Bilingual teaching and developing core competencies
The students who are admitted to various courses have come from schools
where the medium of instruction is mother tongue viz. Tamil. This handicaps
most of the students from understanding lectures in English. They are
unable to acquire enough subject knowledge. In University examinations,
they are unable to write a single sentence in English correctly in main
disciplines. Performances in examinations are very poor. Many students
are unable to pass their examinations. They are losing confidence and
motivation. Thus the responsibility of a teacher is to impart not only
knowledge but also some skills to achieve core competencies. Considering
the mediocre level of students in studies and their insufficient potential,
bilingual teaching method has been adapted to reach the students.
3. The Context
About 95% of our students hail from families of agriculture labour, coolies,
menial vendors etc. Since most of the students have parents who are partially
or completely illiterate, they have to overcome the conventional apathy.
Empowering these students through the powerful tool of education is the
main task of our teachers. The college functions with the ultimate aim
of constituting itself into a centre of higher learning. We have oriented
this vision to expand the knowledge base of our students and sharpening
their employment skills. Medium of instruction viz. English is the main
hurdle. Thus, bilingual teaching (English and Tamil) is indispensible.
This strategy wins the confidence and helps them understand the subject
The class teacher teaches the subject in English and explains the concepts
in Tamil. Thus he is using both Tamil and English in teaching. Slowly
the understanding of the subject takes place. In seminar presentation,
the students are asked to present paper in English and if any hesitation,
the students are allowed to answer questions in Tamil. Hence both languages
are used. The main aim is to make the students understand the subject
matter. Study materials are also provided to them. Gradually, it is ensured
that the students are properly motivated and enthused to undertake and
enjoy the scholarly responsibilities implicit in the course of study they
have chosen for themselves, Students are advised to speak in English in
the class. Answer papers are valued and students are given right type
of advice as to how to write in English. In project works, the students
are directed to write introduction, profile and analysis. While correcting
assignments and tests papers, the students are given training in writing
good English. Both spoken and written English are gradually imparted along
with main subjects starting from Tamil instruction. This type of teaching
method facilitates the students learning the subject easily. Simultaneously
they are accustomed to learn English as well.
In the circumstances aforesaid, educating our students involves stupendous
task of dragging them out of their intellectual lethargy and insensitivity
to knowledge, considering the mediocre level of students in the institution
and their insufficient potential.
Most of the graduates are not employable for want of knowledge and skill.
This sad state of affairs may be due to the students’ socio-economic
background, study in Tamil medium and non – exposure to current
developments. To arrest this trend, teaching method aids in developing
core competencies such as communicative skills and subject skills that
will go a long way in the development of students.
5. Evidence of Success
Overall pass percentage has shown an improvement. Students could understand
and listen to the lectures delivered in English. The percentage of attendance
is high. They like to attend classes. Some students try to talk in English.
Most of the students are able to appreciate lectures and their performance
is good in internal tests and examinations. PG students are able to write
projects. During their field work and internship, they value our efforts
taken in this direction. Students acknowledge it with gratitude. They
welcome the innovative steps in introducing add-on courses and conducting
coaching classes for the development of communicative aptitude and reasoning
skills. Students feel that this is a right step at right time taken by
the college to enhance their performance in placements. Though this practice
is time consuming and demanding, in many respects, innovative teaching
and developing core competencies help the students to attain academic
6. Problems Encountered And Resources
It is very difficult to motivate the students to come out of their cocoon
and start using English. The process is taking place slowly. There is
a shortage of trained persons to handle classes on aptitude and reasoning.
Most of the students are low percentage scorers in HSC. As a result, it
is not easy to sustain their concentration and interest. The students
do not prefer week-end classes for competitive examination as many boys
are self-employed for livelihood during week end. The regular college
ends at 4.30 P.M. Girl students cannot remain in classes after 5.00 P.M.
as they have to reach their homes in time.