English in schools

English continues to be an important medium of communication and education in India. But English language teaching in India still faces many problems. So much so that our students who clear degree examinations with English either as a compulsory or as an elective subject can neither speak nor write correct English.

This may be because the importance in our schools and colleges has always been on the conceptual content, and the stylistic content has been mistreated so far, particularly so in rural schools.

It is high time to motivate rural students to learn English right, right from school. The teachers who teach English in rural areas should be committed and have an honest approach to enhance the skills of the students. They are expected to be facilitators, trainers, counsellors, managers and supervisors. An effective teacher, despite having limited resources and germane atmosphere, can teach the students effectively.

One can make English classes more dynamic and interactive by following these methods:

 Don’t fritter away all of your time teaching an idea, without providing students a break.

 Encourage students to speak more.  Allow students to craft stories in groups, and present them to the class. Formulate grammar classes to be more pleasurable. How can one make grammar more pleasurable? Teaching grammatical concepts is one thing. But giving students a task to use, playing with the grammar concept is another thing. One option that can be put to use is by occupying ourselves with games during the class. It is also important to encourage students to talk more to each other as it improves their conversational skills.

 Instead of asking them to learn something, ask students to do something. If they have to do it with a cohort, that’s even better!

A fine approach is to propose to students an easy errand to complete and use a timer. If they appear to be trying to complete it in English, then, you can probably extend the deadline. But you instill in them a sense of urgency so that there’s some force to finish the task in English only.

Remember, even if one student is a beginner and another an expert, they can both uniformly add to the course group and can contribute to the class.

(The author is assistant professor, Siddaganga Institute of Technology, Tumakuru)

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