by Rishabh Chauhan and Dikshima Gupta
A UGC sponsored national seminar held at Motilal Nehru College (Evening), New Delhi on 15 March 2016, focused on the future of ELT in colleges and universities under the new CBCS system. English teachers and trainers from reputed universities across the country were invited to express their views on the new system and the difficulties faced by students and teachers in following it. Eminent speakers for the panel discussion included Professor Pushpinder Syal (Panjab University), Professor Rajneesh Arora (EFL, Lucknow), Professor Anju Sehgal Gupta (IGNOU), Professor Prema Kumari Dheram (EFL, Hyderabad) and Mr. Charles Keith (British Council).
In his Keynote address, Professor Rajneesh Arora shared interesting anecdotes to explain to the audience how Communicative Language Teaching works. He praised the CBCS system, calling it a great step towards critical teaching pedagogy. He appreciated the cafeteria approach that this system offers, stating that it would lead to a sense of empowerment among the students and help them learn at their own pace. In her address, Professor Syal pointed out how teachers have been relying on older models of pedagogy due to not being trained in teaching the new course. She addressed the problem of dealing with students who experienced difficulties in the basics of English and advised teachers not to suppress the mother tongue of such students and to let them learn the second language i.e., English at their own pace. In her valedictory speech, Professor Prema Dheram raised significant points while tracing the history of the pedagogy of English Language. She questioned why language often became a divisive factor, whereas fields such as Science and Mathematics did not.
Other participants from across the country spoke on various issues ranging from “Using Innovative Techniques to Teach Oral Communication”, to “Studying Attention-Based Mechanisms Involved in L2 Speaking Fluency”. The audience participated with enthusiasm, asking questions as well as sharing their own views and experiences. The seminar proved to be a fruitful step towards understanding how to integrate pedagogical tools in implementing the CBCS in classrooms, thereby improving student-teacher relations, and lessening the burden on teachers as well as students.