamil
In secondary school, Higher Mother Tongue Language (HTML) will be offered to students who attain a total score of 8 or higher OR between 9 to 14, with AL 1 or AL 2 or Distinction/Merit in Higher Mother Tongue.
Source: NETP Programme and Scholarship
Other specialty secondary school programmes include the National Elective Tamil Language Programme (NEPT) for exceptionally performing students. The NETP can help your child reach
a higher level of proficiency and deepen their understanding and appreciation of the Tamil language, literature and culture.
There are 6 main types of Tamil syllabi offered:
- Higher Tamil
- O-Level Standard Tamil
- N(A)-Level Standard Tamil
- Tamil Basic
- National Elective Tamil Language Programme (NEPT)
- Literature in Tamil
With the slew of Tamil language programmes, secondary school Tamil tuition is more important and necessary than ever! Private Tamil home tutors offer their wealth of experience, ensuring that students grasp the language with ease and interest!
O-Level Tamil Examination Components
Paper 1: Composition (including email writing)
Paper 2: Language Use and Understanding (includes fill-in-the-blanks and comprehension)
Paper 3: Oral and Listening Comprehension
To do well for O-Level Tamil, students need to be well-verse with hot-button issues. They need to adapt their writing to the form and tone required in Paper 1. For Paper 2, they need broad vocabulary to ensure that they can grasp meaning from comprehension texts. Having private Tamil tuition will ensure that your child has sufficient practice and revision to excel during national examinations.
Junior College Tamil
At the Junior College (JC) level, students who took Higher Tamil and performed well, will not have to sit for GCE ‘A’ Level Tamil.
Promotion criteria from JC Year 1 to JC Year 2 is stringent and is usually contingent on the student passing their mother tongue. The GCE ‘A’ Level Tamil paper is taken in JC Year 1 and if the student fails, they risk being retained. This delays their candidature for other GCE ‘A’ Level subjects, disrupting their education and prolonging it by a year.
As such, continuing with Tamil tuition in JC is imperative so that students can clear the subject. A private Tamil tutor would be able to offer diagnostics and strategically formulate a plan to help tertiary students perform well within the tight one year of preparation!
Tips and Tricks to Help with Tamil Learning
As with most languages, learning Tamil start in the home and at an early age. Here are some tips to motivate your child to learn Tamil at home:
- Translate Common English Words into Tamil
One of the fastest ways to pick up a language is through daily speech. Common English vocabulary translated into Tamil can help children register and remember its use and context. By knowing specific words in dual languages it is easier for your child to switch from their dominant language (English) to their dormant language (Tamil).
- Tell Stories in Tamil
Stories are oral traditions that have a long and rich history. They transmit culture and through an engaging narrative. As such, sharing stories with them in Tamil will impart some vital language skills. To help reinforce the meaning of every sentence, parents should try to explain what the sentence means in Tamil. There are a variety of Tamil genres in local libraries that can help motivate your child’s interest in the language. Once they have matured their readings skills, they will be have attained a higher proficiency in the language.
- Make Flash Cards
There are many kinds of learners and different students respond to different approaches. For visual learners, the use of flashcards is a good way to help them with new vocabulary. These homemade flashcards can contain illustrations or photos to help children remember nouns better. They can also have pronunciation guides to help them pronounce the word correctly. This technique ensure that students can employ new vocabulary in speech as well as writing.
- Learn through Culture
Whether it is through cooking or fashion, music or movies, sometimes the best way for parents to promote Tamil is through the richness of Indian culture. When students resonate with a particular Bollywood song or are inspired by an Indian delicacy, they begin to have interest in the language. This goes back to having a conducive home that actively promotes the use of Tamil language.
Nanyang Academics: Yours Trusted Tamil Tuition Provider
Being an established and well trusted name in education, Nanyang Academic offers quality primary, secondary and JC Tamil tuition for all students. Learning a language is a lifelong affair and the benefits reaped are manifold. When it comes to improving academic performance in Tamil, parents trust the effectiveness and quality of our tutors.
Request for a private Tamil tutor today!