English in Schools

Saif ur Rehman currently teaches English at the FG Public School Boys in Kharian Cantt, in Pakistan. He is also currently preparing to become the headmaster of a school. In his article, he explains how a bi-lingual education system might not prove to be so beneficial after all.

Ubiquitous English in our education system, as is in vogue in our country, has created hurdles in the way of education. All schools, from nursery to high, are bound to teach students the curriculum, using English as the language of education. It is an undeniable fact, that English has become the international language and the language of science and technology, yet our manner of changing the language medium, especially at the very outset of the education process, has not produced positive results. It has been observed that when children at the age of four or five start school, are not experts, even in their national language. Instead they speak and understand their mother tongue well. They also understand and can communicate in the national language, but not in English.

We have changed the teaching language, but the proper planning on how to improve or teach all the four skills of the English language is still missing. This has created several problems.

Young children, especially in the government institutions (provincial and federal), have not satisfactorily developed writing, speaking and reading skills. Even their performance in mathematics, due to the English language, is uncertain. Only five percent children who are from educated families can continue with the system, but their performance is also unsatisfactory. This is because a specific syllabus has to be completed in a fixed time, at every cost.

Students cannot communicate in the English language as is expected. The whole system of education supports cramming, because of a language problem. It has been observed even in Grade 10, students are unable to write or speak more than a few sentences in English.

The language used Geography, History and Social Studies in textbooks is very difficult. Students find it quite an uphill task to cover the syllabus and solve the assignments or papers.

Students are unable to express themselves, even in their national language. The Active Teaching Learning Process remains absent because language problems create communication barriers between the teacher and the learner.

I therefore recommend the following:

Up to primary five, all textbooks should be printed and taught in our national language. English should also be taught, but separately, in a pleasant and proper environment for reading, writing, understanding and vocabulary.

From Grade 6, teaching should be shifted from our national language to English. Functional English should also start to be taught at this level.

History and Geography should be taught from Grade 6. The language used should be simple and abridged.

Literary Period (Bazm e Adab) should be made a part of the regular timetable for all classes.

Special books, like abridged versions of famous novels by English writers, must be part of the curriculum as a reading section.

Essay and paragraph writing should commence from Grade 6. Up to primary five only short sentences/structures should be taught and assessed.  

Practical grammar books like “English Grammar in Use” by Raymond Murphy and “Practical English Grammar” by Ave Martinet should be taught to Grade 9 and 10.

English language teachers, proficient in the usage of language, should be employed. They must be given the responsibility of teaching all the four language skills, listening, speaking, reading and writing to the classes from Grade 1 to Grade 10.

The English language curriculum should be divided into 80 percent functional language and 20 percent literature at secondary level.

In place of the textbook consisting of a variety of lessons, there should only be one novel, drama or a single book of short stories to study literature at secondary level.

It is clear from the analysis of the present method of teaching English, that it is not producing language learners at all. We need to improve the language first and to provide such a platform on which students can learn the language. After these reforms, I hope, language will never create hurdles in our education in English, rather it will make the teaching learning process enjoyable. It will also increase language skills which is major tool of communication.

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A week in October, by Pascal & Valérie

The story behind the story:  Pascal and Valérie started a course with me last January and came to class as regular as clockwork, once a week. They spent the time between classes working on the exercises I had given them. Their first goal was to prepare themselves for a trip to Canada, which they undertook in July & August. In September, they decided to continue their course with me. It was a pleasant surprise for me because I had not been expecting it. Both are relative beginners.

Early October, I asked them what they had done the week before. They mentioned several activities out of which we selected three to explore and develop:  

  • I watched TV
  • We went for a walk in the forest near Baden-Baden
  • I rode my motorbike.

    Using key words and questions words, we developed the answers and formed them into the text below. My thanks to them for allowing me to share their successful progress. They are now preparing to share their Canadian trip which should be ready to share in a few weeks’ time.

What did you do on Sunday?

I watched American Football on TV. It was the game Houston vs. Cincinnati. I watched the game alone at home from 8.15pm to 10.30pm. I love American Football because there is a lot of action. I like the New England Patriots because they have a fantastic quarterback, Tom Brady.

We went for a walk in the Black Forest, near Baden-Baden.

We walked from Baden-Baden Castle to Baden-Baden Castle. It was a circular path. We walked on Sunday afternoon. I walked with my husband / wife / we walked together. I love the Black Forest because of the nature. The Black Forest is in the south-west of Germany, near France. The Black Forest is a nature reserve; In the north is the town of Baden-Baden and in the south is the town of Freiburg.

The Black Forest is about 175 km long. There are mountains, pine forests and many beautiful towns and villages.

Baden-Baden is a beautiful town near the French border. It has 50.000 inhabitants, many old buildings and a casino. There are expensive shops. Many retired people live in Baden-Baden. It is a spa resort town with hot springs.

I rode my motorbike.

Last Monday afternoon I rode my motorbike in the Black Forest. I rode alone. I have a BMW 1250cc which I like riding in the Black Forest. I rode from home, in France, to Bad Peterstal in Germany. I left at 1 pm and got to Bad Peterstal at about 4 pm. I took the scenic route. It is about 100 km away. I stayed for about 30 minutes in the Restaurant Renchtalhütte, which I recommend. I had some coffee and pastries. I got home at 7pm.

The weather was sunny and a little bit cloudy. The traffic was light.

My favourite routes in the Black Forest are the small roads with many curves and beautiful scenery. I don’t have a special route.

I like the BMW because is is lighter than a Harley and it is manageable. It is good in curves and is a fantastic motorbike which is comfortable to ride.

Do you have a comment?

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En cliquant sur "Send", vous acceptez le fait que vos données inscrites ci-dessus seront utilisées par Frank Peters, Peters-Langues dans le but pour lequel ce formulaire a été mis en place. Aucune donnée ne sera utilisée dans un autre but, sans votre consentement éclairé, ni ne sera communiquée à un tiers. Vous pouvez à chaque instant demander l'accès, la modification ou la suppression de ces données en nous écrivant. /// Ich bin damit einverstanden, dass diese Website meine übermittelten Informationen speichert, damit sie auf meine Mitteilung antworten kann. /// I consent to having this website store my submitted information so they can respond to the exercise.

Café Chat

What really makes us happy? Have you ever thought about fruitful times? Life is full of events and adventures. We are busy with our daily activities, both directly and indirectly. Sometimes, we are so busy that we forget ourselves. In other words, we lose happiness or the enjoyment in our life. Some successful people believe that if time passes productively, they we will have a fruitful day.
Such was the discussion in the Global English Classroom’s “Café” last week. We invite you to come in and read what was discussed.


Niki, Baku, Azerbaijan

Why are non-native students weak in the English language?

In her second article for the Brida Journal, Niki from Baku in Azerbaijan, ponders over English lessons in schools. Niki is a member of the Global English Classroom.

Why are non-native students weak in the English language? I have taught English as a second language for over 12 years. In this article, I would like to share my experiences about the poor performance of English learners at schools (in Azerbaijan or elsewhere?)

In my opinion, there are three underlying factors which determine our situation.

The first is a weak curriculum design. Perhaps educational specialists in developing countries do not pay attention to practical programs to develop the speaking ability of students. For example, I have very many students in my class and there is too much noise to learn and practice.

The second factor is the lack of experienced and well-trained teachers at school. They cannot teach well to capture the student’s interest. This is compounded by out of date schoolbooks, outdated teaching methods which lead to dull lessons and bored students.

This leads to the third factor which is the lack of learning motivation. Sometimes, students lack the basics. This reduces their confidence. They are shy and are afraid of making mistakes. When they do not have the chance to speak with native speakers, they do not learn the correct expressions.

Looking at it from a student’s perspective is also worthwhile. Many think English is only a school subject. They fail to its significance for their prospective employment in multinational companies in an increasingly globalized world.

Laziness, a lack of efficiency by the school and insufficient support from parents do not help.

In my opinion, only creative teachers can change this atmosphere and motivate our students to progress.

What needs to be done?

The education system should appreciate the learning process in an organised way in order to reach goals. This can be done by increasing the number of English lessons, updating textbooks and employing experienced teachers and opening new opportunities for students.

By showing students a closer relationship between what they learn, real life and career opportunities, we can help them become more active and motivated.

If we want to change the conditions for our students, we should teach them to live with English.

Have a comment? Write to daily@brida.eu

Do you have a comment?

En cliquant sur "Send", vous acceptez le fait que vos données inscrites ci-dessus seront utilisées par Frank Peters, Peters-Langues dans le but pour lequel ce formulaire a été mis en place. Aucune donnée ne sera utilisée dans un autre but, sans votre consentement éclairé, ni ne sera communiquée à un tiers. Vous pouvez à chaque instant demander l'accès, la modification ou la suppression de ces données en nous écrivant. /// Ich bin damit einverstanden, dass diese Website meine übermittelten Informationen speichert, damit sie auf meine Mitteilung antworten kann. /// I consent to having this website store my submitted information so they can respond to the exercise.
En cliquant sur "Send", vous acceptez le fait que vos données inscrites ci-dessus seront utilisées par Frank Peters, Peters-Langues dans le but pour lequel ce formulaire a été mis en place. Aucune donnée ne sera utilisée dans un autre but, sans votre consentement éclairé, ni ne sera communiquée à un tiers. Vous pouvez à chaque instant demander l'accès, la modification ou la suppression de ces données en nous écrivant. /// Ich bin damit einverstanden, dass diese Website meine übermittelten Informationen speichert, damit sie auf meine Mitteilung antworten kann. /// I consent to having this website store my submitted information so they can respond to the exercise.