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Mar 9, 2011

History of ELT

The English ruled over India for more than two hundred years. During this period, they tried their best to perpetuate their rule over this country, and for this, they adopted several means—among such means was the introduction of English in India. It is said that Lord Macaulay was the chief architect in this context and who thinks “the English tongue is that which would be the most useful to our native subjects.” We all know that Raja Ram Mohan Roy was the chief protagonist among those who wanted that English should be taught in Indian schools and colleges. He believed like many others that the knowledge of English could facilitate the possibility of early freedom for India by giving the Indians the knowledge of several democratic and freedom movements aboard.

Thus, the scene of teaching English in India started the British days. It was largely on the obligation discharged by the Scottish Missionary but their dialect and pronunciation are much different from that of Standard English because it was based on propagating English classical standard—which comes from ancient Latin text and consequently the whole concept of English got based on the imitation and on acquiring the proficiency in the study of Latin texts particularly religious.

The old notions about English language teaching continued to dominate until the outbreak of the World War II. After that war all the nations realized the strategic advantages of teaching the target languages to their soldiers on a large scale and in the shortest possible duration, thus, language teaching become high priority area and huge sums were allocated for researching into this field.

The approach of ELT in India has changed during the last half century and this changed attitude is due to the development in linguistics. The old notions of superiority of certain languages over the certain others and the precedence of written form have been left off. Instead of attaching the greater importance to the written text it is universally acknowledged that speech is the primary form of a language.

It is realized that the language develops and flourishes with practice and use. This is not naturally possible so far as the case of English in India is concerned. An effective alternative can be developed in the classrooms and laboratories. Naturally speech cannot be produced in such atmosphere but still the modern technologies like TV, tape recorder and other audio-lingual device can help to develop the use of English in India.

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