Eazy Foreign Languages

This blog is about German and French Language in Vijayawada. Articles, poems, songs and experiences of poolabala

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

An Effective English Teaching Methodology

A Unique Method of Teaching based on Student Psychology

With the fast spread and easy availability of technology every field of human activity is aided of technology.  The laborious and cumbersome earth work in both agriculture and Civil Engineering has been heavily mechanized where as in travel & tourism, telecommunication and banking the work is heavily computerized. While all the key fields utilize technology to the maximum there is one field which relatively inadequately utilizes technology. That is the field of education. Exploring all the possible ways of using technology and exploiting it to the fullest extent expedites learning and enhances the pleasure of learning. Student psychology plays vital role in Teaching or Learning and it’s a fact that audio visuals elicit greater interest than blackboard. While teaching through media a teacher can take extra leverage it is like adding acetone to petrol for extra mileage.

Learning through media /Audio visuals in teaching.

The concept of using audio visuals in teaching is not new. It is at least as old as a decade. The concept being discussed here is new. It is not simply using audio visuals in a class room. There is a whole lot of difference between using audio visuals and learning through media. This concept depends on Common human psychology in general and student psychology in particular.

What is the common human psychology?

In any part of the world, in any communication context audience ability is more important than the language competence of the speaker. The speaker may be highly sophisticated in terms are vocabulary and pronunciation (English) but the speaker always minds ability of his audience lest he should lose listeners. So every speaker tries to match with his audience ability and tastes. The former helps listeners to understand the speaker’s language and the latter helps to understand the speaker. Explaining the same idea to a group of uneducated street vendors and scientists or doctors requires different vocabulary, examples and even style of speaking. Basically the aims are enlightening and pleasing. Language should not only be simple but also be popular.

Why Common human psychology is not applicable to teaching?

In most states of India English is a familiar language but not popular. People keep learning but they neither learn no use English well. Even in schools and colleges (including professional colleges) here English is scantily used. This is indeed a big curse. People should not choose a language suitable to audience in schools and colleges because they have the responsible for both imparting the language and inculcating habit of speaking English. These are the two corollaries of teaching English. English medium schools and institutions offering education in English must undertake the responsibility. An average English teacher in Andhra says “The students are of village background they can not understand English” and explains the lessons in Telugu. He or she uses little or no English in classrooms. Moreover for all practical purposes on the campus he or she uses Telugu.

"SHE" is worse than "He" in English Medium schools 

Majority of schools in villages, small and medium towns and even cities follow a canon in appointing teaching and non teaching staff. They look for people who work for low salaries.  House wives are a boon for them whose motto is to work and support the family financially. They don’t have big demands. Their chief consideration is a close work place. Schools are comfortable places for them. Since man is the main bread winner he comes for a higher salary. So the school managements are comfortable with housewives. So they appoint them as lady teachers regardless of their quality qualification and English knowledge leaving the care and standards to the wind. Let the students go to dogs what they care. When the schools managements tell parents “We take care of your children as you do” it is not enigmatic. Their meaning is plain.  They take care as baby sitters do. Finally English is absent both in theory and practice in English medium schools. A few expensive schools are different but that will not help. The conclusion is English medium schools are dominated by Telugu speaking teachers.The result is students are deprived of proper exposure to English. They mask their insufficiency they embark on “We are respecting our mother tongue” (instead of we respect our mother tongue). This is the negative atmosphere through which the teacher has to heave them through. Understand the background is as important as tilling the ground before sowing.

Creating ideal conditions

English Language teaching or learning flourishes only under ideal conditions. Ideal conditions promote confidence in learners so students can learn easily. Good schools are those which lay strong foundation to ideal conditions. So are good teachers. In other words they create and maintain environment suitable for learning English. In the absence of such suitable environment leave alone teaching English even speaking English is not possible. Creating ideal conditions is a task in itself. If the teacher succeeds in establishing the ideal conditions half the battle is won. This is nothing but putting the student in learning mode. If the student is not in learning mode the more talented a teacher is the more repulsive the students become. All his efforts become futile and he will become a fiasco.

Preparing the student to receive English language as life skill is a very important parameter. It is just like making a bed for the plant. The teacher has to play the role of a gardener and should cultivate English, nurture skills in students. This should be done cautiously, strategically and practically. Just like the part of the ship under the water is equal to the part on the water line, the language work outside the classroom must be as much as class room work. There should be handful of students who can always speak English with one another. This is an immense help to the teacher as well as the learner. This makes the students desirous of learning English as a life skill. But this is a hard task.

Language is never taught. It is acquired.  The actual teaching of a language is quite effective in a place where it is a living language. Learning Tamil is very effective in Tamilnadu.  All people use it naturally all the time. This creates a need, belief and confidence in the learners. The same can be created even for English. Those who don’t know English are those who are not exposed to English. So they do not believe that they can use it naturally, and frequently.  The best way is to teach English is to expose the student and to dispel his myths. There are so many myths in the minds of the learners of English. They are about pronunciation, usage of vocabulary, sentence structure etc. Take the word suite. A learner doesn’t actually believe that people pronounce it as sweet. First comes the stage of surprise. Then comes the stage of accepting. When the learner is consistently exposed to the same pronunciation he transcends his fears and believes that it is natural and he too should speak like that. Many people speaking English is better than one person speaking English. Use of media (print and electronic) in teaching English helps teacher keep the learners abreast with English usage both written and spoken form.

Use of print media in teaching

It is due to lack of exposure the students English remains poor. A teacher can really succeed if he aims at developing certain habits like reading news paper and watching T.V. rather than focusing on only classroom teaching. The teacher can collect cut sheets of the news paper head lines. He may also use digital cam to take snaps of Headlines of various news papers. From my own experience I appraised the student’s knowledge as far below the requirement. When three hundred head lines were shown to a hundred students a few students know 20 to 30 words. But all students realize that only if they read the head lines their scope for improvement is tremendous. Day by day the teacher can objectively show these words. Expose them to different columnists. Letters with sound English language published can also be shown. The snap shots or web downloads can be projected using an LCD projector to a big class comfortably. This is much better than writing English vocabulary on the blackboard. Student not only develops idea about vocabulary and language usage.  Many students make it a habit to read books and news papers.

Use of electronic media in teaching

Gone are those days where students had no choice but to read to improve their language. Teachers used to say. Read, Read and Read.” In these days many national and international channels telecast news, debate, discussions and interviews. But unfortunately the learner can not receive polished English language. So the teacher can tune his ear to such English. Teacher can record or download such programs (videos) and can expose the students explaining what is spoken. He can use short programs of 5 min length so that he can show more videos than one. Gradually he can serve question papers with 5 or 6 questions. Thus a teacher can both train the student on the listening skills and pass a habit of watching such programs. Good learning habits are as important as learning from a class. After all self learning and self help methods are most sought after in education.

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