The recent English Connect Workshop, which aimed to enable the audiences to have better understanding of the English language, especially in Malaysia, including CEFR and English dilemma in Asia and to enhance their English communication skills was organised by Language Academy, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, UTM in collaboration with KLC Education Group. The project leader was Dr. Kew Si Na together with the project collaborator, Mr. Sean Chia.
The first day of English Connect Workshop, comprised two sessions entitled “English Language Educational Standard – What it means and How We Get There” and “Common European Framework of Reference: Its Purpose and Relevance”, was conducted on 16th October 2021. The invited speaker was Prof. Dr. Zuraidah binti Mohd Don, an expert in the field, and was assisted by the moderator, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hanita Hassan, the Chair of Language Academy, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, UTM. These two sessions were held on Streamyard platform and broadcasted live on three official Facebook pages; FSSH UTM, Language Academy and KLC English Education Malaysia, which have received over 2100 views till date.
During the online sessions, Prof. Dr. Zuraidah explained the meaning of CEFR which is the abbreviation for Common European Framework for Reference, and elaborated how it is implemented in order to standardize the educational system in Malaysia. She also highlighted that, “CEFR is not an exam”, but relatively a benchmark for the educational system to follow and standardize in order to make sure that the educational system is aligned with the international standards. This includes MUET for instance, and any other English test for students and teachers across Malaysia.
In Q&A sessions that took place between the slots, many active participants were engaged with the sessions and asked questions concerning the topic related to the current CEFR system and the standardization of the English educational system in Malaysia. One of the participants asked about “How are the students eager to communicate in English although they do not speak fluently and are not confident to speak? Is there any notable approach that can be taken by teachers to boost the students’ confidence?” Prof. Dr. Zuraidah replied, “Let them enjoy. Let them laugh. Don’t interrupt. No penalize.’“Another interesting question dropped heated the discussion floor regarding the flexibility in altering the textbook content accordingly, in which Prof. Dr. Zuraidah emphasized that the educators are encouraged to modify and change the teaching activities from the textbook due to the students who come from different backgrounds. However, she also reminded the teachers to be careful in adjusting the activities in case it is more difficult than the original one in the textbook.