Don’t be ‘ malu’ to speak

> It’s the only way to im­prove your English: Ful­bright teach­ing as­sis­tant

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

KUALA LUMPUR: Lo­cal stu­dents, es­pe­cially those in rural ar­eas, need to over­come their dif­fi­dence if they are to im­prove their pro­fi­ciency in English.

Ac­cord­ing to a Ful­bright English Teach­ing As­sis­tant (ETA) pro­gramme par­tic­i­pant, there was a need for them to fre­quently speak English to fa­mil­iarise them­selves with the lan­guage and build up con­fi­dence.

“When I first came to the school, many of the stu­dents were quite ‘malu’ (shy). The ma­jor­ity of them have de­cent pro­fi­ciency in English but the main bar­rier is their level of con­fi­dence,” said Ge­or­gia Decker, 23, from New York.

“Many of them have a pretty de­cent vo­cab­u­lary but they haven’t had the chance to prac­tise with lo­cal speak­ers. They’re shy and that’s why it’s im­por­tant for them to break through it,” said Decker of her ex­pe­ri­ence.

Decker, who was at­tached for 10 months with SMK Balai Be­sar in Dun­gun, spoke to Ber­nama af­ter re­ceiv­ing a cer­tifi­cate of ap­pre­ci­a­tion for hav­ing par­tic­i­pated in the pro­gramme at the Malaysia Ful­bright ETA Show­case 2016 here yes­ter­day.

She was among some 100 ETAs who re­ceived the cer­tifi­cates from Ed­u­ca­tion Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral Tan Sri Khair Mo­hamad Yu­sof. They be­gan their stints in schools in Tereng­ganu, Pa­hang, Perak, Kedah, Ke­lan­tan, Perlis, Sabah and Sarawak in Jan­uary.

Decker said she was happy to have been able to as­sist English teach­ers at the school and, along the way, boost the com­mand of English among her stu­dents via class­room and out­door ac­tiv­i­ties.

Khair com­mended the ETA pro­gramme. “We’ve seen a myr­iad of ac­tiv­i­ties car­ried out by par­tic­i­pat­ing schools, rang­ing from ca­su­ally-struc­tured ses­sions to ro­bust and care­fully planned en­rich­ment pro­grammes,” he said.

The Ful­bright ETA pro­gramme places fresh Amer­i­can col­lege grad­u­ates in class­rooms abroad to pro­vide as­sis­tance to lo­cal English teach­ers, and be­come cul­tural am­bas­sadors for the United States the way. – Ber­nama

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