Innovative English teaching | Sunday Observer

Innovative English teaching

20 November, 2022

The teaching and learning process has been sophisticated by modern technology in this 21st Century. Teaching through technology (TTT) has become a trend and this became more popular and useful during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Teachers began online teaching during the pandemic. To conduct online teaching, we need devices such as a smartphone, laptop, and tab and network connections.

The technical jargon for online teaching was not a familiar topic among teachers and students in Sri Lanka until the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in China in 2019. Since Sri Lanka is still a developing country, we were not able to initiate online teaching immediately.

Schools were closed for several months at and students were at home without education and after sometime, the Government took steps to commence online teaching, but it was not so successful due to various reasons such as some families were unable to afford a smartphone, coverage issues in remote areas and lack of technological knowledge and devices.

The pandemic has taught us a good lesson that we should take steps to teach our students through technology. Teachers impart knowledge to students by using traditional methods of teaching with chalk and talk whereas the other nations are using modern technology.

There is a tendency among philanthropists to stretch out their helping hands to less fortunate people and underprivileged students following the pandemic and the current economic crisis.

In that manner one of the leading organisations in Sri Lanka-Brandix Apparel Limited has initiated a worthy task of installing smart boards to remote and less fortunate schools so as to provide them education through modern technologies.

Smart board is a modern device used in classrooms to teach a lesson more effectively. The Brandix organisation has recently installed 1200 smart boards island wide under the project called Right to Read.

Each and every smart board has been installed with software so as to enable the children to read and learn English especially the Government school English text books from grade 3 to 9 have been digitalised.

The teacher is no more using the English text book to teach a lesson in the classroom. The most convenient option is if a child is unable to read a paragraph given in the particular text book there is no need to worry about it and the child has only to select the relevant option and click on the option in the smart board then the particular paragraph will automatically be read out for the child.

The software also has many other facilities like if the particular child wants the smart board to read in moderate speed or speedy pace. It will read the paragraph as per the child’s capability and convenience.

If the child wants to know the meaning of a particular word or an unknown word he/she only needs to click on the word then the meaning will appear in their language of their own.

If a child needs to practice reading at home he/she can send the particular lesson or a paragraph to a personal computer or smart phone and practice reading the paragraph as many times.

Since we have a severe shortage for English teachers we can use this cutting edge technology to impart English education in the country including in remote areas

This smart board technology on one hand will definitely boost the willingness of students to read English text books and certain English story books from the smart boards and on the other hand it will reduce the work loads of teachers in schools in our country.

I in my capacity as a Teacher Advisor for the English subject in the Kalpitiya Division in the Puttalam Zone visited six remote schools which have been installed with the smart board and was surprised to witness the plethora of benefits the children of these different schools obtained from the smart boards.

I observed the different subjects such as history, geography and science the teachers were using to teach through the smart board.

It is an accepted fact that teaching will be more effective when we teach with effective teaching aids and modern teaching tools. It should also be said that the Ministry of Education is now taking all necessary steps to implement education reforms.

Thus the initiatives of Brandix installing and introducing smart board technology to remote schools will be a boost for the underprivileged students in our country.

Our country can move forward making changes in education which will change and improve all other sectors in the country. Hence, I urge the teacher community to determine themselves to make a difference in their teaching with modern technology and prepare our young generation to face the challenges of the 21st century.

It is also the duty of the Government to make all arrangements to provide the basic facilities like electricity, internet facilities and equipment and tools before introducing and implementing reforms because without these facilities the Government will not able to implement reforms more effectively.

The Government should also take an interest in training the teacher community to enable them to operate these modern devices and equipment and provide them little experience and exposure in digital literacy which is a prerequisite for them to teach in classrooms with the modern technologies.

M. Jallaldeen Isfan-Teacher Advisor, Visiting Lecturer- the Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) Puttalam Study Centre and the National Institute of Education-Puttalam Centre (NIE)