Sunday July 8, 2012
By JEANNETTE GOON
In an age when even two-year-olds are able to use electronic devices to access the Internet, new resources have been developed to help teachers engage this new generation of pupils.
WITH the launch of the new Engaging Malaysian Schools in English (EMSE) website, primary school English teachers can now breathe a sigh of relief.
The website, which features materials developed by the British Council, is a comprehensive online teaching resource that complements the Standard Curriculum for Primary Schools (KSSR) syllabus.
While British Council online resources have been around for a while now, this Malaysian-specific website is a new fixture in their suite.
Developed by the British Council’s English Language Training Centre (ELTC) in collaboration with the Education Ministry’s Curriculum Development Division (CDD), the site provides syllabus-based resources for Years One to Six.
“The content on the site was written by Malaysian school teachers forMalaysian school teachers,” said British Council programmes manager Caspar Mays.
“The links within the lessons take you back to the other British Council websites but the lessons themselves are catered for a Malaysian audience,” he added.
In addition to classroom materials, lesson plans and teaching tips, the site includes development tools that teachers can use in order to increase their proficiency and skill sets.
Mays explained that teachers who registered on the site could attend webinars and seminars, as well as join forum discussions.
The resources include videos which they can watch to learn the correct pronunciation of English words.
“The site is constantly upgraded and updated,” said Mays, describing it as a “virtual teacher support network”.
He added that the EMSE has been in development over the last year and went live about four months ago.
During the official launch of the website, Education Ministry CDD deputy director Dr Mohamad Nor Mohamad Taib said the importance of being able to communicate in English “cannot be understated, especially in today’s competitive international market”.
“This is why the EMSE online resource is such an invaluable tool, as it provides our teachers with both online and offline teaching tools that are in line with the KSSR,” he added.
British Council Malaysia project manager Heather Smeaton expressed the hope that the EMSE would benefit Malaysian teachers.
She said: “It is the British Council’s hope that the EMSE website will provide an invaluable resource for primary school teachers in Years One to Six, by providing materials and lesson ideas for them to deliver consistently high quality and engaging English lessons.”
There are also methodology articles with each lesson idea to help drive their own professional development, she added.
Teachers without access to the Internet or computers have not been sidelined.
There are other versions of the EMSE training materials available – offline packs with printable worksheets and material in CDs, as well as printed materials for lesson ideas.
When the EMSE was first launched, a four-day training programme was held for 60 primary school English teachers where British Council ELTC and CDD trainers taught them how to utilise the resources available.
Those using the online version of the EMSE will have access to the other websites in the British Council’s suite of online resources.
These cater to a worldwide audience ranging from those who want to study for exams to those who just want to kill some time playing a fun word game.
“The EMSE resource will also provide a place for teachers to learn new and engaging ways to educate their students whilst remaining relevant to the local school curriculum,” added Smeaton.