DR. ELMI ZULKARNAIN
- THE MALAY LANGUAGE MOTIVATOR
Elemantra Academy Presents
An Interview with Dr. Elmi Zulkarnain - The Malay Language Motivator
More than to just gain Malay Language knowledge, the goal should be to have Malay smoothly come out of your mouth.
He is often referred as a teacher, tutor, coach and trainer but he wants to be known as a Malay Language Motivator. He does not want to just teach, he wants to motivate and inspire his students to learn and apply what he has taught them. Professionals from around the region — especially Singapore — rely on him to get them up to speed with Bahasa Melayu (Malay Language) skills relevant to their fields. Each student gets a customised lesson plan for the two-hour classes that fits his or her goals.
The recipient of the inaugural Anugerah Guru Arif Budiman (AGAB) and the Outstanding Youth in Education Award (OYEA) taught clients including CEOs who need help understanding the colloquial use of Bahasa Melayu of their colleagues, sales managers who need a hand preparing a presentation, and staff of the People’s Association (PA) who need to learn the language of their Malay residents.
The Singapore-born trainer, who tutored his fellow grassroots leaders (GRLs) and community volunteers in Malay Language, began teaching professionally at a government-funded school, where large class sizes meant he had to work harder to connect with each of his students including many gifted ones. “I would always walk around teaching every single person based on their background and experience,” Dr. Elmi says, which helped him learn how important conversation is to the learning process.
It is an advantage to be a native Malay Language speaker. “If you learn a language naturally, and in addition studied the language formally, you can easily explain all the grammatical issues from about five different angles.”
And like any great teacher, Dr. Elmi has a drive and real excitement for learning that he says his students pick up on. “If you want to learn a language, you need someone who’s going to kick your butt,” he says. That means he’s willing to reprimand the worldliest diplomats and CEOs when they don’t do their homework. But he also has to be a good conversationalist to get the language flowing. “It’s like working with a personal trainer: You’re not going to put in effort for someone you don’t like,” he says.
He puts in extra hours to develop lesson plans for his students. To get his clients talking, Dr. Elmi familiarises himself with human rights issues, international politics or macroeconomics as he builds vocabulary lessons for his students.
“I can get excited about almost anything,” he says. Some subjects, though, are harder than others for him to sink his teeth into. “I have had to research and discuss building bridges and such. That was a little dry.”
Dr. Elmi’s piece of advice, “To get good at the piano or guitar first you must learn the basics. Then you must diligently practise it over and over. And then in the end... your fingers move smoothly and you can play the instrument. It’s the same for learning Malay.”
- end of interview
If you are seriously interested to learn Malay very quickly and easily, and in a fun way; feel free to send your inquiries to email@example.com
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