Project Anak Malaysia: Winning The Hearts Of My Students With An International Video Production (Malaysia Day 2020)

So proud of my students & the effort they put into speaking English for this video!


I've told this story countless times, but it's worth telling again. The struggle to teach English in Malaysia is real. Every year roughly 20% of the hundreds of thousands of Form 5 candidates fail the SPM 1119 English exam. When I first arrived at this school, students only spoke Iban & Malay. They had self-efficacy issues with English & behavioral problems. Some of them were even hostile towards English &, consequently, me too.

Students would turn around & take the long way when they see me coming their way in the corridors, just because they had to greet me in English & I'd stop them if they greeted me in BM. Many refer to me as "madam" with a straight face. They don't realize that it's only for married women. And a career first--I've had students run away from me in terror because they knew that I was going to rope them in for some kind of English activity.

Clearly, the English panel has to fight & win a psychological war for the hearts of our students. Only then will they allow us access into their minds. One way to do so is through participation in authentic & relevant activities like "Project Anak Malaysia" by Global Malaysian Network (GMN).

"Project Anak Malaysia" is an annual international video production by Malaysians living overseas open to Malaysian students & members of public. All I had to do was prepare my students, shoot the videos & upload them to the internet. GMN will take care of all the editing. Easy right? I recommend every teacher struggling to win the hearts of their students to sign up next year!

Initially, I invited my Form 5 students to participate in this year's edition of the project. This was the perfect memento for them to look back on in the future while practicing their English. However, only 1 student submitted a video.

Dismayed, I decided instead to involve the 2 Form 4 classes I was teaching this year, as preparation for their 2021 SPM. A majority of the students in these 2 classes struggle with English, but look at how they performed in the video. I'm so proud of the effort they put into preparing & rehearsing their scripts, as well as their courage in overcoming fear & self-doubt.

I'm so proud that I am sharing this video with the entire student population. This is evidence that budak sukan can speaking. Also, I want to inspire the juniors to open up to English too.

I realize that a paradigm shift towards a culture of English at my school will take years & much much more of such relevant & authentic activities/projects. But I see a light at the end of the tunnel. It's possible. And that's good enough for this soldier to know.

Take a look at the video & comment something nice for my students!

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