The Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (MELTA) is a voluntary, not-for-profit professional organisation which was officially formed in 1982. MELTA’s stated constitutional aim is to promote English language teaching.
MELTA is deeply committed to representing all Malaysian English language educators, contributing towards their continuous professional development in line with national goals and aspirations. MELTA is run completely by Malaysian volunteers professionally involved in the teaching of English language and education in the English language. MELTA grew out of two earlier organizations - The English Language Teaching Association and The Selangor English Language Teaching Association and its combined history can be traced to the year 1958. Since then, MELTA has gone through many changes, accommodating itself to the needs of the nation’s English language stakeholders.
In August 2000, MELTA went nationwide when its first chapter was launched in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan. Since then MELTA has launched chapters in Kota Baru, Ipoh, Melaka, Kuala Terengganu, Kuantan, Temerloh, Johor Bahru, Batu Pahat, Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Sandakan, Seberang Jaya, Miri, Kuching, Kuala Lumpur and Kulim. MELTA Chapters allow for the building of communities of education practitioners, developing collegial support and self-enrichment programmes. Cross-chapter activities further advance professional collaboration at the nation-wide level, empowering teachers, students and users of the English language.
In 2008, MELTA made significant changes to its profile and the structure of the committee to widen its scope and reflect a national professional organisation. The MELTA committee now consists of an Executive council and a Bureau of directors. MELTA has also further enhanced collaborations with governmental organisations, NGOs, corporate organisations and international associates.
MELTA has some 1000 members from all over Malaysia, most of whom are practising teachers of English in the Malaysian education system. Other members are involved in English language education in some way and membership therefore ranges from pre-school teachers to university academics as well as parents who have an active interest in their children's English language development.
With the annual subscription, life membership or institutional membership, members receive a copy of The English Teacher, an annual refereed journal published by MELTA, as well as three newsletters a year and invitations to participate at a reduced rate in regular seminars and workshops organized by MELTA.
MELTA keeps members updated via its website which contains information and current news on MELTA activities and offers an online platform for Special Interest Groups related to English Language Teaching. In addition, MELTA has an on-line journal, the Malaysian Journal of ELT Research, aimed at advancing knowledge of and developing expertise in critical and scientific inquiry in English language teaching and learning. The Malaysian Journal of ELT Research, The English Teacher and the MELTA newsletters are also uploaded regularly. Other MELTA publications are featured on the website as well.
MELTA has been organizing conferences since 1991. For the first ten years, biennial international conferences were organised. From the year 2000, annual conferences became the norm. Since 2001, MELTA has organised ‘moving’ conferences: these are held in at least three venues, one either in Sabah or Sarawak. MELTA conferences help bring teachers together to share experiences and acquaint them with current thinking in ESL/EFL, introduce the Malaysian ELT community to ESL/EFL professionals from outside Malaysia and introduce Malaysia to those from abroad.
In order to encourage and promote professionalism among Malaysian English language teachers and in recognition of those who have contributed greatly to MELTA and to English language education in Malaysia in general, MELTA has instituted various awards that are presented to outstanding personalities from time to time. Among the awards are:
- The Hyacinth Gaudart Award best teacher award presented to Malaysian teachers who have performed above and beyond the call of duty in trying and challenging situations. This Award is supported by Pearson Education Malaysia.
- · The Basil Wijasuriya Award. The three best presentations by Malaysian teachers as judged by the MELTA conference judging panel will receive the Gold, Silver and Bronze Basil Wijasuriya Awards.
- · The Lifetime Contribution Award. MELTA stands today on the foundation that was, from the very first day of its inception, firmly and solidly built by a number of outstanding individuals. What is even more remarkable is the continuing support that such individuals extend to the organization up to this very day. The MELTA Lifetime Contribution Award is presented to pay tribute to the tenacity of spirit of such individuals with the hope that they become benchmarks for all who support and serve national voluntary organizations such as MELTA.
- · The MELTA Special Award. This is an award meant to recognise and thank individuals and organisations that have contributed greatly to the growth and development of MELTA as well as played a prominent role in the field of English language education in Malaysia.
- · The MELTA Commendation Award. While the management of MELTA conferences is generally undertaken by the main MELTA committee members, there have always been special individuals who have outstandingly supported us in the task of coordination and organization of the conferences. In recognition of their goodwill, MELTA often presents these individuals with a special Commendation Award.
- · The MELTA President Outstanding School ELT Project Award. This is an award presented to schools in the State where the annual MELTA conference is held. It is presented to schools that have organised and implemented creative and interesting English language projects on a school-wide scale.
- The Malachi Edwin Creative Teacher Showcase Award. This award is presented to participants who showcase teaching innovations and/or teaching simulations of effective methods/practices. The best three presentations will receive the Gold, Silver and Bronze Creative Teacher Showcase awards. Teachers in Malaysian schools are eligible.
MELTA has also devised and runs a competition for schools, most often in concurrence with the annual MELTA conferences. Titled the ‘MELTA Way With Words Competition’ the competition challenges students to improve their spelling, increase their vocabulary, learn concepts and develop correct English usage. Above all, the ‘MELTA Way With Words’ competition aims to instil interest in learning English among students. These aims take shape in a language competition that promises challenges to participants, not only in applying language skills but also thinking skills, in a fun way. The MELTA Way With Words Competition is open to ALL schools and comprises 2 categories: Upper Primary (10-12 years old) and Lower Secondary (13-15 years old).
In fulfilment of its corporate social responsibility, MELTA organises various social responsibility projects under its ‘MELT-A-HEART’ banner. Among its various activities, it collects new or pre-loved English language books from generous publishers and individuals for distribution to less-advantaged schools in remote rural areas of the country. MELTA also organises annual National special projects such as the MELTA Graduate Research Colloquium in April and the MELTA National Literacies Day in November. The MELTA Creative Teacher Showcase is organised in conjunction with the MELTA annual conference.