Thursday, 20 November 2014

Changing Classroom Climate at the Under-Graduate Level


Changing Classroom Climate at the Under-Graduate Level: Techniques and Innovations
                                                                  
                                                             Dr. Brian Mendonca
                                                             ELT Professional
                                                                                                                       

                                                                   Abstract

Teaching English to undergraduate students today has become extremely challenging. Across the 3 years of their ‘internship’ of the B.A. degree course (6 semesters) they are exposed to a variety of English skills from ‘Spoken English’ in the first year to Indian Literature in English in the final year. Whereas students who opt for literature and subjects allied to literature in English, viz. American studies, the rest in the large, unwieldy compulsory English classes get by with a smattering of English. Overshadowed by their more adroit Allied students in the same class with superior English skills --and often the teachers’ favourites -- these students usually from the mother tongue medium fare pathetically.

Many resort to cut and paste for their intra-semester exams (ISA), or force sentences with no clue of idiomatic meanings. Students prefer to stay in cliques reinforcing the same abysmal performance levels. They rarely stay back for remedial teaching. An open book exam produces better results. Coursera.org can be leveraged by asking students to sign up for courses with content allied to syllabus. Role plays; group discussion and one-on-one interviews break the ennui of classroom teaching. With students in classrooms on mobile phones with internet, generation Z would like to excel in English but are not motivated enough. This paper will address these issues by offering techniques which have worked at the 3 levels of under-graduate teaching.

Keywords: Under-Graduate Teaching, ELT, SL, ISA, SEE, Language Learning, Techniques, Innovations 
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International Conference on Trends and Innovations in Language Teaching (TILT 2014), Department of English, Sathyabama University, Chennai, India, 14-15 November 2014; Pix above of  Dr. Brian Mendonca delivering his presentation at the conference venue on 15 November 2014. He was invited to chair the session.

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