Proceedings of The 5th International Academic Conference on Education
The Effect of “Unequal Englishes” on the Adjustment of 7th Grade Students to a STEM High School and its Implications on the STEM Curriculum
Filbert Joseph Aguelo Ubanos
Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) has been used worldwide to promote efficient English learning; however, studies reported its negative effect on students’ English proficiency over time. This could also bring increased difficulty for students to transition to STEM-based high schools that prioritize a more English-oriented pedagogy such as the Philippine Science High School (PSHS)-Main Campus. Consequently, it may lead to what Tupas and Salonga (2016) call “Unequal Englishes”, where social class can affect English skills. Current studies lack an in-depth discussion on the effect of “Unequal Englishes” on students’ adjustment to an English-oriented curriculum. Thus, this study analyzed 7th-grade students’ experiences during their transition to the school’s English-oriented pedagogy and adjustment methods they employed. The study also identified solutions to construct a more manageable adjustment period for the students. To answer these questions, online semi-structured interviews were conducted with selected 7th-grade students who experienced difficulties adjusting to the PSHS curriculum due to their language use. Content analysis was performed afterward to identify patterns with their answers regarding adjustment and “Unequal Englishes”. The results of the study showed the students had different levels of English proficiency demonstrating “Unequal Englishes” and experienced challenges due to their limited vocabularies. Their methods in adjusting to the curriculum include increasing their exposure to English and using online sources to aid in understanding highly technical English words. STEM-based schools worldwide that use an English-oriented pedagogy can use the results to transform the current English curriculum–one that is more inclusive, fair, and liberating for all students.