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28 October, 2017 11:23:42 AM

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DG order: ‘English classes to be conducted in English’

The people already engaged in teaching in the secondary and higher secondary level can give far better teaching if they are well trained and encouraged
Masum Billah
DG order: ‘English classes to be conducted in English’

The Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) issued a gazette notification on 17 October 2017 ordering to conduct English classes in English in schools and colleges as use of Bnegali acts as a barrier to serve the purpose of teaching English in these levels of education. The comments of teachers of various levels favouring, supporting and criticizing the decision have poured in different newspapers.
One teacher has commented, “I am very grateful to the higher authority for realizing the necessity of teaching – learning method of English class.

It is very important for the development of learning English. But there is a lack of skilled and experienced English teacher the implementation of the decision is very difficult. We have to recruit skilled and experienced teachers at first for the implementation of the gadget.” Actually recruiting experienced and skilled teachers for teaching English in the secondary, higher secondary and tertiary (college) levels cannot be ensured uniformly as the students who show better performance in the public examinations hardly come to teaching profession as it still holds less facilities and opportunities than other professions.
It cannot, however, be expected that all the better result-oriented people will gather around teaching profession. Of course, only results made by students in the public examination do not necessarily talk about good and effective teaching. It’s a different art and profession. The people already engaged in teaching in the secondary and higher secondary level can give far better teaching if they are well trained and encouraged.

Another teacher expresses his reaction in this way, “Do you think a teacher recruited as an English teacher doesn’t have ability to conduct the class in English? Anyway, in the institutions situated particularly in the rural areas when a teacher delivers lectures in English, the students remain silent or feel boring or think the teacher is excellent or feel asleep and so on. The reality is that they have very weak base in English, they can’t understand anything what a teacher teaches them during an English class.” The teacher has mentioned the limitations of conducting English class in English. It’s true that many rural students don’t understand English lecture but we should make it suitable and palatable for them. It’s one kind of research that a teacher should conduct.

Another teacher says, “It’s no doubt a good decision but our teachers should be well trained. To develop the four skills of English language we must have to create an English speaking environment in classrooms. To speak the truth is hampered for various reasons. In our Textbooks there is less scope of speaking. Our test items in exam are mostly memorized based. Students want to get marks only. We, the teachers, prepare them for Board Exams but there is no mark for the two skills i.e. listening speaking. In the name of communicative system, more grammar items have been included.” The claim that our textbook contains little scope to practice speaking in the classroom does not hold the whole truth.

A teacher can develop ample scope for the students to speak in the classroom if he/she is interested and knows the technique using the textbook and the syllabus an institution develops. Teachers need to conduct action research on it.

Yet another teacher commented, “Undoubtedly, it’s a good decision. We, all the teachers, should deliver our lectures in English so that the students can increase their listening power. But the problem is that while we start delivering our lectures in English, they almost didn’t understand. As a result, we are bound to teach in Bengali in the classroom.” It’s true that students don’t understand when teachers use English in the classroom. This is because they don’t have the practice and tradition to listen to English. That does not necessarily mean that we must not start it. We should start it in the way students can follow.

Finally, I want to say that it’s a utopian idea to meet the same kind of gentle and equally meritorious students in one class and the teacher will conduct his class in an ideal situation. It happens in a very limited number of institutions.

Meeting the students of various levels and types in the same class is the reality. When students understand everything in English, only then we will speak English in the class is not a reasonable idea.

The writer works for BRAC Education Programme. Email: masumbillah65@gmail.com

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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