PROBLEMS IN TEACHING: DR. HARESHWAR ROY
For many decades English has been taught in our schools and colleges. It occupies the position of a second language in the school curriculum and for higher education. Now English language teaching has gained the status of a new discipline. Teaching English to the Indian students is the biggest challenge. This is so because of the large population of the country, bleak economic conditions, the cultural and social diversities and insufficient men and material. One of the main reasons for the poor standard of English is the lack of a clear-cut policy. There have been frequent changes in the policy of the government towards the teaching and learning of English. The educationists and politicians differ on the role and status of English in India.
The majority of our students struggle a lot to acquire the language. Most of the Indian students are exposed to their mother tongues. They do not get adequate opportunities either to listen to or speak in English. They listen to English only in the class. They neither get enough exposure to English outside the classroom nor enough opportunities to improve themselves in speaking it. This naturally reduces their use of English and results in a poor competence in the language.
For effective teaching many teaching/ learning materials are essential. Unfortunately many teachers and students are not provided with these materials. Hence, sometimes the teaching and learning becomes more imaginative than practical. Good teachers of English are found in very small number in India. Hence, not having a good teacher of English is a common experience of all the students of English. The teachers of English are either not trained properly or they are the teachers of other subjects. Even if they are trained, they are trained by the teachers of English in India but not by the native speakers. Even the materials and methodology used in these training programmes are outdated. The methodology which is practiced to teach English in schools is not appropriate. The oral work which is the soul of any method is totally neglected. As students do not find any immediate need for English, their interest naturally slackens. Similarly, as there is no immediate reward for their achievement, the interest decreases. The poverty and the insecure sociological conditions also force them to neglect the language. Due to large population there is no scope for individual attention. This certainly hinders the intellectual growth.
Our evaluation system is faulty. Under this system the students always aim at memorizing the notes from low-standard guides and reproducing them in the examination. The language skills are not tested to any appreciable degree. Speech skills are totally neglected. With all the problems, discussed above, the standard of English in our country is deplorably low. Hence, a lot of responsibility is thrown on the shoulders of the teachers to make their classes interesting and learning of English fruitful. They have to gear up to meet the demands of the situation and successfully perform their duties.