Becoming an effective ELT professional in Gujarat

H. M. Patel Memorial Lecture on 27 August 2018 by Dr Dharmendra Sheth Founder, Fluentlingua, Surat on Becoming an effective English Language Teaching (ELT) Professional in Gujarat If one keeps the international scene in mind, the knowledge of English is inevitable for intellectual growth and technological development. Along with increasing use of regional language, a sound study of English needs to be encouraged as an instrument of acquiring knowledge.                                                                   —Dr. H. M. Patel I feel privileged to have been asked to deliver the H. M. Patel Memorial Lecture. For this honour, I must thank the orgnisers of this event in general and the Principal of H. M. Patel Institute of English Training & Research, Dr. N. V. Bose, in particular. I consider it my privilege and duty to invoke the name of Dr. H. M. Patel, a senior ICS officer, whose visionary guidance led to the inception of this Institute 53 years ago in 1965, three years before I was born. Well, I have fond memories of this Institute and of working in close association with ELT stalwarts like the late Dr Subhash Jain, and my well-wisher Dr Jadeja, the previous Director of this institute. I have had excellent …

Seven Essentials of Effective Teaching

(Published in ‘The Journal of English Language Teaching – India [ELT@I] March-April 2010) Conscientious teachers often ask themselves, “Do my students learn what I teach, and how well?” “Am I a successful teacher?” “Are my students happy with my teaching?” I do not know if I am a good example of the class ‘conscientious teacher’, but, motivated by such fundamental and essential questions, I conducted a little informal survey. I asked about a thousand students from diverse academic, social and economic backgrounds to determine who, according to them, was a conscientious teacher. For a start, I proposed that seven traits—qualities or patterns of behaviour or ‘habits’—may be used as framework for responses to my query. So each student surveyed was asked to enumerate seven traits he considered essential to conscientious teaching. The result of the survey was most interesting as well as surprising. Here is a summary of its findings.   The first thing students expect from a teacher is a smile. A smile establishes an instant rapport between students and their teacher, which is a prerequisite for a successful class. Students cannot be bothered about what has happened to a teacher before he enters a class. A teacher must …

My letter to Mr Narendra Modi

માનનીય શ્રી નરેન્દ્ર મોદીજી,       અપાર લોકપ્રિયતા મેળવીને 2014ની લોકસભાની ચૂંટણી માટે વડાપ્રધાનપદના સર્વસંમત દાવેદાર બનવા બદલ અભિનંદન ! આપની સાથે હું યે ગુજરાતી છું તેનું મને ગૌરવ છે. પણ આજે મારે ગુજરાતીઓને માટે કાળી ટીલી ગણાતી અંગ્રેજી ભાષા વિશે વાત કરવી છે અને તે પણ શક્ય તેટલા ઓછા શબ્દોમાં.         1) રાષ્ટ્રીય સ્તરે કોઈપણ ક્ષેત્રમાં કામ કરવું હોય તો અંગ્રેજી પર સામાન્ય કરતાં વિશેષ પકડ હોવી અનિવાર્ય છે. જેટલા વધુ ગુજરાતીઓ રાષ્ટ્રીય સ્તરે કામ કરતાં થાય એટલું આપની રાજકીય સફળતા માટે સારું રહેશે. વ્યક્તિગત રીતે મેં તમારો અને ગુજરાતનો પરિચય અનેકોને કરાવ્યો છે પણ તમારે દેશની કાયાપલટ કરવી હશે તો સારું અંગ્રેજી જાણનારા ગુજરાતી બુદ્ધિજીવીઓ,  વેપારીઓ તથા અન્ય વ્યાવસાયિકોની ફોજ ઊભી કરવી પડશે.       2) ગુજરાતી માધ્યમની શાળા માટે ગુજરાત સરકારે તૈયાર કરેલ અંગ્રેજી વિષયના પુસ્તકોની ગુણવત્તા ખૂબ જ નબળી રહી છે. ગત વર્ષે મેં પુસ્તકનાં પાનેપાનેથી શોધેલી અ.ધ..ધ.. ભૂલોની યાદી સરકારના વિભાગો અને તજજ્ઞોને મોકલી હતી. આપને પણ એક નકલ અચૂક મળી જ હશે!       મને જણાવતાં દુ:ખ થાય છે કે આ વર્ષે અમલમાં આવેલા પાઠ્યપુસ્તકો પણ એવી જ ગંભીર ભૂલો લઈને આવ્યા છે. ગુજરાતી બાળકો અને યુવાનો આમાંથી સાચું અને સારું અંગ્રેજી ક્યારેય ના શીખી શકે! આ બાબતે આપે કઈંક નક્કર વિચારવું પડશે. શાળા કક્ષાએથી જ વિશ્વ …

Nimby

An interesting word. It means ‘not in my backyard’. After I posted this, some viewers/friends asked me to tell them how to use this word. So I have copied below the entry for the word ‘nimby’ from Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. I hope it helps. Nimby /”nIm.bi/ noun [C] ABBREVIATION FOR not in my back yard: a person who does not want something unpleasant to be built or done near where they live: The spokeswoman said that Nimby attitudes were delaying development of the site.   nimbyism /”nIm.bi:.Ism/ noun [U] Residents were accused of nimbyism when they tried to stop the new superstore development.

Why conferences or seminars?

Dr Dharmendra Sheth. Ex National Vice President, ELT@I shethdharmendra@hotmail.com          9825442418 Why conferences or seminars? Every once in a while, conscientious professionals check whether what they are doing is up to the mark and worthwhile. This forms a vital component of continuing professional development (CPD). After a conference a few months ago, some colleagues gave vent to their frustration in a violent outburst. They grumbled to me about some of the most obvious pitfalls in our field—the poor quality of presentations, lack of sincerity, widespread apathy among the new generation of teachers, abysmally poor command of the English language and so on. They were of the opinion that we should do away with professional events such as seminars and conferences. To my mind, seminars and conferences are crucial to professional development. Let me share with you just a few of the reasons why we need conferences. Indeed, first of all, every conference is a success. For conferences provide opportunities for networking, sharing experiences, raising issues, resolving issues and, and, most importantly, for professional development. I am sure that during every conference, some idea, some activity, some expression sticks in your mind, and that makes a difference in your teaching, in …

Does English pay rich dividends?

Dear all, The British Council has arranged a Lecture Tour by Hywel Coleman on the topic “Do English language skills pay an economic and social dividend?” I would like to have your views on this, preferably with real-life examples. Best wishes, Dharmendra.

15 August 2011

Dear all, 15 August, 2011. For some it’s a day for celebration or picnicking, for some a time to meet friends and relatives, for some others to get rid of part of a mounting backlog. But for many, just another holiday. To me, all of the above, honestly. But, above all, it’s a time for retrospection and reflection. Every such day makes me think about what I have got from my motherland and what I have done for it. Have I done (or been doing) enough? Should I have done something more or different? Am I on the right path? Is my life and work helping others live better and fuller? Well, this time I have been invited to my old school (Tekrawala, previously known as New Era) to unfurl the national flag. I am not sure what I will say and whether the rain gods will be on our side. Anyway, I hope to say something worthwhiel, even if it’s for a few minutes. Thank you for reading this blog. And do please share your views. Best wishes, Dharmendra.

Words…words…words…

Dear all, Your command of words and success go hand in hand. The more words you know the better you can express what you have in your mind, be it feelings or facts. For the past decade or so, I have been learning about 30 new words every day from my personal reading, listening and talking with friends who are better users of English than me. When I look back, I wonder how I expressed my views in the past without the words that I have learnt in the last decade. I was a fluent speaker then too. That means that at that time I used to ‘impose’ meanings on the words that I knew, and expected people to guess at the meaning on the basis of the contexts. I sincerely apologise to those who had to struggle to understand my English. That doesn’t mean that now I have all the words and phrases that I need to express my views or describe what I see, smell, taste, touch, hear and feel. My vocabulary learning campaign is an ongoing process. In the recent past I have developed a fancy for idiomatic expressions. I am on cloud nine, i.e., I am …

Peace in Surat

Dear all, Suratis must congratulate each other today on evading about 20 live bombs and being safe despite a huge chunk of explosive material, enough to make about 50 bombs, plying within the city boundaries. It’s great to be alive today, indeed. We cannot move out today–a sort of self-imposed curfew. Educational institutes and public places are officially declared closed. Of course, one can go out, but who would dare and why? What is more important than being alive? Well, when indoors, one becomes philosophical. Or sometimes cynical. Or both, as in my case, at different times of the day and depending on the mood. Sometimes I felt a little uneasy to think how a person can plan such a savage attack–secretly planting bombs and running away from that place. It is a heinous crime. Such a well-planned and dastardly act cannot be the result of one man turning wild. There must be about a thousand people involved–some of them may be in our neighbourhood. How to spot them? I wonder. During the cynical phases, I wonder whether gruesome acts should be considered as terrorists’ success or our failure–failure of administration, police, society or education. It is childish to believe …