By Eena Chawla
After teaching English in a Government-aided School for years together I realize how difficult it is even for brilliant students to study English and other subjects in English medium, especially when there is no English speaking environment at home, school, neighbourhood and…. not even while commuting to and from school in buses or metros even in the nation’s capital!!
I hope children will enjoy studying more when English is not imposed at all and it is the choice of individual students not the wish of their parents, or school or the number of language teachers available in the school. It is a pity that promotions of some favourite teachers are manipulated by the management of schools and some ‘surplus’ teachers are transferred out by forcing students to opt for some specific subjects and threatening them to leave the school if they wish to study the subject of their choice! Quite often they are sandwiched between the choices are given to them by the school and the advice given by their either very incapable or over capable tutors at home or coaching centres!!… What to do? Where to go?…… Everything happens at the cost of helpless students as if they are a puppet in the hands of their caregivers, school administration, society, tutors, peer pressure and their friends in neighbourhood and siblings as well!!
Let us offer the innocent minds what they want to learn!
However, it won’t stop the students from learning or studying English if the foreign language teachers have the grit and the zeal to impress their students about the importance of learning English or any other language in their lives!! They can prove to their students how English can serve as a window to the world by highlighting some evidence from day to day happenings!
The need of the hour is to inform children about the universal appeal of the English language and how it can help them perform better in their careers and go through interviews and promotions. And most importantly make them crystal clear how it is a link language within our nation as well as other nations!!!
The decision, however, must be left to the students! …Let them decide which language they wish to learn and once they do, let them learn it at his own pace and ability!!
Imposing the same syllabi as for an English medium or International public school (for a foreign language especially) is killing the interest of students in all the subjects!! And thus the dropouts!
Learning anything is a natural enjoyable behaviour and the stress and the pressure to understand any subject in a language one does understand not just takes away all the joys of learning but also kills the potential of the budding stars!!
By the way, why… after all why…why are we trying to teach fishes to swim and elephants to fly???….resulting in the little students’ failure and frustration …and consequently everyone’s!
Time to think! The Sun shines for all… So let us let each flower bloom its own way!!
Eena Chawla – a well-known educationist was Head of English Department at MBDAV Sr Secondary School for Boys in South Delhi before taking voluntary retirement to devote time for social work and contributing to the larger needs of the society. She is now founder Vice -President of Ishwar Sewa Udhyog.