Photo Credit to PM Dr Siti Jamaliah Bidin (UUM)

Thank you Mr Chairperson.

Bismillahirahanirahim. Assalamualaikum wbt and very warm greetings to everyone.

Alhamdulillah we have come to an end. I would like to begin with a thank you note to

  1. The keynote speaker, Prof. Dr Barry O’Sullivan from the British Council, London.
  2. All Plenary speakers, starting with Prof. Dr Zuraidah Mohd Don from Language Academy, UTM
  3. Assoc Prof Dr. Ian Moodie from Linguistics Association of Korea
  4. Dr Johanna Motteram from Global Assessments, British Council,
  5. Mr Masato Sanpei the Chief Executive Officer of Asia to Japan and
  6. Assoc Prof Kumaraguru Ramayah from Language Academy, UTM
  7. Assoc Prof Dr Hariharan Krishanasamy from JELTA
  8. Ms Hamidah Minhaj from Colgate-Palmolive Asia pacific Limited, Hong Kong
  9. To all Paper presenters and not forgetting the seminar participants.

It has been an honour to have all of you at this seminar.  Thank you for sharing your work, experience, and knowledge and I believe it has been a very fruitful seminar to everyone.

  1. The two-day LSP 2021 International Seminar with the theme “Language in Practice: Making a Difference” aimed to provide the avenue for the discussion and deliberation of pertinent issues related to language use, practice and research in various language for specific purposes contexts.
  2. We have listened to the needs to prepare our young graduates and working adults with the communicative competence and confidence to function effectively to meet the demands of life and work in the 21st Century in various academic, social, employment and professional contexts.
  3. To make a difference and to remain relevant, it is crucial to strengthen human resource potential and communicative competence and capacity in language use.

For these 2 days, we have learned a lot from the papers presented.  I have 8 points to make…LOL… and I am going to make it brief… don’t worry.

  1. Prof Zuraidah has started the ball rolling with the talk on CEFR, we learnt how CEFR has changed the landscape of English language teaching curriculum in Malaysia.  There are, of course, great challenges faced by the Ministry of Education and as well as opportunities.
  2. Dr Moodie’s talk was very informative and made you think what do you teach your students.  DAy in and day out for language teachers are just the same routine. Sometimes we get frustrated when we see there is no improvement in our students, how can we help students increase their wellbeing in 14 weeks for those who are teaching in universities. Nevertheless, with my over 30 years of teaching experience, I believe the goal of our language teaching is not for the short term but more of for the long term.  For example, when I met my former students who are now Professors, Engineers, and etc, they could communicate very well which made me smile. For example, our Dean, Prof Ts Dr Zaidatun Tasir who was the former std of Assoc Prof Dr Halim.  For those who missed the opening ceremony, Prof TS Dr Zaidatun is the Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, who officiated this LSP 2021 seminar. Listening to our former stds, how they communicate, You feel YES, I have done my job. The thing is that the Environment is the key to the success of learning language to communicate, not solely depending on the language classroom.
  3. We then moved to the keynote speech by Prof O’Sullivan, who is not new to most of us, on Assessing English for Academic Purposes in the AI world was very insightful.  How can we use a machine for assessment especially evaluating the speaking component?  Yes, I agree with Barry. A machine is just a machine. Perhaps, we need to humanise the machine, so the machine can recognize the world Englishes.  Therefore, speakers who speak Malaysian English, like me, or Irish English, like Barry or other Englishes will not fail the speaking tests.
  4. For those who intend to work in Japan, would find the talk by Mr Sanpei and Assoc Prof Kumaraguru very useful.  Now, we know the Japanese companies have different criteria for talent recruitment, education per se will not guarantee you a job in Japan. I wish I were young so I could experience working in Japan. However, Leslie Jones said, you can achieve your dreams at any age. 
  5. Dr Motteram’s talk on Long-distance (research) relationships: taking remote work to new lengths had invited many questions from the participants, because of long-distance relationships, but research relationships. It is like an extension of Prof Zuraidah’s talk, the talk was about the research done on English language teaching in higher institutions.  It is intriguing to see how we can integrate Academic, cognitive and relational engagement in the language classroom.
  6. Then we had Assoc Prof Dr Hariharan talking about Technology-Enhanced Language learning in the Realm of LSP.  Before he started, Dr Hariharan highlighted the importance of pragmatic competence, so it is important for the language learners to know what to say, how to say and when to say.  Cultural differences play a crucial role in meaning making.   The research has shown that the use of YouTube videos in teaching English language to hospitality and tourism personnel could motivate the learners, they can watch the YouTube videos as many times as they want.  Thank you to Dr Motteram, who said, technology is a gift to language teachers, with technology teachers can get access to abundance of authentic materials for language teaching.
  7. The importance of effective English communication in the Workplace by Ms Hamidah Minhaj highlighted the importance of good command of English, which can help enhance job mastery, increase effective and confidence in communicating with stakeholders, and also for socializing purposes, because English is the global language. Similar to AP Dr Hariharan, good language and effective communication are two different things. This proves the needs of LSP that is to tailor your language to meet the specific needs of your target audience.  Bear in mind, keep it brief and simple.
  8. Last but not least, technology and the Covid 19 pandemic have changed our norms.  Maybe in future learning online is normal, but not with Face to Face. As Prof Zuraidah mentioned, this virtual world will stay with us. We could not go back to the old way of doing things, but we have to move forward. The question is, how can we address inequality?

Before I end, on behalf of Language Academy, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, UTM, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Assoc Prof Dr Abdul Halim Abdul Raof and LSP 2021 Seminar team for the excellent job.  We had more than 130 participants with more than 30 paper presentations. Appreciate if you can join me to give them a big hand virtually using emoji. Thank you.

We received many positive comments for the quality of the papers and the friendly virtual environment that we provide. This perhaps will be our first online seminar but certainly not the last. 

Thank you. It has been two days of rollercoaster. We learned a lot and will continue learning.

Let me end this session with a Pantun, but it is in Bahasa Melayu

Kalau ada Sumur di Ladang

Boleh saya menumpang mandi

Kalau ada Umur yang Panjang

Boleh kita berjumpa lagi.

The gist of the pantun is hope to see you again.

We really appreciate your support and hope to see all of you again.  Take care and stay safe.

Thank you.

Should we stay away from negative people? NO, keep them around.

Many motivators will tell us to stay away from negative people. I would agree with them. Negative people will drag you down with them. But, giving the second thought, I believe we need negative people around us to keep us moving and getting better.

Whenever I want to do something, I would always have the negative people in my mind. I would imagine what would they say, their criticisms and their disapproval. Those will lead me to take precaution steps, to minimise the loopholes. Nevertheless, unlike negative people, positive people know the limit of their ability and they believe there is still room for improvement. They are not afraid of making mistakes as Jack Ma said, we learn from mistakes and learn from other people’s mistakes. The most important thing is how we progress in our life and keep in mind that perfection is beyond the reach of humankind (Albus Dumbledore – Harry Potter).