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زبان اسوه علم

زبان اسوه علم
Learning Every Thing In The Domain Of Language 
نویسندگان

USING LOCAL LITERATURES IN ENGLISH OR TRANSLATIONS FOR TEACHING ENGLISH


Professor Dr.S.Elangovan,P.T.Lee Chengalvaraya Naicker Engineering College,

               Oovery. Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu State, India.

 e.mail: elangovanshiva@hotmail.com                   27- 07 – 2009     
                                                                 

Introduction

This study aims at elucidating the universal phenomenon that native literatures and translations can be beneficially and effectively used as a launching pad to learn a foreign language like English. The source of inspiration is the ardent students, willing to learn more and  more English but hailing  from   rustic surroundings in  Tamil Nadu, India  who have English as their second language. The primary objective of any language is to serve as a vehicle of thoughts and ideas. When this is best served during the teaching of English through native literature and translations it can expediently be adopted in class room situations.

Our students feel   very much   at home with our own native literature. More over it is familiar to them. When the same native literature is used in the teaching of a foreign language like English, the task is much easier. I tried this method to develop communication skills and  to enrich  their vocabulary among students and found to be very effective.

What is already known to students may be taken readily  to teach English in an Understandable way.

Interesting and funny stories ,  anecdotes may be expediently taken to make English teaching interesting. Jokes from native language also will serve the purpose. Word punning will not work in bilingual situations. Very rarely brilliant teachers find opportunities in this realm also.


Personal Experiences of this English Teacher: 

 The theme of   one of the  original Tamil literature works  insists   to “search  not only food but also God”.  It says in  Tamil  verbatim “ Besides searching food, search God too ”. When teaching this maxim, this English teacher used the pun of the Tamil word “ Irai “  (which interestingly mean both food and God in Chaste  Tamil) which in turn in English also  both mean “Prey” and “Pray” (of course pronunciation wise same). In the class this application   had tremendous effect.

When we teach English through Local literature, we create a sort of homely atmosphere at the same time to prepare themselves  with a smooth transition for a foreign language. This process works slowly but sometimes instantly with desired results but steadily. Local literature is taught from tender age onwards to children in any country. So it is well entrenched in their minds if used in learning English. 

Local food served in Foreign Plates. 

Teaching English through the use of Local Literature is akin to serving local and customized food through foreign plates. When a difficult- to – swallow pill is coated with sugar, then the job is made easy   Same is the case with Teaching of English using native language and translations.

Our students had better be introduced other family Relatives such as English only from the Parent –Native   Literature ,

Methodology 

I just observe students with a syllabus containing mostly materials from Local literature and with certain dose of Translations from local literature. They have enriched their vocabulary considerably.

Similarly those students who have different set up of syllabus with very little exposure to  native literatures and translations or  thereof , though subject wise smart score poorly when it comes to English and also their vocabulary range is.very limited. 

Use of the Bhaghawat Geetha to Teach English: 

 I have used the Hindu scripture the Bhagawat Geetha abound in Lord Krishna’s wise counsels to mankind ,  to teach English. It has permanent impact on the minds of callow, young students both linguistically and Anglically. Some of the verses are simply jugglery of words. “ I am in everything and In everything am I” “ He who sees me in everything and in everything myself, is a real sage” “ He who sees action in inaction and inaction in Action, is a real sage”. These quotations taken from the original native literature is really useful in the teaching of English vocabulary with an alliterative style. Usually Lord Krihna is loved by students for his resourcefulness and cleverness and for the strategies with which   he had  fought the eipic  Mahabharatha war. When their English learning centers round their ideal, role model hero, naturally they become absorbed with the teaching. 

Stories from native literatures told in English: 

 Stories create sort of interest in the minds of both children and adults. The known and thought provoking stories are told in English, students slowly pick up words from English and understand with their mother tongue equivalents. In this method the teacher must be fluent in both English and the native language.

Stories are told from childhood onwards to children by their  mothers with warmth and affection. As such, when the same is used inside the class room in the teaching of English, it is quite effective.

Effective literature-based lessons engage learners and capture their interest. They make the  learners excited  when  they  understand  how language is used to express an author’s  expressions. They make learners active participants in tasks that lead them to discover objective language features and arrive at their own well-supported interpretations of a text. They teach learners that their own understanding of a text is worthy of respect, if it is supported by evidence from the text as narrated by the teacher in English. They are the springboards for creative communicative post-reading activities. They make learners want to read further literary texts on their own.

Such lesson outcomes do not happen by accident; teachers must carefully plan for them. This article  is  firmly based on the theoretical principles behind such lessons, but it will focus most heavily on experiential learning in a workshop format. So, participants will apply the theory to create highly motivating lessons with interesting stories that teach specific language features as a means of understanding poems, short stories etc.

 English Teacher also learns in this Method

When this teacher was teaching the local-legend associated with Lord Shiva with the objective of teaching English, he found this is really a rewarding experience to himself too. According to the legend, Lord Shiva offered to judge the superior between Brahma, the God of creation and Vishnu , the God for Protection. Lord Shiva gave them sort of test to pass out. Suddenly Shiva took gigantic proportion and his head went   beyond the sky and feet penetrating the earth. Brahma had to touch the plaited hair of Lord Shiva and Vishnu had to feel  Shiva’s Lotus feet. In the Process Brahma assumed the form of a swan and searched  Lord Shiva’s matted hair. When the flying got tough, Brahma asked the cactus flower, which was then falling from Shiva’s hair, to lie to Shiva that he had touched his hair .  When the cactus flower lied to the Omniscient Shiva, he became angry and first Changed   himself into a massive column of fire and later to Mount Arunachala. People even now circum ambulate this Holy Mountain Arunachala. Earlier Vishnu masqueraded as a wild- boar, dug the earth in his pursuit of the Lotus feet, but finally admitted his fruitless endeavour to Lord Shiva and bowed down in all his belated humbleness Lord Shiva blessed him with as many temples as there are for Lord Shiva. 

In my venture to teach English to my students with the above reference from the Local literature, the first thing students learn is enriching their vocabulary with new words such as “ gigantic, penetrating, matted- hair, plaited -hair, assumed, Omniscient, massive , endeavour and circumambulation “ etc. 

When I planned to use this legend for English Teaching, invariably I had to include new vocabulary at the same time in such a way as it will be easily digestible by the students. In the process I found and used more and more new words but in a slight dose.
Do learners associate positively when the teacher uses native literature and Translations in class?

Yes. Many of our students  who are in a quite precarious situation, have their own wishes to pursue – to leave and start  new lives in Greener Pastures like America, Singapore etc. These are their dreams and they are preparing displaying these aspirations  partly by studying English. Such students are self-motivated and even small encouragement from teacher’s side will work wonders.
Knowledge of native literature is a path- laid in advance: 

 Aspiring students enthusiastic to learn English are already familiar to some extent with their native literature and translations of other literatures into their first language. This condition is like a road laid f or the passage of traffic. Now Riding or driving the English vehicle is comparatively a smooth affair.
Local- Literature serves as a bridge connecting mother tongue and English 

 They say ‘the giver adds value to the gift’  Same way if the teaching of English is given through local literature then it must be interesting and enjoyable experience to the students. 

Native bodies in exotic outfits :  

Learning and teaching a foreign language like English through
native literatures is as simple a process as wearing foreign -styled dress materials by native people. Student can easily digest what they have been familiar with. 

“Appropriate” contextual support 

Here I deliberately use the word “appropriate” because I have chosen the vocabulary understandable to even below average students in the class ,to teach English through stories taken from local literatures.

When I teach English vocabulary, this method comes in handy. Students have the twin benefit of firstly enjoy the stories and literature which they know already but in a different medium and they also learn English unwittingly. 

Using Translations for the Teaching of English 

Using Translations of native literatures as a tool to teach English involves minimum effort with maximum results. Of course there are certain things to be taken care of in this method. As far as possible the teacher should use a vocabulary that is within the range of students’ comprehending capacity. Native literature mainly revolves around a culture which is quite indigenous. In a diversified culture there are certain terms for  which we cannot find equivalents in English. On such occasions the English Teacher can give allowance to the students to clear their doubts when they don’t understand a particular expression or expressions. As far as possible the English teacher can use one word substitutes and when this is not possible the teacher can explain the concept in a clear manner.  

What are the stumbling blocks in this method 

The teacher should judiciously select new dimensions, approaches and unknown anecdotes from an otherwise known native literature and translations because certain students likely to develop boredom towards what they know already. For example a teacher can start Adam and Eve and man’s downfall story, which is known to every student, with a different start. The teacher can take a cue from the quotation  “ If knowledge can create problems, it is not with ignorance, we find solutions”. That the” tree of knowledge only is the cause of miseries” is a kids play. 

Uses  of different forms of Local literatures and translations in the teaching of English. 

Different forms of native literature and translations serve different purposes. For example in the study conducted, it is found that to develop conversational skill in English, translations of dramas and plays from Local Literatures are very useful as they are mostly written in dialog forms. Devotional songs translated into English are approached by the students with as much veneration as they are read in the original lingua franca. When stories from Local literatures are used to teach English, students find words with their English equals and thus slowly English Language becomes their second nature. 

Conclusion:   

Would it be expedient to use  native literatures and translations thereof to teach English?

 Yes it is a wise move and it helps students two fold. Inculcating   values and moral practices according to the native culture in the students’  mind  is the bye product apart from making them conversant and  knowledgeable in English the main  benefit of this method. This method of teaching English also gives lasting benefits to both students as well as to the teacher.




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[ سه شنبه 18 خرداد 1389 ] [ 02:30 ب.ظ ] [ M Amin ]
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