In an exclusive interview with Nagpur Today, Assistant Director English Partnerships, India of the British Council Michael Connolly said that English Teachers in India are very good. They have very sound knowledge of the content, are clear about the grammar. However, many factors like the Curriculum, Teachers’ subject knowledge and the over-all Society affect the teaching and learning process of English language per se.
He said many factors work in combinations to affect the teaching learning process. He added that just intent is not enough action is needed. Action mean practical skills and effective training in teaching methodology is necessary to make students learn English. He claimed that Indian teachers are very passionate, enthusiastic and are well versed with the subject, but when it comes to teaching a class of students with heterogeneous intellectual capacities, the teachers find themselves lacking.
However, he agreed that there is a little class time available for the teachers to complete the curriculum. This prevents them from experimenting and trying out newer means and methods of ensuring that everybody has understood what is taught in the class. He added that many a time, when a teacher does understand the exact position of the students and starts to teach English in a manner which will be comprehended and learnt well, the academic year approaches the end and the teacher becomes busy in finishing the curriculum.
One more significant point that Connolly raised was that the teachers are burdened to perform various government run programmes/ functions like Election Duty, Census etc. To add to that all the school activities like observing different days, cultural festivals, sports, national and state holidays etc limits the actual class-room hours and periods to complete the curriculum.
Connolly claimed that every teacher should try and develop some strategy or skill to teach English to the students. These could be dividing the entire class into groups, where each group has some brilliant students, some average one and some weak students. Group activities will ensure that they learn about a particular subject or topic easily since it is their own classmates who are teaching them making it fun and pleasure to learn English. Use of Audio-Video means to teach the language, constant speaking in English and encouraging the students to do the same helps in students learning the language well.
Connolly also informed Nagpur Today that when books contain too many lessons. Completing the portion or the curriculum takes a lot of time and ensuring if the students have understood the language level expected of them in that particular class is practically impossible. He also claimed that the lessons or the topics in the English Text Books should be region sensitive and having pictures and topics that the students can relate to in their day to day life.