Difficulties in teaching and learning English in India

There are many problems of teaching English in India. Although, the English language teaching institutes at Allahabad and Hyderabad have done lot to improve the teaching of English in India by producing new text books, gramophone records, flash cards, pictures, training teachers and popularizing structural approach of teaching English, yet the following problems create unhealthy conditions for teaching of English in our country.

       (1) Lack of Proper aim-Teachers do not exactly understand the main aim of teaching English. They divide their work into reading, writing, grammar, translation, dictation and composition. They feel fully satisfied in keeping the students busy in writing during the whole period of teaching. They treat these related aspects of English as separate subjects. They fail to realize that all these are different aspects. English has to be taught principally as a language of comprehension, rather than as a literary language.

       (2) Condition’ of classes-Over-crowded classes hinder the smooth teaching of English.

       (3) Place of English in school curriculum-The problem of giving proper place to English in school-curriculum is still unshackled.

       (4) Lack of uniform policy-There is no uniform policy regarding the beginning of English teaching in our schools. At present, there are three different stages at which the teaching of English is introduced-

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         (a) Early stage (age of 6 to 9 years) -In parts of West Kamataka, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Delhi and all metropolitan, it starts from class onward.

        (b) Middle stage (age of 11 to 12 years) -In parts of Kashmir, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, U.P. and Bihar, English is introduced at the beginning of secondary education.

        (c) Later stage (age of 14 years) -In some states for example, Gujarat, English is taught during the last four years of Secondary Education which slows down the rate of progress.

     (5) Lack of good text books-The main defect of the books is lack of accuracy. The text-books of English are needed to be of high standard. English text-books need improvement in the following spheres-

(a) Selection and gradation of vocabulary

(b) Language and style

(c) Abridgment of English stories to suit Indian conditions

(d) Relevance

(e) Exercises and glossary

(f) Suitable subject matter

(g) Good printing

(h) Human illustrations.

       (6) Lack of method-Another serious defect in the teaching of English that the teachers do not conform to a proper metical of teaching English. In fact, the ten thrills of teaching should be different for different classes, different schools and students of different age levels. The teacher should help the child to learn the language, rather than to teach him. In many schools in India, teachers are still using the grammar translation method of teaching. The new approaches, structural and situational bilingual and communicative are not popular with our teachers. As a consequence, our students are facing all the demerits of grammar (translation) method and are devoid of advantages of new effective methods and approaches.                ·

       (7) Defective system of examination-One of the main defects of the examination system in English that it does not test the student’s ability to understand spoken English and their ability to speak it. This is the reason that the pronunciation of most of the students is defective. The teachers also do not pay any attention to oral work at the time of teaching. It has been strongly stressed by several educationists that oral tests in English should be introduced at the middle, high and higher secondary examinations.

       (8) Less use of audio-visual aids-In our schools audio-visual aids are hardly used. Due to lack of funds, expensive aids cannot be purchase. But cheaper aids like pictures, charts, models flannel boards which are easily accessible, are even not used by teachers. The use of these aids merely gets confined to the teacher training period. Some enthusiasm is found among pupil teachers in this regard. As soon as they become teachers, they shirk from using audio-video aids. English can be best taught by using audio-visual aids and they are neglected in our schools.

       (9) Lack of effective teachersProf. V.K. Gokak has said, “the fundamental years for the teaching of English in schools are in the hands of teachers who neither know enough English nor are familiar with the latest.”

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       (10) Lack of proper teacher education-The teachers are not trained thoroughly and properly. At the B.Ed. and P.T.E . levels, more periods are given to compulsory papers than to the method of teaching. At the same time, the duration of training is very short. There are also very meagre provisions and facilities for in-service education.

       (11) Lack of proper correction of the students exercise book:-­ The exercise books of students lack in suggestive correction. All the exercise of students should be corrected thoroughly and the mistakes must be written clearly..           ·

       (12) Inability to understand the true functions of grammar-­ The teaching of grammar for the sake of teaching has no importance. In teaching it, the teachers ignore its fundamental aspect. It is actually through this aspect that the students -learn the use of idioms. At the same time, they develop an instinct for correct words. These two things matter more than learning grammatical rules.

       Tax person is certainly correct when he says, English literature grammar is not a sit of stiff and dogmatic precepts, according to which some things are correct and others absolutely wrong, but as something living and developing under continual fluctuations.

       The problems cited above are common in all states of India. The English teachers of U.P. and Bihar have to face many difficulties in teaching. They have no sufficient teaching aids and teaching atmosphere. Lack of furniture, over-crowded classes and negative political attitude hinder the smooth teaching of English.

       Thus, there is much to be done to remove the difficulties of teaching English to improve the standard of teaching English.

       New Approach-New approach to methods and techniques of teaching English change from one place to the other and likewise objective of teaching English is bound to create a corresponding change in the approach to techniques and methods of teaching the subject. Naturally, there appears an imperative need for adding a new approach and a new technique for teaching English to the new educational set­ up of our secondary schools. In fact, we need, for this purpose, an orientation to the whole task of teaching and learning English. Recent experiments with regards to teaching English in Indian schools, have recommended methods and techniques coupled with a new approach to the task. The old methods, techniques and approaches, in this connection have to be discarded. The teaching of English has to be made effective, useful and suitable to the needs of the modem times with the spreading of multinationals and call centers in India and also because of outsourcing.

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