I hope you have all been fine during my absence. I’m back with you after a brief visit to Murree and Islamabad. Feel recharged to carry on my facebook business .
So here we go. I forget what we were discussing before the break. Could anyone among you remind me ? From tomorrow, InshaALLAH, we’ll resume our regular sessions.
The picture is a roadside snapshot in Murree. 6 AUGUST 2017
Zafar Niazi’s comment on my last night’s post reminded me that we were discussing a proposal to organize a sort of refresher course for English Teachers.
Well, that would require careful planning as to time, place and a suitable syllabus. These details can be worked out only at a meeting. So, let’s wait till I come back to Mianwali around the end of this month or start of the next.
In the mean time we’ll be talking of anything that comes to my mind. OK ?
Pleasant cool breeze, light drizzle and heavy rain are the only three variations of weather in Murree. No sweltering heat like we have in Mianwali or anywhere else in Pakistan. Doing anything is a pleasure in Murree. Even doing nothing, sitting at home, waiting for the rain to stop, is a nice experience.
Personally I love to walk around, or sit in a nice little roadside cafe, sipping hot tea, and looking at the stunning beauty of a lush green valley outside the window.The pictures below are shots from our recent visit to Nathiagali. 8 AUGUST 2017
Murree Hills offer a beautiful fusion of Punjab and KPK. Murree is in the Punjab. But just a few kilometers northwards you suddenly find yourself in Abbotabad District of KPK. Ayubia National Park popularly known as Ayubia is a corner of Abbotabad District. It lies between Murree and Nathiagali.
Ayub National Park was founded in 1984, and named as a memorial to the second President of Pakistan, Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan. It is a wildlife park, which means a place for conservation (protection) of special kinds of birds and beasts. Rare types of birds and beasts like the golden eagle and leopard چیتا) are found here. Tourists are warned to beware of the furious leopards. The park is managed by the Wildlife Department of KPK.
It is always a part of our visit to Murree. The lush green valley is a sight worth-seeing.
Picture : Relaxing by the roadside in Ayubia on August 2, 2017. 9 AUGUST 2017
Visited a hospital here (in Lahore) this afternoon to inquire after the health of my very dear friend, Syed Sardar Javaid, founder of Kitab Mahal, Urdu Bazar, Lahore. He is admitted to ICU.
It was he who introduced me across Pakistan as a writer of books for MA English. To me he has always been as kind as a brother.
You are, therefore, requested to pray for his recovery.
Topic of the day : Are our teachers’ training programs any use ?
Coming back to the discussion that I initiated on August 11, I first thank the friends who participated in the discussion with their helpful input.
Secondly I wonder why two of my most relevant colleagues (Zafar Niazi and Muhammad Fayyaz) chose to stay out of the arena. Presuming they were too busy otherwise, I repeat the topic of the day : Are our teachers’ training courses any use?
14 AUGUST 2017
Thanks to all the friends who have joined us with their valuable input.
My personal view is a bit different, queer though it may seem. I have very good reasons to believe that most of our training programs are based on the assumption that the trainees (teachers) are fairly proficient in English, and therefore all they need to learn is how to teach it.
Similarly our teachers need to learn the language more than the methods of teaching it. 15 AUGUST 2017
We were discussing the poor proficiency of English teachers. Zafar Niazi suggested that we shouldn’t bother about it. It was the duty of the teachers to learn the language. If they didn’t, we should leave them to suffer for it.
But I think, we ought to help them instead of leaving them to suffer for it. We can at least guide them with helpful tips. I’m sure most of
the teachers would love to be taught how to improve their English.
Salaam, Everybody,You know that a number of teachers welcomed the suggestion when I said, about a month ago, that we should help them to teach better. I’m sure most of them expected us to teach them how to acquire better grasp of the language in addition to imparting the formal methods of teaching.
Anyway, let the matter be decided when we all meet. From tomorrow, InshaALLAH, we’ll be discussing some interesting facts about English. 19 AUGUST 2017
Last night’s post caused some lively discussion. As for the debate between my dear son Mashooq Khoso and my dear daughter Farzana Khan, I agree with Farzana’s interpretation of alien in the present context. English is a foreign language, no doubt, but it is no longer alien to us. It is rather a nice friend which helps us with handy words for many purposes. Let there be no prejudice against it.
Last year a university in Lahore held a seminar on adopting Urdu as official language in place of English, with reference to a Supreme Court order. I was one of the speakers at the seminar. I suggested that instead of replacing handy English words with unfamiliar Urdu words we should write the English words in Urdu script like ڈسٹرکٹ ایجو کیشن آفیسر instead of ناظم تعلیمات ضلع . My suggestion was welcomed and conveyed to the National Language Authority.21 AUGUST 2017
The general attitude of our students towards English is a combination of hate and fear. Sorry to say that this attitude is created by teachers. They repeatedly tell the students that English is a difficult language. As a result the students begin to hate and fear English. Gradually their hate and fear becomes a sort of inferiority complex. They feel themselves incapable of learning the language, and resort to memorizing ready-made notes, or cheating, to pass their examinations without learning the language.
I would like to see your comments on my view before we proceed ahead with our discussion. 22 AUGUST 2017
” I see no difference between me and other teachers. Then what makes me so special for you ? ” I asked Mr Hafeez, an ex-student, who was now a Lecturer.
His answer came to me as a surprise.
” Sir ” , said Hafeez, ” you never said English is a difficult language. You taught us with confidence. Your face expression and body language didn’t show any tension. You took English so lightly as if it was the easiest thing in the world. Your attitude inspired and encouraged us to learn. We sort of fell in love with English, and loved to attend your class, even to read English at home “.
NOTE : I have quoted this conversation not to praise myself. I know my faults better than anyone else. I just wanted to show you how a teacher’s attitude affects the students. 23 AUGUST 2017
Students of English medium schools can freely speak English, although they too are taught by Pakistani teachers. Difference of approach makes it possible. Teachers of English medium schools have to speak English in the class. They have no other choice. The terms of their employment make it compulsory for them to use only English as their medium of instruction. They have to explain the lessons, ask and answer questions in English.
In Urdu medium schools the teachers are not bound to do all that in English. They choose the easiest way which is to teach with the help of Urdu. Thus the students don’t have exposure to spoken English. They can’t develop correct speech habits.
Could you suggest any solution to the problem ? 25 AUGUST 2017
As I said last night, teachers in English medium schools have to speak English because it is their job requirement. Only those people can apply for a teaching job in an English medium school who undertake to speak English in their classes. If speaking English in the class is made an essential requirement for English teachers in Urdu medium schools, they will sure learn and speak English.
But that would require vigilant checking in the classrooms, which would be quite embarrassing for the teachers.
I would, therefore, like to suggest an easier alternative. Why not make viva (verbal test) a compulsory part of examinations at Middle and Secondary level ? 26 AUGUST 2017
Viva (test of speaking English) used to be a part of every public examination (Middle Standard, Matriculation, Intermediate and BA).
My father did his BA from Government College, Lahore, in 1921. He used to tell us that viva was a compulsory part of all public examinations. Therefore the teachers had to guide the students in speaking English as well as in writing.
After Pakistan came into being, our so-called educationists started making experiments with the system of education. They had neither any vision nor knowledge enough to handle the task. They just cared for their own convenience. One of the worst changes in the system that they introduced was abolition of viva. As a result the teachers as well as the students have to focus only on writing, since the system of examination requires only the ability to write. That too is now reduced to writing crammed up material, or simple cheating. 29 AUGUST 2017
The best way to motivate the teachers to teach speaking English is to restore viva as a compulsory part of all examinations. I wonder why our policy-makers ignore this important measure every time they revise the policy?
Since we are not policy-makers, we have to devise a scheme of our own. I believe viva could be made a part of local examinations and December test. Headmasters and Principals could introduce this measure. If that is done honestly, the teachers would be bound to teach speaking. But are our teachers competent to do that ? 30 AUGUST 2017