A letter to the teachers of English: 76 Recap 2: Letters 37 to 70 [Archives:2005/820/Education]

February 28 2005

Dr..M.N.K.Bose ([email protected])
Associate Professor of English,
Faculty of Arts, Ibb.

Dear Fellow teachers,

This is a platinum jubilee plus letter; it looks as if I started writing letters to you only yesterday and 75 letters have been published. Thanks again to the Editor of Yemen Times and his crew, Dr Ramakanta Sahu and the fellow teachers who read and react to my letters in person and through letters.

This is the second recap. I think this is a bit late; I should have done it early, shouldn't I? Before I start my recap, let me apologize for a slip in the publication of the letters. One of my friends pointed out that letter no.71 has been published twice; this happened with letters 56 and 60 earlier. My apologies to you, readers, whoever was responsible for it.

My 37th letter highlighted the importance of understanding and not just memorizing, and how to ensure understanding in our classroom teaching; then, I wrote about how our graduates are unemployable, not just unemployed, as the courses we offer in the universities, some of them at least, do not prepare them for any employment, neither in an agency nor self employment. The following two letters concentrated on how translation can be used as a strategy in the English classes. The next letter requested that you use funny examples that come to your mind for the benefit of your learners' learning. Then came the suggestions for using newspapers in English classes, followed by a request to you to enable your learners to infer the meaning of words from the context, as a reading strategy. In order to help you to use a dictionary better, I wrote about how to use the dictionary in my next two letters. Then came a suggestion to use stories in your English classes.

Before that, I discussed with you how to teach vocabulary in different classes, taking examples from the English course for Yemen. Asking you to contextualize the language you teach in classes was the theme of the next letter. Following that I made a few suggestions as to how to deal with the slow learners in your classes; this was a response to a request made by some of my teacher friends. As a preparation for your summer vacation, I gave you some tips to keep yourselves academically busy during the vacation. Then I discussed the weaknesses of human memory to show you why you should not spend all your time in developing your students' memory. The letter discussing how to ask useful questions in the classes appeared twice (by mistake).

In the next two letters, I suggested that you integrate all the four language skills while you teach for the benefit of your students with examples from your textbooks. After that, to improve your own proficiency, I suggested to you how you could refresh your language periodically. The next letter insisted that you should increase the learning opportunities in your English classes. As the old saying goes, 'you can take the horse to the water but cannot make it drink', and the useful learning opportunities are like good drinking water, and it is our responsibility to provide 'good drinking water' to our learners, isn't it? Discussing how to develop the writing skills of your learners occupied the next six letters – the discussion was thorough and useful, a bit long though. Then there was a letter about dictation as a device for developing their listening skills. I sincerely hope that you found them useful. Do write to me your views about my letters. Your letters will ensure me of my right direction and encourage me to write more.

Yours fraternally,