‘English for Specific Purposes and Its Impact: Some Focal Points for the Language Practitioners’ by Dr M Saravanapava Iyer

Abstract

In the field of English as a Second Language (ESL), there has been a shift in recent times from intrinsic motivation to extrinsic factors relevant to language learning. Only a few language scholars advocate that learning English language is intellectually beneficial or learners attempt to master English language to understand the native culture and mingle with the native speakers. Many scholars claim that currently English as a second language is learnt for varieties of purposes because English is used in numerous domains; for example, IT field, playground, professions, administrations, e-markets, e-advertisements, politics, cinemas and media alternating consciously or unconsciously with the L1. The use of English everywhere has been expanding with globalization; therefore it is essential to that the English language curriculum and teaching approach need to be changed to keep pace with the dynamic process of globalization. With this fresh tendency, in the field of ESL, teaching and learning programme of English for Specific Purpose (ESP) has gained attractiveness. The primary aim of this article is to provide appropriate awareness and insights for all the language practitioners; this deeper level understanding is expected to help teachers to conduct smooth and successful teaching and learning English  programme; this is also expected to guide the curriculum designers to form a suitable curriculum for any ESP courses.

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‘Role of Sub-skill approach to Enhance Listening: A study in the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka ESL Classrooms’ by Dr M Saravanapava Iyer

Abstract

Many language scholars claim that mastering listening skill is primary to acquire and learn other basic language skills: speaking, reading and writing. In order to teach and improve listening and understanding ability, there are various approaches available in the English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching field at present; among these, two approaches are most popularly adopted by the language teachers currently: (1) sub-skills and (2) extensive approaches. In most of the ESL teaching situations, sub-skills approach is implemented by the teachers for two important reasons: (1) this approach provides a clear guidance to the teacher what to teach in ESL classrooms and (2) learners also undoubtedly know what to learn during the learning process. In this study, I attempted to find out whether this approach was really beneficial to the Tamil medium ESL Faculty of Arts learners to improve their listening ability in the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka. By employing qualitative method for a period of three months (one semester) I conducted an investigation and finally found that sub-skills approach is more appropriate in this situation. However, I never attempt to claim that other approaches are not beneficial to enhance listening comprehension ability. The main aim of this investigation is providing pedagogical suggestions for the ESL listening teachers by demonstrating how to implement skill-based approach successfully. It is very important to note that I never claim that skill based approach is the best one in the field; but after providing training by this approach learners can be trained by whole language approach or any other suitable one according to the context and learners’ ability.

Index Terms: ESL, sub-skill approach

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‘Impact of Washback in English as Second Language Classrooms – An Investigation in the University of Jaffna – Sri Lanka’ by Dr M Saravanapava Iyer

Abstract

The manner in which public or in-house examinations affect teaching and learning processes in English as Second Language (ESL) classrooms is normally explained as “washback” or “backwash” (These terms are interchangeably used to denote the same meaning). Currently a large number of definitions have been suggested by language scholars for the notion “washback” right through the accessible researches and relevant literatures on ESL language testing. In this paper I prefer to employ the term “washback” alone to interpret the same situation. At the beginning, the present study attempts to focus on range of definitions of washback. Thereafter, it tries to recognize the parallel terms introduced by other language researchers; after having adequate discussion and reviewing on different definitions, the researcher’s ultimate aim of this paper is to introduce new views on washback with correct pedagogical implications for ESL practitioners; this fresh insight relevant to washback effect on teaching and learning process is doubtlessly believed to help language practitioners to implement the ESL programme effectively. The research method applied for this investigation is based on ethnographic perspective qualitative research components and the subjects for this investigation were thirty Tamil medium undergraduates in the Faculty of Arts, University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka.

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