PUTRAJAYA, Oct 30 — Students Thresa Martina, 13, and Belinzia Lai, 15, are too shy to speak in English or even perform for an English musical show.
That was before they participated in the Fullbright English Teaching Assistants (ETA) Programme.
However, after participating in the ETA Programme, the English proficiency of the duo studying at the Sekolah Kebangsaan Bau in Sarawak improved significantly.
Thresa said she used to speak “broken English” but when the programme’s English Teaching Assistant Christa Schmidt , 23, from Texas, United States, came to her school, it helped and built up the students’ confidence level in the language.
She said Schmidt also introduced a musical show, ‘High School Musical Junior’ for the students here to make learning the English language fun all the way.
“We hope there will be more ETA coming to the schools again next year,” she told reporters after the Fullbright Malaysia ETA showcase 2017 here today.
Also present were Education Ministry Deputy Director-General (Education Operation Sector) Aminudin Adam and Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange (MACEE) executive director Dr James Coffman.
Thresa said she and her schoolmates were planning to collect funds to organise another English musical show to display their language proficiency.
A total of 98 ETA taught and ran community projects across eight states in Malaysia for the past 10 months.
Each year, hundreds of young American graduates teach English and start community ventures for thousands of Malaysian students in rural and remote areas.
The ETA are assigned to schools for 10 months where they work under the supervision of qualified Malaysian teachers to enrich the schools’ English language instruction.
Following its success, Aminudin said the ETA programme would be extended for another three years through 2020.
“The ministry will continue sending ETA to schools which perform poorly in English in 2018. As we look back on the programme, it was a journey that started out with hesitant and tentative steps. Now, we see just how far our young learners have progressed. How confident they have become.
“We want more students to be involved in the programme and gain similar experience,” he added. — Bernama