English Primary Tet 2022 Chapter 1

English Primary Tet 2022 Chapter 1

 

Concept of First, Second and Foreign Languages

Language:

The word ‘language‘ has two meanings: 1. Language refers to the system of human communication by means of a structural arrangement of sounds (or their written representations) to form larger units, e.g. morphemes, words, phrases, and sentences. In common usage it can also refer to non-human systems of communication such as the language of bees, language of dolphins, etc. 2. It refers to any particular system of human communication like English language, Hindi language, Tamil language, etc.

For our present discussion we are mainly concerned with the second meaning of language mentioned above.

In the context of language teaching or, to be more precise, language planning, we generally come across three terms: 1. First language (FL or L1), 2. Second language (SL or L2), 3. Foreign language (FL).

1. First Language: It is often a synonym for mother tongue (MT) or a contrast to a second language. That is, FL generally refers to the mother tongue or the language acquired first. In multilingual communities, however, where a child may gradually shift from the main use of one language to the main use of another language, first language may refer to the language the child feels more comfortable in using. Often this term is used synonymously with native language. First language is also known as L1.

The terms foreign language and second language are used in different senses in different countries. So let us first know about what is a second language. 2. Second Language: The word ‘second language’ is used differently by the Americans and the British. The North Americans use the term foreign language’ (a language that is not a native language in a country) and ‘second language’ to mean the same. To put it in other words, for them there is no difference between ‘second language’ and ‘foreign language’. But in the British usage, a second language is a language other than one’s first language. It is used widely as a medium of communication (e.g. in government, law court, and education) and it is usually used alongside another language or languages. Further, it is learnt for utilitarian reasons because of its direct value to the speaker or writer as a citizen of his own country. In India we use the term in the British sense. English is described as a second language in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Singapore, etc. In both Britain and America, the term ‘second language’ would describe a native language in a country as learnt by people living there who have another ‘first language’. For example, English in the UK would be called the second language of immigrants and people whose native language is Welsh or Irish. In both Britain and North America, the term ‘second language’ would describe a native language in a country as learnt by people living there who have another first language. English in the UK would be called the second language of immigrants and people whose first language is Welsh or Irish. Second language is also known as L2.

3. Foreign Language: Foreign language means : a language which is not a native language in a country. A foreign language is usually studied either for communication with foreigners who speak the language, or reading printed materials in the language that is required for academic or research purpose. In the British usage, a foreign language is a language which is taught as a school subject but which is not used as a medium of instruction in schools nor as a language of communication within a country (e.g. in government, business or industry). That is to say, a foreign language is one which is studied for the insight it affords into the life of another nation. English is described as a foreign language in France, Japan, and China. In India English is not a foreign language but a second language. It is known as FL. Thus, in North American applied linguistics usage ‘foreign language’ and ‘second language’ are often used to mean the same (i.e. not native language). In

British usage, however, a distinction is often made between a foreign language and a second language.

ESL (English as a Second Language) : The acronym ESL stands for English as a second language A second language is a language other than one’s first language. It is learnt for utilitarian reasons because of its direct value to the speaker or writer as a citizen of his own country. When we use English as a second language we mean that English is used for communication within the country as well as a medium of instruction in schools and colleges/ universities. Sometimes the language is used by the government of the country for official correspondence. Whether English should be treated as a second language or a foreign language is a purely political issue which is settled or decided by the government of that country. For instance, English is not considered as a foreign language in the Constitution. It is accepted as an official language within India. We consider a language a foreign language when it is not used at all in day to day communication. In other words, it is used in very restricted domains. There are many countries like China, Japan where English is a foreign language. For us in India, English is used as a medium of instruction or it is taught as another language (mostly as a second language and sometimes as a third language). It is commonly used in India for communication in a multilingual setting. It is more of a second than a first language (L1). Indeed, everyone in India, except for a small minority, has a mother tongue (MT) other than English. This is true even of those who speak, read and write English very well, or even of those who are more fluent in English than in their mother tongue. This is true for people living in Arab, Africa, Baharin, Yemen where English is not the mother tongue.

EFL (English as a First Language):

A foreign language is one which is studied for the insight it affords into the life of another nation. The acronym EFL stands for English as a foreign language. When we consider English as a foreign language we teach English as a subject and we don’t use it as a medium of instruction or as a means of communication within the country. We consider a language a foreign language when it is not used at all in day to day communication. In other words, it is used in very restricted domains. There are many countries where English is a foreign language. For example, China, Japan.

A Historical View of ESL in India :

With the advent of the British, the English language came to India in the 17th century. The British established the East India Company and hence their priority was focused on trade. The British needed English-knowing Indians to help them in commercial activities. So they introduced English education and English language in India. As colonial subjects we had no other choice but to learn English.

The Phases of the Introduction of English in India :

There are three phases of the introduction of English in India. The first one, the missionary phase, was initiated by the Christian missionaries.

The second phase is characterized by a local demand as some scholars were of the opinion that the spread of English was the result of the demand and willingness of the local people to learn the English language. The two prominent spokesmen for English were Raja Rammohan Roy and Rajnath Hari Navalkar. They were persuading the officials of the East India Company to introduce English education instead of Arabic and Persian. A letter of Raja Rammohan Roy addressed to Lord Amherst is often presented as an evidence of local demand for English.

The third phase was the Government policy. When the East India Company’s authority was stabilized, English was established firmly as the medium of instruction and a language used in administration. Gradually English became a widespread means of communication.

Expansion of English in India in the Nineteenth Century:

The first three decades of the nineteenth century marked the beginning of English education in India, but it was a period of slow development. The study of English language was strengthened by Lord Macaulay and Lord William Bentinck. Macaulay wanted to form a “class of persons, Indians in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect”. Macaulay dreamt of anglicizing India mentally and intellectually. He expected that the Indians would renounce their history, traditions and culture.

In 1854, Wood’s Despatch was passed which has been described as the Magna Carta of English education in India. The number of schools and colleges increased and the predominant position was given to vernaculars began to be neglected.

Retention of English in Independent India :

It is often remarked that the English left India on 15th August 1947, but their language stayed with us even after India’s independence. We choose to retain English in India. Gradually, English became accepted as the language of the elite, of the administration and the press and medium of instruction in colleges and universities. English newspapers has an influencing reading public. Indian literature in English, a distinct sub-genre, has also developed. The prose writings of Swami Vivekananda, Tagore, Sri Aurobindo, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, are ample illustrations of this sub-genre. They have not only imbibed Western ideas and thoughts but also upheld Indian culture and heritage in their writing. The writers like Nissim Ezekiel, R K. Narayan, Raja Rao, Anita Desai, Kamala Das, Jayanta Mahapatra, Mulk Raj Anand, Khuswant Singh and others have given rise to the notion of what is known as the ‘Indian writing in English’.

In the initial stage after independence, a wave of patriotic fervour swept over the country. It was thought that the end of the British Raj would mean the slow but sure demise of English in India. But this did not happen. The nationalists did not want English to be used in offices as well as in educational institutes. They felt that an Indian language should be adopted as the official language, Hindi seemed most qualified for that, since it had more native speakers than any other Indian languages. Thus, Hindi was designated by the constitution as the language of communication between and within the states. In other words, Hindi was regarded as the language of wider communication (LWC) and it was to replace English within 15 years.

There were, however, several problems with selecting Hindi as LWC. Due to the continuous opposition in South India the replacement was not politically possible. A law was passed in 1967 allowing the use of both Hindi and English for all official purposes. Thus English is retained as an ‘Associate Official Language’ in Indian constitution. English is given the status of a second language in school curriculum and the medium of instruction in higher education.

It is not the right place to deal with the history of English in great detail. Let us just take note of the important dates of the history English (obviously as ESL) in India :

Date 1600 1823 Event : Queen Elizabeth I granted a charter of monopoly of trade with India to the East India Company. : English education was introduced in India to (1) popularize European culture and science among the Indian masses and (2) consolidate the position of the British raj in India.

Date Event 1835 :

English education was formally introduced in India and English was a medium of instruction. Macaulay’s famous ‘Minutes’ set out the aims of this move. It was “to form a class of people who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellect”.

1857 : Universities were established in Madras, Bombay and Calcutta.

1869 : Lord Napier’s Convocation Address at Madras University His speech spelt out the objectives of the European education in India: (1) to give a new basis for national unity, (2) to give a better knowledge of India, (3) to enable participation in the general intellectual movements of the world and (4) to enable self-government.

1947 : Free India chose to retain English as long as it was needed

1948 : Regarding the role of English, Maulana Azad observed by saying: “The position that English is occupying today in our educational and official life cannot be sustained in future. It is but essential that

Indian languages should be given their legitimate position”. In this year the Radhakrishnan Commission-free India’s first education commission-was set up. It was also known as the University Education Commission (1948). The commission recommended that English should continue to be studied in high schools and universities.

1952 : Madras introduced a list of graded structures for teaching English in schools. The aim was to make learning easier for children. Experts identified the basic structures in English. These sentence structures were then graded’ or arranged from the most easy to the most difficult in terms of learning.

1952-53 The Madras English Language Teaching (MELT) Campaign was launched. The structural syllabus prepared by the Institute of Education, London, was introduced in Madras in 1952 for the MELT campaign. The scheme involved the training of 27,000 teachers at the primary level.

1954 : English Language Teaching Institutes (ELTIS) were set up. The first centre was founded at Allahabad.

1957 : A seminar for lecturers in English from training colleges was held at Nagpur. It recommended a six-year course in English involving the use of 3000 words and 300 structures.

1958 : The Central Institute of English (CIE, later known as the CIEFL, now EFLU) was set up.

The objectives were to train teachers of English to produce teaching material and to improve the standards of teaching English in India.

Date 1961 1963 1967 1977 1987 Event : Jawaharlal Nehru pointed out the need for a link language in India. He said: “The tendency of the regional language to become the medium for university education, though desirable in many ways, may well lead to the isolation of such universities from the rest of India, unless there is a link in the shape of an all-India language.” The Regional Institute of English was set up in Bangalore. : A Study Group Report on the study of English in India was prepared by the Ministry of Education Govt. of India. The aim was to survey the nature of the study of English in India. The UGC held workshops for syllabus reform. This was the result of regional and national workshops conducted by the UGC to examine the syllabus of various universities in order to update and improve them. : The Curriculum Development Centre (CDC), Hyderabad, was set up by the UGC. The aim was to shift focus in curriculum designing from teaching to learning and make it need-based and socially relevant. Importance of English in Multilingual Context in India

English has been playing an important role in multilingual India-not only in the field of education but also in national life. It has registered some significant results from the viewpoint of sociology of communication, in general, and crosslinguistic communication, in particular. At present, it serves as one of the most important sources of pan-Indian bilingualism or pan-Indian communication. Consequently, it has added greatly to the already mixed character of Indian languages. What is noteworthy is that mixing with English is an important linguistic feature of India. When the introduction of English to the Indian linguistic landscape began with the dawn of the British colonial era, English began to develop roots in Indian education and gradually in other fields like law, administration, communication, etc. A blueprint for India’s educational policy was laid down in Macaulay’s Minute (February 2, 1835). Macaulay’s stated mission for the British Raj of creating a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and intellect’ introduced English education in India.

More than one and a half centuries later, English has overcome its status as merely the language of the colonial power, and has become an integral part of Indian linguistic mosaic. Contrary to the most popular pre-independence consensus that Hindi would dethrone the English language after independence, English not only continued to flourish in the educational and official network of India but also became one of the Official Languages’, or, an ‘Associate Official Language’ of the nation and thus continues to enjoy the patronage of the Indian elite.

India is a multilingual nation. Till date, its 22 languages (14 in 1950) including English and Sanskrit have been recognized in Indian constitution as ‘scheduled languages. Beside these scheduled languages there are hundreds of dialects, regional languages, patois, etc. which are mutually unintelligible to the speakers of those varieties of languages. This linguistic diversity is a hallmark of India. India is often labeled the ‘tower of Babel’, since it is remarked that India ‘babbles’ chaotically in ‘hundreds of dialects’ where people from one part of the country do not understand those from another part because they speak different languages. The first prerequisite of a national identity is a common language and we the Indians do not have a common language. This problem is compounded by intense linguistic chauvinism that exists in all parts of the country. It is to understand why issues of language lead to volatile sentiments that lead to riots. It is our inability to arrive at a consensus about this issue that has led to widespread acceptance of English as a common link language which is mutually intelligible to Indians of different states. A Bengali can communicate with a Tamil only through English when Hindi is not known to them. English helps in communication between the states in national level and between the nations in international level. At present English is changing its status in India from a bureaucratic and elite language to one which plays an increasing role in the lives of Indian citizens. The official position of English in India remains that of a ‘transitional necessity’.

After independence the role of English in Indian education as well as our national life came be seriously questioned. It became apparent that English could not continue to occupy the privileged position it had been occupying under the British regime. There was a lot of controversy over the status of English in independent India. Many leaders equated English ‘as a language for enslavement’ or a means of colonial exploitation. They raised a great hue and cry to banish English altogether. However, wise counsel prevailed and Indian leaders realized the importance of English in our multilingual situation and retained it. And now, it is realized that English has much deeper roots in India than in the British Raj. The English language has been Indianized and it has become a part of Indian culture. In fact, from the status of ‘language of enslavement’ English has now become an ‘inspirational language’ to the Indians.

It is important to know how the Indians view English and why it is important for them. English is :

(a) a link language

(b) a library language

(c) a language of social mobility

(d) a language of liberation and liberalism

(e) a defence against Hindi

(f) a transactional ‘vehicular’ language

(g) a language of geographical mobility.

(h) a language of the ‘new Brahmins’

(i) a language which brings material success

(j) a window on the world

English as a Link Language for National and International Link

English as National Link Language :

English is a link language in multilingual India. It is the only language which is understood by the educated people all over the country. The official and unofficial correspondences from one state to another are mostly conducted in English. Without knowledge of English, there will be no dialogue between persons from different states. In the absence of English a person from Chennai will not be able to communicate with a person from Maharastra, nor will a Bihari share his thought with a Punjabi. English thus is a unifying factor and helps national integration. In the struggle for independence, English played a significant role in bringing together our national leaders from various regions of the country by enabling them to share their thoughts in it.

The constitution of India, adopted in 1950, had envisaged Hindi as the official language of India and English was to continue for 15 years from the date of adoption of the Constitution. This was strongly opposed by the southern States. As a result, Indian Parliament enacted the Official Language Act, 1963, providing for continued use of English for an indefinite period. Prime Minister Nehru also assured the southern States that English would continue to be the Associate Official Language until such time as the non-Hindi States agree to accept Hndi as the only official Language of the country.

English became the Associate Official Language for inter-State communication and communication between the state and the centre. English is the only language which is understood by the educated people all over the country. Without English both official and private communication between many parts of the country will be completely cut off. In this connection, the clear and emphatic opinion of Jawaharlal Nehru is worth quoting: “If you push out English, does Hindi fully take its place? I hope it will. I am sure it will. But I wish to avoid the danger of one unifying factor being pushed out without another unifying factor fully taking its place. In that event there will be a gap, a hiatus. The creation of any such gap or hiatus must be avoided at all costs. It is very vital to do so in the interest of the unity of the country. It is this that leads me to the conclusion that English is likely to have an important place in the foreseeable future.”

The Indian Education Commission (1964-66) has also recommended the continuance of English in the interest of national integration and for higher academic work. It is therefore apparent that English must continue as a national link language for quite some time to come.

English as an International Link Language :

English is the most widely spoken language in the world. It is the mother tongue of more than 320 million people and another 200 million use it as their second language. Until recently it was believed that Chinese, which was supposed to be the mother-tongue of over 700 million people, had the largest number of speakers in the world. But it is known that ‘Chinese’ consists of a number of mutually unintelligible dialects and Mandarin Chinese, the official language and the most widely spoken variety, can claim no more than about 400 million speakers. English therefore, occupies the unique position of being the language used by the largest number of people in the world. But the more significant aspect of English is its distribution. While Chinese is confined only to the Chinese subcontinent, English is spread throughout the globe. Apart from being the native or first language in countries as widely apart as the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, English is an important second language almost everywhere in the world. Even in India it is not only a popular second language but also the mother-tongue of a small Indian community, the Anglo-Indians. According to the 1971 census nearly two hundred thousand Indians use English as their mother-tongue. Besides, quite a few Indian States and Union Territories, viz., Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim, have adopted English as the official language. Mr. M.C. Chagla, when he was Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, once ruled that English was an Indian language, and the Supreme Court upheld this judgment. The Sahitya Academy of India recognizes English as one of the Indian languages; and Jawaharlal Nehru even wanted to include it in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, thus giving it statutory recognition as an Indian language.

The same situation prevails in many countries in Asia and Africa where English is not spoken as a native language. Even in countries like Russia and China the demand for learning English as an important foreign language is increasing. In Italy, the birth place of most of the languages of continental Europe, there is now a strong movement to make English an associate official language of the country.

Because of this great popularity and worldwide distribution, English has the claim to be the medium of international communication. In fact, English has ceased to be the language of its native speakers only-it has already attained the stature of a world language. If a person knows English, he is sure to be understood anywhere in the world. With the tremendous advance in modern transport and communication systems, the world is growing smaller and smaller. Today we are in closer contact with the different parts of the world than our forefathers could ever dreamt of. To express our views in the assembly of nations and to develop trade, commerce and diplomatic relations with other countries we need to have a common media of communication. A common language is also a great cementing force, for it is through a mutually intelligible language that nations can better understand each other.

English is therefore going to play an important role in the world affairs and it will be to our own advantage if we continue to learn English as an important foreign language.

English as a Library Language :

Perhaps the most important role that English has to play in India today is as a Library Language. This term, used by the Indian Education Commission (1964-66), popularly known as the Kothari Commission, seems to be appropriate.

It is generally agreed that the mother-tongue is the best medium of instruction and the Commission has recommended the use of mother-tongue as the medium of instruction up to the highest level of education. But the Commission has also said that no student should be awarded a university degree unless he has acquired some proficiency in English. This is true, for English can be rightly regarded as the key to the storehouse of knowledge. Books on all branches of knowledge are available in English. Besides, more than 60 per cent of the world’s technical journals, newspapers, periodicals, etc. are published in English. It might be possible to translate some of the books into the regional languages of the country, but not even the richest country with the most sophisticated translating machine can ever hope to cope with the overgrowing stream of knowledge that is being spread through these publications. Therefore, to keep themselves abreast of the latest developments in the field of science and technology our students will have to acquire a reasonable amount of proficiency in English.

The importance of English as a library language can be best described in the words of the Radhakrishnan Commission:

“English however must continue to be studied. It is a language which is rich in literature-humanistic, scientific and technical. If under sentimental urges we should give up English, we would cut ourselves from the living stream of evergrowing knowledge. Unable to have access to this knowledge, our standards of scholarship would fast deteriorate and our participation in the world movements of thought would become negligible. Its effects would be disastrous for our political life, for living nations must move with the times and must respond quickly to the challenges of their surroundings. English is the only means of preventing our isolation from the world and we will act unwisely if we allow ourselves to be enveloped in the folder of dark curtain of ignorance. Our students who are undergoing training at schools which will admit them either to university or vocation must acquire sufficient mastery of English to give them access to the treasure of knowledge, and in the universities no student should be allowed to take a degree who does not acquire the ability to read with facility and understanding works of English authors.”

Language Acquisition and Language Learning Concept:

A child learns its mother tongue or its first language informally-without the benefit of classroom, textbooks, or a teacher. It is learnt naturally and spontaneously the child is never aware of the fact that it is learning something.

But there comes a stage when the child is required to learn a new language, which may be a second or a third language as a part of a formal education. This means that there has to be an exposure to an altogether different kind of learning situation to a classroom, a teacher, and textbooks. In many ways, this is an artificial situation in which a child has to learn a language. The question is: how closely can this artificial situation be made to resemble the natural situation in which the first language is learnt?

It is important, therefore, to distinguish between language acquisition and language learning, between the natural, inevitable process and the artificial, forced process that operates in the classroom. This distinction is made by Krashen who refers to acquisition as the unconscious imbibing of language, and learning as the conscious learning of the rules of grammar.

Features of Language Acquisition :

The process by which a person learns a language is sometimes called acquisition instead of learning, because some linguists and psychologists (Chomsky, Krashen & Terrell) believe that the development of a first language (L₁) in a child is a special process.

For example, Noam Chomsky believes that

(i) Children are born with special language learning abilities; (ii) They do not have to be taught language or corrected for their mistakes; (iii) They learn language by being exposed to it; (iv) Linguistic rules develop unconsciously in children.

Thus, according to him, children are said to acquire the rules of their mother tongue by being exposed to examples of the language, and by using the language for communication.

Language acquisition is an important field of study for linguists, psychologists and applied linguists to discover the following:

(i) the nature of language;

(ii) the language learning process

There are similarities as well as differences between first language acquisition and second language learning. Still, we could learn a lot about language learning by observing children acquiring their mother tongue. Children are very successful and master their mother tongue by the age of three or four. They enjoy learning and feel no strain at all.

It is often claimed that L, teaching methods recapitulate L, acquisition; and that learning L₂ reactivates the process by which L, was learnt. Two basic requirements are essential for L, acquisition :

1. interaction with other language users. 2. ability to hear.

Stages of Acquisition :

Stages of language acquisition can be discussed under two heads (1) Stages of L, acquisition, and (2) Stages of L₂ acquisition

(1) Stages of L, Acquisition :

Before the child starts uttering meaningful words, he goes through what is known as the pre-language stage from the third to the tenth month. Newborn vocalizes by crying and fussing which are forms of communication to him. At about the 6th-8th weeks he enjoys cooing and these are sounds that resemble vowels and consonants. At about 4 months, a baby begins to babble, that is, to make sounds that approximate speech and utters sounds like ‘ma’ and ‘da’. These sound patterns are called vocables. From 12 to 18 months, he is in the one-word stage (holo-phrase stage) and uses single words like ‘pen’, ‘bin’, ‘hen’, ‘bad’, ‘ball’, etc. These words are usually nouns, adjectives or self-invented words. Sometimes he uses two words together thinking that they constitute a single word . The next stage is known as two word stage and it lasts from 18-24 months. At this stage he uses two words separately but without proper understanding of syntax. At this stage the child initially struggles to devise some means of indicating tense, number and he typically experiences difficulty with grammatical correctness. For example, “baby chair’ may mean any of the following: ‘This is Baby’s chair’; ‘put baby on the chair’; ‘Baby is on the chair’ or ‘Baby wants the chair’ etc.

Between two and three years the child’s vocabulary expands rapidly and he develops syntactic awareness. At first, he uses telegraphic speech: for example, ‘Milk gone’, ‘Cat drink milk’ or ‘This boy cry’, etc. Like holophrastic speech, telegraphic speech contains considerably more meaning than the sum of its words. Once syntactic structure emerges in ‘two-word sentences’, inflection soon appears, usually with three-word sentences’. The appearance of inflections seem to follow a pattern: first the plural of nouns, then verbs, and then possessive.

Vocabulary constantly expands. As his symbolic activity increases and becomes more abstract, a young child learns that everything has a name, and their vocabulary expands at an enormous rate (Mothers often call this stage as the language explosion’ stage). Now he uses better word-order and forms sentences like ‘Why you laugh?” or ‘He no bit you’. The basic acquisition process is complete by the age of five for all children.

(2) Stages of L, Acquisition :

Proponents of second language acquisition theories, including Oliveri and Judie Haynes, identify five distinct stages of second language acquisition as originally espoused by linguist Stephen Krashen. These stages include the following:

 Silent/Receptive/ Pre-production :

This stage may last from several hours to several months, depending on the individual learner. During this time, new language learners typically spend time learning vocabulary and practice pronouncing new words. While they may engage in self-talk, they do not normally speak the language with any fluency or real understanding. This stage is controversial among language educators. Ana Lomba disagrees that second language learners are totally silent while they are in this first learning stage. Instead, Lomba states that “speech is fundamental in language acquisition” and learners excel in language acquisition when they apply what they learn as they learn it.

● Early Production:

This stage may last about six months, during which language learners typically acquire an understanding of up to 1,000 words. They may also learn to speak some words and begin forming short phrases, even though they may not be grammatically correct.

● Speech Emergence :

By this stage, leaners typically acquire a vocabulary of up to 3,000 words, and learn to communicate by putting the words in short phrases, sentences, and questions. Again, they may not be grammatically correct, but this is an important stage during which learners gain greater comprehension and begin reading and writing in their second language.

● Intermediate Fluency:

At this stage, which may last for a year or more after speech emergence, learners typically have a vocabulary of as many as 6,000 words. They usually acquire the ability to communicate in writing and speech using more complex sentences. In this crucial stage learners begin actually thinking in their second language, which helps them gain more proficiency in speaking it.

● Continued Language Development/Advanced Fluency :

It takes at least two years to reach this stage, and then up to 10 years to achieve full mastery of the second language in all its complexities and nuances. Second language learners need opportunities to engage themselves in discussions and express themselves in their new language, in order to maintain fluency in it.

The key to learning a new language and developing proficiency in speaking and writing that language is consistency and practice. A student must converse with others in the new language on a regular basis in order to develop fluency and confidence. In addition, Haynes says it is important for students to continue to work with a classroom teacher on specific content area related to the new language such as history, social studies and writing.

Difference between Acquisition and Learning :

Acquisition is a gradual development of ability in a language by using it naturally in communicative situations.

Learning is a conscious process of accumulating knowledge of the vocabulary and grammar of a language.

The term acquisition is used for L, and the term learning is associated with L₂. The distinction between these two terms may be tabulated as follows:

informal

Acquisitionie

subconscious

Learning

formal

conscious

implicit

effortless

explicit

‘picked up’

requires effort ‘learnt’

The implications of first language acquisition for second language learning Researchers now feel that L₂ could also be acquired if certain insights from the L, context are adopted in the L, situation. So now we talk of ‘second language acquisition’ which could be facilitated through the adoption of the procedures. (1) Create exposure to language so that learners have more opportunities for communication.

(2) Create informal atmosphere as against the formality of an L, classroom. (3) Encourage learners to focus on the meaning or message, not on form. (4) Adopt a tolerant attitude to errors; if you strongly feel some correction is needed do it incidentally.

(5) Provide an atmosphere where learners are free form tension. (6) Building up pressure for genuine, real-life communication.

Significance of Acquisition and Learning :

(1) All children learn their L1 successfully but many of them cannot learn L₂ or L, when these languages are taught in formal set-up. How can this is to be explained? The most viable explained is this; the environment/ ambience of the classroom contributes significantly to the process of language learning. The ‘richer’ the environment in the classroom, the greater is the chance of success in language learning.

(2) Psychologists, linguists and language teaching experts think that the process of language acquisition can be duplicated in the process of L₂, or L, language learning. In other words, there must be endeavours on the part of the teacher where L₂ learners will learn a second language in the same way as they ‘acquire’ their mother tongue. Different methods/ strategies have to be adopted in teaching L₂ or L..

(3) The child learns his first language unconsciously, but all subsequent languages have to be learn consciously. It depends on personal interest, attitude, needs etc. of the children.

(4) When we say a child has acquired or learnt a language we mean that he has mastered the grammar and other system of the language. And once he has mastered the structure of his L1 or MT, it tends to “interfere” in extremely subtle ways (We do not yet know fully how this process works with the learning of the new language (L, or L,) in a formal situation.

Therefore, it is necessary to take into account what the child has already learnt. That is, a teacher should know the Previous or background knowledge of the students before teaching a new item.

Factors in Fluencing Language Acquisition

Behaviourists viewed the human mind as a blank slate and considered language learning as a mechanical process of habit formation. This view was challenged by the revolutionary ideas of Noam Chomsky in 1959. He felt that behaviourism simplified the learning process and underestimated the role of creativity of the human mind. He asserted the remarkable capacity of the child to generalize hypothesize and process information in a variety of special, and complex ways… which may be largely innate, or may develop through some sort of learning or through maturation of the nervous system. This shift had a tremendous impact on research in both the first and second language learning. The learner, rather than the teacher or the materials, became the focus of study. The learner began to be viewed as an active participant in the process of learning. In teaching, more and more emphasis is given to those exercises in teaching which would help the learner to induce the language system and internalize the rules that govern the target language.

This shift from the teacher and the teaching materials to the learner, his linguistic output has also led some researchers to look into the learner’s characteristics in greater detail and identify those characteristics that appear to be more responsible for success or failure in second / foreign language learning. Significant among the learner characteristics identified so far, include the learner’s age, sex, intelligence, aptitude, motivation, attitude, personality and cognitive style.

AGE : Many of the psychologists and linguists believe that children are better at learning second languages than adults. Penfield (1953) argued that the human brain loses its plasticity after puberty (12 years). However, several researchers have shown that adults are actually better learners than children.

SEX: Several studies on first / second language acquisition have shown girls to be better learners than boys. In the field of formal foreign language learning scholars generally found girls to be better learners.

INTELLIGENCE :Intelligence is usually conceived of as the ability to understand, to learn and think quickly. It consists of verbal ability, reasoning ability, concept formation ability etc.

Role of Intelligence: Some tests were conducted on intelligence and foreign language learning. Though some of the studies gave evidence for the positive relationship between intelligence and success in a foreign language, most of the studies were skeptical of such relationship.

APTITUDE: Aptitude for a particular job or skill is the ability to learn it quickly and easily and to do it well. What people generally call a ‘knack for languages’ is nothing but aptitude for language.

It is popularly believed that some people have more aptitude for learning second languages than others. This observation has generally been made in connection with classroom learning and not learning in real-life situation.

COGNITIVE STYLE: It refers to an individual’s typical way of organizing universe, and reflects personality or preference and not ability or intelligence. For example, two boys Pupu and Jaba look at two kinds of cars but their responses are quite different. Pupu thinks how comfortable each car is whereas Jaba thinks of the engine’s capacity. These response of Pupu and Jaba show that Pupu focuses on the usefulness of the car and Jaba on the technical aspects. The former is therefore a functionalist and the latter an analyzer. Both the responses reflect different styles of learning or cognitive styles.

Types of Cognitive style: One of the interesting findings of research into human mental or cognitive processes is that individuals have certain preferred styles of perceiving the environment, thinking and problem solving. These individual difference are not differences in the level of cognitive ability, which would make some persons more successful in learning than others. These styles are genuinely alternative patterns.

(i) Reflection vs. impulsiveness: Some pupils are relatively quick in coming to a conclusion or taking a decision, when faced with an open-ended situation. Others tend to reflect and consider various possibilities fairly thoroughly before coming to a decision. Obviously both styles have advantages and disadvantages. Any class will have a few pupils of both types. Pupils who are impulsive rather than reflective will probably make more mistakes. But they may also learn more because they are more active.

(ii) Risk-taking vs. Cautiousness : This dimension is related to how much confidence one should have in order to act decisively. Risk takers are those who are prepared to take a chance even when they are not very sure they are going to be correct. They are not very anxious about being wrong sometimes. Persons who are cautious on the other hand, will not act or move forward unless they are quite sure they will be correct or successful in doing something. They seem to be more concerned about avoiding failure or defeat than in gaining some success at least. Pupils of both types are found in the class.

(iii) Field-independence vs. field-dependence: This dimension is linked to the way of perceiving and responding to the situations which people have to attend to. Some persons take in the whole stimulus situation (or field) and respond to this overall impression, without paying much attention to components and details. Such persons are called field-dependent. On the other hand, field-independent persons are more likely to analyze a given situation and see relationships among the parts. They pay less attention to the overall picture or field. They are likely to be more interested in the practical and technical aspects of problems to be tackled than in working with other and making teamwork their priority.

(iv) Divergent thinking vs. convergent thinking: This dimension is related to intelligence and creativity. Some psychologists have suggested that there is a significant difference between solving given problems directly in an expected or recommended manner and taking a fresh look at the nature of the problem itself. Problem solving in an expected manner is associated with intelligence and the style is called convergent thinking, because the process seems to be one of narrowing down and gradually reaching the correct solution. The second style involves finding out an unexpected or unconventional – or creative solution. The term divergent thinking is used because of the process or opening up (rather than narrowing down) that is involved here.

It is easy to see that divergent thinking is what leads to new or original interpretation of literary and other texts. On the other hand, where the problems are such that rules have to be followed rather than broken convergent thinking is more appropriate.

PERSONALITY DISPOSITION: The qualities mentioned above are linked ways of perceiving and thinking. An individual’s personality as we usually think it has more to do with ways of behaving and ways of relating to the social environment. Some of these dimensions of personality or nature are :

(i) Outgoing (extrovert) vs. withdrawn (introvert)

(ii) Active and energetic vs. lethargic and sluggish

(iii) Positive self concept vs. negative self-concept.

These dimensions are not neat categories. The nature or personality of individuals can be more in one direction than in the order. Various dispositions, such as these will influence the way pupils behave or participate in class.

Role of Personality: Several researchers have emphasized the importance of personality in foreign /second language learning. It has been noted that a successful learner was invariably found to have personality traits such as social conformity, extroversion, flexibility and tolerance for ambiguity. It has also been found that introversion, soberness and self sufficiency were strongly correlated with oral components of communicative competence. Furthermore, students with traits of imagination, placidness and low anxiety tend to score higher on the written components of communicative competence test.

ATTITUDE: According to Allport an attitude is a mental and neural state of readiness, organized through experience, exerting a directive or dynamic influence upon the individual’s response to all objects and situations with which it is related. In operational terms an individual’s attitude is according to Gardner an evaluative reaction to some referent or attitude object, inferred on the basis of the individual’s beliefs or opinions about the referent.

Review of Research on the Role of Attitudes : The nature of attitude of a second language learner can vary from the attitude towards the teacher or the language itself or the group that speaks the language. It may also refer to more general dispositions such as ethnocentrism, authoritarianism or anomie. Attitudes towards learning the second language and the second language community have received more attention than other factors in second language research. Some researchers support the belief that measures of attitudes towards learning a second language and the second language community correlate significantly with achievement.

MOTIVATION : The term motivation in the second language learning context is seen according to Gardner as referring to the extent to which the individual works or strives to learn the language because of a desire to do so and the satisfaction experienced in this activity. It is only when the desire to learn the second language and favourable attitude towards it are linked with the effort or drive to achieve it, then we can say that the learner is motivated.

Types of motivation: There are two types of motivation: Integrative motivation and instrumental motivation. There are people who identify positively with the target language group, understand their culture and are able to participate in it. This pattern of motivation is called integrative motivation. Instrumental motivation is characterized by utilitarian objectives such as obtaining admission in a particular course, professional advancement, and so on.

It is found that success in a foreign/second learning is likely to be less if the underlying motivational orientation is instrumental rather than integrative. Researches clearly suggest that a student may learn a second language with an integrative motivation or with instrumental motivation or with both or with some other motivation.

Importance of an Acquisition-rich Environment:

The language learning environment may be divided in two categories:

(a) Acquisition-rich environments;

(b) Acquisition-poor environments.

(a) Acquisition-rich environments are language learning environments where besides the formal language learning in the classroom, the learner has access to English (L2) in the speech community of the child’s home, immediate neighbourhood, and specially peer group.

For example, a young child of an educated middle class family who reads in English-medium/convent school prefers to speak in English with his family members at home. Parents and other also encourage the child to use English in conversation. He has also opportunities for viewing TV programmes (in English), movies. He has the facilities of using computer, internet etc. which are also a part of acquisition-rich environments. In this kind of Environment the child acquires fluency in English.

This is an exceptional situation of language learning, only a few privileged children have this environment. Majority of children do not enjoy acquisitionrich environment in India.

(b) Acquisition-poor environments : In these language learning environments exposure to the target language or L2 (here English) is limited to the classroom only and the target language is not used in the speech community of the learner’s home or his immediate neighbourhood, especially his peer group. In such environment language learning is limited and occurs only in the classroom.

For example, for a child of lower middle class family, exposure to the language (English) is restricted to the textbooks and classroom practice. This makes learning the target language more difficult. Majority of Indian students learn L2 in this type of environment. In such situation the teacher should be sensitive to the need or the motivation of learners for learning the language so that the teacher may adapt the learning material texts to suit the environment in which Indian students learn and organize the classroom activities.

Language teaching programmes / courses must be oriented towards fulfilling the needs of the target environment, the learning of the target language (English) is facilitated by the ‘intrinsic motivation and genuine interest of the learners. The purpose of English language teaching is to make the learner an autonomous and efficient user of language. Teacher can facilitate this process by providing opportunities for active and authentic language-use to the learners. Keeping this in view, there has been a shift from ‘Content-based teaching’ (where the learners are taught and examined on the content/ subject matter of the textbooks) to ‘Skillbased teaching’ (when the learners are giving opportunities to develop their language skill (Listening, Speaking, Reading & Writing) and examined in terms of their ability or Competence in these four linguistic skills.

Perspectives on Appropriate Age for Learning Second Language :

The question of appropriate age for second language acquisition is a debatable and irresolvable issue. In fact, when should we introduce a second language in formal education?-is a question that poses the greatest challenge to the government as well as the educational planners. In the field of ELT this issue is addressed in a hypothesis called ‘Critical Period Hypothesis’ (CPH). CPH refers to a theory which proposes that in child development there is a period during which language can be acquired more easily than any other time. according to the biologist Lenneberg, the critical period lasts until puberty (around age 12-13 years) and is due to biological development. Lenneberg suggested that language learning may be more difficult after puberty because the brain lacks the ability for adaptation. This, he believed, was because the language functions of the brain have already been established in a particular part of the brain, i.e. ‘cerebral dominance’ or lateralization’ in the brain has already occurred by this time. (We should remember that the left hemisphere is mainly responsible for controlling language and Broca’s area in left hemisphere is an important area involved in speech where as Wernicke’s area is thought be involved in understanding language. However, the exact role of these two areas in language is not yet fully understood. More researches are being conducted on this subject.)

In reality, neurobiologists and cognitive scientists are divided in two groups: 1. The younger the better, and 2. The older the better. The former believes that language learning [native-like L2 proficiency] is easier when one is young. For example, in case of a family who immigrates to a country whose language they do not know, everybody will agree that a 5/6 years old boy will attain better nativelike L2 proficiency than his 35 years old father. The latter group implies that anybody who has taught a foreign language to different age groups knows that a 5/6 year-old pupil is likely to make much less progress in a language course in formal setting than a more mature learner of 12 or 22 (or even 45) years of age. It should be kept in mind that critical period hypothesis’ of language acquisition actually concerns learning that takes place in naturalistic SLA context rather than formal learning. There are researchers who believe that at a certain phase in most children’s lives appropriate language input will lead to native-like proficiency/ fluency where as the absence of the right input at the right time ‘closes the door’ forever in most people’s lives and only allows the attainment of limited L2 proficiency later. With regard to the actual time when the ‘door closes’ practically every age has been mentioned between 5 and 13 (puberty) and sometimes even later, up to 16-18. For instance, Chomsky wants to introduce L2 as early as possible because, he believes, every human brain is pre-wired or pre-programmed (refer to his ‘Innateness Hypothesis’) and language teaching can be started at the earliest. Not only that, he believes, a child has immense capacity to process linguistic inputs and a child can learn two or three languages simultaneously. Thus, he is against those who advocate that a second language should be introduced only after he has mastered the structures of his mother tongue. There are others who believe that the entry point for learning/acquiring a second language is Class V or VI (10-11 years of age). These relatively advanced students have achieved mastery over the structures of his L1 and he can profitably use it in acquiring a second language. For all these reasons, now it is believed by many that any mention of a ‘period’ is inappropriate and the linear relationship between age of onset of language learning (usually referred to as ‘age of onset of acquisition’ or AoA) and L2 attainment can be best captured by the more general term ‘age effect’.

In this context, we can think of the entry point of introducing English in West Bengal. With the introduction of Functional-Communicative Approach (The Learning English Series Textbools) in 1984 the entry point of English, it was decided, to be Class VI (11 years). In 1991, the Ashoke Mitra Commission suggested that English should begin from Class V (10 years). Again in 1998, the Pabitra Sarkar Commission recommended to introduce English from Class III (8 years), or to be more correct, from the second half of Class II (7 years) by just developing the learners’ listening skill. At present on public demand, the entry point of learning English is Class I (6 years).

A Historical overview of Development of ELT In India

Traditionally, English was taught by using the grammar-translation method in India. In the late 1950s, structurally graded syllabi were introduced as a major innovation in teaching English. The idea was that the teaching of language could be systematized by planning its inputs, just as the teaching of a subject such as History, Geography, arithmetic or physics could be. The belief behind this approach is that learning of a language means learning its structure. Grammar teaching remains very important in this approach. It introduces listening and oral practice to learn and master the structures of a language. The structures will taught and reinforced by using a situation, generally classroom situation. For this reason the method is known as ‘Oral-Situational-Structural Approach’. It should be mentioned here that the structural approach was sometimes implemented as the direct method, with an insistence on monolingual English classrooms.

By the late 1970s however, the behavioural-psychological and philosophical foundations of the structural method had yielded to the cognitive claims of Chomsky for language as a “mental organ”. There was also dissatisfaction within the Englishteaching profession with the structural method, which was seen as not giving the learners language that was “deployable” or usable in real situations, in spite of an ability to make correct sentences in classroom situations. The structural approach as practised in the classroom led to a fragmentation and trivialization of thought by breaking up language in two ways: into structures, and into functions/skills. The form-focused teaching of language aggravated the gap between the learner’s “linguistic age” and “mental age” to the point where the mind could no longer be engaged.

The emphasis thus shifted to teaching ‘language use’ or ‘language function’ in meaningful contexts. American and British linguists argued that something more than linguistic competence or grammatical competence was involved in language use; the term “communicative competence” was introduced by American sociologist Dell Hyme, to signify this extra dimension. The attempt to achieve communicative competence assumes the knowledge of a grammatical competence, i.e. ability to apply the grammatical rules of a language in order to produce grammatically correct sentences and also the knowledge of when and where to use these sentences and to whom. In other words, communicative skill includes: (1) knowledge of grammar, (2) knowledge of rules of speaking, (3) knowledge of type of language used in different speech acts, (4) knowledge of appropriacy. Due to the Communicative Movement’ as a universal call on foreign language teaching in the early 1970s the communicative approach was introduced in India during 1980s. The result is not satisfactory in vernacular schools. The communicative method succeeds best in the English medium schools in India by introducing variety of tasks and learner involvement in classroom activities where teachers and learners have confidence

in their knowledge of the language, acquired through better exposure. However, for the majority of our learners, the issue is not so much communicative competence but the acquisition of a basic or fundamental competence in the language. Inputrich theoretical methodologies (such as the Whole Language, the Task-Based, and the Comprehensible Input and other approaches) aim at exposure to the language in meaning-focused situations so as to trigger the formation of a language system by the mind. For this reason, an eclectic method or a mixed method is preferred where teachers do not stick to any particular method but will employ any method good for our students.

Now let us look at the landmarks in the history of English language teaching in India :

1. Michael West’s Reading Method (1926) : West believed that Indians needed English primarily as a library language; hence it was enough if they mastered the skill of reading. Language learning had to be geared to practical uses. He used graded reading texts with strict vocabulary control.

2. The MELT Campaign (1952): MELT was planned by the state education departments jointly with the British Council, Madras. The structural Syllabus was introduced and 27,000 teachers of English at the primary level were initiated into the new method.

3. The Bridge Intensive Course (1960s): This was initiated by the British Council, Madras. Brendan J Carroll, then English Studies Officer at the British Council, designed an intensive course to bridge the gap between what the college entrants knew and what they were expected to know. It was designed to enable learners to cope with undergraduate studies through the medium of English.

4. The Bombay Project (1977) :This was the first experiment at the undergraduate level; a skill based approach for teaching English was adopted. No textbooks were prescribed and this prevented students from memorizing answers.

5. The Communicational Teaching Project or the Bangalore Project (1979. 1984): Frustrated with the Structural Syllabus, Dr. N.S. Prabhu and his group evolved a new task oriented, Procedural Syllabus for teaching English. The basic principle was: ‘acquisition through deployment’. Prabhu asserted that language was best learned when the focus was not on form but meaning.

6. The Loyola Experience (1980s): The Loyola College, Madras, experimented with a communicative syllabus at the undergraduate level. Dr. N S Prabhu rernarked, “I regard this project as being very progressive in content, erilightened in its operation and rewarding in its outcome. I can think of no other tertiary level institution in India which has attempted or sustained a project of this significance in the field of ELT.” This was the first introduction of Communicative Language Teaching at the tertiary level in India.

7. The UGC Curriculum Development Cell or CDC (1987): The CDC analyzed the current ELT scenario in various parts of the country and arrived at a blueprint for English curricular: General English, English Major, as well as postgraduate courses. The goals of learning were redefined on the basis of needs; a learner-centered, interactive, skill-oriented methodology was recommended. Different syllabuses were suggested to meet the needs of learners with different levels of competence.

8. The CBSE Interact English Project (1990s): This was the joint effort of the British Council and Marjon’s College, Plymouth. The CBSE, New Delhi, selected teachers of English at the higher secondary level; they were trained in the UK and helped in the complete overhaul of the syllabuses of English in classes 9 to 10. An interactive methodology was adopted.

Aims and Objectives of Teaching English Aims of Teaching English :

The aims of teaching a language is to enable the learner of a language to become able to use it effectively for all sorts of communication and in all kinds of situations demanding its use.

The aim of teaching English may be broadly classified into three basic categories:

(a) Literary aim : implying the endeavour to develop in the students a taste for reading English and a love for English literature.

(b) Cultural aim : helping the students to understand and appreciate the culture of the people whose language they are learning.

(c) Linguistic aim : helping the students to acquire a command over the language. In India, English is treated as a 2nd language. We are mainly concerned with its communicative function. Therefore, up to the school stage, our aim of teaching English should be the acquisition of four language skills : (i) Understanding English when spoken (Listening) (ii) Speak English (Speaking)

(iii) Understanding English when written (Reading) (iv) Write English (Writing).

Objectives of Teaching English :

Objectives in education refers to “the end towards which a school sponsored activity is directed”. The objectives are the steps that gradually lead towards the general aims to teaching a subject.

During the British period, the objectives of teaching English were, to quote Lord Macaulay, ‘revival and improvement of literature’ and the ‘promotion of the knowledge of sciences’.

The general objective of teaching a second language in India, at present, is to develop an all-round communicative competence’ with a mastery over all the aspects of language use, i.e., listening, speaking, reading and writing. These are called four ‘language skills’.

Objectives of Teaching English as per Kothari Commission :

According to the Kothari Commission, English should be treated as an important subject in school. The importance of the study of English in India was spelt out by the Kothari Commission as far back as in 1964-66.

Kothari Commission, while offering the three language formula, felt that Indian school students need to study English :

(i) as a link language in a multilingual set up.

(ii) as a library language, i.e. language for reading books on other subjects. (iii) as a global language, i.e. language of international recognition. (iv) as a language that is likely to ensure social status and economic security. (v) as a language to keep pace with scientific and technological development.

The proposal of three language formula was first given by the Kothari Commission (1964) and it was accepted by the Government of India in 1968 (NPE1968). It provides that children of Hindi speaking states are to be taught three languages, namely, Hindi (L₁), English (L₂), and one of the local languages (L.). The children of non-Hindi speaking states are to be taught the local language (L₁), English (L₂), and Hindi (L₂).

There is a slight change in the three language formula in the primary level. According to Kothari Commission, the primary education is to be imparted through the mother tongue (MT) of the child. So MT is to be regarded as L1. Where mother tongue is not Hindi second language should be Hindi. Third language (L3) should be either English or any foreign language.

The policy-makers of education in West Bengal give due importance to English as a school subject. In order to prepare children for high school they decide that English should be taught right from the primary stage.

The previous scholastic aims and objectives are no longer in vogue. They are replaced by new aims and objectives which treat English as a skill subject, and not as a content subject.

In this skill-based approach, acquisition of communicative competence become the ultimate goal.

The objectives of teaching English are :

(i) to enable learners to understand simple situational English when spoken to. (ii) to enable learners to speak words, phrases, sentences, etc. for communication and interaction in an alien situation.

(iii) to enable learners to read letters, simple words, phrases and sentences in contexts and transfer information from that to other forms.

(iv) to enable learners to write plain and simple letters, words, phrases and sentences to communicate ideas, thoughts, etc.

(v) to enable learners to understand the simple word-order and functions of the target language, i.e. English.

Objectives of Language Teaching in General:

Since most children arrive in school with full-blown linguistic systems, the teaching of languages must have very specific objectives in the school curriculum. One of the major objectives of language teaching is to equip learners with the ability to become literate, and read and write with understanding. Our effort is to sustain and enhance the degree of bilingualism and metalinguistic awareness that children have. We would also like to equip learners with such politeness strategies and powers of persuasion that they are able to negotiate all communicative encounters with tolerance and dignity.

Although the interaction of linguistic theory and applied linguistics has produced a variety of teaching methods and materials, the language-teaching classroom has remained one of the most boring and unchallenging sites of education, dominated largely by the behaviourist paradigms. In the case of languages the children already know, we rarely see any progress; in the case of a second language such as English, most children hardly acquire even the basic proficiency levels after six to ten years of exposure; and in the case of classical or foreign languages, the total programme consists of memorization of some select texts and noun and verb paradigms. There is no dearth of empirical studies that support these observations. It is imperative that we analyze and understand our specific contexts, identify specific objectives, and develop suitable methods and materials accordingly.

For a very long time now, we have been talking in terms of Listening-SpeakingReading Writing (LSRW) skills as the objectives of language teaching (in more recent times, we have started talking about communicative skills, accent neutralization and voice training, etc. in an equally disastrous way). This exclusive focus on discrete skills has had fairly adverse consequences. Now emphasis is on a more holistic perspective on language proficiency. After all, when we are speaking, we are also simultaneously listening and when we are writing, we are also reading in a variety of ways. And then there are many situations (for example, friends reading a play together and taking notes for its production) in which all the skills in conjunction with a variety of other cognitive abilities are used together.

Some of our objectives would include :

(a) The competence to understand what a student hears: A learner must be able to employ various non-verbal cues coming from the speaker for understanding what has been said. She should also be skilled at listening and understanding in a non-linear fashion by making connections and drawing inferences.

(b) Ability to read with comprehension, and not merely decode: A student should develop the habit of reading in a non-linear manner using various

syntactic, semantic, and grapho-phonemic cues. He must be able to construct meaning by drawing inferences and relating the text with his previous knowledge. He must also develop the confidence of reading the text with a critical eye and posing questions while reading.

(c) Effortless expression : He should be able to employ his communicative skills in a variety of situations. His repertoire must have a range of styles to choose from. He must be able to engage in a discussion in a logical, analytical, and creative manner.

(d) Coherent writing : Writing is not a mechanical skill; it involves a rich control of grammar, vocabulary, content, and punctuation as well as the ability to organize thoughts coherently often using a variety of cohesive devices such as linkers and lexical repetitions through synonymy, etc. A learner should develop the confidence to express her thoughts effortlessly and in an organized manner. The student must be encouraged and trained to choose her own topic, organize her ideas, and write with a sense of audience. This is possible only if her writings are seen as a product. She should be able to use writing for a variety of purpose and in a variety of situations, ranging from informal to very formal.

(e) Control over different registers : Language is never used in a uniformal fashion. It has innumerable varieties, shades, and colours, which surface in different domains and in different situations. These variations, known as registers, should form a part of a student’s repertoire. Besides the register of school subjects, a student must be able to understand and use the variety of language being used in other domains such as music, sports, films, gardening, construction work, cookery, etc.

(f) Scientific study of language: In a language class, the teaching approaches adopted and the tasks undertaken should be such that they lead a child to go through the whole scientific process of collecting data, observing the data, classifying it according to its similarities and differences, making hypotheses, etc. Thus, linguistic tools can and must play a significant role in developing a child’s cognitive abilities. This would be much better than teaching normative rules of grammar. Moreover, this approach is particularly effective in multilingual classrooms.

(g) Creativity: In a language classroom, a student should get ample space to develop his imagination and creativity. Classroom ethos and the teacherstudent relationship build confidence in the latter to use his creativity in text transaction and activities uninhibitedly.

(h) Sensitivity: Language classrooms can be an excellent reference point for familiarizing students with our rich culture and heritage as well as aspects of our contemporary life. Language classroom and texts have a lot of scope to make students sensitive towards their surroundings, their neighbours, their nation.

Objectives of Teaching English as per NCF-2005 :

NCF-2005 is of the opinion that

● Children are born with innate potentiality of acquiring any language including English.

• So, there should be enough space in the curriculum for adequate exposure to English.

● Input-rich-communicative situations help children acquire the language better.

● English across the curriculum will help us in this matter.

● It views learning of English as everybody’s concern rather than the concern of the language teacher alone.

• Evaluation in English need not be tied to the achievement, but to the proficiency in terms of the skill development.

The NCF-2005, therefore, lays down the goals of English Language Curriculum in the following terms:

● Attainment of basic proficiency, acquired through natural language learning situations

● Using language as an instrument for abstract thought and knowledge (across the curriculum approach)

● ‘No teaching, only learning’ approach to be imbibed through the curriculum with the primacy of the children / learners in the whole process.

NCF-2005 recommends that English language teaching needs to be introduced at two levels of primary education. At the first level, the child should be familiarized with the language and at the second, he should slowly begin to use it. Outlined below are the two levels under which the objectives of English language have been highlighted. Level 1 covers Classes 1 and 2, whereas Level 2 covers Classes 3, 4, and 5.

Objectives at Level-1 (Class 1 and II) :

• To build familiarity with the language primarily through spoken input in meaningful situations (teacher talk, listening to recorded material, seeing TV programmes, watching films, etc.).

• To provide exposure to English and monitor pupils’ comprehension of spoken, and spoken-and-written inputs (through mother tongue, signs, flash cards, toys, models, pictures, sketches, gestures, single word questions and answers, etc.).

• To help learners build a working proficiency in the language, especially with regard to listening with understanding and basic oral production such as syllables, words, phrases, fragments of utterance, formulaic expressions as communicative devices.

. To recite and sing poems, songs and rhymes and enact small plays or skits.

To use drawing and painting as prerequisite for writing and relate these activities to oral communication.

• To familiarize children with the letters of the alphabet, syllables, and simple words along with their meanings, and to notice its components-letter(s) and the sound-values they stand for. In other words, pupils will learn the English phonics (phonics deals with the relation of letters and their sounds). • To associate meaning with written and printed language.

Objectives at Level-II (Class III, IV, and V) :

● To provide print-rich environment to relate oracy with literacy.

• To build on learners’ readiness for reading and writing.

• To promote learners’ conceptualization of printed texts in terms of headings, paragraphs and horizontal lines.

• To enrich learners’ vocabulary mainly through telling, retelling and reading aloud of stories/folktales in English.

● To use appropriate spoken and written language in meaningful context/ situations.

To give them an opportunity to listen to sounds/sound techniques and appreciate the rhythm and music of rhymes/sounds.

• To enable them to relate words (mainly in poems) with appropriate actions and thereby provide understanding of the language.

● To familiarise learners with the basic process of writing.

Objectives of Teaching English as Second Language in Elementary level in West Bengal :

The objectives of teaching English at the primary level are :

(i) to enable learners to understand simple situational English when spoken to.

(ii) to enable learners to speak words, phrases, sentences, etc. for communication and interaction in an alien situation.

(iii) to enable learners to read letters, simple words, phrases and sentences in contexts and transfer information from that to other forms.

(iv) to enable learners to write plain and simple letters, words, phrases and sentences to communicate ideas, thoughts, etc.

(v) to enable learners to understand the simple word-order and functions of the target language, i.e. English.

Views of Expert Committee-2011-12 of West Bengal regarding the objectives of teaching English at the elementary level :

The policy-makers of education in West Bengal give due importance to English as a school subject. In order to prepare children for high school they decide that English should be taught right from the primary stage.

The previous scholastic aims and objectives are no longer in vogue. They are replaced by new aims and objectives which treat English as a skill subject, and not as a content subject.

The goal of teaching second language at the primary level is to ensure that the students are able to speak and write in that language. The students have to have a good grasp over the second language as well as the first language. This is an area which the new curriculum will lay emphasis on because the committee is of the opinion that skills in two languages are important as the language skills the child attains in one language can be transposed into the other and vice versa.

At the primary level, teaching of Bengali (mother tongue) and English (second language) should follow an integrated approach. This will help in the overall integration of the curriculum since languages have to be integrated with environmental studies, mathematics, history and geography. The second language classes will begin simultaneously with the first language classes in class-I. The children have to be taken from the level of seeing-listening-recognizing and understanding to the level of speaking-reading-drawing and writing. Physical education, games, creative work will be incorporated in the second language.

From class-III to class-V, there must be emphasis on enabling the student to express himself in both the languages. The students should be able to understand the integrated concepts and learn to think in interesting ways.

In this skill-based approach acquisition of communicative competence becomes the ultimate goal. Its objectives are :

(i) to enable learners to understand simple situational English when spoken to. (ii) to enable learners to speak words, phrases, sentences etc. for communication and interaction in an alien situation.

(iii) to enable learners to read letters, simple words, phrases and sentences in contexts and transfer information from that to other forms.

(iv) to enable learners to write plain and simple letters, words, phrases and sentences to communicate ideas, thoughts, etc.

(v) to enable learners to understand the simple word-order and functions of the target language, i.e. English.

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