Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 9 : 10 October 2009
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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Discovering Values in English Language Teaching

Arun Behara, Ph.D.
Rasmita Behera, M.A., M.Phil., B.Ed.

Human Language: Species Specific

Language is a valuable means of communication. In effect, human beings are the only species capable of producing decipherable, meaningful and discreet sounds. Language thus means only human communication. It has other features too: it is a system and is symbolic. This is so because we can think and assimilate our thoughts into words and other linguistic units - sounds, syllables, words, connected speech, etc. No other living organism can think and speak as we do.

Learning Another Language

No language, barring one's native language, comes to one naturally and spontaneously. It has to be laboriously and consistently learnt and taught. Of course, as far as one's mother tongue is concerned, it is acquired almost without any deliberate effort. One does not have to really work hard in order to pick up one's first language. First language could be simply the language of early childhood experience, not necessarily the language of the parents. Also simultaneous of more than one language is possible when this happens in early childhood. But, in the case of other tongues including English for most of us in India, one needs to put in a lot of systematic and long-term effort.

Learning a Language is Not Simply Learning the Structural Code

Only learning/teaching in our setup in India does not serve the purpose. What is required is: some ingredients of human values should be incorporated in this process so that it becomes unique and great. It may, at the first instance, sound unrealistic and unachievable, but it is possible and ought to be adopted. Of course, readily, five basic human values: truth, right conduct, love, peace and nonviolence can be incorporated in the present education system to make it value-based.

The Goal of This Article: Impart Values with Language Learning

The saying 'End of education is character' speaks volumes on how much emphasis is put on character building which includes human values as well. Since character is a broad and all-encompassing concept, the present paper confines itself only to the values in teaching/learning and to be more specific, values in English Language Teaching (ELT).

The Imperative Need

It would not be out of context at this juncture to provide what value-based education exactly means: 'it is the study of moral and ethical values that makes one a perfect man'. It has, of late, gained much significance. The manner the world bodies such as the UNO and the UNESCO have taken it up stands testimony to this fact. The main reason for the sudden thrust is the critical phase the world is passing through at present. There are conflicts and clashes, bloodshed and massacre, battles and wars- all in the name of caste, class, creed, race, region and religion. Human vices like greed, ego, jealousy, lust and hatred have taken the front seat. It is therefore imperative that human values propounded by Gandhi and other saints are instilled in the taught.

But instilling human values is a seemingly very difficult proposition as in our day-to-day life values have become more conspicuous by their absence. We, however, need to make them a part of our life and, in fact, way of living. This can be done by incorporating human values in our education system right from the KG level to the PG level. There exists certain education system where values are harmoniously blended with learning.

The five basic human values are ingrained in the whole education programme. All of us must therefore both at the individual level and collectively adhere to these principles. Then only, after some years down the line, our world will be a better place to live in.

Gandhi and Value-Imbibed Education

It is relevant here to cite what Gandhi felt. He cited seven major structural and collective sins of modern times all of which ought to be dispensed with such that the quality of our lives improves:

Politics without principles: There is hardly any field in our life at present which is untouched by lack of principles politics being the most prominent. Principles are dumped as it were into a corner as far as present day politics is concerned which is why politics is considered the last resort of the scoundrels. It is time certain principles, for example civil disobedience, swaraj, fasts etc adopted during freedom struggle were adhered to in politics.

Wealth without work: Everybody these days wants to amass wealth by hook or by crook. Nobody has the time or scope to judge the fair or foul means adopted to accumulate money. This kind of earning without any labor as such makes people idle and immoral. It is therefore desirable that we earn from work so that we will appreciate the value of labor as well as money.

Pleasure without conscience: We have today been living in such an atmosphere where each one of us desires to seek all sorts of pleasures, especially material ones without conscience. We are free to enjoy our life but there has to be some sort of morality and value in it. Otherwise there is no difference between us and the animals which can't discriminate. We need to have conscience in our pursuit for enjoyment.

Knowledge without character: The knowledge we talk of in the modern day world has a very different connotation. It only means gathering and memorizing only bits of information. Knowledge without the ingredients of character is dangerous. It is therefore necessary that we gain character-based knowledge which is complete knowledge.

Commerce without morality: Morality in every sphere of our life has gone down to its lowest ebb. Commerce and business is no exception to this. In effect, morality is a rare concept in today's business world. People somehow want to succeed in their business ventures by fair or foul means. The need of the hour is to add some moral values to commerce.

Worship without sacrifice: All of us in our own way worship something or the other. But what is missing is the component of sacrifice. We never come forward to accommodate or compromise in our religious pursuit. It is therefore necessary that we sacrifice some of our wishes and other things while worshipping.

Science and technology without humanity: Man has achieved Himalayan heights in the field of science and technology. It however is sans humanity. The result is the ruinous consequences. The elements of humanity therefore have to be put in science and technology also so that the scientific temper has some human aspect tagged to it.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Spelling Variations in Kannada | A Survey of the State of the Art in Punjabi Language Processing | The Representation of Homosexuality - A Content Analysis in a Malaysian Newspaper | Noun Reduplication in Tamil and Kannada | Journey of Self-discovery in Anita Nair's Ladies' Coupé | A Study of Communicability and Intelligibility of Advertisements in Tamil With Special Reference to Tooth Paste and Health Drink | Explicit Grammar Instruction | Teaching English as a Second Language Using Communicative Language Teaching - An Evaluation of Practice in India | Discovering Values in English Language Teaching | The Core Functions of the Hindi Modals - Speech Act Approach | Textbook Analysis of English for Engineers | Cross-Professional Collaboration on E-Learning Courses | Reading Arundhati Roy's Fiction The God of Small Things Through Her Non-Fiction | Teaching English through Indian Writing in English in Rural India | Proverbs in Modern Tamil and Telugu Societies | Using Problem Based Learning Technique in Teaching English Grammar | Problems in Reading Comprehension Skills among Secondary School Students in Yemen | The Literary Value of the Book of Isaiah | Will Sentences Have Divergence Upon Translation? : A Corpus-Evidence Based Solution for Example Based Approach | HOME PAGE of October 2009 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Arun Kumar Behera, Ph.D.
Department of English
Sri Sathya Sai University
Brindavan Campus
Bangalore - 67
Karnataka, India

Rasmita Behera, M.A., M.Phil., B.Ed.
South East Asian Group of Institutions
Bangalore - 67
Karnataka, India

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