A letter to the teachers of English: 80How to use what you have learnt in the faculties? [Archives:2005/830/Education]

April 4 2005

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

Dear Fellow teachers,

Recently I read a thesis of a researcher in a Faculty of Education, an interesting piece of work; he has studied the impact of the teacher education programmes in the English classrooms, though he didn't call it by this name. The researcher has found that there is a wide gap between the language teacher education offered at the Faculties of Education in this country and the teaching of English in the schools; this is what I have been saying for a long time. I wish this study is taken up on a large scale with the help of the Ministry of Education, not only for English but also for all the subjects for which the teachers are prepared in the Faculties of Education, because, having spent a lot of hard currency on the teacher education programme (the dollars paid to the foreign experts in the Faculties), which I have discussed in my early letters, the Ministry has the responsibility to know if the Faculties of Education deliver the goods; alternatively, the Faculties of Education themselves can undertake this study in order to make sure that their curricula are effective and to modify them, if necessary. Teacher education, especially the language teacher education is an expensive commodity in this country, and unless it is put to proper use, it is going to cause a great damage.

In this letter, let me suggest how you can use the teacher education you have had in the Faculties of Education. I have said enough about the need for updating the English curriculum of the Faculties of Education to suit the needs of the teachers of English. Several articles have also appeared in Yemen Times to strengthen my point of view. In my earlier letters, I have presented the challenges that are awaiting the teachers of English in schools. Unless the Faculties of Education modify their curriculum with these challenges in mind, teachers will be left in the classrooms without much help; the result will be that each teacher does whatever he or she thinks best, irrespective of whether the students in these classes learn English or not. All this will end up doing injustice to the younger generation.

In the present set up, with the present teacher education programme, which is not adequate, what can you do in your classes? Use the teaching materials – the Pupil's Book, the Workbook and the Teacher's Book – wisely. The first two are used in almost all classes but the third one is hardly available in all schools. Even if available, they are sparingly used by the teachers; this is what is shown in the thesis that I have just read. The Teacher's Books have been prepared for each class with a lot of care and concern for the teachers. They present all the necessary details for each class: what the teacher should do to introduce vocabulary, to teach reading, to teach writing, to teach grammar etc. This is nothing but a printed lesson plan and new teachers need no other help, if they use the Teacher's Books.

Lesson planning is essential for a teacher; I will write about it in detail later. The Teacher's Books are an invaluable and inevitable help for writing lesson plans. Read each unit in it and write your lesson plan in your words (there is no harm even if you copy it as your lesson plan). The techniques suggested for each lesson, if followed scrupulously, will enable you to teach the lesson successfully. Try it. Good luck.

Yours fraternally,