Jani Afgani, an English teacher at a zilla parishad high school in Nalgonda district of Telangana, says that students often develop a notion that English language is difficult to learn because their basics are not up to the mark. If students are taught well in lower classes, it will be easy for them to learn the language further in higher classes, he says in an interview with Express and suggests that teachers should focus on interactive teaching methods to keep the students engaged with learning. Here are excerpts:
Usually, school children from rural areas view English as the most difficult subject. Why this notion?
Often, many students of ninth and tenth standards find it difficult to understand the language because they were not taught the basics well in lower classes. The difficulty level grows, in case of any subject, as they are promoted to higher classes but the learning level often remains same for several years. When they reach the tenth standard, they find it difficult to understand because there is clash between their ability to understand and the difficulty level of the subject. Some students manage to develop their skills even in higher classes but most give up and begin to develop a negative feeling on the subject.
As a teacher, how would you convince a student that English is not as difficult a subject as they think it is?
First, I try to create a friendly atmosphere in the classroom. Because students tend to ignore classes if they don’t like the teacher. I usually begin the class with fairy tales in which I mostly use very simple language. It helps me draw their attention. I keep reminding them how important it is to know English. I encourage them every time they give correct answer to the question asked. Slowly, they start enjoying learning of the language.
It is difficult to teach English to tenth standard students when their basics are weak. What are the teaching methods would you follow for such students?
For tenth standard students, we don’t have enough time to begin with the basics. I explain the concepts and make them do exercises mentioned in the textbooks. Many students study only for examinations. They can read and write but can’t speak in English. I find that students of lower classes enjoy English more than those of higher classes. I often conduct interactive sessions to encourage them to talk in English. Conducting competitions in quiz and essay-writing will also help. But we are yet to introduce them in our school.