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(Writer is bilingual fiction writer and novelist)
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We often wonder why fluent spoken English has been a hitch for most Indian even after the sixty years of Independence. Today, English dominates in every sphere of life, be it education, TV or print, electronic media or internet, the spell of English is everywhere. There is hardly any sphere of social life where English does not make its bang.
Today, parents in modern society swollen with pride if their kids speak well-versed English fluently and they are proud parents admitting their kids in convent schools only because of the fascination of spoken English. English, apart from its enormous utility, is considered the language of gentlemen and sophisticated ladies. With the soaring progress in every area, English too is flourishing rapidly and now India is one of the most developing countries which do sense the phenomenon of English. Hence, after independence, English has progressed greatly despite the opposition from various quarters.
It is estimated that by 2010 about billion people of the world would be adroit both in speaking and writing English. As, now it has become the language of hi-tech youths and, they often communicate in this language which is wonderingly all pervasive and evergreen language; but in India, regarding the speaking of language fluency, the picture is pretty shady.
In north India, most states- where regional dialects dominate, even the highly qualified young and officials lack communicating in good English In Punjab, where Punjabi is a regional and official language hardly 10 percent of people might use English in their routine communications. Such is the condition in Rajasthan where people prefer speaking Hindi.
Mr. Anil Sharma, Editor, Rajasthan Today, Jodhpur, puts forth that the condition of English both in spoken and written in Rajasthan is pathetic and in a state of utter gloominess. He laments that there is no such a magazine in English to which Rajasthan be proud of. With the exception of Mr. Anil Sharma, the academicians from different north Indian states too lament that younger generation too is not learning the skills of communications as it needs to be grasped.
It is quite obvious that today multinational companies are spreading everywhere in India and the demand for communication is most requisite. Even students wishing to pursue their career in multinationals too feel the need of spoken English. Swati Srivastava from Dabur India, Delhi opines that multinational companies require American accent preferably.
It is a key question whether the crowd of our young people might go through the ordeals of life while choosing career with poor communication skills? Might they pull off group discussions and prompt interviews?
With the proliferation of information technology, today, learning and speaking English is not a far-off job. There are several sites which provide material for the learning and speaking English through payments. Even computer too speaks American English; we can improve our pronunciation by listening through sites and download the software for trials.
Markets are flooded with English titles and newspapers in English. Then why our youth is always unsuccessful in impressive communication skill. There are numerous reasons for the absence of their communication skills. Let’s take a peep into them.
In our schools and colleges, we teach our students English as a subject. Communication skill is not our area of teaching. Our teachers don’t emphasize on speaking skills of the language. Our focus is only and only upon memory and rote. If your memory is sharp and you are able to parrot everything within stipulated periods, you are the successful. Creativity hardly works in our education system.
Our students parrot essay and textual questions by rote and reproduce them in examinations. Rarely any educational institute encourages their students to speak proper and correct English although most schools today make propaganda about spoken English. How might students succeed in interview while the network of multinational companies is spreading in our country? Why our teachers, academicians and custodians of English language don’t think over it? If they think seriously then why the condition is so dismal so far?
Lack of self-confidence:
It is the main second reason of not learning the English language articulately. Most of people who read English newspapers and books regularly - especially fiction where prompt and finely-tuned dialogues are all pervasive are able to speak English and hone their skill if they don’t lack confidence.
The main reason behind the poor communication skill is that generally the students were not provided proper opportunities in educational institutions to build confidence in speech. Oratory is the best option with which schools can practice language to their students. But it is regret that there are a few students who are the cynosure of their teachers and they generally make their focus on them.
No interest in books
Moreover, youngsters today find no time reading extra books. Computer, TV, mobiles and riding on bikes guzzle down their whole leisure time. Books seem a sort of burden on them instead. For learning the language skills, trio- reading, writing, and listening plays a vital role. All skill has a significant role in sharpen the mind. Gone are the days when students relaxed with books enjoying its readings and that way learn the method of communication? Even then, comics too helped them learning the language? Now the trend of reading books has waned.
It is better if the students be encouraged to read books on diverse subjects apart from watching English movies or news channels to sharpen their listening skill instead of watching soap operas otherwise we might be unable to speak English with impeccable clarity, articulation and correct pronunciation despite our full access to every possible resource of technology.
How student can improve their English?
Practice makes a man perfect. Early childhood is the correct time to push the children into learning process. Encourage them to read English novels and fiction and discuss them in class with their teachers. Dialogues and conversation among characters must help them to communicate with friends. Pursue them to listen to the coverage of English channels so as they might learn the correct pronunciation of the word. Speaking, reading, listening and writing must go hand in hand to learn the language thoroughly.
Young people who have lost their childhood time without learning and honing speaking skills too can gather novels or biographies of great people from libraries or download from internet. Today, markets are flooded with bestsellers which would interest them.
Moreover, English serials regarding the celebrities’ interviews and fun programmes too can help learning the speaking skills. Schools and colleges too can screen these sorts of programmes in common halls gathering the students to the capacity of the room and engage them in the task of discussing after watching the movie.
Teacher’s help is essential
Teachers always play vital role in the development of students. Students respect them more their parents if they get something valuable from them. It is the teacher in whose presence students tend to spoken English. It is the teacher who motivates pupils discarding the fear of committing mistakes.
Initially, every new speaker commits mistakes. If a teacher fails to encourage them their enthusiasm would kill itself. Nascent learners are not to be mocked at. In fact, it needs to grow our generation competent and up-to-date to brave the globalization of career. And a good teacher can change the picture into desired result with his endeavours.
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