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Riyadh Community

How to Teach English as a Foreign Lanuguage
(This lecture was delivered to Teachers of Pakistan In’l School Riyadh)
Prof. Nasreen Waheed

Student in several developing countries including our own are learning English as a
second language. Former British Colonies in Africa, Asia and now even in Middle Eastern
Countries, English is being taught because they need it. They need it because:


i) To prepare their students for research and studies abroad.
ii) To make available scientific, technical, medical, legal, commercial and administrative knowledge.
iii) For better career prospects.
iv) To be able to communicate with the rest of the world.
v) To have employment abroad.


Process of Teaching:
The most important thing that happens in a classroom is learning by the students.
Teaching and other factors only promote or assist it. It is worthwhile for a teacher
to be aware of the recent main theories of learning so that he can form insights
into his own situation and perhaps improve his effectiveness as a teacher.
Classroom teaching is only one of many possible-learning aids. There can be others
charts, pictures, films, slides, tape recorder, language labs, radio and television
programs, direct demonstrations, simple exposure, field trips, which enrich, illustrate
or accelerate the teaching process. Learning is really self-learning.
It is possible to remove the teacher altogether and still obtain good results reinforcing
the dictum that most student learn what they know not because of their teachers but in
spite of them. Some people may not agree they admit that they learnt something from their good teachers, although if they are asked exactly what, few of them would be able to
reply in detail. The fact is that it is the impression of teacher’s personality, which persists, and not the knowledge that he transmits. Such teacher is good because he combines scholarship with certain attitudes and make the lecture pleasant and interesting. Other teachers who are greater scholars then him might still be poor because they are tied down by personality factors. The real job of the teacher is not pour out vast quantities of scholarly material onto his students heads, it is to provide a background of helpful scholarship against which their own learning potential is stimulated. It is impossible for a student to follow a 45 minutes lecture unless he’s vitally interested, in which is rare. The attention span of the average student is about 15 minute. If one lecture is followed by another through five six hours, you can imagine the effect. Teachers should not practice traditional authoritarianism, as it discourages participation. Sometimes we crush our students in the name of discipline. This is specially damaging in language learning. Try to maintain a difference between natural classroom control and rigid authoritarianism. Very little of the best lecture is retained. Try asking students to summaries after you’ve finished the lecture. Lectures are often confused as the teachers are overburdened, and sometime it is impossible to do justice to work. Teacher should have more qualities then any other professional.
He should be very patient. He should take change of a class by being brisk and efficient
and not by being overbearing and tyrannical. He should be helpful and not critical.
He should encourage participation. He should respect the personality differences among
students. He should know that students are not learning units they are individuals.
Some are born communicators, some are shy, and some quick, bright talkative student
eventually may not be the best one. Slow ones may surpass them. Grammar and translation are very widely methods for second language. English has become a crossword puzzle and it has to be deciphered into mother tongue. It is time consuming and the student never really learns. They understand the meanings and this method is too bi-lingual. It can be used as a support to other methods. Audio lingual approach developed from the experience of teaching foreign language to the American Forces personnel towards the end of second world where language is a set of speech habits,
which must be drilled with paramilitary precision.
Language is what the native speaker speaks and it is easier to learn a foreign language
in the spoken context and environment rather than grammar-translation or the structural
method. It is the duty of good teacher to make his students know how to use the
dictionary and what kind of dictionary.

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