Miri – 18 February 2011 – The [email protected] 2011 workshop organised by Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) last Saturday was a most entertaining and educational experience, according to the 141 secondary school students who attended.
Organised by the university’s School of Foundation and Continuing Studies, the workshop challenged the students to be more inquisitive about their surroundings, as well as taught them the importance of a positive attitude, how to acquire knowledge to transform themselves, and how to be effective leaders.
The students were from SMK Merbau, SMK Chung Hua, SMK St. Joseph, SM Sains, Kolej Tun Datu Tuanku Haji Bujang and SMK St. Columba.
The workshop kicked off with an icebreaker session facilitated by the Curtin Volunteers!, Curtin Sarawak’s student volunteer organisation, followed by the first workshop session on transformative knowledge facilitated by Beena Giridharan, Dean of the School of Foundation and Continuing Studies, and Kamaroizan Mohamad, head of the school’s Department of Engineering and Science.
Beena welcomed the students and stressed the importance of acquiring knowledge to empower oneself. Thereafter, the students’ knowledge of history, world geography and science and technology were put to the test in fun quizzes led by Beena and Kamaroizan.
The session was specially designed for personal development; to motivate and inspire the students to develop their potential and also show them that there was no such thing as ‘boring subjects’ and that it is up to students to make subjects interesting.
The subsequent session on creative thinking facilitated by associate lecturer Winnifred Winston Manggi of The Learning Centre required the students to discuss and present creative ideas and solutions to a myriad of interesting topics and issues like ‘the end of the world’, ‘how to be a billionaire’, ‘ways to stop human trafficking’, ‘creative inventions’ and ‘world power’.
This was followed by a session on leadership during which senior lecturer Bibi Aminah Abdul Ghani gave a talk on ‘Leading by Example’ and associate lecturer Jameson Malang led the students in activities in which leadership and team effort were the main themes.
The final session highlighted the importance of possessing a positive attitude and involved talks by economics lecturer Crystal Lau Chun Yun; Wendy Law Li Ling, head of the Department of Commerce and Arts; and associate lecturer Hii Bai Yien of The Learning Centre.
At the close of the workshop, Beena invited participants from each group to share their thoughts and comments on the workshop, which allowed them to demonstrate what they had learned in terms of personal expression, sharing of views and constructive feedback, as well as interaction between their peers and instructors.
Most of the students said they learned a lot from the workshop, particularly with regard to teamwork and how communication is a vital tool in completing a task. They also enjoyed the quiz sessions which they said sparked their interest in doing further reading. The students also committed to work on their self-analyses derived from the workshop to prepare for the future.
“This is the second workshop I’ve attended at Curtin Sarawak and they have always met my expectations. I didn’t really know what to expect but, to me, that is what makes the workshops interesting. The unexpected and exciting sessions is the reason why I would always sign up for workshops conducted by the university,” remarked one of the students.
A majority of the students looked forward to similar events to help them in enhancing their English proficiency in the near future. There were also requests to incorporate some interesting outdoor activities in the next workshop.
According to Beena, the workshop has been held annually since 2008 and this year’s event received an overwhelming response from the schools and parents alike.
“I am very pleased with the outcomes of this workshop. I was inundated with requests from many schools wanting to send their students, even up to the very last minute. This kind of response is excellent as it encourages us to organise a better, and hopefully, bigger event next year,” said Beena.