I feel we have been a bit too hard on teachers in our discussion. As I once hinted, many of the teachers are given to teach English just because they are BA B Ed. How can you expect an unwilling worker to put his heart and soul into his work?
Leaving the teachers aside to recover from our thrashing , let us take a look at the textbooks. I haven’t seen the current English textbooks at school level. I would, therefore, like to know :
1. Do the books offer exercises for practice in the use of handy sentence structures contained in each chapter?
2. Do they ask for analysis / use of the vocabulary ? . 1 November 2017
Mr Fayyaz tells us that the current English textbooks for Class 9 and 10 are quite up to the mark with regard to the requirements named by me.
He, however, deplores the teachers’ incompetence in making proper use of these textbooks.
Now, that is a problem which the teacher trainers can solve by guiding the teachers, not only with a general lecture on the subject, but by bringing the textbooks to the classroom, and helping them to do each of the given exercises under their own supervision. It would not be a waste of time. It would rather equip the teachers with useful knowledge that they need to teach effectively. 2 November 2017
As usual, Mr Fayyaz seems hopeful of a change for the better. He says a special’ training program for English teachers is going to be launched in December. He hopes the program would be very helpful for the teachers.
Mr Hadayatullah is not very hopeful about the teachers’ cooperation. Let’s wait and see how the proposed program ultimately works out.
I would suggest that the program should not focus entirely on methods of teaching. Rather it should teach the language. It should help the teachers to speak fluently and write correctly. Methods are just nonsense for those who don’t have a command of the language. 4 November 2017
Seeing us engaged in our scholarly discussion, our class seems to have fallen asleep. What else could be the cause of decrease in the number of “likes” ?
I think, for some time, we should switch over to something lighter. Could you suggest something ? Or, shall I resume telling stories as I was doing a few months ago ? 5 November 2017
My grumble worked, you see😄. Many of our students woke up. Others are still rubbing their eyes. Let’s hope they too will eventually be wide awake. Now back to where we left.
I agree with Zafar and Hidayatyllah Niazi that some people are born to teach. They come into the profession by choice in spite of more tempting options. A born teacher loves his job. Hard work in this field is labour of love for him.
This does not mean that others are useless teachers. Anybody who wants to earn an honest living, can be a good teacher. 6 November 2017
Our discussion about textbooks brought us back to the role of teachers. I think we have had enough of that subject.
Let us now share our experience about the system of examination. I have have had pretty long experience as Examiner, Head Examiner and Paper Setter. But instead of sharing my own findings, I would like to hear what my colleagues and students have to say on the subject. For myself I choose the role of coordinator. 7 November 2017
I fully agree with the suggestions offered by Zafar Niazi and Mashooq Khoso in their comments on my last night’s post.
What surprises (not to say irritates) me about our system of examinations is the amazingly high awards given by our learned examiners of today. How do people manage to get 90 to 95 % marks in SSC ( Matriculation ) and Intermediate ? Merit for admission to MBBS and BSC Engineering in licking the sky. But I’m sure many of the more brilliant students fail to get admission just for want of a few marks. A pity, isn’t it ?
In our time, a Second Division FSc could easily get admission to MBBS. I know some very good doctors who got Second Divsion in FSc.
Let me hear how you feel about this issue. 8 November 2017
The day has dual significance for Mianwalians.
Firstly, it is the 140th Birthday of ALLAMA MUHAMMAD IQBAL.
Seondly, it is the 116th Birthday of MIANWALI District.
On this day in 1901, Mianwali, till then a Tehsil of Bannu District, was given the status of a District. Let us celebrate the happy occasion. 9 November 2017
We were discussing liberal (above 90%) awards in SSC and Intermediate Examinations. Thanks to the Semester system, now we have lots of First Divisions in BA and MA as well. Before this heavenly system came to us, even toppers in MA English were just Second Divisions.
In the good days (1920 -30) the Principal of Government College, Lahore, the legend Prof AS Biokhari (Patras Bokhari) was once interviewing candidates for admission to MA English. He just looked at a candidate’s BA Degree and said, “You are selected.”
One of his colleagues, a British professor, said, “Sir, why don’t you ask him any question?”
Prof Bokhari smiled and said, ” He has got something which neither you nor I could get. He has got Second Division in BA. I hope you see my point. 10 November 2017
In order to get above 90% marks, the students have to go to tuition centres and academies. As the kids from poor families can’t afford to go to these centres of “quality education”, they are deprived of their right to become doctors and engineers. Could you suggest a solution to this problem ? 11 November 2017
Thanks to Mashooq Khoso, Hidayatullah Niazi, Sameera Hayat, Tawakal Niazi, Tanveer Shah and Raza Awan for their active participation with helpful suggestions.
If the teachers leave out nothing for the students to learn outside the classrooms, the students won’t need extra coaching in tuition centres and academies. Most regrettably the students have to attend the tuition centres and academies of the same teachers who teach them at school / college. It means the teachers leave something to be learnt in their academies. Isn’t it morally a sort of theft to steal something out of the classroom for teaching at private tuition centres etc ? Isn’t robbery to force the students to pay for what they had to be given in the classroom ?
In his comment Majid Jahangir Khan has suggested that deserving students can have free coaching at his academy KISA MWI. A noble offer for Mianwalian students, indeed. 12 November 2017
In rural areas, at least, there was no concept of paid coaching (tuition). When I was a student, Class Four used to be the final class of primary section. In addition to the daily 5 hours at school, our class teacher, Master Abdul Hakeem taught the whole class at his home in the afternoon. Attending that additional class was compulsory for all the students. It was a free class. The teachers of Class Eight also held free classes every afternoon.
When I became an English Teacher at Government High School , Daudkhel, I also held a free class during the summer vacation. So did my elder brother, Malik Muhammad Anwar Ali, who was the Headmaster of the school in those days.
Not that we were too rich to need any more money. My salary as English Teacher was just Rs 85/- per month. As Headmaster at Thathi school I got Rs 220/- a month. 13 November 2017
Some of the private educational institutions are performing much better than state-managed (Government) schools and colleges, although the teachers working in those private institutions are paid less than those in state-managed institutions. Moreover they have no job security.
When I joined as Lecturer, the starting salary of a Lecturer (Grade-17 Officer) was Rs,500 per month. Now a Lecturer gets around Rs 30000 per month, almost 60 times more than we did.
I withhold my comments on this comparison, till I hear what you have to say about it. 14 November 2017
The ultimate outcome of our whole discussion is how to persuade the teachers in government-managed schools and colleges to work honestly. It is highly regrettable that although the teachers of today are much better-paid than those of the past, their performance is much poorer in comparison.
I think we need a carrot-and-stick policy. It means rewarding good performance and punishing poor work.
But we can only wish, as policies are made by the government. The bureaucrats who make educational policies know nothing about the real problems in the field. 18 November 2017
In the good old days there used to be ADIs (Assistant District Inspectors of Schools) and DIs ( District Inspectors of Schools ) to monitor the performance of teachers in Primary and Middle Schools.The system worked quite smoothly.
Now we have Assistant Education Officers, Deputy Education Officers and District Education Officers under an EDO (Executive District Officer, an invention of Musharraf) and a Monitoring Team introduced by Khadim e Aala.
With so many supervisors, it seems teachers of today are something as dangerous as nuclear weapons. Are they not😄 ? 17 November 2017
Ashfaq Ahmed, the legendary writer, worked as a Lecturer for some time. During those days he once went abroad ( I forget the name of the country ). One day a traffic sergeant arrested him for violation of a minor traffic rule. The violation had occurred because Ashfaq Sahib didn’t know the traffic rules of that country.
When the judge heard that he was a teacher, the judge at once stood up, saluted him and shouted, “Teacher in the court !!!.”
All the people in the court stood up, and saluted Ashfaq Ahmed. The judge then sat down and dismissed the case.
Shall we ever have a system that gives as much regard to the teacher ? 19 November 2017
Let respect for teachers be our theme from now onward.
When the British government decided to confer the title of ‘Sir’ on Allama Iqbal, he accepted it only on the condition that his teacher, Syed Ameer Hasan be also given the title of Shams ul Ulema. He further said that his aged teacher won’t come to Lahore to receive the title. A representative of the British government should go to Sialkot to deliver the certificate to him.
This was done.
When Iqbal was asked to name the books written by his teacher, he said, ” I am his book.”
This is how great men honour their teachers. 20 November 2017
Speaking of respect for the teacher, I would like to know your views about how a teacher can win respect and love of the students and the society.
I don’t agree with people who say teachers are not respected in our society. Some of the teachers, at least, are held in high regard even today. Could you name the qualities that make such teachers ? 21 November 2017
The qualities that win the teacher love and respect may be summed up as
1.Sense of responsibility
2 Love for the job.
3..Command of the subject
4. Ability to communicate
5. Affectionate, encouraging attitude
6. Emotional balance
7. Moral integrity
Some teachers are by nature imbued with all these qualities. Others ought to strive to achieve them. 22 November 2017
Most of the comments on last night’s post suggested reading as the best way to acquire proficiency in English. I agree 100% with this view.
Now let me know what should one read ? I have my own suggestions, but first I would like to know yours. I just want to see which of you suggests the most practical approach to learning English through reading.