With the aim to learn teaching and mentoring skills, a group of 20 UTAR students from the Department of Languages and Linguistics of the Faculty of Arts and Social Science participated in the 2016 Fulbright Perak Peer Mentoring Programme held at UTAR Kampar Campus on 14 May 2016.
Jointly organised by the Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange (MACEE), Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri Perak, and Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah Kinta Selatan, the 2016 Fulbright Perak Peer Mentoring Programme was aimed at improving the Malaysian students’ English Language skills and knowledge of the host country, the United States. Apart from that, the programme was also aimed to coach professional schoolteachers and undergraduates who will graduate as schoolteachers on the techniques of effective and interactive English teaching and learning.
The 2016 Fulbright Perak Peer Mentoring Programme, divided into two concurrent events, namely ‘School Mentor Event’ and ‘School Coordinator Event’, served to educate Form Four students while encouraging school teachers and the UTAR students to engage themselves in interactive English teaching and learning. The programme was also a platform for school students to participate in hands-on activities which equip them with essential teaching and mentoring skills. Under the ‘School Mentor Event’, a total of 150 school students from 15 schools in Perak worked in groups on a variety of activities designed to foster leadership, teamwork, problem solving, and facilitation skills, to which the UTAR students also observed how these were carried out under the guidance of the United States Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (TA).
The ‘School Coordinator Event’ saw a total of 30 school teachers together with the 20 UTAR students participated in two practical trainings, namely ‘The Use of Projects and Activities to Engage and Motivates Students In and Outside the Classroom’ and ‘What does “Friend it Forward” mean in my school?’. The trainings were delivered by the United States Embassy English Teaching Fellow Christa Bixby and the United States Fulbright English TAs Bridget O’Neil, Jess Leidy, and Kayln Sweeney. Through the trainings, the school teachers and UTAR students learned new strategies to increase student engagement both in classroom and extracurricular activities.
One of the participants, Primary English Education student Simranjit Kaur said, “The trainings were really insightful and timely. We will be going for our internship soon and I believe today’s short yet strategic trainings will definitely assist us during our internship in school. The main element that attracted me the most was the techniques of how to mark an exam paper.” She added, “We have been taught to not only look for mistakes made by students, but also to try to encourage the students by pointing out their strengths too. I personally like this approach and I will definitely adopt that in my teaching career in future.”
Another participant, K. Vidhiyavaani enthused, “The trainings have really equipped us with plenty of useful methods focusing on effective and interactive English teaching for schoolchildren. The Fulbright English Teaching Assistants taught us to adopt and apply creative knowledge and proactive activities in the classroom. Apart from the Fulbright English Teaching Assistants, we also had the opportunity to communicate with experienced schoolteachers who attended the training as well. It was really a good platform for us to be armed with relevant knowledge.”
The 2016 United States Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Bridget O’Neil, who is currently working at SMK Seri Teja, Gopeng in Perak said, “Teaching school students is a great opportunity for me to face and go through my teenage days each day. I’m glad to be stationed as an English Teaching Assistant here in Perak. The school students are positive, cooperative, and keen to learn and improve their English proficiency.” She added, “I also would like to thank UTAR for giving us the opportunity to host the Peer Mentoring Programme in its well-equipped Kampar Campus. We were also happy to hold short trainings for UTAR undergraduates who will be graduating soon. They were so enthusiastic and keen to learn fresh teaching concepts from us Fulbright English Teaching Assistants.”
The Fulbright English Teaching Assistant programme places recent university graduates and young professionals as English Teaching Assistants in primary schools, secondary schools, or universities overseas, improving foreign students’ English Language abilities and knowledge of the United States while increasing the American students’ own language skills and knowledge of the host country. A total of 22 English Teaching Assistants took part in the 2016 Fulbright Perak Peer Mentoring Programme.
The programme ended with a simple closing ceremony. Also present at the closing ceremony were Ketua Unit Akademik Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah Kinta Selatan Ahmad Maswan bin Ahmad Fuaad, andPenolong Pengarah Unit Bahasa Inggeris Jabatan Pendidikan Negeri Perak Md Faisal bin Md Yusuf.
拉曼大学 Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman