Rethinking the Objectives of Teaching English in Asia

| December 28, 2008
Rethinking the Objectives of Teaching English in Asia

Keywords: priorities, confidence, appropriateness, accuracy, fluency

Z.N. Patil
The English and Foreign Languages University, India

Bio Data
Dr. Z. N. Patil is a Professor of English in the Department of Training and Development, School of English Language Education of The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, India. Besides teaching English for specific and practical purposes, he organizes consultancy workshops for government and private firms in India. He taught English to pre-service diplomats and in-service seaport officers in Vietnam from 1999 to 2002 and served as Senior English Language Advisor in Japan from 2003 to 2006. His major publications include Style in Indian English Fiction: A study in politeness strategies (New Delhi: Prestige Publishers, 1994), Spoken English for Vietnamese Learners (Hanoi: The World Publishers, 2002) and Indian English Novel: A stylistic approach (New Delhi: Prestige Publishers, 2008). He is associated with online Asian EFL Journal (Senior Advisor), Asian ESP Journal (Senior Advisor), The Linguistics Journal (Senior Advisor), TESOL Law Journal (Regional Advisor), Journal of English as an International Language (Senior Advisor), Iranian EFL Journal (Senior Advisor), Chinese EFL Journal (Senior Advisor), Korean EFL Journal (One of the Publishers), Iranian Journal of Language Studies (Regional Advisor/Editor), Journal of Educational Technology (Member of Editorial Team), and Journal of Research Practice (Editorial Advisor).

Language teaching methodology has been changing over a period of time. The teacher-centered approach is gradually giving way to learner-centered approach. However, even today in many classrooms, the teacher remains a donor of knowledge and corrector of learner errors. Students are required to memorize irrelevant and trivial details such as definitions of nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc. The goal of English language teaching in such classrooms is to develop meta-linguistic and literary competence in the learner. Accuracy is prioritized over confidence building, fluency, appropriateness and general communicative competence. Classroom practices emphasize rote learning and examinations test memory rather than understanding and use of the English language in real life situations. Consequently, several students develop fear complex, which in several cases leads to suicides. Therefore, there is an urgent need to rethink the objectives of teaching English as a second and foreign language. The present paper attempts to explain how it is imperative to place confidence building, fluency and appropriateness before accuracy, and narrates the author s personal views on this issue.

See page 227-240

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 10 Issue 4