Teaching English to Young Learners
- Written by S.C. Sood
Rama Mathew’s article ‘Teaching English to Young Learners: Need for Introspection’ (FORTELL Newsletter 13, Jan. 2008) has come at the right time as this topic has been attracting attention of the academics and the authorities for some time now.
Writing Skills- A Major Concern for the Budding Magnates
- Written by Dr Shalini Kalia
Quite contrary to the prevailing notion that the students of reputed professional colleges possess excellent communication skills, these students who flaunt their style with superficial American accent lack acceptable and grammatically correct writing skills. This over confident section, which remains unaware of its grey area, gets a shock of the life when it scores poor ranking in professional courses due to incompetent writing skills.
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.
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