ETAs in the News: English is Finally Fun

KULAIJAYA: Learning English is never fun said Mohd Khairi Azreen, a Form Four pupil of SMK Senai.
With this thought firmly planted in his mind, the teenager had to force himself to learn the subject for the sake of learning.
But his perception changed after English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Mark Pan arrived from California, USA, in February.
Group effort: The pupils had no choice but to converse in English as the ETAs do not speak in Bahasa Malaysia 
Cikgu Mark brought new meaning to the subject and made learning English fun for us,” Mohd Khairi told StarMetro.
He was among the 85 students from the school who took part in an English Language Camp organised by 16 ETAs from Johor and Pahang.
The ETAs arrived in the two states in February under the United States Fullbright Programme.
The teachers were posted at selected schools.
Mohd Khairi said since Mark’s arrival, he had introduced games and dances to make learning English fun, creating more interest among the pupils.
Another participant Chai Chuan Liang, 14, had concurred with Mohd Khairi and said the camp helped the pupils to become more confident to converse in English.
Pan said the pupils are more confident now compared to the first time he set foot in the school six months ago.
Having fun: SMK Senai students taking part in an activity.

“Initially, they were shy and reluctant to speak English, but now they are more receptive to the language and do not hesitate to converse,” he said.
He added that by participating in the camp, students had no choice but to converse in English as the ETAs do not speak in Bahasa Malaysia.
Pan, who holds a degree in Urban Education, said he was impressed with the determination shown by his pupils.
The ETA programme is a result of an understanding between the Education Ministry and the Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange under the Fulbright Programme English Teaching Assistants.
The teaching assistants are deployed to classrooms all over the world to provide assistance to teachers that teach the English language to non-native English speakers.

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