Is e-learning effective? | Hyderabad HSC exams
Teaching English has become insulated from reality: AKU seminar told
Karachi, April 21: While various academic models have been proposed for the
teaching of English, a leading academic in the field has argued that what is
needed is a 'social' response to the problem, implying that teachers of English
need to be flexible about opening themselves up to their student's needs.
Delivering the keynote address on Sunday, the second day of the
'Teaching English in multilingual contexts: current challenges, future
directions' conference, Dr Andrew Littlejohn cited the example of students at
Sorbonne University in Paris, who had rebelled against being taught what they
termed "autistic economics".
Use of the term "autistic" here was "not
meant as a slur, rather it implied that the teaching of the discipline was
divorced from reality", and dealt only with theoretical models.
two-day conference was organised by the Aga Khan Institute of Educational
Development's Centre of English Language, and was held at the Aga Khan
Dr Littlejohn, an author, teacher trainer and currently a
professor at Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, argued that English Language
Teaching (ELT) has also become somewhat insulated from the real world.
He established his case by first making the point that there is no
longer a "standard version" of English, as there are a variety of changing
regional forms and usage. Citing the example of increasing informal
communication from people as diverse as his bank manager and a fellow English
academic to the text messages he receives from his son, which appeared almost
indecipherable, he asked those present: "Who owns English?"
He went on
to say "only 25 per cent of English speakers are native speakers, and 75 per
cent of users of the language use it as an additional language."
speaker norms are now inappropriate for deciding whether something is correct,"
Dr Littlejohn also spoke about the move to use English as a
Lingua Franca (ELF), with other scholars saying that ELF should be considered a
variety of English. Dr Littlejohn, however, was against the teaching of English
with reduced core pronunciations and a greater tolerance for grammatical errors.
The second session of the conference was conducted by Dr Anjum Saleemi,
a professor at the University of Management and Technology in Lahore, and dealt
with the development of language and thought, and the differences between the
"My basic hypothesis is that learning a language has a lot to do
with learning to think in that language, even if language and thought are two
different things, as proven by numerous scientific studies."
Saleemi said, "people think the difference is not that large, or that culture
and language may influence thought."
He said that the interaction of the
two, however, was "a two-way street", and that while language may influence
thought, there were often times that one had thoughts that one was not able to
articulate and express in language efficiently or effectively.
Saleemi spoke at length about the philosophical underpinnings of his work,
arguing that on the individual level, language was about "being able to
verbalise a thought without having to articulate it".
plenary session consisted of an illuminating talk by Mr Mohammad Zafar, of the
Centre of English Language at the AKU-IED, on the teaching of English for
specific purposes (ESL).
"Right now we have the teaching of English for
no obvious reason," he said, much to the amusement of those present.
pointed out that under the current system, there is a high proportion of
students learning by rote, or even cheating, and that the examination system was
faulty. He also asserted that the education budget was just "2.2 per cent of the
budget", and when finally calculated as Rs/student, the amount was also
He also raised the question of why
students were taught English grammar in every single class, from class I all the
way to the Masters level.
"Do all these years of grammar actually help
the students?" he asked, saying that mechanically their English skills may be
good, but they could not use the language constructively.
easily paraphrase Wordsworth and Keats, but they can't write business reports or
patient summaries," he asserted.
This is why, he said, we should focus
on the teaching of English for specific purposes once students have passed their
secondary education, as at that point English is primarily a means to a specific
end for them, the end being a job of some kind.
also included a number of featured and other sessions held in parallel. Several
of the sessions were interactive and were based on helping English language
teachers to engage their students.
A planned book launch for Emerging
issues in TEFL: Challenges for Asia, edited by Sabiha Mansoor, Aliya Sikander,
Nasreen Hussain and Nasreen M. Ahsan, was cancelled by organisers due to
The two-day conference was closed by a panel
discussion on the subject of 'How can we encourage more language learning
outside the classroom? Is e-learning the way forward for countries like
Pakistan?' -Asad Hashim
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Teaching the digital native
Karachi: A range of issues concerning the teaching of English in
multilingual contexts were debated by Pakistani and foreign scholars on the
first day of a two-day international seminar held here on Saturday. The experts
focused on the policy issues of teaching English in Pakistan as well as the role
technology is playing in contributing to the teaching of languages globally.The
fifth international seminar – titled 'Teaching English in multilingual contexts:
current challenges, future directions' – has been organised by the Aga Khan
University-Institute for Educational Development's Centre of English Language.
In her keynote address, Professor Noor Amna Malik, director general and
head of the Learning Innovation Division of the Higher Education Commission
described the problems faced by English teachers in the nation's colleges.
"English language teachers in public colleges desperately need our help as they
face professional handicaps".
She said the first phase of the Rs35
million English Language Teaching Reforms Project (launched in 2004) would be
completed by July of this year. She said the project had highlighted several
challenges, such as lack of initiative from universities, too much dependence on
the HEC as well as the "great divide" that existed between the English language
and literature teaching communities.
Prof Malik concluded by saying that
if the gap is not bridged, students, teachers and the overall education system
of Pakistan would suffer.
Dr Hayo Reinders of the University of
Groningen, the Netherlands, spoke about the importance of informal learning
outside the classroom. He said informal learning was important because
traditional language teaching was not always effective, many people did not have
any access to education at all while informal learning was the most common form
of learning. He said that 80 per cent of adult learners learn outside the
"Technology is allowing us to access learning opportunities
quite easily. There is a need to teach students the technology."
Educational consultant Gavin Dudeney spoke about the importance of
digital literacy. He said students have changed immensely and the younger
generation are known as 'digital natives', while the elders are considered
'digital immigrants'. He observed that certain teachers' hesitance in bringing
computers into the classroom was selfish and based on fear.
between teachers and students will get bigger. They're not listening to us and
we're not listening to them. Spending time online is essential to becoming a
citizen of the digital age. The technology will come sooner than we expect."
Eric Baber, innovation director for Cambridge University Press,
delivered a virtual presentation, addressing the audience from Cambridge. He
based his presentation on the book Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes
Everything, and discussed the role 'wikis' – websites open to hosting and
editing content by anyone – are playing in promoting education.
home schooling is becoming increasingly popular in the United Kingdom, stating
that over the last five years, the number of home schooled students had risen by
60 per cent. "Parents have cited several reasons for this, including bullying at
school and dissatisfaction with the school system." He said the internet and
Wikis were playing a major part in facilitating parents and students who opted
for home schooling.
To a question about the reliability of sites such as
Wikipedia, he said "It is not reliable but a useful tool and a good staring
point." He cautioned that proper research regarding the information posted on
such websites was essential.
Dr Fauzia Shamim of the University of
Karachi also delivered a presentation.
A panel discussion on the
challenges of teaching English in multilingual countries such as Pakistan
followed, in which along with Mr Dudeney, Prof Malik and Dr Shamim, Dr Andrew
Littlejohn of the Sultan Qaboos University, Oman, Dr Anjum Saleemi of the
University of Management and Technology, Lahore, and Mr Mohammad Zafar of the
AKU-IED, CEL participated. Dr Graeme Cane, head of the CEL, moderated the
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144 imposed for Hyderabad HSC exams
Hyderabad: The Hyderabad district nazim has imposed Section 144 within
a radius of 200 yards of examination centres in the district during the
examination of Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) 2009 scheduled to
commence from April 29.
The nazim has authorised the SHOs concerned to
register cases against violators. Dawn
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BBSYDP education depart field project
Karachi: im one of the trainee of BBSYDP
education depart. at Govt. College of Education F.B.Area our center has started
field project work under the supervision of our facilitator and we are
interested for cooperation at several levels like for funds and mangment of
authorities as we have started this without receving any stipend because of
which several capable students are facing difficulties to carry-on their
training we also interseted for media coverage to these project that these
student should be buck-up for their struggle. our head is Sir ANWAR AHMED. By Amber Iqbal, email@example.com
"ASSALAM-O-ALAIKUM I HAVE GOT TRAINING IN B.ED COLLEGE UNDER BBSYDP PROJECT(EDUCATION DEPART).I WANT TO DRAW THE ATTENTION OF RELEVANT AUTHORITIES THAT BBSYDP TRAINEES HAVE NOT BEEN PROVIDED JOBS BY GOVT.THE PURPOSE OF THIS TRAINING WAS TO PREPARE UN-EMPLOYED-YOUTH CAPABLE OF PERFORMING IMPORTANT JOB-RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE GOVT.BUT THEY ARE YET JOB-LESS.SO THIS PROJECT BECOMES USE-LESS.SHABIH-UL-AZIZ (SHABIH313@HOTMAIL.COM)"
City, Country: KARACHI,PAKISTAN
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