Dr. J Savithri, Director, Center for English Language Training (CELT), Osmania University, says separate chapters on soft skills should be included in curriculum to improve communication skills among students. She further said teachers should also be updated with the latest changes in education to provide better teaching to the students.
What are the facilities available for students at CELT?
CELT has a well-equipped language laboratory, which helps learners to gain plenty of practice in listening, speaking, reading and writing. The students are guided by teachers during practice sessions on various aspects of language. We also have a pronunciation software for practicing pronunciation.
What are the innovative teaching methods that are followed at CELT to teach students from Telugu medium?
We mostly follow interactive and learner-centered methods. The Centre’s learner-friendly and interactive atmosphere help the participants, especially for those who come from vernacular medium, in achieving a clear, confident communication and a dynamic personality.
The general problem that Telugu medium learners face is the fear of speaking in English. We conduct ice-breaking sessions to remove fear among them and help them in building confidence.
Why do you think students are lacking communication skills despite studying English?
At under-graduate level, the concentration is more on completion of the syllabus rather than on honing students’ skills. We cannot blame students in this regard. At the UG level, the language classes are not organised properly. When students from two or three branches are clubbed together to form one class of English. Obviously, the teacher does not get time to concentrate on individual needs of the students. Hence, students look for coaching centres to improve their skills.
Does CELT attract students from rural areas? What is the percentage of them in total number of students and how they are performing compared to those from urban areas?
Most of the students at CELT are from rural backgrounds. At the beginning of the course the students’ level of communication will be poor. Any participant who joins CELT can definitely find some positive change in the way they communicate in English. Urban students are somewhat better in spoken language but not so good in written communication. At CELT we train them not only in oral but also in written communication.
Do you suggest any education model where soft skills can be made part of curriculum?
Inclusion of soft skills in the curriculum has already started. The existing OU UG General English syllabus has a lot of soft skills component in it. Teachers have to update themselves and have to realize the importance of honing the skills of their students.