| Danial Norjidi |
BRUNEI’S first batch of English teaching apprentices left for Honolulu, Hawaii yesterday to begin the second half of their apprenticeship programme.
While in Honolulu, the 18 apprentices will be interning as teaching assistants at several elementary schools there as well as reading two modules on teaching methodology and materials design as well as classroom observations at the East-West Centre.
The apprentices are all graduates, some of whom graduated from UBD and others from other universities from various parts of the world.
This part of the programme follows the apprentices’ completion of six weeks’ of teaching placements, workshops and seminars at the University of Brunei Darussalam.
During their time at UBD, the apprentices had the opportunity to experience teaching pupils in several primary schools across the country.
On hand to see them off at the airport yesterday was the Project Executive from UBD, Dr Salbrina Hj Sharbawi, as well as officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MoFAT).
The English Teaching Apprenticeship (ETA) Programme is the eighth and newest initiative under the Brunei-US English Language Enrichment Project for Asean.
With the main objective of promoting the sustainability of the Brunei-US venture, this programme also seeks to widen employment opportunities of local graduates through aenhancement of employability attributes and attitudes.
Launched on September 18 this year in UBD by the Minister of Education, Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Hj Awang Abu Bakar bin Hj Apong, the programme focuses on applied learning where the apprentices get to integrate classroom learning with real life applications on-the-job.
As Dr Salbrina said, the curriculum also includes a module on entrepreneurship and business, which aims to nurture and hone the apprentices’ business acumen.
Following the Hawaii component of the programme, the apprentices will be sent to Cambodia and Lao PDR for a 10-month teaching placement beginning January next year.
Speaking to the Bulletin at the airport yesterday, one of the apprentices, Diana Ang, said, “Other than the teaching itself, I’m looking forward to the experiences we’re going to go through in Hawaii.”
She also affirmed that she is excited about the prospect of teaching in Cambodia or Lao PDR.
Another apprentice, Mohammad Roslee bin Mohd Yussof said of going to Hawaii for training, “It feels good. It’s a good chance for me to expand from what I have learned here. I’m looking forward to learning even more in a new location, to learn a new culture and gain some new experiences.
Asked how he views the Hawaii component of the programme will help enhance the apprentices with regards to teaching, he said, “It’s a new place, and because of that, perspectives are different, so that’s a good thing.”
On the teaching placement that will follow, he said that he is looking forward to it. “I’m used to travelling, so being in a new country where I don’t speak the language is going to be fun,” he said, affirming his eagerness to teach abroad.
One more apprentice, Ak Anwar Ridhwan bin Pg Dr Hj Mohamed, also shared his thoughts on the Hawaii part of the programme, saying that he is looking to get “a lot of experience teaching English to children who don’t usually speak it.”
On the teaching placement that will follow this part of the programme, he said, “I’m excited. I never thought I would go. Knowing that I will go feels good.
“We’ve been practicing, learning how to come up with tasks that will help children to learn without even realising they are learning,” he added.