Promoting the 3Es (Exposure, Experience, Engagement) in an English-Rich Rural Primary School Community

Bitty Ansawi


In a non-native English speaking rural community, getting the community of students, teachers and parents to communicate in English is a huge challenge. When SK Rungus, a rural school in Tuaran district of Sabah, Malaysia initiated SK Rungus English Village (SKREV) as a highly immersive programme aligned to the Upholding Bahasa Malaysia, Strengthening the English Language (MBMMBI) policy in 2015, it became a proactive measure to create an English-rich environment to deliver the 3Es (exposure, experience and engagement) in English communication. SKREV became a pet project and part of the professional learning community culture where collaborative learning is encouraged and innovation to create best practice is promoted. The programme guaranteed exposure to English with the provision of facilities, materials and activities rich in the language. It provided meaningful learning experiences with emphasis on positive attitudinal change. SKREV necessitated significant engagement of stakeholders - the school leaders, the teachers, parents, community and private entities and most of all, the students in community activities carried out in an environment immersed with English language and literature. This paper describes the notable success in overcoming the barriers of shyness and awkwardness and the limitations of infrequent use of the language in a remote English speaking village within the school community. Evidences are provided on the eagerness and commitment of the students, parents, teachers and the community at large in collaborative efforts as the project slowly transformed the affinity towards English. The project encouraged creativity, innovation and strong community participation.

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