The Colombo Plan Staff College (CPSC) welcomed thirteen faculty members from the Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna (RMUTL), Chiang Mai, Thailand for a 10-day training and capacity building on teaching English as a second language. This partnership with the Rajamangala University of Technology system is already the third of its kind in only two years since the MOU was signed between the two institutions.
It is undeniable that the need for personnel with ample English skills is very much in demand in the present world of work. After all, English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world apart from Mandarin and Spanish. It has been widely spread across the globe that it has turned into the leading language of international discourse and the lingua franca in many regions. English is also one of six languages of the United Nations. A working knowledge of this language has become a pre-requisite in a number of fields, occupations and professions; hence over a billion people speak English to at least a basic level.
At the end of the training, the faculty members were expected to: (1) demonstrate an understanding of the major linguistic, psycholinguistic, and sociolinguistic issues in second language learning in formal and informal contexts; (2) demonstrate an understanding of the intersection between culture, language, language learning and teaching, and language use with particular reference to English as a global language; (3) identify the instructional strategies that go with the established teaching methods; (4) design supplementary materials for use with particular instructional strategies; and (5) develop language tests and assessment instruments.
Led by the head of the English Department of RMUTL, Mrs. Sirilak Infang, the participants are composed of faculty members teaching practical and technical English courses at RMUTL. Some of these subjects include: English for everyday use and conversation, English for specific purposes such as Tourism, Media and Technology, Career/ Office work and Academe, Technical English subjects such as Phonetics and Phonology, Translation of English to Thai, and other related subjects.
CPSC in partnership with the Ateneo de Manila Center for English Language Training (ACELT) provided the technical expertise and knowledge requirements of the program. Faculty members of ACELT namely: (1) Dr. Isabel Pefianco Martin, Assistant Professor; (2) Ms. Maria Elena Canilao, Instructor and (3) Ms. Devi Benedicte I. Paez, Instructor were among the roster of Resource Persons for the program.
Overall supervision is under the helm of Dr. Mohammad Naim Yaakub, CPSC Director General while program coordination is facilitated by Dr. Paiboon Saiyawongs, CPSC Short-Term Faculty Consultant. Dr. Hazrat Hussain, CPSC Faculty Consultant and Mrs. Violeta Laraya, former assistant to former CPSC Director, also shared their experiences and expertise with the participants.
Other topics include: Teaching Methodologies in English as Foreign Language (EFL)/Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL), Designing of Lessons and Assessment of Learning Outcomes in EFL/TESOL. The participants were also exposed to topics that are of regional significance such as the challenges of education in the ASEAN community, teamwork culture for productivity and competitiveness and cross-cultural understanding.
The participants had the opportunity to visit some of the premiere universities in the country such as the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and the University of the Philippines (UP).