Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Teaching Practice

Teaching English Language to B.Sc. Students: addressing attendant’s participation

Mr Bhautik Limbani
Department of Communication Skills
MEFGI - Rajkot

It is observed many times that learning and teaching English Language becomes fruitful when it is learner centric.  It requires need analysis. Need analysis enables a teacher to know what the learner knows and what the learner needs to know. We did so before the commencement of Semester II, B.Sc. We prepared lesson planning accordingly. In the labs, under the supervision of felicitator, they do writing and reading practice. In the lectures, we discuss Wings of Fire by Abdul Kalam.

The need analysis showed that they were efficient enough in the basics of English grammar so we started our first lab on writing practice. The first session was on Developing a Paragraph. We discussed four elements of Paragraph Development: order, coherence, unity and completeness. We saw a paragraph from one of the posts of Amitav Ghosh from his blog “Folly of Sundarban”. However one of the students was confused and perplexed. She looked exhausted at the end of the session. She was clearer about the paragraph development when we started, but the end was enigmatic for her. She understood theory well, could find out four essential elements of paragraph development from the given paragraph. Most of the students enjoyed the lab. However, as a felicitator, one should not forget to revise session planning to make delivery more satisfactory.   

It has to take account of three fundamental principles:

(1)  Only theory doesn’t work in Language Learning.
(2)  Language learners, from Science field, need different learning materials.
(3)  Learner matters.

The habit of revising lesson planning after every session helps one to increase student’s classroom participation. The next week we started afresh. We prepared a list of sixteen topics which “B.Sc. student” can write a paragraph on. Topics like “What is science?”, “What is microbiology according to me?”, “Difference between Invention and Discovery?” were given. Learners were given total freedom to select their area of interest. They discussed it with their classmates. They had to prepare a list of words related to their topic. They did so. They prepared a list of twenty words on their topic. They were asked to join three to four words together and structure a sentence. The only condition was their sentence must be meaningful. The next step was to arrange all the sentences in a proper order because when they are read together they all become a paragraph. They did so. The below given paragraph was the first draft of one of my second semester B.Sc. students.    

“Science is a single word, which describes our own existence. It is a bright area briefing to about our comforts, which has been made easier through science. It is a library allowing a person to be an inventor. To understand it in an easier way, it has been divided in different fields but actually, all are interlinked. As all matter has its two sides in the world, science is also described in two manner, which includes its advantages and disadvantages. Advantages describing our own comfort, which had made our life. Disadvantages had totally stopped our mind by more and more comforts gifted by science.”(Second draft)                                                                                                 - Anjali Ladani
The paragraph was the result of the efforts to cluster the words, she jotted down. She joined all words by using some helping verbs and conjunctions. She rejoiced after presenting her understating of the field she is studying in. The presentation was followed by a five minute discussion. She received some appreciation and suggestions from her classmates. As a felicitator, I explained some usages. She rewrote it as given below: 
“Science is a field that studies the elements of the nature. It does so by briefing about it and bringing comfort to human life. It is a library that helps a curious mind to become an inventor. To understand the science in a better way, it has been divided into several branches but they are not isolated ones. Modern technology is a boon of science. It helps human to be more comfortable in the life and know and grow faster.”(Third draft)                                 - Anjali Ladani

Despite some loose and isolated sentences, the paragraph generated meaning. I was surprised when their classmates offered their suggestions on “coherence”, “unity”, “order” and “completeness” of the paragraph development. They became aware of the importance of all four essential elements of paragraph development. The task of writing a paragraph was assigned to all the students; they underwent the same process. Each wrote a paragraph, presented, received the observations and suggestions and re-wrote it. (Some prepared three drafts!)

At the end of the process, they realized that they can write a meaningful paragraph on their own. Is not learning (self) realization? I suggested them to create a blog for the entire classroom; they did so. All have posted their paragraphs (third draft) on it. Your one click on may boost up the spirit of the students. Your suggestions would make our learning happier!