Letters to the learners of EnglishA new series [Archives:2006/1006/Education]
Professor of English,
Faculty of Education, Taiz
Dear learners of English,
This is a new series of letters I am planning to write for the benefit of you, learners of English in Yemen. You are aware that I was writing letters to the teachers of English in this country in the earlier issues of Yemen Times Educational supplement in order to share with them certain useful information related to the teaching of English in Yemen. In these letters, I touched on basic issues such as the use of blackboard in the English classes, preparing teaching aids for teaching English etc. to very complex issues such as punishing students by rewards, evaluating teaching materials etc. I believe that my teacher friends in Yemen have read them and benefited from them; a few letters I got as feedback from teachers pleases me and it is this incentive that has motivated me to write this series now.
In all these letters to the teachers, though not stated explicitly many times, I have kept the learners of English, you, at the back of my mind. How could I have told the teachers to do something in the classes without thinking of you? Any classroom activity, though planned and carried out by the teachers most often, targets the learners, doesn't it? There can't be teaching without learners; hence the term 'teaching-learning' instead of teaching or learning is more common in the ELT literature these days. Of course, there was a time when the classroom teaching was looked at as the teacher's activity without caring about the learners, but those days are gone. So, you, the learners of English – whether you are in preparatory schools or secondary schools or colleges or pursuing your own studies at home – are our valuable consumers and welcome customers. There can be learners without teachers but can there be teachers without learners?
This series of letters is to interact with you, look at your problems, responsibilities, your strength and weaknesses, your success and failure with regard to your learning of English in Yemen and share with you my views which may help you to solve some of your problems and learn better and more successfully.
Read these letters in every issue of Education Page, last Monday of every month, free with the issue of Yemen Times and react; ask your questions without any hesitation and I'll answer them in the following issues. Questioning is the best way to learn, as you know, as it benefits both those that ask and those that answer.
I am going to write in these letters problems and prospects of learning English in Yemen, especially those that hunt you as learners of English; some of the areas I'll discuss are how learning Arabic helps learning English, why you learn English in this country, where you learn English, how you learn, how much English you need, how you can improve your spoken English, writing and reading, how well you can choose your dictionary and extra reading materials etc.
Looking forward to your responses to the letters.
Dr. M.N.K. Bose