Teacher Development from Materials to Method
- Written by Sanjukta Sivakumar
The Indian ELT picture
Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) was made mandatory in all CBSE schools in 2009 to ensure a diagnostic focus on learning. Teachers unequipped for the prescribed corrective action, however, impair the implementation of CCE. This problem is correlated with the professional development of elementary and secondary teachers through learner-centric ‘pedagogies that develop reflective teachers with adequate skills’ (NCF, 2005, p.25), and ‘improved curriculum and materials’(NCFTE, 2009, p.6).Teacher education for CCE in Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) requires ‘critically engaging with theory’ to ‘bring practice within its perspective’ (NCFTE, 2009, p.9). The role of the teacher is envisaged as ‘...developing capacities to think with educational theories and applying concepts in concrete teaching-learning situations’ (NCFTE, 2009, p.41). Teacher Education in CLT, hence,is focused primarily on method. This emphasis on pedagogical theory to improve teaching methods as the guiding policy of teacher education, however, has not bridged the perceived hiatus between theory and its classroom application.
An Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching Academic Speaking Skills: An Experiment with Engineering Students
- Written by Santosh Kumar Mahapatra
As the current study concerns teaching of academic speaking skills, I find it necessary to define what they are and how they are different from speaking skills in general. Academic speaking skills have the following features:
· They are used in academic contexts.
· They can be general as well as specific in nature.
· They can vary from one specialized area like engineering or business management or literature to another.
Though it is necessary to teach academic language skills to students specializing in disciplines like the ones mentioned above, many researchers have reported that academic language skills are often neglected in technical institutions in India. Furthermore, speaking has been found to be one of the most ignored areas (Indira, 2003; Neelaveni, 2005; Venkatraman & Prema, 2007; Pradhan, 2010). This is precisely why I have chosen to experiment with speaking. Then, there is very little research on the lack of transfer of language skills from the language to the subject classroom. More than other areas, ELT in engineering colleges has been a matter of great worry. It has been reported that engineering students and engineers lack basic EL skills required to function effectively in their respective fields (24 September, 2012, Aspiring Minds; 27 Aug., 2012, The Times of India; 2011, NASSCOM). Questions have been asked about teachers’ ability to teach language for specific purposes (LSP) and make use of students’ academic contexts, i.e. contexts of science, for teaching English language skills. Somehow, teachers find it difficult to break the disciplinary boundaries and venture into using scientific contexts for classroom instructional purposes.
Competence in English: Struggles and Alternatives
- Written by Nidhi Kunwar
National Curriculum Framework (2005) quotes, ‘English in India is a global language in a multilingual country’ (p. 38). Today no one can deny the reality of this statement. Whether it is the corporate world or the government sector, the value and importance of English language is widely acknowledged. Due to its increasing importance every person aspires to be fluent in English.
English proficiency is important but it is also true that every year hundreds of students struggle to achieve mastery in this language. People do not hesitate to spend money and invest time for gaining competence in the English language. The proof of this is the continuous increase in the number of institutes which offer to train proficiency in English in just magical 90 or 120 days! A lot of help books are sold as well in the name of making students competent English language users. Several schools claim ‘English enriched environment’ as one of the main components of their school curriculum. Parents too struggle hard to admit their children in those schools which can make their children masters of this language.