Fullbright English Teaching Assistant: Saya Malaysia Kita Malaysia: National Storytelling Camp
Fullbright Malaysia and Make it Right Movement (MIRM) organised the Saya Malaysia Kita Malaysia: A Fullbright National Storytelling Camp, a three-and-a-half-day program at the KL Campus of Brickfields Asia College 2.
The organisers aimed to make a lasting appreciation of diversity among Malaysian students and to show them various ways English can be used to express their emotions through workshops such as storytelling, podcasting to art.
The program was initiated with ice breaking sessions amongst 200 secondary school going participants from all over Peninsular Malaysia where they get to bond with their fellow participants and other English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Mentors from different states. Subsequently, a keynote speech made by the U.S Ambassador, Her Excellency, Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir who applauded the 11 ETAs who had successfully materialise this event.
The first workshop included lessons on journalism for beginners by Trinna Leong. She shared her experience as the Malaysian Correspondent from The Straits Times and working as a writer for the Malaysian Insider as well as the Reuters. She further illustrated on tips to master journalism in her session of Advanced Journalism. Students found it a necessity to be equipped with journalism skills, deep knowledge and adaptive capabilities to build a career in today’s rapidly changing and often highly disrupted media landscape. Malaysiakini, the most visited independent news source shared several pointers on characteristics of their best journalist to help cultivate interest in students to pursue journalism.
Speaker Kimchi Lai inspired students to explore beyond their familiar territory and to be outspoken, which are skills she learned when participating in slam poetry. In her session “Beginner Spoken Word” forty students acquired knowledge from the speaker’s experience participating at multi-level competitions where she was required to present orally in front of a crowd.
Storytelling serves a critical role of abstracting experiences and emotions in narrative form, undoubtedly podcast has become the most important storytelling medium. Twenty students learned the advanced techniques of podcasting by the ETA Podcasting team. They believe it improved their ability to build a stronger relationship with a mass audience.
Speakers such as singer, Alex Bong widely known as Alextbh and video producer Nandini Balakrishnan, connected well with the young crowd whom learned how to dominate stage presence. Activities such as KL Scavenger Hunt were organised to encourage team building and bonding between participants. Make it Right Movement supported the initiative by providing a suitable environment and catered for the participants at the camp.
The event was conducted to increase English fluency and confidence but also to instill important democratic values such as free thought, tolerance, and commitment to good media within Malaysia’s youth.