Honing Verbal Skills: the Most Essential yet the Most Neglected!
- Written by A. Srivalli
Spoken word travels faster than written word! Oblivious to this fact that verbal skill is one of the most sought after skills compared to reading and writing, it is either neglected or ignored in academic circles. Basically, spoken/oral/verbal skills are always on top of the list as any kind of communication begins with the spoken word starting from a new born to a person with a last word. Despite the fact that verbal communication skills are indispensable, modest attempt is being made to hone verbal skills in a good number of schools. Teaching spoken skill often poses difficulties considering various factors such as strength of class, influence of mother tongue, stage fear, fear of being mocked at, faltered pronunciation etc. Besides, many of the syllabi do not focus on spoken skills and this is evident from the fact that all these years, focus in the evaluation process has been on reading/ writing but not on listening and speaking.
It is quite understandable that the need to learn another language is sometimes not natural but arises out of necessity. Anybody moving to a new place attempts to learn the spoken form first rather than the written form. But that is not the case with English. I wonder why school instruction spread over a span of twelve years fails to hone the spoken skills of a child. Doesn’t this demonstrate that learning spoken form in natural surroundings is more effective than formal learning of twelve years of English in a classroom? The reason is that very little emphasis is laid in developing verbal competence of students while they are in school. As a result, at the moment of entering their professional life, they face the exit door due to lack of effective spoken skills. What amuses me is that a child spending ideally ten years in an English medium school finally lands in a spoken English Institute with a hope to learn it in forty days or so. Therefore, it is not surprising to see mushrooming of so many English language institutes in India. It’s really bewildering to comprehend how these institutes can make such promises.
TEACHING STRATEGIES FOR CHILDREN WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES
- Written by Rajni Bhagat and Sandhya Lal
Language is universally acquired by humans. Most children learn to spell and read and require very little help to do so, but some children have to work harder and longer than others at learning a language.
Dyslexia is a disorder of language. There can be a number of different manifestations and this difficulty is usually noticed by teachers by the time children start formal reading and writing. Students with Dyslexia, often need explicit instruction in phonemic awareness because they have difficulties in associating sounds with letters and sequencing the sound in words. Sometimes they may also have difficulty in auditory discrimination or in hearing the small differences between them.
Innovating classroom techniques to impart skills in Spoken English at elementary school level
- Written by Bhavani
This paper aims to tackle pedagogical inertia and free the teaching staff from the attitude of routines and make them use innovative classroom techniques at the elementary level.
Let there not be an emphasis on sentence writing
Writing of sentences, though euphemistically called simple sentences, from standard II itself is rather premature for a child of just six years. Writing of sentences in a sentence form is to bring in grammar through the back door. For a child with its mind only marginally developed nothing could be more frightening than instructing him in subtleties and nuances of grammar. It would, surely, scare away the child from the classroom and effectively kill his aptitude for learning English, with all its complexities and peculiarities.