Sunday, October 14, 2012

Reach out to the world outside...

Dear friends,
Hopefully, you are all aware that we have been pursuing a critical approach to ELT ever since the introduction of the constructivist paradigm in our curriculum. Some of you may have perceived the socio-political significance of the new paradigm in the backdrop of the non- critical ELT practices that are in vogue across the world. We must be aware of, and sensitive to, the overt and covert efforts of individuals, agencies and institutions that have been inadvertently or even purposefully promoting conventional ELT practices, practices which have neither theoretical nor empirical backup. Very few have realized the fact that the non-critical ELT practices are tools for spreading and sustaining linguistic imperialism which eventually will culminate in the demolition of our individual, cultural and linguistic identities. Being practitioners of the critical paradigm we must take up the mission of resisting this as best as we can.
The revision of the State curriculum in Kerala in 2007 and the curriculum and textbook revision process that has been initiated in Andhra Pradesh since 2011 have been major interventions in this regard. But this alone will not suffice. The classroom processes we have conceived are likely to lose its vigour if teachers do not get sufficient support in addressing the issues that arise in the course of classroom transaction. Unless special measures are taken by the system the practising teachers are not likely to get the right kind of pedagogic support they should be getting. There is a proliferation of ELT material available around us in the form of course books and source books both in print and multimedia. However, the lion share of this material is from non-critical ELT sources and as such that may not meet the present needs of the teachers. Of course, there are several teachers (yet not known to the outside world) who have owned up the new paradigm with passion and have been doing excellent job in their classrooms. Their experience is precious not only for those who are working inside the State but also those who are working elsewhere. What they have done is to be documented and anthologised for the benefit of all who have genuine concern for language.  We need to chalk out a multifaceted action plan for this:
1.Develop a large variety of ELT material in the form of
·         Source books, news bulletin, journals and magazines for the use of teachers. These books will cover all the pedagogic aspects related to the modular transaction of English at various levels.
·         Children’s literature including books and magazines for the use of learners from classes 1 to 12
·         Reference material for the professional development of teachers
·         Multimedia material for the use of both teachers and learners
2. Build up a network of practicing teachers and resource persons of critical ELT
·         Share experience through net (blog, face book, twitter, etc.)
·         Participate in on-line discussions and debates on ELT
·         Subscribe to critical ELT journals produced within the State, country and elsewhere
3.Periodical conventions
·         Organize and participate seminars and workshops in the critical ELT
·         Organize local festivals in English
To begin with we will have an anthology of the experience of teachers who have been translating the new paradigm into classroom practice. I suggest that all of you can develop a write up on your experience in the new paradigm. The write-up (of about 2000-200 words) should touch the following aspects:
·         Your earlier beliefs about teaching and learning English and the changes
·         How you were inducted into the new paradigm (SLAP, ACE, RACE, PACE, FACE, REAP, The state curriculum and textbooks, etc.)
·         Your experience with the new paradigm in giving training, in teaching with focus on any one of the transaction modules (pre-reading, reading, discourse construction, editing, publishing children’s journals, conducting English fests, classroom interaction, graphic reading and writing, etc.)
   Your own contribution to the new paradigm
Since we are the only ELT practitioners who have experienced the new paradigm, it is historically important that we reach out to the world outside.
Yours sincerely,
Dr. K.N. Anandan

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