What is the importance of Teaching English in Schools?

Like any other activities, in teaching also one should be conscious of what is going to be achieved. This is called aim or objective of instruction. If the teacher will be clear about his aims, his task becomes meaningful and his planning for the same becomes effective. But our teaching suffers from the loss of any clear-cut objectives. Hence, teaching becomes ineffective and a large percentage of failures in English is mainly due to unsatisfactory teaching.

If we take into account a comprehensive view of all the language activities, we find a large number of linguistic abilities and skills ranging from knowledge of a few words to appreciation of poetry. These objectives again differ from the lower stage to the higher stage.

The general objectives of teaching English are mainly divided into two (i) Receptive and (ii) Communicative. So far as the pupil is engaged in listening to and reading the language with understanding, his role will be receptive; when he attempts to speak and write, he conveys something and here his role will be communicative.

As it has been said already the objectives and scope of teaching English at the lower stage differ from those at the higher stage. The aims and scope of teaching English to the beginners i.e. Primary Classes have been elaborately enunciated in the "Syllabus for Primary Schools in Orissa".

The Syllabus enjoins that the first six months of the Class- will be devoted to oral work. The Students will be made acquainted with simple words of command by means of constant billing. The vocabulary of the beginners will be limited towards expressing familiar objects and actions such as:

Command—stand, sit, go, come, read, run etc.

Nouns—table, chair, book, chalk, Ram, Hari, Sita etc.

Pronouns—I, you, he, she, they, we etc.

Other words—this, that, am, is, are, in, on, what etc.

The words should be used in simple sentences and mother- tongue should be avoided as far as practicable. The words should be explained through gestures, postures and actual movements. In order to introduce alphabets, different familiar words, picture books, picture charts etc. should be used. The words already taught in the class should be practiced in writing. Similarly figures from 1 to 10 should be learnt. By the end of the year the pupils are expected to write small sentences such as — I am going. He is reading. Sita is a girl. Ram is a boy.

During Class V, the pupils are expected to count in English up to 50 and write the figures. The oral work is still to be continued through questions and answers based on the textbook. During the 2nd half of the year, the pupils are to write sentence from the book, write answers to simple questions and write the words and sentences dictated by the teacher.

The vocabulary of students of Class - V should include such words as they are familiar and available in his local environment. These words should be written in simple sentences and constant practice should be provided for writing and reading the sentences.

The objectives and scope of teaching English for Class- VI & VII have been delineated extensively in the " Courses of Study". The general aim of teaching English as a foreign language is to develop the following abilities or general skill.

1. Understanding what is heard.

2. Understanding what is read.

3. Expressing ideas in speech correctly within a limited vocabulary and sentence-patterns.

4. Expressing ideas in writing.

English is treated as a skill subject and not as a content subject. The aims are confined to teaching pupils simple, straight forward and correct English. The most effective way of beginning is the oral approach and speech is the ground-work of all linguists activities. The vocabulary is to be carefully chosen and school consist of about 2,500 words of different kinds. Since the construction of English sentences depends more upon word-order, upon the use of structural words, these can be taught and learned best through drilling in sentence-patterns rather than rules. One item should be taught at a time and the next item to be taken up when the first one has been finally established. The use of the learners' mother tongue is to be reduced to the minimum and translation can be restored to only when absolutely necessary.