Programs & Events
Ambassador Paul W. Jones Hosted a ‘Welcome Home Tea’ for VOLVIS Alumni
On May 1, 2012, Ambassador Paul W. Jones hosted a ‘Welcome Home Tea’ for ten alumni who recently returned from a 10-day Voluntary Visitor (VOLVIS) Program on “TESOL: English-Language Teaching and Administration” at his residence.
In his remarks, Ambassador Jones highlighted that this year marks the 50th Anniversary of Peace Corps in Malaysia and mentioned that the 50 English Teaching Assistants (ETA) in the country today will be carrying on the legacy of the Peace Corps by assisting teachers in English Language instruction and motivating students to improve in their English Language skills. The Ambassador also noted that the ETA program was made possible due to the shared commitments of President Obama and Prime Minister Najib to expand people-to-people exchange programs between the United States and Malaysia, and mentioned that the program will be expanded in 2013.
The English Language Officers (ELOs) from the ETA program states of Terengganu, Pahang and Johor spent the afternoon with Ambassador Jones and a few other Embassy personnel including the Counselor for Public Affairs. They shared their positive experiences on the VOLVIS program, noting how very impressed they were with American hospitality and professionalism.
The ensuing discussion focused on several key issues concerning English Language education in Malaysia, and the ELOs were particularly keen to implement the dual immersion program that they had been introduced to during their visit to Salt Lake City, Utah whereby students are taught literacy and academic content in English and a partner language (Malay in the Malaysian context). The goal of dual language immersion is to help students develop high levels of language proficiency and literacy in both program languages.
The ELOs also suggested that the Embassy should work with the Malaysian Ministry of Education to bring in an American specialist to Malaysia to speak about a Trust School program, which is a program that brings in experts from all over the world as consultants to guide and mentor local teachers and administrators on English Language education to improve the quality of education.
Concerning the ETA program, the ELOs expressed great enthusiasm for the expansion of the program, as they find it very effective and the students’ proficiency in English Language is gradually improving. The youthfulness and the openness of the ETAs also contribute to the students’ performance; it allows both parties to easily connect with each other and it makes learning more fun and exciting. The ELOs also suggested that the ETAs should be exposed to an actual school environment during their orientations - prior to their assignments.
The ELOs praised the value of the VOLVIS program, thanking the U.S. Embassy for the rewarding exchange experience and expressing interest in taking advantage of more opportunities in the future.