Maxims for teaching of English

Some maxims of teaching have a psychological basis and any teaching or learning experience in English based on these maxims leads to meaningful education and easy expression. Hence, the following maxims should be followed by the teacher of English while teaching English to the students of secondary classes.

(1) Proceed from the familiar to the less familiar-This mantis means that the new knowledge to be imparted must be logically linked with the past experiences of the students. Teaching learning process cannot take place in a vacuum. The old knowledge is like a peg on which new knowledge can be hung. Moreover, previous knowledge of the students is responsible for their interest in the subject. Hence, this interest should be tapped for providing motivation for further learning and while dealing with new or unknown facts the teacher of English should link them with the familiar ones. This linking can be in the form of similarity, contrast or association. ·

Examples- (a) In the teaching of composition, various new words can be introduced as synonyms or antonyms to words the students are already familiar with.

(b) In grammar the students can be familiarized with structures different from the ones they structures already know.

(c) Spellings can be taught by pointing out the generalizations and variations and also explaining the reasons.

(2) Proceed from easy to difficult-‘Easy’ and ‘difficult’ are relative terms. A thing may be quite easy for the teacher while it may be difficult for the students. Hence, the relative difficulty of everything should be judged from the students’ point of view. Easy topics should always be taken first before proceeding to the difficult ones. The lessons · in English must be graded, keeping in mind the age, intelligence and mental standard of the students. This is especially true while teaching spelling and meaning of sentences in English.

Example-Present continuous tense simplest of all tenses can be taught first rather than present simple tense.

The teacher should also bear in mind that similar things are more easily learnt than dissimilar ones. Hence, similar things should be taught first and dissimilar things should be taken up afterwards.

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(3) Proceed from simple to complex-This maxim· is similar to the maxim of proceeding from easy to difficult. It should be remembered here that simplicity of a topic must be determined from the students’ point of view. Simple lesson should be taught first and then the teacher can proceed to the complex one.

(4) proceed from the concrete to abstract-It is a psychological fact that children learn more effectively when they can see and handle objects. A child gains knowledge through various sensory devices. One sense reinforces the other. In this way, audio-visual aids are the greatest modern aids of teaching because they show a concrete thing-first and the abstract thing, later. What a child experiences vividly through sight or sound is stamped permanently on his mind. Hence, direct and personal experiences are of utmost value in teaching or learning of English. However, the experiences in the concrete should not end there, but lead to abstract concepts. Abstracts ideas are difficult for children to comprehend, but not so when they are based on concrete ones. This thing should be always borne in mind while teaching the meanings of new and difficult words in English. The children will be able to understand the meanings of new and difficult words in English easily when they are shown some pictures, models, movies etc. along with those words. Language primarily depends on linguistic symbols. These should be enriched by exposing the students to vivid experiences. Moreover, in the learning of correct pronunciation, the concrete examples of the teacher and tape-recorder or some other audio aid can help the students in learning the correct pronunciation.

(5) Proceed from particular to general-Children understand particular facts more easily than the general facts. Hence, particular facts must be presented to them before telling them the general rules.

These facts should be grouped in such a manner that the children should be able to arrive at generalization on their own accord. This can be done very usefully in the teaching of English grammar. The children should be given several examples on the use of a particular starchier of grammar so that they are able to formulate the general rule of grammar themselves. This kind of grammar is called functional grammar and can be taught inductively. The teacher should, however, be careful to ensure that the child is subsequently able to apply the knowledge and rule derived in actual practice.

(6) proceed from psychological to logical-The teacher should always remember that teaching must be related try the needs, interest’s aptitudes and capabilities of children. Hence, the child’s psychological readiness must always be kept in mind before proceeding to any formal teaching. If the child is psychologically ready, the next step is the systematic and logical presentation of the subject-matter. Thus, psychological preparation must lead to logical approach. Therefore, when English is taught to the students, interest and enthusiasm for the language can be developed through storytelling and singing of poems. More stress should be laid in deriving pleasure from the language than on the formal presentation of grammatical structures. Play-way methods of teaching can be of tremendous use in such cases. The teacher should appeal to children’s sense of curiosity to add to their knowledge. New words in English can be best taught by associating them with interesting contexts than by asking the students to memories isolated meanings of difficult words.

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(7) precede from analysis to synthesis-The child’s Knowledge is generally vague and incomplete. The teacher can make this knowledge complete through the process of analysis. Analysis consists of thinking about a thing apart from its elements. The child should be made to view a thing through its constituent’s elements and then lead to the whole. It will give him a complete understanding of things. The main point to remember here is that analysis should be done by looking at the elements in an organized manner, so that a logical and systematic arrangement of the elements should lead to complete synthesis.                ·

Analysis is particularly useful in the teaching of English spellings by breaking the long words into its components and syllables and then spelling the word as a whole. This practice can also be helpful in the teaching of correct pronunciation and grammar structure.

(8) Proceed from whole to the pail-In English, it is always better to deal with a poem or a piece of prose text as a whole first before breaking it up into parts. It is necessary in order to enjoy the full beauty of the poem or the object. This principle is in keeping with Gestalt theory of learning which emphasizes the importance of observing a situation as a whole in order to understand it fully.

(9) Proceed from empirical to rational-Empirical know’:”ledge is that which is based on observation and firsthand experience but about which we cannot give any reasoning. Rational knowledge is that where facts form part of a general system of truth and are explained more scientifically, for children, it is best to begin with what they can actually see and observe, then think in terms of abstract logical ideas. Hence, in teaching English grammar concrete nouns should be taught fire it before proceeding to abstract nouns, verbs which convey common actions like, sing, talk, run, play etc. should be used in the beginning and those which convey nativity or a state like be, have etc. later.

(10) Proceed from actual to representation– Actual or real objects appeal to the children more than representative objects. Hence, the teacher of English should make full use of the daily experience of the children while selecting topics in composition exercises. For example, an essay on ‘school. foundation day’, celebrated recently by the students in the school would have a greater appeal for them than an essay on a topic, representing a day of social or religious importance, such as celebration of Diwali or Dussehra etc.

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