Developing Language Skills through e-learning: Everyone’s Duty, Nobody’s Doing
by Bhaskar Pandya
Present article is based on a Poster prepared by Dr. S Arumuga Perumal, though the focus changes herein. It intends to present an overview of how language skills can be developed and / or honed by using e-learning. It also intends to suggest rather discuss some ideas and necessary changes in the process of teaching a foreign language, present scenario, and some ways for getting united for digital content creation. The article does not address those who are looking for primary information about e-learning or the issues they might be involved. It addresses those who are actually involved to some extent in e-learning/teaching.
With the advent of high speed Networking facilities and multimedia, it is universally accepted that face to face teaching is not the only method of teaching in the University Curriculum Planning and there are also other ways which are much better, faster, and cheaper than the traditional one. More so over there is also some craze for developing multimedia (based) courses amongst the Language Faculty for the students who cannot come to the classroom and especially for those who pursue education through distance mode, not necessarily in a Formal Setup.
This is not so difficult to implement in other subjects as it is in language learning. The reason, as we all know, is language learning / teaching is more an art based skill-demanding work than in case of the content based subjects. Because our concern is four basic skills – LSRW and that too developing them in that order.
At this point in time two aspects can be focused ie Implementation and Requirements. Though both of them go hand in hand, we will consider implementation first because: first, it is the implementation that matters the most in a language classroom and two, we cannot think of specific requirements without implementing our ideology.
When we implement e-learning for honing the language skills of our students, first of all, we need to have strategic graded planning right from the preliminary courses for the schools to intermediates ones to the advanced courses for the colleges. Mere crash courses cannot help us except they are designed for specific students with specific requirements or for the students enrolled on Vocational Courses.
For the purpose, we can think of Working (in) Groups, if as a teacher our aim is quality content and services. We have to have contact with all contributors involved in e-learning / teaching so as to have cooperation and harmony through the exchange of ideas and proper planning. There will also be an urgent requirement of putting proposals for innovative projects and consultation. Finally, proper Infrastructure and adequate Equipments with well-trained teachers at all levels is equally important. One teacher with some infrastructure, facilities, equipments, innovative ideas, tech savvy mindset, and some videos, blogs, websites or educational CDs or their implementation in his/her classroom in a scattered way or at a not-required time or with no or very little relevance to the Curriculum cannot help the student community, though he/she might be admired and congratulated personally for the work.
To solve the problems, there has to have some initiative from the Government or Government Agencies, which though seems to be there, is a little too late. There is also a question: in this era of privatization and public partnership what role the Government can play. Then, economically sound Universities and Institutes can help us change the phenomena but the question again is: why they should divert their resources for a cause they are not directly concerned with or responsible for. Thirdly, we can think of the tech savvy minds who are already working but are unable to change the scenario; may be because they are too small a number or are working for personal name and fame. Lastly, the teaching community, who’s responsible for the predicament, comes who’s in direct touch with the students and can contribute a lot if they collaborate.
Occasions and Means of Collaboration can be many. One of them is ELTWeekly. Can we not collaborate and work together on this platform for the development of our students? Can we not contribute in the digital content creation? If yes, who are we waiting for?