English in Primary School Education

Though English is not officially recognized language in our country, it has got no less standard of a second language. As to communicate with the other countries we need a mutual language and English has got the prestige of a second language, the learner of English language is increasing day by day. English is taught to the students from the very primary level to the higher secondary level and most of the books of higher education are written in English. Though the students learn English from the childhood beside Bengali they still lack competence in this language to perform.

The poor condition of primary English language teaching is greatly responsible for this. Primary education system has got so many problems which result the poor performance of the students in English language. First of all, our classrooms are lecture based and the students are the listeners only. But learning a language needs lots of interaction between the teacher and student and student-student or among the students -in our classes, which has no scope. So the students do not feel the motivation to perform or practice any language based task in the classroom or out of the classroom. A language class has to be of a limited number of students where our classes are so large to reach each and every student that the giving and receiving of feedbacks does not work out. A language classroom should be of a minimum length of 45 to 01 hour while our teachers only have 30 minutes which is not sufficient in proportion to the number of students. Most of the primary teachers do not have a good academic degree or Govt. training (except PTI) on teaching language or education. Besides the classroom, we also have problems with contents and materials and resources to teach language to the children. In the text books there are no directions or guidance for the teachers to follow in the classroom. So the teacher put their effort to make the children to pass the exam but not to the understanding and practice of the language in real life situation or outside of classroom. The content of the text book does not fit the culture of all students but they all have to use the same text book. Besides it also lacks the glossary of necessary explanations. In primary schools grammar is not emphasized that much and taught isolated without any context. So, while reading or writing, in most of the cases of writing, they cannot catch the grammatical rules and functions used in the actual texts materials.  One other problem is that mistakes are not acceptable and punishable in our culture so the students are only provided corrections with the answers but merely with the explanations or analysis.

The profession of teaching is not only limited within the classroom but it holds a large area of works and efforts. As besides classes a teacher has to make assessments, evaluations, give feedbacks, possible one to one response and many such things. He or she always has to work on the present level of the students, finding out the limitations and also a way to develop it to overcome the present level.

As a medium of communication, a language has to cover the 4 skills of listening, speaking and reading, writing. And for that, CLT is a better way to teach English in our cultural context. But it has to be with some necessary changes or modification of this approach according to the culture of the learners and classrooms to make it more adoptable for the learners at the primary level.

Writer: Nusrat Jahan

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