KUCHING – Swinburne University of Technology, Sarawak Campus and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Malaysia Program have successfully concluded the “Training for Teachers in English and The Next 100” workshops for 2019. A total of 23 teachers have benefitted from the workshops organized in July and October this year.
The workshops covered various pedagogies of teaching and learning English conducted by the university’s lecturers. These topics and more can be studied in-depth by taking up Swinburne Sarawak’s Master of Arts in TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages).
In addition to this, the participants were introduced to several lessons from The Next 100 manual, put together to encourage teachers to adapt these lessons to suit their students’ ages and the levels of English proficiency. Some lessons can also be incorporated into after-school activities run by the school’s Science or Nature Clubs. The Next 100 session was led by WCS Malaysia and conducted at Matang Wildlife Centre, in the outskirts of Kuching.
To encourage participants to practice a more sustainable lifestyle, the teachers were asked to track their own consumption of materials and waste management during the course of the workshop. The very first activity involved the participants taking note of what they ate for breakfast and how much waste they generated, for example, if they drank a three-in-one packet of coffee or had coffee made using a paper or reusable filter or whether they had tea made from tea bags or filtered tea leaves. Along with this, videos on the enormous garbage patches growing in our oceans and the suffering of aquatic wildlife due to plastic pollution had a great impact on the teachers. On the last day of the workshop, teachers reflected on how they would try to reduce their consumption of materials and would teach their students to do so. One teacher said she had already started refusing plastic straws when ordering drinks while another said that she would start a Nature Club at her school.
In line with the promotion of recycling used materials, the Swinburne Sarawak Green Club donated their Paplets to the workshop participants. Paplets are notebooks made from paper that has been used on one side, inspired by college students in Peninsular Malaysia whose slogan is: Saving the world, one page at a time. The Swinburne Green Club donated 102 Paplets to teachers who would be giving the Paplets to students of rural schools near Bintulu and Sibu.
Swinburne Sarawak Senior Lecturer and Green Club Advisor Christina Yin had this to say: “It is always a privilege to work with teachers from different parts of the country at the Next 100 workshops. We learn a lot from each other in terms of teaching and managing students, but the best part is hearing the teachers say that they will try to incorporate conservation in their lessons as well as reduce their consumption, especially one-time plastic use, and encourage their students to do the same. It’s important that everyone knows their actions can make a difference to our environment and wildlife.”
Dr Melvin Gumal, Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia Program and 2014 Whitley Award Winner for the Conservation of Ape Habitats added: “It is great to see the participation of the teachers throughout Sarawak and previously throughout Malaysia. Their keenness to learn how to use the environment and its issues, in the teaching of English is most heart-warming as they are a key stakeholder in helping nurture their students to care for their environment. We must thank all our partners especially the US Embassy for their continued interest in protecting the environment as their allocation of funds has enabled the teachers to travel from throughout Malaysia to this event.”
In previous years, teachers from all over Malaysia, including Teach for Malaysia fellows and Fulbright English Teaching Assistants have participated in the 4-day workshop. The last workshop, just completed on 17th October, saw 12 teachers from both rural and urban learning institutions in Sarawak making up the group. In the most recent event, the closing ceremony was graced by the Vice Chancellor of Swinburne University of Technology, Sarawak Campus, Professor John Wilson as well as the Regional Director of Wildlife Conservation Society, Mr Martin Callow.
The Next 100 and its implementation was awarded the Raja Zarith Sofiah Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award in the recently concluded MELTA Conference held in Kuching.
Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia Program is headquartered in Kuching, Sarawak, with offices in Kuala Lumpur, Kahang, Johor and Kuala Rompin in Peninsular Malaysia. Currently, WCS Malaysia works to preserve four priority species – orang-utans, sharks and rays, elephants and tigers. Go tohttps://malaysia.wcs.org/ for more information on WCS Malaysia and visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WCS.Malaysia/ for updates.