Real approach in teaching English a must
Md. Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan :
Teaching English is felt highly important especially at primary level for many educational reasons. The researchers are of the view that educational objectives will remain unachieved unless teaching of English is properly done. Officials or policy makers executing our education policy throughout the country are hardly on the right track when it comes to casual conversational styles of spoken English. We very common people wonder why vast majority of teachers as well as students are really not capable enough of speaking unhesitatingly in a real life situation. We very often wonder why comprehension is not clear to educated people when listening to fast native English speakers. Often times, we wonder why we can't get clear meaning of a sentence used in the editorials. So it might clearly be said that we got very rare success from the approach given to us by our policy makers. Study shows that student's communicative competency is very poor. The failure rate of the students is increasing which is deplorable. The failure in this subject means the failure in the public examinations. The concern about the situation can be observed by any stack holders.
Our ultimate goal is to communicate, interact and share our thoughts and feelings to each other in English. Our prime object is to have the better communication skill for our everyday conversation. Our real target is to comprehend the fast native English speakers. Unfortunately, even after studying hard for many years we can't confidently articulate native utterances for over two minutes naturally. The reason why we are failed to speak is the rules of grammar given to use to learn by our heart. To learn a single sentence by heart like, "He goes there" we must face a number of great challenging tasks. Adding's' or 'es' to the verb 'go' as above is oftentimes agreat problem for us. Adding things is difficult tasks for learners by learning all classifications of part of speech in grammar. Students might lose their interest and take them away from learning English. Again, a sentence for example as in "The book published in 1998 was written well by Hamilton" is a simple sentence. If the sentence is given to a student to analyze for identifying the kind of sentences, he needs to know approximately 150 rules of grammar. That means that transformation of sentences is not easier for them at all.
The students are supposed to get better communication skill, why analyzing system? If analyzing system is given to pass the competitive exam, why are they expected to speak naturally? It is thought that both speaking and analyzing sentences at a time sometimes very hard. In this circumstance, we have to figure out what should be done to do good for students. Our English teaching system is supposed to be formal as well as informal in the classroom situation. Both formal and informal styles of spoken and written English are essential in our everyday life. We very often avoid learning informal English in our academic lessons. Truly speaking, in casual conversation, informal English is greatly used. If we are not habituated or conditioned with the informal style of spoken English, to become a better a speaker or conversationalist is impossible. We should have a good competence in understanding both written styles and casual spoken styles. At the beginning of the 1985, we turned most of our textbooks, especially in schools and colleges, into Bangla in order to promote our own language among the masses as well as to uphold the glory of Bangla at all levels of our education. We didn't have huge opportunity to acquire greater knowledge in learning English.
We like it, we term it as a means of smartness, and we feel the necessity of learning it, We learn English for about 12 years unfortunately we couldn't learn it properly. Does it mean we are not interested enough to learn it? Does that mean there is a methodical flaw in teaching it?
Currently there are 149 universities -104 private and 45 public - in Bangladesh.
In terms of number, it sounds good. But, in terms of quality education, the picture seems bleak. Universities in our country are lagging behind as compared to high ranking universities across the world. In the university level we can .generally acquire greater English communication skill by sharing our thoughts with students and teachers regarding the subject we study there. University is, no doubt, one of the best places to interact with students in English. But quite mysteriously, we have a lack of interest in learning. That is why I think English has suffered a serious setback here, and turned out to be a failed language. There is a fear among people about learning this language. Improvement is much needed regarding syllabi content, teaching approaches of speaking and writing skills, student admission criteria, and the time frame allocated for the different courses. In fact, the time allocated to some of the English courses is short. There is a lack of teaching and learning of oral, and writing skill approaches and the syllabi were planed and designed in a way that don't enhance much teaching and learning of the second language.
Our conventional way of English teaching system is to be modified only for our betterment. A great change is a must for the 21st century. Bangladesh is now advancing towards the path of materializing the dream of Bangabandhu as it is now on the high way of development and is recognized as a developing country. Our honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the government has decided to modify the education curricula by 2020.
Our expectations from our policy makers are to have an effective approach in order to get the quick communication skills. Our policy makers never beat around the bush. They are very sincere. They know barking at the moon is meaningless. They know how to hit the nail in the proper place. They are really anxious to reach the ultimate goal successfully. Experience teachers can be helpful in this regard. If need be they might be proposed to come into the overall process. Better solution for the betterment of our nation is required. We are fully optimistic that our teachers and government policy makers will come up with a better solution to remove all impediments around us. We need to remove all obstacles and barriers such as ambiguous educational policies, the bias attitude towards English, the lack of teacher's training and the deprived position of teachers.
(The writer is a former external member, English Language and Literature, Sylhet Agricultural University)