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The Role of Culture in English Language Teaching Essay

English Language is traditionally viewed as a codification made up of words and a series of regulations that connect them together. Language larning here. involves merely vocabulary acquisition. and the regulations for building ‘proper’ sentences. In most schools in Meghalaya. grammar is being taught at a really early age and pupils are expected to understand complex idiomatic phrases at the secondary degree. Linguistic nomenclatures. regulations of grammar. complex vocabulary. Proverbss and their significances have to be learnt by bosom for them to get the better of their board scrutinies. Such a state of affairs merely confuses the scholars at a really early age and demotivates them from larning any further than what they have to compose in their scrutinies. This narrow apprehension of linguistic communication sees it as a organic structure of cognition which is fixed and finite and does non research the complexnesss involved in utilizing linguistic communication for communicating.

When linguistic communication is seen as ‘open. dynamic. energetic. invariably germinating and personal’ ( Shohamy. 2007:5 ) it acknowledges the rich complexnesss of communicating. Language is no longer a thing to be studied but instead. a manner of seeing. understanding and pass oning about the universe and each linguistic communication user will utilize his linguistic communication otherwise to make this. Such an expanded position will do the educational procedure more engaging. The communicative attack to learning emphasizes elements of communicating. including dialogue of significance. look. and reading ( Brown 2000 ) .

Talking is non the lone accomplishment that communicative linguistic communication learning focal points on but besides involves reading. composing. grammar. and civilization ( Lee & A ; VanPatten. 2003 ) . Brown ( 2007 ) besides adds that pupils in such schoolrooms need to utilize the mark linguistic communication in a meaningful context. The intent of Communicative linguistic communication instruction is to better the learners’ cognition of the 2nd linguistic communication. every bit good as how to utilize it suitably in a given context ( Li & A ; Song. 2007 ) . Learners get the 2nd linguistic communication through interaction with others instead than rote memorisation and grammar regulation acquisition.

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Language is first and foremost a tool for purposeful communicating and this involves larning the vocabulary and the regulations of how to utilize them in assorted cultural contexts. Hence. linguistic communication does non connote a organic structure of cognition to be learnt but a societal pattern in which to take part ( Kramsch. 1994 ) . It is something that people do in their day-to-day lives. something that they use to show. create and interpret significances and to set up and keep societal and inter-personal relationships. Learners can no longer be seen as inactive receivers of cognition. but instead. active participants in a dynamic. composite. personal communicating system. Language larning should affect them speaking analytically about linguistic communication. researching and detecting the ways in which it works in order to make and convey significances.

On the surface. civilization can be seen as a organic structure of cognition that we have about a peculiar society. These may include cultural artifacts. tools. establishments. rites. frock. nutrient etc. On a deeper degree. civilization is a model in which people live their lives and communicate shared significances with each other. Making and construing significance ever happens within this cultural model wherein both civilizations at the same time influence the learners’ apprehension. Learning to pass on in English involves an consciousness of the ways in which civilization inter-relates with linguistic communication whenever it is used.

Many bookmans today believe that civilization and linguistic communication are inseparable and civilization acquisition must be an built-in portion of linguistic communication acquisition. Harmonizing to Kramsch ( 1993 ) there are three ways how linguistic communication and civilization are bound together. First. linguistic communication expresses cultural world ( people express thoughts. facts and reflect their attitudes through words ) . Second. linguistic communication embodies cultural world ( it helps people give significance and understand their ain experiences ) . And thirdly. linguistic communication symbolizes cultural world ( it serves as a societal individuality for people ) .

Learning a 2nd linguistic communication needfully involves comparing with the learners’ first linguistic communication. but the latter is by and large perceived as doing ‘interference’ in the acquisition of the mark linguistic communication. So. pupils are taught to copy. pattern drills. and create speech production wonts without turn toing the larger complexnesss of linguistic communication acquisition. In the linguistic communication schoolroom. scholars do non merely larn about a civilization but they try to understand themselves in relation to that civilization. This procedure entails the transformational battle of the scholar in the act of larning. Students bring with them their ain constructs. misconceptions. experiences. feelings and understanding to the schoolroom. and as they interact with another civilization. their positions will go on to alter and determine their acquisition every bit good as their individuality. The diverse cultural apprehensions and experiences of the pupils are extremely influential and hence necessitate to be taken into history.

There are many attacks to learning civilization in linguistic communication acquisition. Saluveer ( 2004 ) has divided them into two wide classs: Those that focus merely on the civilization of the mark linguistic communication ( mono-cultural attack ) and those that are based on comparing the learners’ ain and the other civilization ( comparative attack ) . Risager ( 1998 ) describes four attacks to instruction of civilization. viz. . the intercultural attack. the multicultural attack. the trans-cultural attack. and the foreign-cultural attack. Of these. the intercultural attack seem most appropriate for a survey on Khasi-dominated schoolrooms as it draws upon the thought that civilization is best learned through comparing of the mark and the learners’ ain civilization. Though the chief focal point is on the mark civilization. the intercultural attack emphasizes the connexions between the two civilizations. thereby developing the learners’ intercultural and communicative competencies. and enabling them to move as go-betweens between the two civilizations.

Saluveer ( 2004 ) points out two classs of foreign linguistic communication text editions used in English linguistic communication schoolrooms: Global text edition which screen issues which appeal to people from different cultural backgrounds and include subjects that can be set anyplace ; and Locally produced text editions which include stuffs which are consistent with the demands of the national course of study and such books normally foster learners’ consciousness of both their ain cultural individuality and the mark civilization. Analysis of the current English text edition being used by schools would turn out to be really utile for the survey.

Harmonizing to the National Curriculum Framework ( NCF ) . 2005 the ends for a 2nd linguistic communication course of study are attainment of basic proficiency and the development of linguistic communication into an instrument for abstract idea and cognition acquisition through literacy. It believes that kids learn much better in holistic state of affairss that make sense instead than a additive and linear manner that frequently has no significance. Rich and comprehendible input is necessary for acquisition of the different accomplishments of linguistic communication.

The NCF ( 2005 ) encourages a multi-lingual attack to schooling right from the beginning of a child’s instruction. It states that the success of “English medium” schools shows that linguistic communication is learnt when it is non being taught as a linguistic communication but instead. through exposure in a meaningful context. It is besides of the sentiment that input-rich communicational environments are indispensable for effectual linguistic communication acquisition. This includes learner chosen texts. parallel books and stuffs in more than one linguistic communication. multi-media. “authentic materials” and so on. It states that a assortment of stuffs should be available to supply an input-rich course of study which focuses on significance.

The text edition of Meghalaya have been late revised as per the directives of the NCF 2005 wherein the focal point is on developing an activity-based communicative attack towards learning and larning. They have tried to integrate culturally reliable stuffs which are relevant to the immediate environment of the kid. The NCF 2005 has suggested the usage of locally available resources such as folklore. storytelling. community vocalizing and theater. Listening should besides be enriched with music such as common people. classical and popular composings.

Today. there is a consentaneous understanding amongst bookmans that instructors should incorporate linguistic communication and civilization into their schoolrooms and they should non comprehend them as two separate entities. Language is seen as portion of civilization and civilization a portion of linguistic communication. which is why they can non be separated and should be taught together. ( Brown. 2007 ) Hence. we need to break our apprehension of scholars. acknowledge differences in their societal and cultural universes – their experiences. motives and aspirations. and integrate this diverseness into our instruction and acquisition. When pupils communicate in such a schoolroom. they become both participants and perceivers of thoughts. looks. feelings and experiences. thereby breeding a greater consciousness of themselves in relation to others.

Research Problem

Students of Shillong vary widely in footings of linguistic communication usage in their places and communities depending on their socio-economic backgrounds. A major challenge faced by instructors today is enabling economically-disadvantaged tribal pupils to pass on efficaciously in English at the school degree. The 1s who are privileged plenty to go to expensive multicultural English medium schools communicate exceptionally good compared to the under-privileged bulk of pupils.

The word-knowledge before they come to school besides varies consequently and greatly influences how they perform in the ulterior degrees of school. If there is a important spread in the vocabulary at the primary degree. it will widen as the pupil progresses. Such pupils become hapless readers and accordingly. they read less. thereby larning fewer new words. They normally do non develop eloquence even in the ulterior phases of instruction. either in speech production or composing. On the other manus. pupils with good vocabulary by and large read more. thereby larning more words and bettering their reading accomplishments ( Stanovich. 1986 ) .

This downward spiral is particularly true with pupils from rural countries. They are barely exposed to any English text except those which are indispensable in school and there is no chance for them to discourse in English. Similarly. urban English-medium schools which are preponderantly mono-lingual seaport secondary degree pupils who by and large avoid utilizing English. except in state of affairss when they have to. An lower status composite coupled with intense equal force per unit area normally seals their oral cavities shut whenever an English-speaking state of affairs emerges. To farther perplex the state of affairs. pupils from rural countries normally migrate to such schools at the simple and secondary degree.

A survey into the existent or existent schoolroom state of affairss and the effectivity of ELT methods and attacks used in such schools would give a clearer apprehension of the jobs that are impeding the acquisition and acquisition of English. English linguistic communication instructors have to provide to the context of the mark pupils and since the jobs of underprivileged Khasi kids are similar to some extent. a clear apprehension of the teaching-learning relationship between them can be achieved.

Hence. linguistic communication acquisition should construct on the students’ anterior cognition. constructs and misconceptions through an synergistic and communicative procedure. Using culturally “authentic” stuffs that pupils are already familiar with will promote treatment and intending doing in the schoolroom. Audio-visual AIDSs and other multimedia stuffs which are relevant to the immediate environment of the pupils have great potency for actuating the pupils to take part more actively in the linguistic communication larning procedure.

The current methods. schemes. and rating of learning English do non give importance to incorporating the students’ civilization into linguistic communication acquisition. The research worker believes that look intoing the choice of text editions. measuring the text edition themselves. the teachers’ usage of culturally relevant stuffs. and their creative activity of a learner-centered schoolroom environment for societal synergistic acquisition is a worthwhile endeavor non merely for pedagogical intents but besides for penetrations into 2nd linguistic communication larning for monolingual schoolrooms in general.

Area of Study

The survey focuses chiefly at the simple degree. It will choose 8 schools ; four authorities schools and four private schools within the semi-urban countries of Shillong. The schools selected will be the schools following the MBOSE course of study.

Purposes and Objective

The chief end of the present survey is to happen out if integrating of culturally relevant stuff into the instruction and acquisition of English as a 2nd linguistic communication would assist advance communicating accomplishments in semi-urban English medium schools. The chief aims of the research are:

• The text editions: A description of the text editions in footings of its purpose. content. attack and design will be presented in the survey.

• If there is integrating of culturally relevant stuffs in the text edition. the survey will analyze how integrating is being carried out:

I. in existent schoolroom state of affairs.

II. in the audio-visual AIDSs or tools available in existent schoolroom state of affairs.

• The survey will besides analyze the rating and appraisal tools normally practiced in the schools.

• The survey will besides supply a brief description of the instructor preparation programmes.

• Since the survey focuses chiefly on integrating of local cultural stuffs to advance communicative accomplishments. it will besides document available stuffs to be incorporated suitably at the simple degree.

• Tools and techniques integrating culturally relevant stuffs to prove development of communicating accomplishments for kids at the simple degree.


Both primary and secondary resources will be adopted in the survey. For aggregation of Primary informations. the survey will integrate the undermentioned methods:

1. The participant–observation method. This method will be used to analyze the instruction patterns. audio-visual AIDSs. common linguistic communication appraisal schemes adopted in existent schoolroom state of affairs.

2. The questionnaire method: This method will be used for analysing the text edition. and teacher preparation programmes.

3. The interview method: Interview agenda will be adopted for a survey of teacher’s and student’s background.

4. Tools and techniques integrating local and culturally relevant stuffs for proving communicating accomplishments.

For secondary informations. the survey will seek to roll up stuffs from educational establishments. such as instructor preparation institutes. University libraries. and the State and National institute of school instruction.

Fieldwork for the survey will be carried out in the 8 selected schools located within the semi-urban countries of the East Khasi Hills territory of Meghalaya.

Tentative Chapterisation

1. Introduction

2. Contemporary methods of English linguistic communication learning

3. Methodology

4. Data Analysis and Presentation of Materials

5. Drumhead and Future Projections of the Study


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