Abstract: found to be Anglo-phobic. Teaching language skills

Abstract:

            This paper aims at exploring the influential
factors, linguistic barriers and difficulties of engineering students to
improve their language skills at Rajiv Gandhi University Basar in Telangana
State. Six thousand (6000) rural students have been educating in well-equipped
digital classrooms with internet accessible individual laptops. They have all
kinds of facilities to acquire the language skills, but their output is not to
the expected level. Further, this study aims at knowing the psychological
factors, attitudinal problems in bettering their productive skills. Generally, Telugu
medium students have many defects in acquiring a second language such as
accuracy, syntax and vocabulary. Though english will always be the language of
opportunity, most of students are found to be Anglo-phobic. Teaching language
skills without solving these attitudinal problems is a futile task; this study try
to throw some light on some possible remedies to overcome attitudinal barriers
in the learning of English as a second language.

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Keywords: RGU IIIT- crowded
classrooms – unable to speak – barriers.   

Introduction:

David Graddol, a British linguist, says
that young people in countries like India will have an edge, since
multilingualism will be valued as a professional skill. At the same time, India
needs to be more aware of the evolution of English elsewhere in the world, as
this will have an impact on its competitiveness. People of the twenty first
century are very close to reality despite of inferences of the technology which
has its own media to propagate improper messages. The intake of the employment
has been decreasing by advent of technology, in particular, upcoming artificial
general intelligence technology is going to replace humans in every stream of
employment. This is the era of technology that have been grabbing the
employment in all spheres of employment. It is still a truth versus hype to
discuss that employment only through communication skills. The world has been
moving neck to neck to competition; it is quite difficult rural engineering
students in superseding with theoretical knowledge. Most of the private
engineering colleges have been looking down upon the importance of
communication skills as they do not aware of the employment that depends on
communication skills. Only seven percent of engineering graduates are
employable in India (Times of India). An
investigation of the needs and incorporation of study skills components in a
heterogeneous classroom in India. (Amit Kumar, 2015).  Every student aspires,
dreams, loves to speak in English language, when the moment comes to show their
spoken ability, they cannot utter a single sentence. There is a necessity to
stress on psychological problems of rural engineering students of RGU IIIT who
do not spend much time in language learning. There is no exaggeration in saying
that they cannot speak/practise in English for two minutes in a day. On the
other hand, the importance to English Language teaching has been lessened in a
technical academic calendar which gives around 20 hours in semester of 180 days.
In general, the unemployment has been increasing in technical stream due to
inefficient skills of the students; our universities have been lessening the
importance to English language learning in an academic calendar. The faculty English
language teaching has treated just like a software that need to bring drastic
changes in an electronic device. Matter of fact, students are not machines or micro-chips
to reboot with English language teaching app or a better software. The working
group of the university grants commission 1978 has advised English has the
advantage in publications and reference materials over regional languages and
employment prospects of students educated through English medium are better,
the shift from Regional Languages to English in universities is a problem,
English continues to be the status of symbol in society.

            An
ordinary teacher, it is essential for me to be familiar with several of the
researches and areas of research to help my students and also to keep myself
abreast of the developments in this broad field. (Mohanraj Sathuvalli, 2015). No
previous study was not taken place on campus to overcome these problems. It is
a known fact that the betterment of any second language depends on the quality
amount of time that we spend the time in the language learning process. The
more we spend our time to listen and speak, the better we get the outcomes in
the process of any language learning. Language is the combination of words and
sounds which can keep on changing as long as human beings exists. The aim of
the present study is to investigate the barriers in bettering their language
skills of RGU IIIT – Basar.

Importance
of English for Technical Students:

English is not only official language but also a
lingua franca in a multilingual country like India. Nilekeni highlighted the
evolution of English since independence and the reasons behind a change in
perception which means English is no longer viewed as a foreign language. He
cautioned that “the demographic dividend that India enjoys could turn into
a demographic disaster if we don’t give opportunities and access to our people.
(The guardian) I am not quite sure
whether it’s good or bad luck to the most populous country, after it threw out
the coloniser, stuck to English more or less as its official language. Usually,
Indians love to imitate foreigners without taking into the consideration of the
ground level reality. If any kind of novel course is being run on foreign
campuses, we tend to follow the same in our universities. Imitating the education
system of the developed nations need to encourage our courses and curriculum on
the contrary unemployment has been growing leaps and bounds.  The cultural and psychological roots have been
missing in the current education system as a result unemployment ratio has been
growing in this country i.e. agriculture and medicine are needed to be developing
in our country like India, but we encourage Engineering education much as
result we have uncountable engineers that have been unemployed. There is an
imbalance of considering the importance of the courses in All Indian Council
Technical Education.  Though even so it
is now rapidly switching to some other foreign languages some of its major
cities, like Mumbai and Delhi . . . However, English may become more and more
important in future, with the explosive development of communications networks
and computerised databanks.

Well before the 21st
century only 15 years away the information revolution made possible by the
ubiquitous microchip will have transformed our lives. Already it is possible
for anyone sitting at a video display unit to gain access to gigantic
electronic libraries, and to request automatic searches for any specific
subject.The other day I came across the case of a telugu medium students who had
spent his entire free time hang out with the struggle to improve the spoken English,
digging out all the folders in his computer to some grammar books hoping to get
improved spoken English. When the laptop is opened that has been stored in
terabytes of movies, various sources of entertainment, their concentration is
on only those movies that to be watched. The computer consumed the five hours
of time free slots of the students in a day without making them to think about
life skills which are very essential to be independent in their lives.

The world of technology has been interlinked with English
language. There are now thousands of electronic data banks in existence, covering
every field of human knowledge. Indeed it’s difficult to see how some
professions like Law and Medicine can possibly continue to function without
computerised storage and search facilities. I have not seen the statistics, but
I strongly suspect that most of the megabytes entered every day maybe every
hour will be coded in English. This alone may determine the linguistic pattern
of the next century. At the moment, these data banks are only accessible
through thetelephone system, and hence at considerable expense when
intercontinental connections are involved.

Hypothesis:

The overall aim of this paper was to
explore teaching-learning practices in Teaching English to Rural Engineering
students of RGU IIIT – Basar in Telangana State aged 15-21 from macro and micro
perspectives. The Department of English has Mentors at PUC (8 Mentor in English)
with 1:250 teacher -student, Assistant Professors on contractual basis at
Engineering level (6 Contractual Assistant Professors) with 1:500 teacher – student.
Teachers have been maintaining day wise lesson plans, teaching diaries. However,
there are no previous studies to examine how the teachers of RGU IIIT go about
their everyday practice of teaching English to Engineering students, their
attitudes to this teaching and the challenges they face.

Key aims were to:

1.       To
discover the barriers of the Telugu Medium students in bettering their language
skills by taking into consideration of the syllabi, video modules that RGU IIIT
practises

2.       To
explore the learning strategies of the students and the major pedagogies that
teachers use

3.       To
understand teachers’ perceptions of their roles and responsibilities, including
the challenges they face

4.       To
identify possible solutions to pedagogical issues that to be made effective and
how these may support for the betterment of students’ communication skills

This report first reviews some of the existing
literature on policy and practice at RGU IIIT as this relates to the project.
We describe the project design and the data collected before summarising the
key findings. Finally, we present our recommendations for future action to
support teaching English to young learners.

Context:

The present study was performed in
the school of language at RGU IIIT Basar campus which locates in Basar,
Telangana State, where 6000 students are from the regional medium background.
The students are aged 15 to 21. Most of the students had studied English as
their second language in schooling where they had a time of 500 hours of
teaching for 10 years.

Rajiv Gandhi University of
Knowledge Technologies, Basar
(RGUKT-Basar) is an autonomous, technical university constituted under the Act
18 of 2008 by the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh, located in Basar, Telangana, India. The university offers Undergraduate, Post Graduate and Ph.D degree in various programmes. The college comes under
autonomous Institutions specialized in teaching and research sector in Information Technology and engineering. The institution follows the norms and
regulations of Government of India, University Grants Commission.

Courses
and Duration:

            RGU IIIT has been offering different kinds of courses for PUC
and Engineering. Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) is a six (6) year undergraduate programme, total
six (6) years of study in the campus after SSC offered after 10th class
examinations which includes two years Pre-University Course equivalent to
intermediate degree followed by four year degree course in engineering course.

Pre
University Courses 1 & 2:

Interactive English of Board of Intermediate is
being followed with the system of two semesters (160 hours).

Engineering
Courses:

Engineering First year main course for one semester
of 40 hours with university three monthly test and One End Semester Examination
system.

Supplementary
courses:

Communication Skills 1 & 2 for Engineering First
year. (40 hours)

English is for Competitive Examinations for
Engineering Second year. (20 hours)

Soft Skills for Engineering Third year. (20 hours)

Method:

            It
uses a mixed method of qualitative and quantitative along with audio recording
for data collection. Audio recording is initiated to reduce the paper work.

Results:

After discussing with 5000 students
in an each semester for 5 years, the results are found satisfactory. They have
spent a reasonable amount of time in their free slots, but they could not get
the satisfactory results in bettering the Spoken English. Engineering has these
branches ECE, CSE, EE and ME of RGUKT Basar campus.

Discussion:

Based on the collected data, it is quite
common to have some barriers in acquiring English language. Generally, regional
medium students do not experience English as a language course, they study as a
subject. These are found among teachers and students community.

Need
Based Teaching is not Reachable to the Students:

On an average ten to twenty percentage of the
students have been taking classes along with the English medium. Generally,
Telugu medium students do not have basics in English and they were taught an
average 1000 at their schooling. They need to be taught by taking extra classes
as they are not equal with the skills that the students of English medium have.
It was highly impossible to make to speak in the class because English medium
student will be taking the opportunity all the time to speak in English. The
role of the teacher in identifying the students who came from Telugu medium and
concentrating on them to speak something is in the class is incredible. Unfortunately,
English Assistant Professors do not have the data of the seventy students of
each class along with the medium of their schooling. Hence, the university
management needs to look into these issues by allocating special classes for
telugu medium students, providing the needed information for their teaching.

Influence
of Mother Tongue:

It is quite natural to have mother tongue influence
on every learner who has been learning English as a second language. It has
been staggering the students with the same common problem of spoken English. One
of the Professor of English opined that Telugu learners have a tendency to
apply the rules of mother tongue grammar to English and there starts the
problem.  It is true that we can think best in our mother tongue and not in
English.  If we can bring about some change and help our students to think
in English to some extent our difficulties will get reduced.  There are a
host of other problems related to pronunciation, use of wrong vocabulary, wrong
collocations, errors of agreement, mixing of genders, difficulties in mastering
the strokes of English orthography etc.

Heterogeneous
Class Rooms:

Most of the RGU IIIT class rooms have been with a
huge students because they were planned for the online teaching and learning process.
The traditional classroom is entirely different from these classrooms with
well-equipped furniture. The same plan has turned into a disaster by making to
sit together in 70 to 80 in spacious classroom. No other college has this kind
strength in India. All students cannot be given opportunities to speak a little
bit, participating in a Group Discussion. Thus, Assistant Professors do not get
any overall understanding on their levels in spoken English.

How do a teacher try to bring some change in their
spoken English? It is not an ingenious statement, as long as these students are
busy with memorizing the theory of engineering subjects they do not get time to
be in a language classroom with complete interest. Firstly, the classroom is
over crowded with 70 to 80 students, it is highly impossible them to control
who are with individual laptops with headphones. Second thing is each student
cannot get a single minute of time to speak in the classroom. Experts say that
an English teacher must be like a great motivator to bring the students under
his/her control. It is highly impossible to be innovative in bringing them to
his teaching. At least, the management needs to understand this genuine problem
of overcrowded classrooms.

Inferences
of Technology:

The fact cannot be denied that E-learning is a great
supplementary resource to the students as they enroll for online tutorials to
get the complete command over the subject. Many engineering students are moving
away from the process of learning from books to tablets, with the help of
ed-tech platforms that can give better solutions ranging from online tutorials
to career guidance. The first and foremost responsibility of an English teacher
is to control the students not to get addicted to the gadgets. It is not to
blame anyone either technology or the gadgets, it is about the fascination of
the youngsters with the technology. One can forget his/her time one we hold
these modern gadgets of Android with Jio besides a laptop. Usually, students of
engineering want to be modernized with technology as they came to study engineering.
It is too optimistic to think that a teacher can get the students to his
teaching with a complete presence of mind without longing for the Instagram,
Telegram, Facebook and Whatsapp. A single beep sound of any one of these apps
can spoil the five minutes of valuable teaching among 70 to 80 students who
generally sit together in a single classroom. A language teacher cannot teach
the class without suggesting them to open the laptops as teaching material
(PDF), video modules of the English contents are in the laptops.

Insufficient
Timings:

This is one of the biggest problems both for
teachers and learners on campus. Generally, language teachers do not get much
time to be with students as they have electronics, civil engineering who
usually complete their slot with five to ten minutes of extra time and English
teachers need to take care of online attendance that takes five to ten minutes.
On an average, an English teacher can spend 30 to 35 minutes of valuable time
to complete the syllabus for monthly tests and End semester test. It is not an
exaggeration in saying that English teacher must make them to speak within
those 30 to 35 minutes of time besides completion of the scheduled syllabus.

Lack
of basics in English:

More than 70% of the students are from Telugu Medium
background who studied for their examination purpose. This is cannot be the
problem of Rgukt students only; most of the Bachelor of Technology students
face the same problem in entire the state of Telangana. 90% of the Government
Schools have unskilled teachers in English, they may good at clearing the
examination system. Students were taught English language as a core subject
like Maths, science and social studies because they have to score well in the
Common Board Examination. Teachers and students never bother about acquisition
of language skills, students complete their SSC with 8 years of English
language course without uttering a single sentence in English. They will be taught
common intermediate board examination syllabus at pre university level on Rgukt
campus. They need to get the basics, but they ability is not enough in grasping
the Grammar at once besides appearing for the traditional examinations. Engineering
students have to be taught with basics once again the moment they come to
B.Tech. The university doesn’t have enough teacher student ration 1: 500 basis.

Attitude
of the Students is a Big Hurdle:

All engineering students have been influenced by
technical gadgets in this 21st century. They have two kinds of
gadgets always with in the class room i.e. Well configured Laptop and a Jio
connected Android mobile phone. 90% of the students are terrible busy with the
internet and gadgets. English classes can be allotted either inconvenient
timings of the students either in the afternoon or early in the morning.
Moreover, students have a strong desire to speak in English, but they cannot
talk at least a minute of time in English on campus. They might be feeling very
bored in every English class due to improper exercise in the classrooms.

No
Importance to English:

The university management feels that English
language classes are not that much important as students need to be trained to
master core subjects of Engineering. Having experienced the same kind of
academic problems, the teachers of English have requested the management to
allot some more classes, but they are too busy with the same core subjects.
This is not quite astonishment that every engineering students wants to become
a CEO like Sathya Nadella, Sundara Rajan Pichai; nobody tries to enrich the
language that they have been using to communicate globally.

Anglophobia:

Fluent English can make Engineering is a revered
course with a promising future, otherwise, it can be called a pass port for
unemployment in India. The prime motto of teaching English is to make Learners
to have command of the language to express their emotions and experiences in a
particular context. Students need to come out of the fear that making them to
mumble with improper utterance. However, the teaching staff would encourage
them to use the language in the classrooms; the students ought to take the
initiation to speak in English. They need to love to speak without
concentrating on their mistakes.  

Curriculum
and Syllabus of English:

Having noticed above mentioned problems from the
teachers point of view, one can predict how the condition of the curriculum.
There is no proper funding to design and publish the syllabus once in at least
three years. Neither teachers can spare some time to design what the students
need nor university take the responsibility. The university has three language
labs with Clarity English and Tense buster software designed by Young India,
but students are not receiving it properly. There must be a committee to
investigate the problems and design new syllabi to all students on the campus.

The
Language Laboratory:

It is observed
that the role of language laboratory is not playing a crucial role among
students as they feel it burdensome. They visit the lab in one semester where a
single software is installed with grammar, pronunciation, comprehension and
writing. The length of the modules are not enough to engage the students in
allotted schedule. The aims and objective of AICTE are not being implemented in
using the language laboratory. They need to make Lab as a Dias of tutorials for
students in supplementing their language skills. Experts opined that teachers need
to aim at preparing students for interviews, group discussions and debate for
the campus placements. There are Telugu medium students whose skills of English
are not satisfactory. Consequently, they are unable to crack job interviews and
other competitive examinations. Lab should be used to drill the sentences and
words to improve their pronunciation. As per its norms, lessons and exercises
have to be made by the teacher based on classroom. It is not good to depend on
only the software that has been designed for global marketing. Their sessions
have to be recorded on a weekly basis so that students are exposed to a variety
of listening and speaking drills. The language laboratory sessions will have to
include word games, quizzes, extempore and debates. The labs need to have
spacious rooms and a faculty who is proficient in English. Each laptop must be
connected with full internet that accessible at least some useful links that
can make them to grab the knowledge from all sources. Continuous teaching
cannot make students to improve spoken english on the other hand they feel
bored with teaching.

 Conclusion:

In order to bring
expected results among students, these above mentioned barriers have to be
addressed with a proper study. They need extra teaching hours to get proper
exposure to improve spoken English. Their phobia speaking in English can be decreased
when they are encouraged by classmates who are able to communicate better. All
classrooms have both English and Telugu medium students sitting together,
hence, Telugu medium students have to be concentrated much with special
teaching techniques. Students can come forward to participate in classroom
based activities when they have peer encouragement. Student-teacher ratio is
not expected with such a low, university management needs to curb the gap among
student and teachers by recruiting at least 1:100. As we all experience that
crowd is not a company, especially, the lesser the strength, the more they can
get the time to participate.