This paper explores Indian elements of Sravana, Manana and Nididhasana in learning a foreign language English using old methods but with new perspective that allows teachers to expose students to wide variety of 21st century skills and allows students to interact with curriculum in a way that is engaging, authentic and fun . Research in cognitive psychology has made a huge contribution to our understanding of how humans learn. Unfortunately, however, the results of this important research haven’t made it into mainstream education. Below strategies have been identified as particularly effective when employed either by a teacher in the classroom or by students during independent study. Yet it appears these learning strategies are not featured in teacher-training textbook. Teachers are missing out valuable teaching styles and students are missing out study techniques. It aims holistic approach towards teaching and learning English as a foreign language using eastern practices.
Sravana- Manana- Nididhasana in learning a foreign language English
Globalization has created a smaller world for people. English as a global language has been used by people in the world as a first language, a second language and a foreign language. As English has turned into universal language its presence and value in the world has expanded enormously in the past decades. Many money earning activities such as BPO, Medical Transcription and IT add to the importance and relevance of English in every walk of life.
English in India is a symbol of people’s aspiration for quality in education and a fuller participation in national and international life. Its colonial origin now forgotten or irrelevant, its initial role in independent India tailored to higher education as a “library language”- a “window on the world”. The current status of English stems from its overwhelming presence on the world stage and the reflection of this in the national arena.
English is a language which has great reach and influence; it is taught all over the world under many circumstances. English in India is a main pivot of education system. It has been occupied a prominent role in India and everywhere in the world and became international language. Mainly in India English is taught as a second language. An English medium education system uses English as the primary medium of instruction in particular where English is not mother tongue of the students.
In Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru’s words
“Hundred and fifty years of intimate contact has made English an integral part of our educational system and this cannot be changed without injury to the cause of education in India”. In addition today English has become one of the major languages of the world and Indians can neglect its study only at risk of loss to them.
English symbolizes in Indian’s minds better education, better culture and higher intellect. The language young learners/students learn in the classroom is a tool they use to shape their thoughts and feelings. It is more than a way of exchanging information and extending ideas. It is their means of reading out and connecting with other people.
IMPORTANCE OF TEACHING ENGLISH IN INDIA
English is known, spoken and read by all educated people everywhere in the world. Children in different parts of world speak English in their school either as mother tongue or a foreign language most of the countries of the world whose mother tongue is not English learn it as a second language for its cultural and utilitarian values. The people of India are no exception to it.
English is accepted as the second language in India. In the words of Gandhi, “English is a language of international commerce, it is the language of diplomacy and it contains many a rich literacy treasures”. It gives us an introduction that English has occupied an important place in Indian education.
10 important reasons for teaching English in India:
- Today English has become one of the major languages of the world.
- English is a language of trade, industry and information.
- English is the only language which can present isolation from the world as it is a powerful language of communication.
- It will be very difficult to neglect English language because of rich literature, scientific and technical nature of the language.
- English is given access to the treasure of knowledge.
- It helps to have contact with western science and technology.
- It provides opportunities to Indians to get employment throughout India and anywhere in the world.
- It is a symbol of better life in India.
- It is a language of trade and industry in India.
- It occupies an important place in Indian school curriculum.
Therefore teaching of English should be given lot of importance and strengthened by improved methods, approaches and techniques. The significance of English language spread widely in the present scientific and technological world. All the research, computer and updated knowledge are in English language. If Indians want to pursue higher education and become leaders of the world has to be proficient in English language.
CHALLENGES IN TEACHING ENGLISH
Challenges before the English language teachers in India are enormous and apparent. They should be able to cater to the practical needs of learners to make them competent enough to interact with one another and also to retrieve information all over the world.
English has a base in several countries and is considered as the most suitable and convenient tool for international communication. The people who have proficiency in this language could access number of jobs and also were seen holding high positions in many national and international organizations.
In the earlier days English was just like a library language, but now that notion has changed today. At present the challenges visible before the English language teachers in India are diverse and it is necessary for them to shape up accordingly to meet the demands of the day.
ANCIENT EDUCATION SYSTEM IN INDIA
India has a rich tradition of learning and education right from the beginning of time. According to the ancient Indian theory of education, the training of the mind and the process of thinking are essential for the acquisition of knowledge. The pupil had mainly to educate himself and achieve his own mental growth.
The Indian education system which was evolved first in ancient India is known as the Vedic system of education. In other words the ancient system of education was based on the Vedas and therefore it was given the name of Vedic educational system. Ancient education system emerged from Vedas. Vedas means ‘to know’
During Vedic period, students (Brahmins/Kshatriyas) had their education in a unique system called ‘Gurukulas’. The most important contribution of ancient India was not only for India but also for the world. It is manifested in the cultural, economic, individual, philosophical, scientific, social and spiritual advancement. In other words education is the means for developing the mind for the betterment of the individual and society.
“We owe a lot to Indians who taught us how to count without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have made” these words of Albert Einstein shows the importance of Vedic period and ancient Indian Education. Ancient Education system (Vedic period) had three simple process (methods of instructions) –
Shravana, Manana and Nididhyasana.
Integrating ancient teaching methods into English language teaching aims at enhancing the skills of communication, Methods are considered representation of language knowledge for pedagogical purposes which mean predominant way of building up theories and carrying out classroom activities. Methods are conditioned by educational approaches about language nature and how it can be taught or learnt. English language teaching needs to be adapted to the various societies in which it is used.
Old methodologies of teaching are useful to make learning of English more effective in the classroom activities and to help preserve, restore, revive and sustain the gained knowledge. The aim of ancient Vedic methods is that learners develop their language and problem solving abilities that they can use in new and challenging situations in and out of school.
Therefore learners will see learning English as useful to their student life and for future. It is important that the teacher must help learners to practice English in varied contexts or situations if they are going to be able to remember and use what they have learned when they need it.
ANCIENT METHODS OF INSTRUCTION TO TEACH AND LEARN ENGLISH A FOREIGN LANGUAGE
Shravana is listening to words as they uttered by the teacher. Listening is a significant language skill to develop in second language learning. Despite its importance, language learners consider listening as the most difficult language skill to learn. While listening, a lot of factors should be specifically paid attention. They are context, facial expression and body gestures that are very important for the listeners to facilitate the understanding of what is conveyed by the speaker.
Listening has a significant effect on developing speaking that one cannot develop listening skill. If a learner has good listening ability specially to learn a foreign language English it would be very easy for learner to listen to the radio, to study, watch films or communicate with foreigners and to get good job opportunities. There is relationship between listening to a language and learning it.
Shravana is hearing attentively and fully understanding what teacher says without differentiation in intellect. It is not mere act of hearing the words by our ears, it is not even listening, and it meant understanding and introspecting. Shravana is listening to the words from the teacher/guru, this knowledge was technically called Shruti- the tradition of Veda (what was heard by ear and not seen in writing, Shravana is used to receive wisdom from the said words. Our tradition has been an oral tradition for thousands of year.
By developing the ability to listen through Shravan which is the first phase of the Vedic process students’ ability to become more independent learners as by hearing accurately they are more likely to be able to reproduce accurately and refine their understanding of grammar and develop their vocabulary.
Manana is the second phase of the process that is raising and clearing doubts when the words are received the students will have to concentrate on the words and chew it. Learning to have a dialogue with this words that will reveal the understanding of knowledge that is packed within the words. It is also called a chanting phase, repeating the taught portion again and again deliberately until it is understood. This process of using the mind and its instrument to contemplation with the use of the words is called Manana.
Manana is the process of deliberation or reflection of the taught topic. It implies that the student needs to interpret himself the meaning of the lesson imparted by the teacher, so that they may be assimilated fully reflecting upon what has been heard (shravana). This is to dispel any doubts about the knowledge that has been received via Shravana. It is the reflection on the content imbibed by shravana. Human mind with imagination and superior pattern of recognition can interpret things better while engaged in graceful dialectics with the teacher. The vedic dialectic is based on a dialogue between two or more people who may hold different views, yet wish to pursue knowledge by seeking agreement with one another.
Thus manana is contemplation till everything becomes crystal clear and there are no more doubts. By this process the information obtained by shravana percolates into the bedrock of the mind. This is another important method to learn English language.
Nididhyasana is the third phase of the process. It means complete comprehension of the content/lesson that is taught so that students may know it and not merely explain it by words. Knowledge must result in realization; meditating upon the essence of what has been intellectually understood until there is connection in terms of the instructions imparted. Nididhyasana is a rational cognitive process (which differs from dhyana- meditation) which is necessary for learning. It is the culmination of practice of shravana and manana. The knowledge acquired by listening (shravana) and stabilized by reflection (manana) is made the basis of steady contemplation. Nididhyasana is the process by which intellectual conscience is transformed into vital one It is deep and intense contemplation. In this state the mind is established in the absolute and worldly thoughts intrude. It is the highest stage of the learning.
The modern student had to use his brain to figure out whether he must press the clutch, break or accelerator and swept over it. Nididhyasana refers to the contemplative state which is produced by the words a student has listened to and understood. He will chew the cud over by manan and can interpolate and extrapolate to glimpse the magic of that content processed by shravana and manana becomes part of the individual (cellular memory). It is to settle and establish the gained knowledge. In this phase student memorize the content or the information shared. Students need the skill of merization because it delivers unique cognitive benefit. Good memorization is to understand well what is learned by heart. English as a foreign as nonnative speakers convince us that memorization seems to be valid learning strategy, provided that memorization is used appropriately to help students internalize what they have learned to apply in actual communication.
In Vedic era education has prominent place in society. It was considered as pious and important for society. Vedic age had a system of education in which Shravana (listening), Manana (Chanting) and Nididhyasana (Memorizing) played a great part. The intention of this paper is to make learning of English more effective using old methodologies of India in teaching and learning English as a foreign language in Indian schools. To meet the present day challenges in teaching and learning English, first of all English should not be treated as subject as it is used activity in interacting with one another throughout the world.
In the era of competitive world, where the majority of the students are attempting GRE and TOEFL good listening and speaking skills become an absolute necessity. English is seen as a key educational investment. The best modern education involves only Shravana(listening)and Manana but without Shravana there cannot be Manana and Nididhyasana. These are the three ancient Vedic ladder rungs of teaching and learning will prove effective in teaching and learning English language.
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