The way we are teaching and learning English seems an act of revenge taken unintentionally from the 'bringers' of English to India. The way we coin words can be delegated to our own needs and creativity, but the way we teach the standard usage of English, calls for an immediate course correction.
I am no expert on pedagogy or instructional design, but if you will ask even a layman about learning a language, there will be an easy answer to that. The answer will just be a connotation of PARTICIPATION and PRACTICE. One needs to interact with everything around; one has to become a part of the process of learning a language. Unfortunately, due to our own error of judgement, this has been happening and we have successfully failed in putting a check on it.
The trigger for this blog or sadistic ranting has not come on a single day. It has been there since I joined the teaching of English. When I was in the classroom, I could see my mates getting scolded for those errors in spellings, tenses and subject-verb agreement. I was no different though. We thought it was a matter of destiny for us and most of the people around me moved out of English Learning as if they had failed. This kind of failure was applicable to Maths or Science where answers are close-ended and the content-cum-context they refer, to is also pre-defined. I do not mean to say that Science is easy or it has no worth. But there is a uniformity in the possible responses. The discipline that was prescribed for Sci-Math domain, had been forced to language learning as well. This was done in the past, is being done in the present and might not stop in the near future as well.
But, the day I switched sides and was part of the teaching community, I realised that it is not the students who are missing something. The virus went from our side when we forgot that language is an 'APPLIED' thing. Be it grammar or literature, they are not separate at all. There can be no comparison or correction in one. Language, especially English is the most important Second Language and should be imparted than taught. There might not be a difference between the two - if you can sense it, you can read more in this blog.
Recently, I took part in the evaluation of XII CBSE English answer sheets for the Term 2 Exam. The findings, observations and ideas will be added to a Blog or a Podcast or both -soon. But the thing which needs a highlighted mention is the need to correct, instead Change the WAY we teach the kids - it is not a subject where we can make them memorise something without understanding it - this, however, is not possible in warranted in any subject - but in a Language, we need to make them JOIN the PROCESS of PARTICIPATION.
- Grammar comes LATER, the learner should FEEL the Language in a Natural Way with the LSRW process. (Find out what this LSRW is!)
- Spellings are Script Norms, these have to be respected and should become part of the fundamental learning
- A Word in Engish needs to be known in the following ways: Spelling, Parts of Speech, Meaning, and Pronunciation (In Hindi the last one is not required as we speak what we ENCODE.)
- Pronunciation is the Privilege of the Language - we can not take this right away from a language.
- English and any other language must not be taught in isolation - Context and Characters should remain integral.
- Do not suggest Passive Reading that calls for Dictionary usage without any attempt to 'think and hunt' for the meaning.
- No News Paper reading please - we know what kind of language and news are written these days - language is not alive in media!
- Motivate - REWARD the kids for Literary Reading and for expressing their views
- Push them to Blog - the same thing was said in 2010 under EduSoMedia, and we are still suggesting this - meaning that it is not at all late!
- Improve Your Own Pronunciation - Ensure You Follow the Norms, not the trends or styles.
- Improve Listening followed by supervised Speaking (Model Speaking and Reading should be introduced.) Integrate PODCASTS into routine learning plans.
- Adhere to the thoughtful vision of CBSE or NCERT or ICSE - they all make books, policies and content after deliberations
- Integrate Art and Communicative Approach to English Language Teaching
- Do not Forget - Story Telling as a Pedagogical tool; Make a holistic mix of Andragogy and Heutagogy in your Pedagogy.
BE A STUDENT YOURSELF and IMAGINE IF YOU WOULD HAVE LIKED THE WAY YOUR STUDENTS ARE BEING TAUGHT -
YOUR AFFIRMATION WILL BE THE KEY TO MAKE English feel alive.
If a question comes:
How Many of us know... How Many Teachers ... Who are there to make sure - they do justice to this 'subject' assigned to them... If you know even 01 - Believe me - you are the Silver Lining here! Thank You!