ELT equip students with communication skills to excel in workplace

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Sabah Minister of Education and Innovation, YB Datuk Dr Yusof B. Yacob

KOTA KINABALU: English Language Teaching (ELT) professionals play a crucial role in equipping students with the necessary communication skills to excel in the workplace.

Sabah Minister of Education and Innovation, Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob, said ELT professionals therefore need a certain degree of autonomy in exercising their professional judgment about what and how to teach.

In his forward address on the 6th Malaysian International Conference on Academic Strategies in English Language Teaching (My_CASELT) 2019 and the 3rd Language Invention, Innovation & Design (LIID) Exposition 2019 to be held at the Pacific Sutera Hotel here on Aug 21 and 22, he said to produce innovative graduates, educators must be innovative too and in this global era, ELT professionals have a number of innovative tools at their disposal to enhance the teaching and learning process.

“It is imperative that they adopt a liberal mind-set that encourages exploration of novel ideas and out-of-the-box thinking when conducting classes, training, consultancy and research,” stressed Dr Yusof, who is co-Patron of My_CASELT 2019.

“However, for teachers serving in rural areas, particularly in Sabah, they are faced with the challenge of implementing creative and innovative teaching methods with limited resources.”

They have to be extremely creative in their teaching methods to sustain the interest of millennial, he said.

“Malaysia’s vision to transform from a middle to high-income advanced nation is heavily dependent on the ability of its people to initiate, employ and exploit innovative ideas to drive and sustain economic growth,” he said, adding this requires a shift towards work processes that utilise technology and new practices to produce goods and services at lower costs and minimal time.

“Consequently, one of the initiatives in the Malaysian Education Blueprint is the development of an Innovation Ecosystem which seeks to equip graduates with the aspiration and ability to come up with new, creative ways of doing things and solving problems,” he said.

Dr Yusof said graduates can no longer be job seekers, instead they should be job creators in a global village, where English is the lingua franca.

Proficiency in English is no longer an option but a necessity, he said, adding that greater teacher empowerment could possibly result in better learning outcomes.

He expressed his confidence that the MY_CASELT will provide the appropriate platform for teachers, researchers, industry and stakeholders to identify issues, propose ideas and set strategies to transform and enhance the education system in Malaysia.

The My_CASELT 2019 and LIID 2019 will be organised by Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), through Akademi Pengajian Bahasa (APB) or in English, the Academy of Language Studies Shah Alam and UiTM Sabah Branch.

The My_CASELT and LIID 2019 are unique and dedicated platforms for sharing current practices and new perspectives, said Vice Chancellor of UiTM Emeritus Professor Ir. Dr Mohd Azraai Kassim, who is also co-Patron of My_CASELT 2019.

This event provides opportunities for multi-disciplinary collaborations which will create impactful research and innovations for the world, he said, adding over the years, the conference served as a platform for global synergies across multilingual and multicultural language learning environments.

In the era of digital media, in a world without walls, where people are connected via social media, the role of English as a lingua franca has become even more prevalent, he stated.

“In addressing the increasing needs for cross-cultural communications, it is vital that ELT practitioners move in tandem with the development in the multi-ethnic, multilingual and multicultural global context.

“Being a centre of excellence, it is encouraging to see that the university is on track in positioning itself as a point of reference for the future,” he said.

He said with the themes of “Empowering ELT Professionals in a Globalised Environment” and “Empowering Practitioners’ Innovation in Language Teaching” for this year’s My_CASELT and LIID, respectively, the presenters and participants will have a unique and dedicated platform to share current practices and new perspectives with both scholars and practitioners.

”I believe that this event provides opportunities for multi-disciplinary collaborations which will create impactful research and innovations for the world,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rector of UiTM Sabah, Associate Professor Dr Hj Abdul Kadir Hj Rosline said the My_CASELT this year is significant in that it marks the first time this conference is held here in Sabah.

The collaboration between APB and UiTM Sabah has brought to fruition today’s conference as an avenue for language researchers and practitioners within the English Language Teaching (ELT) community from the Asian region and beyond to share expertise and forge professional connections, he said.

“It also contributes to UiTM’s aspirations to promote the culture of research and innovation among its academics and students,” he said, while stating his appreciation to APB Shah Alam, for placing their trust and confidence in APB UiTM Sabah to host the conference. – or/BNN