Despite at least eleven years of English language education, many Malaysians are still not proficient in the language which is leading to higher education having to offer further English language support, and employers complaining about the level of English language proficiency among graduates. This present study examines to what extent the respondents use English at home and with their peers, to what extent are the respondents motivated to use and learn English and to what extent are the patterns of language use and attitudes related to their proficiency in English. This study comprised a questionnaire distributed to 30, 14 years old respondents from different ethnic groups and different background from a semi-urban secondary school . The questionnaire was designed to obtain information about the respondents’ use of English, their attitudes towards English and their motivation for learning English. Nine respondents, among the 30 were interviewed to obtain in-depth insights on these elements. This study reveals that the respondents generally had a positive attitude towards learning English and were motivated to learn it regardless of their family backgrounds and proficiency levels. The respondents whose parents held professional jobs tended to be more proficient than those whose parents did not.
English being the global language plays a crucial part in order for one to fit into the real world and fit into the group of people that they are planning to communicate with. English education is meant to prepare individuals for the real world. As Hiew (2012) points out, the majority of Malaysian students are not proficient in English even upon completing the eleven years of education.
This study examines how attitude affects English Language learning among a group of Form 2 students in a semi-urban school in Seremban. It has been observed that many students in Malaysia, upon receiving minimum eleven years of English education in schools, are still unable to use the language proficiently. This leads to institutions of higher education, having to teach English to graduates as these graduates are having difficulties in obtaining jobs. This was reported in The Star (Hariati Azizan and Lee, 2011) that being top in class and the number of degrees that one has will not make the person good and proficient in English because the communication skill that is possessed is the one that helps in the real world. This is the issue that is worrying the employers.
Education plays a crucial part in every country which does not only help in the growth of the economy, but it is also important in the development of the nation. In today’s global economy, the success of the nation depends mainly on the skills and the knowledge that the