INCONSISTENCIES IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING IN PAKISTAN:A COMPARISON BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS Prepared for: Ma’am Marriyam MinhasCOMSATS INSTITUTE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGYISLAMABADPrepared by: Qurat ul ain Faisal(SP17-BBA-073)Mahnoor Fatima (SP17-BBA-083)Tehreem Fatima (SP17-BBA-093)Mahnoor Khalid (SP17-BBA-084)BBA-2BTABLE OF CONTENTS:Introduction of the studyIntroductionBackground InformationStatement of the problemReview of related literatureMethodMethods of the study Methods of data analysisScope of the study/Limitations of the studyAims and objectives OrganizationResults Findings and Discussion Conclusion Recommendations References INCONSISTENCIES IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING IN PAKISTAN:A COMPARISON BETWEEN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INSTITUTIONSSection 1 Introduction to the studyIntroductionOf all the languages in the world today, English is the widely-spoken language. It is the most common platform for communication among the peoples of different nations.A very important reason for giving the status of world language to English is that the world’s knowledge is enshrined in this language. Countries in Asia and Africa, which were till recently under the British rule, get their scientific knowledge and technical know-how from books written in English. Thus the knowledge of English has helped these countries in maintaining the high level of intellectual and scientific training and achievements.
Randolph Quirk points out : “There are now something like 250 million people for whom English is the mother tongue or first language.” If we add to this the number of people who have a working knowledge of English as a second or foreign language the total number is raised to about 350 million.Background InformationEnglish is being learnt and used all over the world not out of any imposition but through the realization that it has certain inherent advantages. Today the compulsions of learning English are no longer merely political but scientific, technological and social. No longer is English the language of Great Britain only; it is the language required by the world for greater understanding. This is the reason why only English is used as international conferences and in the forums like United Nations Organization (UNO).For a developing country like Pakistan, the importance of learning English can never be over-emphasized.
Although English is taught at almost all levels and is considered as a core subject, yet the conditions under which it is being taught are far from satisfactory. From physical infrastructure to the teachers’ salaries and from government prescribed textbooks to the teaching aids available, everything seems to be in doldrums. It is high time for a country like ours to rethink its priorities and reinvigorate its whole system of education, with special emphasis on teaching English language effectively.Statement of the ProblemTotally different ELT methods are being used at the secondary level in private sector elite schools and the state-run public schools.
This difference is creating a gulf between the students of these two types of educational institutions.Review of Related LiteratureIn the book titled Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching, Larsen-Freeman (2000) presents an overview of language teaching methods, and the principles underlying them, that have been current at one time or another, within the period of a 100 years or less. These are:The grammar – translation method The direct methodThe Audio Lingual MethodThe silent wayCommunity language learningTotal physical response Learning strategy training, cooperative learning and multiple intelligencesMemon (2000) describes the scenario and real picture of Pakistani public school language classroom that, “the teachers tend to see their role in terms of a narrow view of teaching as ‘instructor’ or ‘director’. He further states, “Consequently their students may adopt a ‘surface approach to learning” (p.41).
Several other evidences show that language is learned for the sake of passing examinations, not for developing skills such as listening and speaking. Teachers mostly practice traditional teaching methods which focus on reading and writing as the primary skills but productive skills such as speaking and listening are given no importance.According to Bashiruddin (2003) and Panah (2000) English language teachers are not proficient in speaking English and this is the main obstacle in the way to teaching English in Pakistan. They have lack of awareness of new methods and approaches of teaching different skills. Additionally, these teachers “excessively use mother tongue in the classroom discourse and little attention is paid on students’ listening and speaking skills” (Memon, 1989, p.66).
An interesting point is made by Tyler who describes the results of an experiment by stating that the “old teaching methods such as; grammar translation method produced habits indicative of deciphering and not of reading” (Tyler 23).There is always a silver lining to every dark cloudGood habits are formed by having students produce correct sentences and not through making mistakes. Errors were to be avoided through controlled opportunities for production (either written or spoken). By memorizing dialogues and performing drills the chances for making mistakes are minimized. Accurate mastery was stressed from the very beginning stages of language learning, since it was assumed that if students made errors these would quickly become a permanent part of the learner’s speech.
(Richards 4, 6)Some authors agree that in no circumstances should some routines be broken. In a book on language education, the typical procedures are described. It reads that the teacher “starts the lesson with revision of the previous lesson. He examines the pupil individually by asking them to come to the blackboard, they are asked to do an exercise, respond to teacher’s questions or sometimes the whole class takes a written test.” According to the same book, the next step is the “examination the teacher explains a new subject matter and practices it with exercises” (Chudá 19). Methods of the StudyMethodology adopted for a research project is of utmost importance for the whole research exercise.
It is the base upon which the whole superstructure is built.For this research project, the researchers adopted analytical way of research. The quantitative way of analysis was adopted.
The researchers developed two questionnaires for data collection. The first questionnaire was administered among the students of Grade 9 and 10 in public schools and the elite private high schools. The second was distributed among English language teachers of both the types of schools. The data thus obtained was presented in the forms of tables. On the basis of this quantitative analysis, findings and suggestions were finalized. The population of the research was Rawalpindi City. 300 students were selected using random sampling technique. The study was descriptive in nature.
For the purpose of the study, two questionnaires were developed and administered to the sample of the study. Likert scale on the pattern of analytical way of research was developed.Methods of Data AnalysisThe questionnaire for the students contained 19 questions which were divided into 3 sections. These sections are as follows:(a) Questions regarding Teaching Methods.
(b) Questions regarding Learning Facilities. (c) Questions regarding Learning Outcomes.The collected data was organized in a checklist. The ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ response to each question was counted and a table for formed. Both the types of responses were counted and the percentages were calculated. The questions asked were as follows:”While teaching a book lesson, my English teacher translates each and every line of the lesson in Urdu, for us.””Our English teacher dictates essays, letters and applications line by line to us.
” “Does your English teacher conduct vocabulary games, dialogue drills, grammar quizzes, role play, and speech competitions in the classroom?” “Does your teacher use recorded material, multimedia projector slides and computer educational software for teaching you English?” “I and my classmates help one another in solving our academic problems through mutual discussion.” “Do I find lessons in my English textbook interesting and according to my learning needs?” “My school library has good English books, dictionaries, encyclopedia, and these are completely accessible for me.” “I practice my English speaking skills with my parents, cousins and friends.””I think internet chatting, Facebook, twitter and browsing have helped me in improving my English language skills.””I take extra tuition of English after school.””When my English teacher asks me a question, I understand it perfectly and answer directly in English” “When I watch an English programme, news, film on T.V.
, I can fully understand the dialogues” “When trying to speak English, I cannot form sentences in my mind quickly.” “I am always hesitant in speaking English because if I make a mistake, people would laugh at me.” “If I meet an Englishman, I will be able to talk to him in English without any hesitation.” “I read English story books, comics and newspapers at home.
” “I have a good understanding of English grammar rules.” “I can write paragraphs/essays on a given topic, all by myself.” “My vocabulary is fairly good.” Scope of the Study/ LimitationsEnglish language can be considered as the backbone of education, in present times. A developing country like Pakistan cannot even imagine of raising its standard of education without giving due importance to English language teaching at all levels.This study was targeting majority of the public and private schools for their English language teaching methods. Furthermore, the environment provided in both type of schools, financial status of the children enrolled, and how the children turn out to be in the future with the knowledge of English that they possess was also found out with the help of this study. This study was limited to students of 10th grade as that is the ‘make or break’ year of all students.
The study was done just to determine English learning techniques only in schools of public and private sector.Aims and ObjectivesThe study aims at finding answers to the following questions:i.Why do we see the students of institutions like Beaconhouse School, City School, Froebel’s School, etc. conversing fluently in English whereas the students of state-run public schools are always reluctant in sharing their ideas in social gatherings?ii.
Do the pass-outs of these two types of institutions perform equally well in higher education and have the same prospect in finding a suitable place in the job market?iii.Why is passing English, No.1 problem for the students of Urdu-medium schools?iv.Why is there a dearth of capable and competent English teachers in our country?OrganizationA large number of graduates can be found in this country who, even after having learnt English for 14 years, cannot write a few pages in English without making grammatical mistakes and other flaws. Having a proper conversation in English with someone is an uphill task for them.
On the other hand, we have some private educational institutions who train their pupil to read, write and speak English flawlessly. Giving an immaculate proficiency in the use of English is their hallmark.The significance of the present study is due to its aim to unearth the secret behind the success of the elite schools in polishing the English skills of their pupil, and also to find the reason(s) behind the failure of state-run public schools in doing the same. In addition to putting across the inconsistencies in ELT methods being used in Pakistan, this study also attempts to suggest ways in which the existing flaws can be removed. ResultsThe study of the responses from the students and the teachers proved to be quite a daunting task, yet it was equally interesting. Some of the responses were quite unexpected. The findings of this research work have been divided into 3 categories and are stated as follows:FINDINGS REGARDING TEACHING METHODS Grammar translation method vs.
direct methodCreative writing Learning activities Use of additional teaching materialStudents’ self-helpFINDINGS REGARDING LEARNING FACILITIES Textbooks LibraryInternet, computers, projectors, etc.Environment at home Internet, chatting, Facebook, Twitter, etc.Reliance on home tuition FINDINGS REGARDING LEARNING OUTCOMESListening skills Speaking skillsReading skills Writing skills Findings The questions and their findings are as follows: “While teaching a book lesson, my English teacher translates each and every line of the lesson in Urdu, for us.” %age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No.
AnswersGovt. School Students 92%8%Private School Students 18%82%The above data reveals that the age old Grammar Translation Method of teaching English is still widely being used in the govt. schools whereas English teachers of the private elite schools have switched over to The Direct Method. The response to a related question revealed that 88% of govt. school students were in favour of line by line translation done by the teacher. They found this translation crucial to their understanding of the lesson content. On the other hand, 91% of private elite schools’ students thought that there was no need of a line by line translation into Urdu. They were capable of understanding the content of an English lesson directly.
“Our English teacher dictates essays, letters and applications line by line to us.” Responses of students:%age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No. AnswersGovt. School Students98% 2%Private School Students 46% 54%The above data reveals that the vast majority of English teachers at Govt. schools still use the same old method of dictating the essays, stories, letters and applications to their students. The students rote-learn these items and reproduce the same in their answer sheets during exams.
Creative writing is promoted nowhere in govt. schools. On the contrary, the private elite school English teachers motivate their students to produce their own write ups.
They just provide the word bank and the outline. The students do the composition by themselves.”Does your English teacher conduct vocabulary games, dialogue drills, grammar quizzes, role play, and speech competitions in the classroom?” % of Yes Answers % of No Answers Govt. School Students 22% 78%Private School Students 82% 18%The above data tells us that the vast majority of English teachers at state-run public schools believe in ‘going by the book’.
They find it convenient to stick to the prescribed textbook handed down to them by the authorities. They just conduct the exercise given at the end of each lesson and think that it is enough for the students. No creative activities like role play, competition and quizzes are conducted. The primary reason for this, according to them, is the time constraint. They have one period of 45 minutes each day and they have to ‘finish’ the book before the end of the academic year. This is a daunting task in view of the volume of syllabus and the time available. On the other hand, teachers at private elite schools do find ways to embed such activities every now and then. They are of the view that such activities are a break away from the stagnant routine.
The students love to break away from the monotonous routine. Thus they take keen interest in class quizzes, role play, vocabulary games, etc. These activities do augment their learning capability.”Does your teacher use recorded material, multimedia projector slides and computer educational software for teaching you English?” %age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No. AnswersGovt. School Students 0%100%Private SchoolStudents44% 56%The above data reveals that English teachers at state-run public schools never use additional teaching material mentioned in the question. They think that just teaching the textbook lesson and doing the exercises in these books are enough.
Some teachers said that they understood the importance and effectiveness of using additional teaching material and were willing to use the same, but time restraint was in their way. They said that they were required to complete the prescribed syllabus in the textbooks before the end of the academic year. This was the sword of Damocles always hanging over their head. So, there was hardly any time for them to use additional material in their English class. On the contrary, teachers at the Private elite schools do take the pain of finding and using such material from the market and the internet.
Many teachers said that they explore websites and search for PowerPoint presentations, online grammar games and teaching softwares which they can use in their English classes. Their school administration also encourages and supports them in this regard. The government schools do not have a research-oriented approach. That is why we see no innovations in the teaching methods.
The teachers stick to the textbook and the ages old chalk ‘n’ talk method is widely used.”I and my classmates help one another in solving our academic problems through mutual discussion.” %age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No. AnswersGovt. School Students88% 12%Private SchoolStudents95% 5%The data collected as a response to this question tells us that the students in both the state-run public schools as well as the private elite schools actively co-operate with each other and groom themselves through academic discussion. There are very few serious-minded and committed students who sit together and help each other in academic matters. To promote a culture of academic discussions is the responsibility of the teachers as well as the teachers.
The situation on ground shows that both of them have not been doing this duty properly.”Do I find lessons in my English textbook interesting and according to my learning needs?” % of ‘Yes’ Answers % of ‘No’ AnswersGovt. School Students 65%35%Private SchoolStudents 92% 8%By and large, there is a consensus that English textbooks contain interesting and informative lessons. They have been designed in view of the learning needs of the students.
A closer look reveals that the private elite school students are more satisfied with the choice of lessons in their English textbook as compared to the government school students. However, the role of the teacher in this regard cannot be ignored. A motivated and innovative teacher creates a level of enthusiasm among his students before he starts a new lesson from the textbook. Just a couple of sentences like, “Dear students, today we are going to start a very interesting lesson. It’s a wonderful story of a king and you are going to enjoy it very much.
So, be attentive.”, can create electrification in the classroom. We see this happening in the private elite schools but most of the teachers in the state-run govt. schools enter the classroom, and without saying any motivational sentences about the lesson, they begin teaching it from the textbook.”My school library has good English books, dictionaries, encyclopedia, and these are completely accessible for me.” %age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No. AnswersGovt.
School Students24% 76%Private SchoolStudents 64% 36%Financial subsidies are provided to the state-run public schools. So, they are in a position to buy books for their libraries. If properly utilized, he funds provided by the government can enable them to have well-stuffed libraries. Most of the state-run public schools do have libraries on their campuses but there is a lack of good books. Most of the collection comprises of history books, story-books and dictionaries. Books which are related to the English syllabus and which can provide additional reading material to the students are very few in numbers. The second problem is that the students do not visit the library in a routine.
A few years back, there used to be a proper library period per week in every school. Now, this period has been abolished. The reason for this, as stated, is that the volume of syllabus is a burden upon the teachers.
They have to complete the syllabus. So, students are taken to the library off and on but a period cannot be fixed for the purpose, due to time constraints. Thus most of the books remain untouched in the big steel cupboards. In most of the public school libraries, the teachers can be seen reading newspapers and magazines. The students’ presence is hardly there. On the contrary, most of the private schools do have a library period as a regular part of their weekly time table.
The students visit the libraries and do read books. Most of the books are for reference and are not issued. Some schools are liberal enough to issue books to the students.
“I practice my English speaking skills with my parents, cousins and friends.”%age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No. AnswersGovt.
School Students 27% 73%Private School students 75% 25%The students of the state-run public schools do not have a strong base of English language. The system relies heavily on rote-learning. The students are not actually trained to speak English. They just complete their notebooks, and keep their notes intact. The environment at most of the homes is also not conducive to learning. Most of the students of public schools come from middle-class or lower-middle class families.
The parents are either not well-educated or are busy in earning bread for their off springs. As a result, most of the students do not get a chance to speak English at homes. On the contrary, the students of private elite schools come from elite families. Their sound financial condition gives them confidence. The parents are also aware of the importance of English language. They understand that the skill of speaking English fluently will open new vistas for their children. Many parents have a plan to send their children abroad for higher studies.
So, they speak English with them at home. This support at home augments the learning process and it is one of the prime reasons for the difference that exists in the students of the two types of schools under study. “I think internet chatting, Facebook, twitter and browsing have helped me in improving my English language skills.”%age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No. AnswersGovt. School Students 72% 28%Private School Students 93% 7%Internet has revolutionized our lifestyle in many ways. When the net facility was introduced in Pakistan more than a decade back, it was very expensive. At the outset, the charges were Rs.
80/- per hour. Then came the real revolution. The net started growing wider and wider and cheaper throughout the world. In Pakistan too, many new companies started offering the service at competitive rates. At present, we have high speed DSL connections, and Fiber Optic dedicated lines installed at homes and offices.
The best thing is that all this has become affordable for the common man. As a result, most of the students are now exposed to net browsing, chatting, blogging etc. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc. have enabled them to interact globally. Most of the respondents to our questionnaires said that net surfing, chatting and blogging had helped them in improving their English skills. This is quite true and according to the real situation. The reason is that net world is an ‘English’ environment. One has to write/speak English under compulsion, if he wishes to survive and move forward in the virtual world.
“I take extra tuition of English after school.”%age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No. AnswersGovt. School Students66% 34%Private SchoolStudents 77% 23%The findings in this area are very interesting and surprising. It is an established fact that English is taught in a much better manner in the private Elite schools as compared to the state-run schools. The logical result of this should be that more public school students should take the support of extra tuition after school. The private elite school students should not bother about English tuition at home.
The findings of this study suggest a complete opposite picture. The researchers discussed this phenomenon with some students, parents, and teachers. After discussion, it was revealed that the students of the private elite schools had a target of getting excellent marks in the board exams. Many of them wanted to go into professional colleges to become doctors and engineers. Many had planned to go abroad for higher studies.
So, although the students and their parents were completely satisfied with the way English was being taught at schools, they wanted to further polish their language skills, in view of very high aspirations for the future. “When my English teacher asks me a question, I understand it perfectly and answer directly in English” %age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No. AnswersGovt.
School Students73% 27%Private SchoolStudents 87% 13% “When I watch an English programme, news, film on T.V., I can fully understand the dialogues” %age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No’ Answers Govt. School Students44% 56%Private SchoolStudents72% 28%The majority of the students claimed that they were capable of understanding their teacher when he posed a question to them in English. They could fully comprehend what was being asked and how they were supposed to respond. Further discussion revealed that a lot of credit of this listening capability had to be given to T.V.
English programmes, cartoons and films. The T.V. programmes had trained the students’ ears to listen to English talk and understand what was being said. The actors in English programmes, cartoons and films are the native speakers of English language.
As the kids can understand them after listening to them for so many years, understanding the teachers’ spoken words is easy comparatively. “When trying to speak English, I cannot form sentences in my mind quickly.” %age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No’ AnswersGovt. School Students87% 13%Private SchoolStudents32%68% “I am always hesitant in speaking English because if I make a mistake, people would laugh at me.” %age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No’ AnswersGovt. School Students 93% 7%Private SchoolStudents21% 79% “If I meet an Englishman, I will be able to talk to him in English without any hesitation.” %age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No.
AnswersGovt. School Students35%65%Private SchoolStudents82%18%In language learning, being able to actually speak the language is an extremely important skill. The figures reveal that speaking English seems to be an uphill task for the state-run public school students. The majority of the students shy away from speaking English. The primary reason is that our national curriculum has been designed in a way which has very little practical element. The curriculum basically aims at enabling the students to read and write correct English.
The conversational aspect has been totally ignored. The government-prescribed textbooks contain lessons, followed by written exercises at the end of each lesson. The exercises comprise of essay type questions, true/false questions, fill in the blanks, and matching the two columns, etc. The textbook does not tell the teacher to conduct an oral drill or a conversational exercise in the class.
There are very few teachers who take the initiative to polish the conversational skills of their students. On the other hand, the private elite schools aim at creating an environment which is very conducive to learning conversational English. The students are required to talk to the teacher as well as the classmates in English at all times. This ‘all-English; environment goes a long way in enabling the student to broaden his vocabulary base, polish the sentence construction skill, improve pronunciation and gain confidence. Most of the parents get their children admitted to these posh schools just to see them speaking English fluently. They bear the burden of heavy tuition fees just because they have the assurance that after a few years, their child will be fluent in English and all avenues leading to success will be open for him. “I read English story books, comics and newspapers at home.
” %age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No. AnswersGovt. School Students42%58%Private SchoolStudents73%27% “I have a good understanding of English grammar rules.” %age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No. AnswersGovt. School Students40%60%Private SchoolStudents73%27%The students of the state-run public schools are usually not in a habit of reading English story-books, magazines and newspapers. They come from middle class or lower middle class families who do not usually subscribe to English magazines and newspapers.
So, the opportunity to read additional English material at home on a daily basis is limited, rather non-existent for them. The elite families subscribe to English newspapers and magazines like Reader’s Digest, Time, Newsweek, etc. The children browse through these magazines and look at the newspaper headlines and learn a lot of new words and phrase. They also get familiar to different patterns of sentences just by looking at the headlines. Some parents who are very keen to see their children excel in English make sure that they read the newspaper regularly. They also suggest different articles from English magazines to them. Afterwards they find time to discuss the content of these articles and news items.
So, the reading culture at home goes a long way in making the English language base of the children strong. “I can write paragraphs/essays on a given topic, all by myself.” %age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No. AnswersGovt.
School Students58%42%Private SchoolStudents84%16% “My vocabulary is fairly good.” %age of ‘Yes’ Answers %age of ‘No. AnswersGovt.
School Students38%62%Private SchoolStudents82%18%The above figures show that although the majority of the students of the state-run public schools claim that they are capable of making a composition in English independently, yet they do feel that their vocabulary base is weak. On the contrary the private elite school students can conveniently write whatever they are asked to write. More than 80% are confident about their writing skills and the level of their vocabulary. During discussions, it was further learnt that many students have been instructed to write daily diary in English before going to bed. This routine has played a major role in improving their writing skills.ConclusionThe study was conducted as part of the BBA Degree Programme for Report Writing Skills. The research proved to be a daunting task as most of the people in the public schools were either not too willing to co-operate with the researchers or gave a lukewarm response. They were reluctant to share the information.
Some thought that such researches were just wastage of time as nothing has changed practically during the last many decades. There were some others who were very forthcoming and extremely co-operative. They filled the questionnaires with great interest and even spared time for discussions for more clarification. As far as the students were concerned, they took great interest in filling in the questionnaires and answering the oral questions. They seemed to be bored to the monotonous classroom routine, and the sessions provided them something new.
Some of them proved to be very intelligent and presented their practical problems in English language very eloquently. All the students were very much willing to have a firm grip over the language but didn’t really know how this could be achieved. This proved that the students had the will and enthusiasm but the overall school environment and the curriculum was not conducive. So, the researchers would urge the authorities to look in the matter and make some drastic changes in the existing education system and policies which govern it.
This is the need of the hour if we are to stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the world.Recommendations The above figures and findings reveal that as far as teaching of English language in Pakistan is concerned, things are far from satisfactory. The fact is very evident that there is a long road ahead of us which we ought to pursue if we have to get anywhere near to the results some of the other countries have achieved in the process of teaching English as a foreign language. Undoubtedly there is a huge gulf between our separate school systems dubbed as private schools and government schools. The methods adopted are faulty and contain huge voids within. However dismal the situation may be, yet things are not beyond repair. In view of the findings of this research work, the following recommendations are being put forward.
These recommendations are being presented in separate sections for elaborative purpose.1.THE TEXTBOOKSThe first and the foremost thing to be done is the revision of our textbooks, keeping in view the aims of objectives of teaching English in the Pakistani perspective. The lessons need to be made highly interesting in addition to being informative and persuasive. The main points in the lessons can be elaborated with the help of colorful pictures and diagrams. The exercises at the end of each chapter should be a bit more demanding.
Reading the lesson aloud in the classroom should be made mandatory. In most of the public schools, the teacher does the reading and provides a line by line Urdu translation. The students hardly get a chance to read aloud.
If every student in the class is made to read at least one paragraph or page, the reading skills of the young learners will definitely improve. They can be further motivated to read the full lesson aloud in one go at home. In addition to the prescribed textbooks, the students should be motivated to read additional material at home.
They can visit a library for the purpose or take advantage of the internet for this purpose. 2.ACTIVITIESThe entire curriculum needs to be built on an activity-based approach. Our English curriculum makes the students theoretical scholars of English language. They can hardly use their knowledge of English language for practical purposes. Even a college graduate is not confident enough to write a flawless application. He begs to others to write it for him.
The conversational aspect is totally ignored in the curriculum. The students are taught the grammar rules, the tenses, the active and passive voices and the direct and indirect narration. All this knowledge remains on paper. The students are not prepared for practical situations. Therefore, the English curriculum needs to totally revised, keeping in view the practical use of the language. It needs to be re-built as an activity-based curriculum.
The students should be put in situations where they have to actually ‘produce’ language, in written form as well as orally. For example, activities ‘Describe the picture’, ‘Compare the two pictures’ and ‘Tell us about your plans for the coming weekend’, etc. can go a long way in teaching the students how to ‘produce’ language by themselves. There should be a unification of English language skills and sub-skills in classrooms for a holistic approach.
Cramming and rote learning should be abolished at all costs.3.THE TEACHERSThe teacher is the central personality in the teaching-learning process. He is also referred to as ‘the king of the classroom’. This means that he can actually make or break a class. His personal interest, initiative and zeal backed by proper training can produce miracles in the classroom. The students can really have quality education if the teacher has a progressive outlook. If he is himself motivated and succeeds in motivating his students too, the results can be marvelous.
A teacher just interested in ‘finishing’ the syllabus and covering the textbook as soon as possible, can hardly make his students learn English in the real sense. They would be relying on cramming and rote-learning all the time. Thus there is a need to motivate the teachers first. For this, extensive teachers’ training and refresher courses need to be conducted throughout the academic year. The two and a half months’ summer vacation provides a golden chance to upgrade the knowledge of our teachers. The teachers should be abreast with the latest research and the changing trends in English language teaching, around the globe. In a nutshell, the teachers should be trained in such a manner that they can become role-models for their students.
The salaries and fringe benefits of teachers need to be looked at with a realistic approach. If a teacher keeps on thinking about the payment of the heavy electricity bill, or the payment of the house rent all the time, how can we expect him to teach efficiently and effectively?4.TEACHING AIDSThe authorities should provide the teachers with all the adequate teaching aids and paraphernalia in their schools. Aids like tape recorders, CD players, computers, multimedia projectors, educational softwares, etc. should be made available in every school.
The practical aspect of English language cannot be dealt with by just teaching the textbook lessons. It requires a practical approach. The teaching aids have proved to possess great motivational power throughout the world. This equipment has been found especially effective in teaching the listening and speaking skills.
The students take keen interest in PowerPoint presentations, recorded material, educational software, etc. These provide them a breakaway from the boring and monotonous classroom routine. 5.COMPETITIONSDrills and competitions should be made an essential part of the classroom activities. The students should have speech competitions in the narrow classroom situation. Each hand every student in the class should be brought in the front and made to speak before his classmates.
The winners should be prepared to deliver speeches in front of all the students of the school in the morning assembly. This should become a regular feature of the daily morning assembly. Drama competitions between different sections of the same class can really motivate the students to think out of the box. Essay writing competitions can polish their writing skills. The winners of these competitions should be appropriately rewarded by the school administration. In addition to receiving merit certificates, they should be given good prizes before the school assembly so that the onlooking students also get motivated.
Such competitions are held in some schools but they are not a regular part of the happenings. The need is to hold these competitions on a regular basis at every level.6.THE ENVIRONMENTThe overall environment of the schools should be made conducive to learning English. It should be made mandatory for the students to converse in English at all times. At present the students of government public schools just knowhow to say “May I go to drink water?” and “May I go to bathroom?” Their practical knowledge of English ends here. They cannot ask anything from their teacher in English. They cannot neither express their thoughts and feeling nor give any suggestion in English.
This situation needs to be changed. The environment of the school should be English-based. As soon as the student enters the school, he should start speaking English for all practical purposes and till pack-up time, he should be saying everything in English. This environment can really augment his learning capabilities and polish his communication skills.ReferencesAhmad, S.
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