PUTRAJAYA: There is nothing wrong in teachers undergoing the Professional Upskilling of English Language Teachers (Pro-ELT) as it helps them refresh their skills.
Pro-ELT training helps teachers learn new methods used in Britain to teach the language.
It does not mean that the teachers are weak, as some have suggested.
Teacher Nurul Kalam Zainudin from SK Putrajaya Presint 8 (2) said that, given a choice, she would voluntarily sign up for the Pro-ELT training and recommended all English teachers to undergo it, not just those who did not do well in the Aptis test.
Aptis is an English assessment that is administered by the British Council.
The Education Ministry introduced two tests in 2103 to gauge English teachers’ skills, namely the Cambridge Placement Test and Aptis.
Teachers who did not score well in these tests would be sent for upskilling programmes to improve their language proficiency.
“It’s a good refresher after we have been teaching for so long,” said Nurul Kalam, adding that teachers might forget the methodology and pedagogy skills they learnt back in college.
“The Pro-ELT trainers expose us to new methods from Britain and other countries. It is a good programme,” she added.
Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the feedback he received from teachers in the programme was positive.
“They have improved in their teaching abilities and their confidence in teaching English,” Idris said following his working visit to the Pro-ELT training centre in SMK Putrajaya Presint 16 (1), where the second cohort of Pro-ELT teachers were having their last day of training.
Idris said he was also impressed with the teaching methodologies and approaches used by the trainers in the programme, which exposed local teachers to new teaching styles.
He reiterated that an improvement in English would not be seen overnight, but that the ministry was monitoring all the language improvement initiatives.
Idris said last month that English teachers would have to achieve C1 or C2 in the Cambridge Placement Test before being allowed to teach the language.
British Council director Gavin Anderson said of the 9,000 teachers in the second cohort for Pro-ELT, 92% said it helped them improve their teaching skills in the classroom, while 87% said they would recommend the training to their colleagues.
“The state of English language learning and teaching in Malaysia is on an upward path,” he said.
Anderson added that he believed the Government was carrying out the broadest initiative of any government anywhere to improve the English language.