Thursday, March 10, 2011

Teaching English

Teaching English is interesting and important, but it is not easy. Many English teachers have been using the Grammar-Translation method while teaching, which is not always the best way to learn. I am confident that the English-to-English method is the best way to teach students. In this method, students can easily understand the interpretations and descriptions. To teach English well, teachers need to study varieties of English, write something creatively everyday and must have knowledge of grammar. They should practice speaking English as much as possible, just as they should encourage their students. Good teachers always communicate with their students in an interesting and meaningful way. English will not hamper Nepali. Rather it would help develop and enrich Nepali. Even the great poet Laxmi Prasad Devkota majored in English but was excellent in Nepali literature.

Many boarding schools in Nepal lack quality English teachers, let alone public schools. As teaching is the art of speaking, teachers need to help each students develop a good voice. Gautam Buddha has said, “An unpleasant voice is not liked, even by an animal.” Some teachers have acquired Master’s degrees in English but are not liked by students because they lack the ability to express English properly with clarity and a melodious voice. The importance of clarity and voice should be stressed in teaching. For example, the speech delivered by late Modan Bhandari is much different from speeches delivered by Madhav Kumar Nepal, Mohan Baidhya and Ram Chandra Poudel. While speeches by the former were very eloquent, vibrant and breath-taking, the latter orators’ speech may have been substantive, but lack what is needed to enchant the audience.

All people with Master’s degree are not fit to be teachers, because not all of them are endowed with the characteristics necessary for teaching. English teachers face many problems in our country. There is not the necessary encouragement, incentives or rewards to recruit talented teachers. In private schools there is no social security for teachers. Public schools are full of politically-affiliations with many teachers hired on the basis of nepotism and favouritism who are not responsible towards students or parents. In private schools teachers are exploited and parents are looted in the name of ‘quality education’. And the government remains a mute spectator. There are inferiority and superiority complexes among teachers. In some schools, management committees themselves do not want to maintain the standard of the school that they fear that other children would benefit while their own do not make good progress. Hence they hold back others who are make genuine efforts for the betterment, welfare and well-being of students and teachers.

In villages, some teachers take advantage of different NGO/INGOS and political parties. In some cases, they are not concerned about the needs of teachers and don’t care about the quality of education. Donors also formulate policies in collaboration with some technocrats and bureaucrats putting burning issues related to education aside.
source:Hiramani Subedi, The Kathmandu Post, 9 March 2011