Webinar: Enhancing English Classroom Efficacy

How should the English Language really be taught in Classrooms? Is it a subject, a language or a medium of instruction? Let this panel of experts tell you.

Club1BR was associated with a webinar organised by the English Language Teachers Association of India [ELTAI] on the issue of Enhancing English Classroom Efficacy.

The webinar was conducted for English Language Teachers in Schools. The panel comprised of Mr. A. Senthil Kumaran – Chief Confluencer of The Learners Confluence, Dr. Reddi Sekhar Reddy – Vice President of the ELTAI, and Ms. Gowri Venkatesh – Vice Principal of Delhi Public School, Nacharam, Secunderabad. Ms. Jagruti Gala, co-founder of Stones2Milestones represented us at the panel.

What does English Language Classroom Efficacy mean?

English language teachers have to face multiple challenges. Some of them are children not taking the English class seriously or treating it like a free period, teachers of math and science subjects requesting to use the english class to complete their portions and english being treated like a second class citizen even in English Medium schools where English is the language of communication in the classroom.

The Pandemic has just added another layer to their existing problems. But teachers can use this as a time to upskill themselves and learn how to use technology to their advantage. How can English teachers use technology to take English language teaching beyond just reading passages and content transfer. The panel members talked about this in great detail and shared a few tips that teachers can use to make English teaching about the language rather than the content.

The Experts:

Dr. A. Senthil Kumaran

With over three decades of experience in the educational field, Dr. Senthil has started ground breaking work in the form of The Learners Confluence, an educational service in India. The Learners Confluence is an educational program focused on developing a technology platform for teachers with the goals of enhancing peer learning as well as knowledge sharing.

Dr. Senthil was the Principal Counsellor and Head of Education Excellence Initiatives of CII Institute of Quality until July 2016. He joined CII IQ in 2002 and till recently, has been helping educational institutions accelerate their journey in excellence in India and abroad. Not just in India, Dr. Senthil has travelled and presented in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sultanate of Oman, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, China, Japan, Finland, United States of America and Singapore with the goal of promoting the concept of Excellence in Education.

Dr. Reddi Sekhar Reddy

Dr. Reddi Sekhar Reddy G is an Associate Professor of English, Department of Sciences and Humanities, Christ University, Bangalore and the US Embassy RELO Scholar with 25 years of experience. He is the Vice President of the English Language Teachers’ Association of India (ELTAI). He is also the founder patron of ELTAI Tirupati Chapter and the editor of ELTAI Tirupati Chapter Journal of English Language and Literature. He is a member of International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL, UK).

He is a certified trainer by NITTTR, IATEFL, ELT@I, INFOSYS, NASSCOM, & APSCHE. He has authored three books on English Grammar and Communication Skills apart from editing seven books on varied themes. He has presented about 50 papers and an equal number of papers/articles published in the books, journals, magazines and newspapers.  

Ms. Gowri Venkatesh

Ms. Gowri Venkatesh is the Vice Principal at Delhi Public School Nacharam, Secunderabad. She has more than 30 years of teaching experience and has been teaching class XII English for around 15 years. She is also the Head Examiner for CBSE board exams. She is a post graduate in English literature with B.ED in English and Social Studies and has qualified for the Advanced level of the Trinity School of London GESE exams.

Ms. Gowri has also been credited with commendation for her action research project under Global Teacher Accreditation (GTA) on Team Building using Emotional Intelligence. Her six month course in PDEM (Professional Development in Education Management) was rated an A in all aspects by the DPS society. She has also done a course on Differentiated Instruction-Best Classroom practices from the Harvard University of Education (USA). She is also a Master Trainer for teachers by the CBSE in collaboration with the British Council and the Cambridge University, UK.

Ms. Jagruti Gala

Jagruti considers herself an agent of transformation and is thrilled to constantly push the edge of consciousness, in order to create a world of greater fulfillment, compassion and joy! She takes pride in wearing several hats – educator, writer, coach and facilitator – held together by the belief that LEARNING IS LIBERATION.

Jagruti is the co-founder of Stones2Milestones – an organisation on a mission to Create a Nation of Readers. She is also Founding Managing Trustee of AURA – a non profit that works to bring high quality learning experiences to children from underserved backgrounds. Jagruti serves as a Mentor and Guide to Amrit Vidyalaya, a school bringing quality education to children in semi-rural India and is faculty for coaching at Leadership that Works. She is the author of 99 Marigold Mornings.

Top Learnings from the Webinar

  1. English is no longer taught as a language, but as a content. We treat it as merely reading passages. English is considered as something anyone can teach. English needs to be taught as a language. There needs to be an orientation that the English language is critical for children to understand other subjects like mathematics and science.
  2. The teachers need to be aware of what are the minimum vocabulary levels for primary level and secondary level children. The two key aspects to focus on are oral comprehension and written expression. The teacher must be clear about the purpose of teaching English and the profile of the learners. The same technique cannot work for primary learners and secondary learners.
  3. Teacher is instrumental in creating a practical application of the text in the student’s mind. It is important for teachers to focus on their professional development. However, job insecurity stops the teachers from concentrating on professional development or learning new strategies for teaching.
  4. The teacher should create a love for the language in the child. The assessment of a child’s learning of the language needs to be done very creatively. Assessments need not be a pen and paper test. They should be based on the child’s learning type – on the basis of multiple intelligence like visual, kinesthetic and so on. The formative assessment process needs to change for non-board classes.
  5. Language teaching needs to be bi-lingual. There needs to be compassion for the students and teachers who may not come from a English speaking household. Audio notes and video notes will be very useful for the children. Teachers must learn to use technology for the best advantage of the children.
  6. English needs to be treated as not just a subject but as a functional language. Teachers need to create an emotional connect with the language for the children based on the child’s native language.
  7. Language and Literature are not two separate entities. They are two wheels of the same chariot. We need literature in order to develop the language skills. It is important to understand that language is the medium of learning, not an aspect of learning.

Here’s the video of the webinar

If you have only 2 minutes, then check out the segment at 41:15.

Club1BR

The Club1BR program is our initiative to create 1 Billion Readers by 2025. If you are a school that believes in the power of reading like we do, drop a comment with your school name and email id in the comments section and we will reach out to you.

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A productive screen time app for ages 3 to 12, that focuses on improving English Language skills.

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