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A great workout with words

The participants were all revved up after the workshop.

The participants were all revved up after the workshop.

A Petronas-sponsored programme turns out to be the perfect platform for language learners.

WITH operations in more than 50 countries, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) deals with international counterparts on a regular basis with English being the main medium of communication.

Petronas group human resource management senior vice-president Datuk Raiha Azni Abd Rahman noted that given the current challenging working environment, it is important for young people to improve their language proficiency and communication skills, especially in English.

“This will give them the competitive edge against their peers as they head into employment.”

With that in mind, Petronas has sponsored RM150,000 worth of The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) pullout to complement the company’s existing contribution for the Transforming English in Terengganu (Trenglish) programme.

Raiha Azni said that one of Petronas’ missions is to contribute to the well-being of society. “This sponsorship is where we focus on providing access to education to those in need and also to build their capabilities.”

“I hope this contribution will complement and facilitate the existing work that teachers do in schools, by providing alternative teaching aids that can stimulate student’s interest in learning English.

“Hopefully, it will also cultivate reading habits among students and more importantly, encourage them to think critically about how and where to source for information,” she added.

Each sponsored pullout comes with a copy of The Star newspaper. As supplements to Petronas’ sponsorship, two NiE workshops in Terengganu were planned to bolster the use of newspapers in class.

Using newspapers to spark the creativity of students seemed to have been the key takeaway at the first workshop held on July 9 in SMK Dato’ Haji Abbas, Kuala Terengganu.

The 100 participants comprising teachers, T-Help (Terengganu Hired English Language Personnel) assistants and students were struck by the many word games and activities.

SM Imtiaz Kuala Terengganu T-Help assistant Syakirah Abdul Halim, 25, said the activities they learnt from the workshop were all about creativity.

“Young people have ideas and the activities encourage students to be imaginative and creative in order to complete the task,” said Syakirah.

One of the activities that she found interesting was to create a poster for an imaginary theme park. The poster was done using cutouts of pictures and words from the newspaper.

“I think the requirement for them to make a presentation from just pictures will help boost their confidence and their communication skills in English,” she said.

“Using the newspapers for these activities will also help them keep up-to-date with the latest happenings as well as improve and widen their general knowledge.”

Norhaslina Abd Ghani, 44, who has been teaching at SMK Bukit Tunggal for 19 years also said that using newspapers for such activities could help improve the students’ vocabulary.

“The activities taught during the workshop are good because they are applicable in the classroom and allow students to engage with their peers.

“It is also good as it taps their creativity,” she added.

SM Imtiaz Besut student Ameerul Shafiq Abdul Manaf, 16, said he enjoyed the activities and learnt several new idioms.

“I learnt many idioms such as ‘let’s call it a day’ which I hope to use in my daily interaction and communication with others,” said Ameerul.

“We also had to learn how to think out of the box in order to complete our activities. They were all rather challenging.

“I hope I will have the opportunity to join a similar programme later.”

Another participant Ahmad Salsabil Wan Anuar said that the facilitator was helpful and did her best to make sure the group did not feel pressured.

“Now, I feel more confident in communicating in English because of the many activities,” he said.

The programme, sponsored by Petronas and in collaboration with Yayasan Terengganu, was conducted by NiE freelance trainer Anna Cherubin who will be conducting another workshop in Kuala Dungun soon.

Yayasan Terengganu deputy director of education Hashim Azmi Che Noh said the NiE collaboration was a way of enabling teachers and students to teach and learn English.

“We want students to become more capable in speaking and writing in English and to continuously improve the standard,” he said.

“And we believe that NiE is a good way to help improve the level of English in the state.”

Education , Petronas , nie , workshop