The Telegraph
Friday , December 7 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Smart tips for tricky tongue

Ello and yalo both mean yellow. Many students mispronounce hit for heat or vice-versa. Teaching English in India is a tall task.

Around 60 teachers from 30 schools affiliated to ICSE or CBSE made it to the workshop on “Diverse aspects of English language teaching-learning today” in Ranchi on Thursday to learn how to make classes on Queen’s tongue contemporary and relevant in a global world.

Hosted by Orient BlackSwan, reputable publishers headquartered in Hyderabad, the event aimed at upping teachers’ communication skills.

Diction, accent and the correct stress in bi-syllable or tri-syllable words were some offbeat yet key English teaching needs in India, said Samson Thomas, a Hyderabad-based English and Foreign Languages University associate professor during the daylong meet.

“Boards like CBSE and ICSE have changed English teaching guidelines. This meet wants to help teachers with this,” said Manoj Singh Rawat, Orient BlackSwan’s Patna-based regional sales manager.

All Jharkhand children in English-medium schools are multilingual — they use their mother tongue at home, speak Hindi well and are required to be fluent in English.

But here, many trip on pronunciation and grammar.

“The new trend in teaching is learner-centric,” Thomas told teachers. “Learners are inquisitive and teachers must be competent to answer their queries. Spoken English also needs to improve,” he added.

He also said the teacher was indispensable.“Students and parents rely on teachers completely. Even if a guardian is a professor of phonetics himself, his child will trust the teacher more,” Thomas added.

He suggested an overhaul in teaching methodology. “Divide the class period into three parts of reading, listening and speaking,” he said.

He also stressed on using pronunciation guidelines of a standard dictionary.

Thomas threw in some warm praise. “Compared to many other places, the standard of teachers here is better.”

Teachers returned the compliment. “We learnt new approaches. Day well spent,” was DPS (Ranchi) teacher Ruli Bora’s verdict.

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