Teaching English in Modern Time


Teaching is that heavy term that I’ve dared to centralize in this piece of writing. As we know or don’t, teaching not or rather never possible. It may interest you to know that one can never know ‘how to teach’. It is because Teaching is never possible; the only thing that is possible is Learning that is to learn and to make other learn. What we’re actually doing is simply learning. We can learn in certain way and we make other learn in certain way. Classroom, to me, is as good as a laboratory where both students and teacher/s involve themselves in the same process, i.e. ‘Learning’. While teaching, even a teacher learns various methods of Teaching. With this, we may state that students learn what the teacher has already (learnt). And the teacher might be making them learn by any other way he/she would like.
The second most important point to take into the notice is ‘Language’. A part and parcel of human life- language an entity (unit) that has proved human mind to be the most brilliant of all the creatures. It is unquestionably a truth universally acknowledged that language has been devised by human mind only. Human, as a social animal, has to express the ideas and it is nothing but language that becomes the medium of that expression. Moreover, language is not only a medium but also a source of knowledge. As a matter of fact, therefore, there are two approaches towards language: I. Language as medium (for other branch/es of knowledge) and II. Language itself. Language has its own separate area for deep study which we know as Linguistics which has further many other branches such as Phonetics, Phonology, Morphology, Grammar etc. It’d be even easier to summarize by thinking over the role of English Language. It plays a role of mediator to teach other subjects which are nonliterary such as Technical, Commercial, Scientific or many other which are neither directly nor indirectly concerned with Language learning. These are all the questionable and debatable areas to which I’m trying to draw my readers’ (and listeners’) attention with a hope that they might be justified in an even better way than they have / haven’t been till date.

Teaching English in Modern Era
The History of Technical Education in India.
The history of imparting the formal technical education in India can be traced back to mid 19th century, although it was strengthened in 20th century with the step up of constitution of the central university board of education (CABE) in 1943 and formation of All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) in 1945. As India got independence, technical education played a major role in nation’s growth and development. It was this time when the establishment of Indian Institute of Management and Indian Institute of Science took place. These steps aimed to change the outlook of India.
“The country which earlier was known for Yoga and Meditation is now known for computer engineers.”

Although it was and is a reality that this progress did not happen overnight. Even after more than 60 years of independence India has such rural areas where government has still not been able to give facility of street light and good roadways. But one of the major questions for the Indian Government was to maintain the quality and standard of technical education that exists even today and here the language played and still is playing the most significant role. AICTE was established in 1945 which is responsible and authorized to take any major or minor decision in the Technical Education not only for the betterment of Education but also for the betterment of Nation. The time of 1945 is remarkable because Indian was still colonized by British government and internationally this period is considered to be post modern era i.e. because of its being a time immediately after First World War. As the technical education courses in India are quite diverse, the number of Technical institutes is also huge. the number of institutes providing degree engineering courses is 4,39,689 and 1244 is the number of Indian institutes that offer diploma courses in engineering, 415 pharmacy, 63 in Hotel management,25 in architecture, 1012 for MCA and around the same number is there for MBA, M.Tech or M.E. This statistics indicates the priority that India has given to technical education since independence till date. Indian government is giving equal importance to the growth and development of technical education and thereby of Nation in future. Moreover number of foreign and private colleges have shaken hands with the government and strengthened the project of enlightenment. The prime minister of India has sanctioned the plan to establish 8 IITs, 7 IIMs and 5IISCs to improve and uplift the quality and standard of technical education in India.
With the statistics of the progress in Technical Education in India, it is an issue to think upon the rising need if learning and teaching English as all the higher studied in field of science and technology are in English and with this the need of perfection is also felt; perfection in terms of quality and standardization. The question that remains in core is to qualify and standardize such a huge education system where, as mentioned above, Language has got a special priority. Every literature is influenced by the language by the medium of which it is imparted. Students who pursue technical education have to set up their mind that they have to at least learn basic English. This issue is not limited till technical education but it affects to those students who pursue to face competitive exams for class I or II but many of them cannot achieve it only because they lag behind in English. (This may not be applicable only for English)
Although English as a second language and English in a nonliterary class room are two different areas to approach. English, in technical or nonliterary education, is not only for one purpose. Most of the students treat English just as one of the subjects that they have to pass with at least score that they do not have to get it back. The nature of reception by the students to the English Language is absolutely not like it should be. Mostly in lower level where most of the students are coming after completing their high school education in their language that is not English. Here comes the question that is what approach a teacher should adopt as a language teacher. Most of the time it is felt that the students for whom English is not the first language have learnt English till their secondary days by Translation method. Once they are habituated of translation, they face problems in the class where a teacher delivers a lecture in English. There the process of communication remains almost incomplete as whatever is encoded cannot be properly decoded. This happens for many reasons such as students’ first time reception of English language, their capacity to decode, interest and so on. It has been observed that the students even having completed their bachelor or master degree face problem in English communication (written or oral). It is a matter of fact that the importance or need of learning English is not limited till communication or enable one to speak English. As we know in the current era English has become the window to world of Information and technology. English is the second most spoken language of the world and medium of education related to Science and Technology.
English in India
Officially English is considered to be an assistant language and also the second National language of India. After Hindi it is not only the most commonly spoken language in India but also the most read and written language in India. English, all over the world, is spoken differently and accordingly it is given identification. Indian English, likewise, has its own place in world English. English has got its special place not only in Indian Academic World but also in Indian Literature. Anglo Indian writers have given the best of them in Indian writing in English. R.K.Narayan, MulkRaj Ananad, Arundhati Roy, Anita Desai are the writers who wrote Indian Literature in English. Moreover the 20th century leading writers like Chetan Bhagat have given new direction to Indian literature in English. This way English has been indianized in India. English symbolizes Indian minds, better education, better culture and higher intellect.
Most of the business correspondence in Indian is generated in English. Moreover English has become the ladder to the world of Science and technology. Indian Students (mostly looking for higher studies) get the best platform outside the country. The books for higher studies in Science and technology are available only in English and they cannot be translated in the regional languages because most of the technical words like micro soft, software, hardware, pendrive and many other have no actual and perfect regional translation. In addition to this one must hold it that Indian is multilingual country where English is spoken commonly as well as differently. It is also usual among Indian students to abruptly move to speak fluent English in the middle of their conversations. English is very important in some systems – legal, financial, educational, business – in India. The reason Indians give such importance to English is related to the fact that India was once upon a time a British colony. When the British started ruling India, they searched for Indian mediators who could help them to administrate India. The British adopted the policy and it was to create an Indian class who should think like the British, or as it was said then in Britain “Indians in blood and color but English in taste, in opinions and morals and intellect”. The British also established universities in India based on British models with emphasis on English and they also got Indians to get their education in British universities. The English Christian missionaries came to India from 1813 and they also built schools at primary level for Indians in which the language of instruction was local language. Later on the missionaries built high schools with English as the language of instruction which obliged the Indians who wanted to study to have a good knowledge of English. The British rulers began building their universities in India from 1857. English became the first language in Indian education. Many new schools were established in which the language of instruction was English. According to the British laws the language of instruction at university level was English and therefore schools that emphasized English were preferred by ambitious Indians. Even after more than 60 years of India’s independence, English remained the main language of India. Even today schools in India that emphasis English are considered better schools and the same is the case at university levels, even though there is a trend towards Indianization. In the 1970s and 1980s about one third of the Indian schools had English as their first language.

Indian Cosmopolitanism
India is a country with integrity in diversity.
Different languages are spoken in different parts of the country. These regional languages differ from each other so much that it is not possible to communicate with people of other regions without a common language. Further, India is growing on all fronts whether it is social or economic angle. For all this, there is need of a common language i.e., English. It is this language which is understood almost all over the region in addition to national language of Hindi, all schools and colleges teach English and mostly have it as a medium of instruction. There is a large number of schools and colleges where the medium of instruction is not English and English is taught as the second language. Students who complete their study in any other language except English chase to learn English. The number of spoken English class is day by day increasing therefore.
Importance of English in Science and Technological Education in India
In today’s world, we have to get knowledge of advanced technologies and all kinds of branches of Science. There is an urgent need of such a common language which can be understood by youth all over India and the language in which all data and information is available. It is English only which can be rightly selected as the language to be studied by all of us from the very primary level. This language is a store house of social and political knowledge. Hence, study of English language is of great importance for a developing country like India. Without knowledge of this language, our technicians, mechanics and engineers cannot progress.
Further, a nation can remain intact only when its leaders can understand the people living in different regions and can communicate with them in effective and cordial manner. All leaders cannot understand more than ten to fifteen languages of various regions, however, they can easily understand the common language English. This language is important to inspire unity not only at the national level but at the international level. To control the separatist tendencies of our varied communities, we must continue to teach English. Without learning and communicating in this language, we will perish one day. To survive in modern society, English knowledge is as essential as water.
Today, USA and other countries have made tremendous progress in the field of science and technology. In space technology, we have no match to them. The world is making progress in these fields at a terrific speed. To increase and encourage more research work in Science and Technology, we have to study all these subjects in detail. And for this the importance of English cannot be denied. Our own regional languages do not have the depth and capacity to understand and co-relate all these technological developments and as such, cannot serve the purpose to keep pace with the fast growing world outside. Most of the best books on all such subjects are available in English language only. We cannot translate it all in our own regional languages, therefore, knowledge of English can only prove to be a blessing.
Every nation must develop and encourage its own language. However, in India we have diversity in languages and it is not possible for many years ahead to have a common language like Hindi. Under such circumstances, we cannot wait for long, otherwise we will be left far behind. As such, till such time one language is developed, we must learn and teach English from the beginning itself. Some subject like Science, Mathematics and technological books must be taught in English only. This fact is being realized now by those who had opposed teaching in English few years ago. They now know that we have not been able to prosper like other countries of the world due to keeping ourselves away from English. It is this language which can uplift us not only within our own country but throughout the world. We will be no less than anybody in the world with knowledge of English.
It may be exaggeration to say but breaking the patience I would state that When an English teacher explains the importance of English in general, it sounds like a mother favors and supports her child on a street quarrel with other children. It is beyond dispute that teaching English is as important issue for R & D Research and Development as an issue for which I have crushed my pen on last few pages. A student who takes English Language as his/her special subject for her bachelor and master degree and ultimately achieves the goal that is to be an English Teacher forgets the irony that whether his/her students take English language more than a subject to score at least passing marks. Here the question wakes up and that is Valuation and Devaluation of Teaching English and that paves way and leads to think on a question: i.e. “How to teach”. It is a formality to enlist one’s name in a list of the scholars and analyzers who gave their heavy views on the above question. Numerable books on a library shells are getting dust: the books are on various methods of teaching. It is because Teaching is becoming more experimental than theoretical. It would be sarcastic to say that the number of books on ‘how to learn’ is not even less than half of the number of the books that talk about ‘how to teach’. Here my aim is not to guide or teach the readers as t how to teach nor have I intended to say how I teach. This is simply a repetition of something that I’ve already mentioned: “Teaching is not or rather never possible” the only thing that exists is Learning. Therefore unfortunately out of many students of a best teaching teacher, only one comes first. Because that poor students knows the skill of learning better than his/her teacher’s skill of teaching.
May the students of Modern era follow him at least in the physical presence of their teacher in the class full of facilities like books, fans, benches, board, reference books and so on.
“I do not end but rest my discourse”

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