Teaching English | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 25, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 25, 2008

Teaching English

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Whenever the education policy is discussed, English is always given a priority. At the tertiary level English is given so much importance that in almost all the universities, there is a foundation course on English. But all talks, all seminars, conferences go in vain when I notice the faulty methods of teaching English adopted in schools. In the schools of rural areas if there is any lacking, it is because of the absence of well trained teachers. But when there is negligence in the renowned schools of urban areas, who are to blame? Let us take an example of teaching English in a very renowned school in Azimpur area, Dhaka. Teaching writing skills to the students of class eight is not an easy job. What does a teacher do in such a class? He comes and takes the syllabus asking students to know where they face problem in understanding grammar. He talks about grammatical rules insisting that such rules will not be found anywhere(it indicates his desire to draw the attention of the students to private tuition!) . He takes a chalk and duster to talk about grammar. Hardly there is any session of practising what he teaches because it is a class of 45 minutes. Because of this poor perception the students have to approach their parents as well as private tutors for a better understanding. Many rush to coaching centres for help. Usually composition is a part of English second paper. So after discussing grammar in a half hearted manner, the teacher switches over to the writing course. Suddenly, he will say. “ For tomorrow's class your writing assignment will be about a rickshaw-puller and a letter to your mother on hostel life.” He will not give any guideline on how he/she should start writing. He can give the students some key words to write compositions. This needs a lesson plan and it also involves an innovative approach.
If necessary the English classes might continue for an hour and there may be an additional incentive for the teachers. This letter is not meant for hurting the teachers; it is an honest feeling of a guardian who sends his son/daughter to a Bangla medium school because he cannot afford sending him/her to an English medium school.

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