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Language teaching without textbooks

Language teaching without textbooks Mrs. Tenzin Dolma, TCV school Chauntra

During our time, when we were in schools, the only facility accessible for our teachers was the textbook. Therefore the teaching had to be teacher oriented. But now a days there are lots and lots of things around us to use as teaching aids. Thus it depends upon an individual whether he/she makes use of it or not and to be true some still follow the monotonous textbook exercises and consider it as the backbone of their teaching. Even we followed the same a few years ago but the introduction of the child-centered learning in our schools was a real blessing in disguise. It has helped us to make our teaching enjoyable and tireless. It has benefited both the sides the children and the teachers. The former learned the lesson through fun and inculcated the quality of self-responsibility and the latter could get oceans of opportunity to improve oneself and get immense satisfaction from one's own job. The teachers can also learn many things from our students as we all know that the learning is a continuous process.

However, today I would like to share some of my teaching experiences and the activities especially to teach English language to the above-mentioned classes without using the textbooks. I feel that we must take up this chance (the three years) to prepare our children thoroughly regarding the language. I personally implemented these things with my own students and have seen them improve drastically within a year. They show greater enthusiasm and curiosity as a learner and it happened to be always a fun-filled learning environment. Children are always excited and waited eagerly for the period. In such a process we, the teachers have to be only a very good commander of the classroom activity and make sure that our instructions are very clear. Through this teachers can also learn many things from students, as we all know that the learning is a continuous process. As for me, my children have taught me many things.

To start with the only things we have to do is that the timetable allotted to us by the headmaster, has to be divided equally among the four skills- Listening, Speaking, Writing, and Reading. This way we would be able to give equal importance and practice to all the skills within the six days periods. Here I would like to mention some of the activities that I found very effective to improve children's English and worked perfectly well. These are just a few of them we can easily follow.

A) Listening skill

   (a) Dictation is a very good activity (words or sentences).

   (b) Listening from the resources person's talk and other programs organized in the school hall.

   (c) Loud reading by the teacher for about five or ten minutes in a period (questions and answer must follow).

   (d) Listening to English songs etc.

B) Speaking skills

   (a) Children to speak serial wise every period.

   (b) Picture reading (to talk about the picture with their classmates).

   (c) To collect and play games where speaking is required.

   (d) Story weaving.

   (e) Extempore.

   (f) Description of objects.

   (g) Debate.

   (h) Sharing experiences etc.

C) Reading skills

   (a) Ten minutes for reading their story books at the beginning of every English period.

   (b) Sequencing the passages or the stories.

   (c) Loud reading by the teacher as well as the students. It specially improves their pronunciation and intonations.

   (d) The SRA Reading Lab is a very good resource to improve their understanding and comprehending skill.

   (e) Poetry recitation teaches them to enjoy the rhythm and love for the language etc.

D) Writing skill

   (a) Word Chain- to enrich their vocabulary.

   (b) Story building can do better with their peer mates to exchange ideas and assist one another.

   (c) Poetry writing enforces them to be creative and imaginative.

   (d) Imaginative writing using pictures from the magazine.

   (e) Dialogue competition (also helps in speaking as well).

   (f) To create a situation and make them write on it etc.

The writing part I feel is the most difficult skill to improve as our children don't have the habit of learning through examples. I'm still working on it.