THERE is a need to address the gap between language learning in the classroom and actual language use in the workplace.
This will be the focus of the 15th Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta) Conference, themed Preparing ESL learners for the real world.
Aimed at helping language learners deal with real-life language needs, the conference will feature more than 120 presentations, including workshops and demonstrations, on a wide range of issues concerning literacy.
Plenary speakers include Prof Dr Ambigapathy Pandian from Universiti Sains Malaysia who will be highlighting the emergence of English as a global language, as well as the proliferation of new technologies and multi-channelled learning environments.
His paper will also consider some of the controversies surrounding learning practices in the English language, specifically with the appropriating of English in the curriculum of educational institutions and the agenda on literacy in Malaysia.
A second plenary speaker, Richard Hughes from the University of Leeds, will highlight a basic issue in the teaching of writing in ESL (English as Second Language), namely the interconnections between writing in the mother tongue and writing in English.
Hughes proposes that the main challenge faced by ESL teachers is to transfer existing skills into English and to build awareness of the grammatical, stylistic and organisational differences between the two languages.
Datin Dr Siti Zaleha Abdullah Sani from the Education Ministry will be presenting a paper that looks at real challenges surrounding the practices of teaching reading and writing to young learners.
She will also highlight the need for teachers to reflect on their teaching strategies, and examine the effectiveness of these practices in meeting the needs of learners and the demands of the system.
The conference will be held at three venues – at Awana Kijal Resort in Kemanan, Trengganu on May 31 and June 1; the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in Subang Jaya on June 5 and 6; and Merdeka Palace Hotel in Kuching on June 9 and 10.
Registration forms may be downloaded from http://www.melta.org.my or obtained from the Melta office.
The Star is the conference media partner and Penerbit Fajar Bakti/Oxford University Press, the main sponsor for the conference.