FORTELL offers a platform for the expression of the lived classroom experience of teachers of English language and literature, which is reflected in the current issue (32nd in the series) as well. However, the greater significance of English language and literature lies beyond the classroom in its utility as a tool of communication and exchange of ideas in the outside world. In a fast changing Indian and global scenario, the questions of how to teach, what to teach and why to teach have acquired relevance as never before. In his interview with the editors of this issue, Professor Harish Trivedi points out the “cultural paradox” in the Indian situation, that students who need to be taught language are taught high canonical English literature in the classroom! While literature is the highest form of expression in any language, the need of the hour is “scientific language teaching”, in his words.
Professor Rama Matthew in her article on the English Language Proficiency Course (ELPC) experiment at the Institute of Life Long Learning (ILLL), University of Delhi, leads the way, highlighting the need and the pedagogy for a proficiency course in English language, even at a premier centre of learning such as the University of Delhi. Professor Geetha Durairajan extends the discussion further by analyzing the use of L1 or the first language as an enabling tool in the English language and literature classroom. This pedagogy will not only help to improve all the four skills of reading, writing listening and speaking but also enhance an understanding of literary genres.
Nivedita Bedadur’s essay offers the view that reading and writing should not be viewed in isolation but as activities that together promote critical thinking in the learner. Only when reading is followed by writing, independent critical thinking is generated and ideas are formulated. Ruchi Kaushik’s paper focuses on a needs-based analysis for materials development for the advance level students in the college classroom. Gibreel Alaghbary formulates the criteria to select English poetry suitable for use in the EFL classroom and even suggests a number of such poems. Partha Sarthy Misra examines the theoretical considerations behind designing a language textbook and also highlights the pedagogical principles that inform the choice of the materials. Living in an age governed by digital technology, Om Prakash attempts to explore the different ways in which new media tools can offer real life contexts to ESL learners, which, in turn, will enable them to negotiate meaning and communicate effectively.
If language is the foundation, literature is its edifice. Anindita Dutta and Monica Khanna offer approaches for the teaching of literature. Dutta’s article on the contemporariness of Shakespeare once again reiterates the timelessness of his plays and their thematic and geographic adaptability in the modern world, while Khanna in her paper examines aspects of Hindu mythology to analyze the role it plays in sustaining patriarchy.
Along with these stimulating articles, we have our usual fare of book reviews, report and language games for different levels of learners. Happy reading and a wonderful new year to all our readers.We would appreciate your feedback by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tasneem and Mona
Tasneem Shahnaaz is Associate Professor and Coordinator of the English Language Proficiency Course (ELPC) at the Department of Adult Continuing Education and Extension, University of Delhi. She is interested in English language teaching, translation work, feminist and cultural studies and writing poetry. (email@example.com)
Mona Sinha is Associate Professor, English at Maharaja Agrasen College, University of Delhi. She is interested in Media and Cultural Studies, Translation, Language and Pedagogy, and Materials Development. (firstname.lastname@example.org)