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English lecturers from China commence 3-week course at Curtin Sarawak

Miri – 4 August, 2010 – 12 English language lecturers from Hanshan Normal University in Chaozhou, Guangdong, China, commenced a 3-week English training course at Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) on Monday.


The course is the result of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Curtin Sarawak and Hanshan Normal University in Chaozhou in November last year for the conducting of a short-term English training course at Curtin Sarawak for Hanshan academic staff, among other spheres of collaboration.


The MoU signing itself followed a familiarisation visit by a four-member delegation from Hanshan comprising its Vice President, Zhuang Donghong, Dean of Foreign Language Department Zhang Ruolan, Director of Education Affairs Huang Jingzhong and Chen Weijia, a staff member of the university’s Foreign Affairs Office, to Curtin Sarawak in June last year.


The course, which will run until 19 August 2010, focuses on language teaching methodologies, the latest instructional strategies, structuring English language teaching for speakers of languages other than English, and on understanding learning styles to enhance student language learning experiences.


A team of highly-experienced lecturers comprising Dean of the School of Foundation and Continuing Studies Beena Giridharan, Head of Teaching and Learning Alison Robson, English lecturer Serina Ann Doss and project officer/English lecturer Sarah Davey will be conducting the course.


Besides classroom instruction, the lecturers will also get the opportunity to visit various places of interest in and around Miri as part of their learning experience here.


According to Beena, it is hoped that such holistic and educational experiences will help them attain better English language proficiency as they are all expected to use them to demonstrate their communicative abilities in class, including presenting a synopsis of their experiences in Miri at the end of the course.


The lecturers were officially welcomed by Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Kerr, Beena, Davey, Student Recruitment Manager Liew Mei Yin and Learning Centre Officer Catherine Wee at a welcoming reception on Monday morning.


In his welcoming speech, Professor Kerr said, “I am very pleased that the MoU we signed with Hanshan Normal University has brought about some very positive outcomes, such as this English training course, and I trust all of you will have a most beneficial experience here in Miri.”


Professor Kerr pointed out that Miri offered many tourism and cultural experiences as well, and he hoped the lecturers would take full advantage of the sightseeing tours and leisure activities organised for them on the weekends to truly experience Miri.


Beena, meanwhile, stressed that the course was not an English language course but rather focused on the methodologies of teaching the language, seeing as all the lecturers were already experienced English lecturers, some having more than 10 years’ experience teaching the language.


“The purpose of the course is to help them gain new insights into the teaching of languages, learn the latest methodologies, and thus improve their teaching skills,” she said.


Hanshan Normal University, which is run by the government of China’s Guangdong Province, has a long history and profound culture. Established in 1903 during the Qing Dynasty, it was the first school to train teachers in Guangdong and has trained a large number of teachers for elementary education in the province.


The university has 11 faculties, including an Institute of Mathematics and IT, Institute of Political Science and Law, Chinese Language and Literature Department, Physics and Electronic Engineering Department, Foreign Language Department and Education Science Department.


Professor Kerr (centre) and Curtin Sarawak staff with lecturers from Hanshan Normal University.