TEACHING ENGLISH IN RURAL SCHOOLS - A CHALLENGING TASK

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www.ijellh.com 473 TEACHING ENGLISH IN RURAL SCHOOLS - A CHALLENGING TASK KOMMURU. DASARADHI Research Scholar RTM Nagpur University NAGPUR D.PAVANA KUMARI Assistant Professor Balaji Institute of Technology Science Narsampet WARANGAL Telangana CH. SRI RAJA RAJESWARI S.G.T M.P.P.S.SRIHARIPURAM Mudinepalli Mandal Krishna Dt A.P Abstract English language teaching in rural region is somehow a challenging work. Over the last few decades English has become increasingly important in the educational system and day to day life. In India some reforms have been carried out taking into account the new international context of globalization in teaching of English. But those reforms are limited to urban areas of India. In rural areas many U.G. Level students are struggling to learn the English language and other language skills. This inability has become a stumbling block in the progress of rural students. A promising motivated and enthusiastic teacher can help the rural students through activity based teaching and learning process. Practical approach in teaching can pave the way for effective learning and nurture the confidence in rural students and make their dream of communication in English a reality. Students and teachers in rural areas have to face various problems regarding the process of English language teaching. This paper delves into some major issues and suggests a few pragmatic solutions for more effective ELT in rural areas. Keywords: English Globalization language modern rural student system teacher technology

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www.ijellh.com 474 The main problems that cripple in English language teaching in rural areas seem to be the following. 1. Lack of modern technology Rural students deprived of technology as enjoyed by urban students. They do not have modern equipments in the learning process like internet facility language labs LCD projectors CD players microphones and some other instruments. Some institutions may have such facilities but they do not have competent staff to operate those instruments skillfully as they are not properly trained. In rural area language teachers should be given training of advanced methods of teaching the language and of operation of advanced instruments like LCD Projectors CD players microphones computers etc. language lab should be set up with successful programs to learn spoken English. 2. Exam – oriented view towards teaching of English In rural areas students of English as a language do not think English as a language but as a subject. They give much stress on obtaining marks in an examination for that they develop writing skill prepare good answers and score good marks. But at the same time they lack in spoken English. Our evaluation system is also responsible for such attitude of students because the evaluation is done on the basis of writing and not speaking. On the primary level students somehow manage to cope with the situation but on the secondary or higher secondary level their situation becomes pathetic. They are found incompetent compare to the urban students. For changing student’s this point of view evaluation should be improved. Along with the writing the spoken English should be considered while making assessment of the students which will inspire them to pay much attention towards improving spoken English. In classrooms English should be taught as a language and interesting methods should be used in teaching which creates healthy and interesting environment in learning process. 3. Bilingual method of teaching In rural areas teaching of English is mostly based on translation method as student are found very weak in listening speaking writing and reading the English. Considering the level of students teachers use bilingual method in which they use their mother tongue-

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www.ijellh.com 475 Telugu. This affects the major purpose of teaching English. Students develop the habit of listening anything in their mother tongue. It makes student’s power of understanding poor. Teachers should stop using bilingual method. They should remain continue with their teaching of English in English language. With the passage of time student will be the familiar with this method and develop habit of understanding English. This will help to make students concentration in teaching and the learning will be interactive. 4. Over-crowded class rooms Overcrowded class rooms are the impediment in acquiring the knowledge of English. It is found too difficult to teacher to pay proper attention towards individual student in the class. Even the student also not takes active part in learning process and teaching become one way communication. In this circumstances language teacher should form small group of student and give them separate lessons. It will become easier to him and his learner in small group to pay attention. 5. Teacher role in teaching English Inexperienced and impassionate teachers are the problem in rural areas. Teacher should be perfect in teaching skill. Most of the time teachers in the rural areas are not proper in their teaching and their pronunciation. The teacher’s pronunciation is the model of the students. They imitate teacher’s pronunciation and develop their speaking skills. So the teacher himself should be perfect in his pronunciation. 6. Lop-sided Curriculum The curriculum generally does not offer the material for all-round development of the skills. They are weighty and biased in favour of the written form and crammed in ill-chosen teaching materials. They insist on only written examination and so turn out to be the bane of students rather than a blessing. Sub-standard teaching materials prescribed in the syllabus do not help the mastery of English. Teaching material should be student-friendly communication focused and function-oriented. These should be simple enough and attractive for students. Rural students are often repelled by the very exacting and tedious nature of the currently prescribed syllabus followed in most Indian universities. Besides it is literature- laden and void of actual language experience. 7. Remoteness of the Geographical Location

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www.ijellh.com 476 Villages are generally located far from cities and towns. This remoteness is repulsive to many an aspiring teacher to settle in villages. Thus most quality teachers are chary of serving in villages and hail to urban areas for convenience and career prospects. This leaves the village to be satisfied with the mediocre teachers who fail to improve the English standards of rural students. Again cities are blessed with a copious supply of all sorts of teaching-learning materials and modern articles of teaching equipment such as the computers whereas the village lack all these along with the periodicals and even the English newspapers. Besides the numerous job opportunities in cities goad students into learning English properly so as to secure well-paid jobs. The rural students are mostly ignorant of these and feel quite helpless economically to hunt for jobs in the cities. The chances for exposure to English in cities are galore whereas it is scanty in rural areas. All these militate against the chances of rural students gaining good English language mastery and pose as stumbling blocks to English language teaching. 8. Lack of Clear-cut Policy One of the prominent reasons for the poor standard of English is the lack of a clear-cut policy. The government has made frequent changes in the policy for the teaching and learning of English. Though English is taught as a compulsory subject only the pass mark is taken into consideration. The government has decided not to consider marks in English as essential for admission into university courses. The educationists and the politicians also differ on the role and status of English in India. In fact it’s time now to take a strong decision to formulate and to implement proper policies which promote students’ learning of English. 9. Lack of Exposure Most of the Indian students have been studying in their mother tongues. They don’t get adequate opportunities either to listen or to communicate in English. Their exposure to the English language is not enough. This limited exposure to the second language poses a big challenge to the teacher. The only source of English for them is their teachers. The teacher himself makes use of L1 often in order to enable the student understand the contents he/she presents to the class. The students find themselves lacking in confidence to stand on their own. They feel shy and are hesitating to actively participate in the class. Majority of Indian students particularly from rural pockets consider this even–letter word as a magical and mystical word. The

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www.ijellh.com 477 moment they hear something in English they start feel uneasiness. As a result of this teachers who handle English classes face insurmountable difficulties. Therefore we need to make the students realize that none ever speaks any language perfectly without errors all the time. The teacher should encourage them to speak the language and overcome their hesitation. Due to the poor social and economic backgrounds they don’t get enough exposure to English outside the classroom for improving themselves in speaking it. This reduces their use of English in their day to day life. 10. Lack of Motivation Another major challenge is the lack of motivation. The students don’t find the prime importance of English as a second language and so their interest naturally slackens. Their poor and improper sociological conditions also compel them to ignore the language. On the other hand learning a foreign language is an uneasy task for them and regular practices are not available to gain fluency in the use of language. However there are some who desire to have a better vision of using English in their future career but they are somewhere discouraged by the other students. Sometimes they are even teased and laughed. The adult students are very sensitive about their image so they forsake “their goals under the pressure of the inhibitive student’s culture.” In addition they attend the classes for securing marks in the exams and not for personal gains. This results in their withdrawal from the proceedings in and out of the class. 11. Inadequate Time Resources and Materials In fact the process of teaching and learning is done from examination point of view required attention is not paid to develop the communicative skills of the learners. The teaching and learning materials such as good work books textbooks handbooks for teachers charts audio-video sources and equipments are not provided properly which are essential for this process. 12. Defective Examination System After teaching/learning process out student are evaluated through examination system which has some defects. The present system is such that it makes students’ role in memorization rather than testing their analytical and creative skills. In this process the students memorize lessons reproduce them in exam halls and forget them in the same day itself. The language skills are not tested to any appreciable degree. Speech skills are totally neglected.

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www.ijellh.com 478 13. No Intensive Training for Teachers It is very essential to have a formal training in teaching practices and methods for effective teaching process. Newly appointed teacher should undergo at least two/three one-month intensive training in the skills of English. The purpose of this course should be to increase proficiency in the language and to help them teach English with technological aids for concrete result. However there is no such training existed to increase the proficiency of teachers. Francois Gouin rightly pointed out that “language learning was a matter of transforming perceptions into conceptions using language to represent what one experiences” 14. Negative Attitude Negative attitude for teaching and learning English is yet prevalent in the rural regions of India. Some historical and other reasons are responsible for this attitude. Teachers and students don’t like to prefer English for their communication in day to day life. Some teachers also hesitate to use the language in their classes. They fear that the students shall not properly understand and become bore. They are even of the opinion that the students are dull and can never improve themselves taking interest in it. They don’t assign them any challenging task related to their syllabus. Because of this attitude the students are not given enough opportunities to show or develop their potential. Besides their image of being a teacher of difficult subject hampers this process. Sometimes they become failure in bridging the gap between them. Some students even hesitate to approach the teacher for any problem as they are afraid of them. This prevents creating a healthy positive relationship between them. 15. Some Other Problems Because of the large population the strength of classes in India is mostly over 50 and so the teachers cannot pay proper attention to the weak or creative child. This certainly hinders the intellectual growth. T. Balasubramanian has rightly remarked that “Language has a very important social purpose because it is mainly used for linguistic communication.” But while translating some English words into students’ local language for better understanding the teacher are unable and do it well. In fact there is also lack of good translation material as teaching aids and so a proper communication is not taken place in the classroom.

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www.ijellh.com 479 Most of the teachers are unfamiliar with the latest developments in ELT pedagogy. There are no development programmes regarding this issue. Many educational institutions do not subscribe to journals on teaching pedagogy and teacher’s development. The teachers also neglect Associations/Organizations that offer the exchange of ideas resources and information. One more problem related to this issue is the suitability of the syllabus. The teachers who actually handle the classes are not involved in preparing the curriculum. The teacher are not guided to arrange various classroom activities like speaking skills group discussions debate seminars role plays preparing charts assignments etc. Some special trainings are needed through which new and interesting classroom activities can be conducted. Conclusion After discussing the above problems it can be concluded that the standard of English in India is considerably low. The teaching process in rural areas is hampered due to improper sources and lack of concrete policy. Hence the main responsibility is thrown over the shoulders of the teachers to create interesting environment of English language in their classrooms. They have to gear up to meet the demands of the situation and successfully perform their duties. In short these are the problems in teaching and learning in rural areas. As the English is our second language and not his mother tongue Learners of rural areas are found helpless in adjusting with the language and face these problem. In this paper these problems have been discussed with its remedial suggestion. Some practical steps along with a regular dose of academic counseling are sure to motivate the students and English language teaching will bear marvelous fruits in the rural set-up with its entire inhibiting factor.

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www.ijellh.com 480 References 1. Brown Douglas H. 1991 Vistas-An Interactive Course in English New Jersey Prentice Hall Regents. 2. Carter R And M Long 1991 Teaching Language Longman. 3. Gamble. T.K. Gamble M. 2005. Communication works New York Mc GrawHill. 4. Krishnaswamy N. and Krishnaswamy Lalita 2003. Teaching English: Approaches Methods and Techniques. Chennai : Macmillan India limited. 5. Shepherd James F. 1998 College Study Skills Boston Houghton Mifflin. 6. Shinde Shobha 2009. Innovative Strategies in English Teaching-Learning in the rural Context University News vol.47 No.34p.4.A.I.U. 7. Language in India www.lanfuageindia.com 8. http llen. wikieedia.org/wiki/English. Language 9. T. Balasubramanian. A Textbook of 2001 reprint p.1