Saturday, 16 October, 2021

Govt orders English teachers to conduct class in English

Mixed reaction from teachers

The Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) issued a gazette notification on 17 October 2017 asking teachers to conduct English classes in English in schools and colleges. When English classes are taken in Bengali, it acts as a barrier to serve the purpose of teaching English. As soon as the government made the decision public, reactions from teachers poured in different social media sties and web portals.  While some teachers supported the move, some others criticised it. I developed this write-up based on reactions from teachers. (I beg readers’ pardon for not changing the comments of the teachers that contain some errors in terms of spelling and sentence construction. I want to place the real situation of the teachers. So, the comments have been placed with inverted commas exactly the way teachers commented online.)


One teacher has commented in this way “I am very grateful to the higher authority for realizing the necessity of teaching – learning method of English class.


It is very important for the development of learning English. But there lack of skilled & experienced English teacher the implementation of the decision is very difficult. We have to recruit skilled and experienced teacher at first for the implementation of the gadget.” Actually recruiting experienced and skilled teachers for teaching English in the secondary, higher secondary and tertiary (college) levels cannot be ensured uniformly as the students who show better performance in the public examinations hardly come to teaching profession as it still holds less facilities and opportunities than other professions. It cannot, however, be expected that all the better result oriented people will gather around teaching profession. However, good results may always not signify that one will become a good teacher. It’s a different art and profession. The people already engaged in teaching in the secondary and higher secondary level can give far better teaching if they are well trained and encouraged.


Another teacher expresses his reaction in this way “Do u think as a teacher recruited as an English teacher doesn’t have ability to conduct the class in English? Anyway, in the institutions situated particularly in the rural areas when a teacher delivers lectures in English, the students remain silent or feel boring or think the teacher is excellent or feel asleep n so on. The reality is that they have very weak base in English, they can’t understand anything what a teacher teaches them during an English class. However thank u the concerned authority for a gazette notification to conduct the English classes in English. And for this, the students must get a benefit while listening the sound again n again besides some grammatical rules instructed by the teachers in the class.


As a result, the learners will develop their listening n speaking skills through making mistakes firstly next they become perfect within a few months. In this regard the learners should show more interest in learning English…” the teacher has mentioned the limitations of conducting English class in English. I think he has given the suggestions also why and how to start classes in English. It’s true that many rural students don’t understand English lecture but we should make it suitable and palatable for them. It’s one kind of research that a teacher should conduct.


“This is no doubt a good decision but our teachers should be well trained. To developed the four skills of English language we must have to create an English speaking environment in classrooms. To speak the truth is hampered for various reasons. In our Textbooks there is less scope of speaking. Our test items in exam are mostly memorized based. Students want to get marks only. We, the teachers, prepare them for Board Exams but there is no marks for the two skills I.e listening speaking. In the name of communicative system, more more grammar items have been included.” The claim that our textbook contains little scope to practice speaking in the classroom does not hold the whole truth. A teacher can develop ample scope for the students to speak in the classroom if he/she is interested and knows the technique using the textbook and the syllabus an institution develops. Teachers need to conduct action research on it.


“Undoubtedly, it’s a good decision. We, all the teachers, should to deliver our lectures in English so that the students can increase their listening power. But the problem is that while we start delivering our lectures in English, they almost didn’t understand. As a result, we are bound to teach in Bengali in class room.”—It’s true that students don’t understand when teachers use English in the classroom. This is because they don’t have the practice and tradition to listen to English. That does not necessarily mean that we must not start it. We should start it and students will follow suit.


A teacher writes, “At last, I wanna say one thing, we should communicate 60% in English language & 40% in Bengali language then it’ll be possible to develop their skills. Highly appreciable step no doubt. To deal with the communicative approach no alternative to practice English as we students have truely speak least chance to develove all four skills in Engish outside the clas room. So it is high time we teachers have to change out attitudes to communicative approach. We have lacks but have to start from just now for the greater interest of our next generation. this decision is great. But it is a matter of regret that in rural areas most of the students are very poor in English. Whereas how can it possible to conduct a fruitful class? I think all time speaking English in class will not bring standard result. Otherwise if the teachers conduct their classes in this process, the classes will be more fruitful. “- I do agree with this teacher.


May be students will not understand first but soon they will overcome the problems teachers start speaking English in the classroom giving the students proper motivation.


Finally I want to say that it’s a utopian idea to expect the same kind of gentle and equally meritorious students in one class and the teacher will conduct his class in an ideal situation. It happens in a very limited number of institutions. Meeting the students of various levels and types in the same class is the reality. When students understand everything in English, only then we will speak English in the class is not a reasonable idea. As teachers our job is to make them understand and capable of conversing in English.


The writer works for BRAC
Education Programm