A letter to the teachers of English: 100Recap 3: Letters 71 to 99 [Archives:2005/900/Education]

December 5 2005

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Dear Fellow teachers,

I can't believe my eyes; this is my 100th letter to you, dear fellow teachers. I should thank God, the Almighty; you, my esteemed readers; Dr Ramakant Sahu, the Editor of the Education page of Yemen Times and the Editorial team of Yemen Times, who have kindly been publishing my letters.

In this letter, I am giving a recap of letters 71 to 99 for the benefit of those who missed some of the letters in the middle and for those who want a comprehensive picture of the letters I have been writing all these weeks. This is the third such recap since I started writing letters to the teachers of English in this country.

Letters 71 to 74 dealt with how to teach a poem keeping in mind the poem prescribed in the third year of the Secondary class; the various advantages of teaching a poem, the differences between teaching a prose passage and a poem and the different ways of teaching a poem were discussed in these letters. In letter 75, how to test a poem was discussed with certain principles behind testing poems in general.

Letters 77 to 79 pointed out the importance of language teacher education and training for the teachers of English; the language teacher education and training available in Yemen was presented; need for improving it was emphasized with particular areas in mind. Letter 80 was to highlight how to use what you have learnt in the Faculties of Education in your schools, so that you can make the best use of whatever you have learnt in the Faculties.

Letter 81 answered some interesting questions asked by the readers of my letters. The questions chosen were of general interest to all the teachers of English.

Letters 82 and 83 and later 89 and 90 focused on English curriculum especially at the university level. Taking examples from the curriculum revision done in one or two universities in the country, the teachers were cautioned against hurrying through curriculum revision without caring about the needs of the learners.

Letters 84 to 86 cautioned you against students copying in the examinations. Having discussed why they copy in the examinations, some solutions to avoid copying were presented, most of which were teacher-related.

Letters 87 and 88 titled 'Punished by rewards' discussed how thoughtless teachers, knowingly or unknowingly, punish the students by being generous in giving marks that they don't deserve. It was suggested that teachers should judge the students correctly from the beginning and make them realize their weaknesses from the beginning so that they would not be given a false hope about their abilities.

Letters 91 and 92 to 94 were presentations of two studies carried out by my students in the Faculty of Arts, as they were interesting and informative. One of them studied why students in schools dislike English and the other one studied why students drop out of schools in the middle. The findings of the studies were presented and a few solutions to solve these problems were also given.

Letters 95 and 96 were a revisit to a familiar problem of Yemeni learners viz. developing writing skills. This time the discussion was on the stages of developing writing through stages such as pre-writing, writing and re-writing.

Letters 97 to 99 focused the need for computeracy for teachers and learners.

I hope you have enjoyed reading the letters and find them useful.

Yours fraternally,