Creative approaches to teaching English, introducing new learning technologies, designing innovative material, encouraging research in English language teaching, and supporting continuous professional development are all needed to improve the standard of English in Pakistan.
This was underscored by speakers on the first day of an international seminar on English language teaching organised by the Aga Khan University.
Introducing the seminar, Dr Graeme Cane said that the two-day event would give language teachers more awareness of recent developments in teaching/learning methodology.
It is also an opportunity for delegates to meet leading theorists and writers, and to exchange ideas with fellow professionals from all sectors of english language teaching (ELT), he said.
Speaking at the inauguration of the seminar, the chief guest, Director British Council David Martin, shared that English language teaching was a ‘live’ issue for educators, politicians and the general public in Pakistan.
He referred to the research conducted by Dr Hywel Coleman from Leeds University, UK, on language policy and shared that several discussions on the recommendations of his study had been held in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, he highlighted.
The outcome of these discussions are to be debated by a panel of experts, followed by the provincial education ministers. In late February, a number of workshops will be conducted in Islamabad with over 15 English language groups. The recommendations of this entire exercise will then be shared with the federal government, he added.
The keynote speaker, Director-General and Head of the Learning Innovation Division (LID) at the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Islamabad, Professor Noor Amna Malik, pointed out that HEC had quality teacher education as one of the key pillars of its strategic vision.
Professor Malik pointed out that ELTR provided formal training in English language teaching to 1,504 faculty in colleges and universities across the country. In its second phase, another 1,400 ELT teachers will be trained through its programmes.
Other speakers at the first day of the seminar included Dr Muhammad Memon, Director, AKU’s Institute for Educational Development; Dr Andrew Littlejohn, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman; Dr Fauzia Shamim, Karachi University; and Ms Shaista Bano Zaidi, Seminar Coordinator.
In the afternoon, there were parallel sessions on the changing role of English teaching in the world today, advances in teacher education and professional development, new trends in business English teaching, teaching English to young learners, the role of literature in language teaching, and establishing a linguistically and culturally appropriate standard for testing English language proficiency.