Published: 28th August 2020
Celebrating Teachers’ Day with the English Language Teachers’ Association of India
The association has been organising webinars focusing on the critical issues such as learners autonomy, love for literary texts, social media literacy, multimodal approaches and more
The English Language Teachers’ Association of India (ELTAI) is the oldest and largest association of teachers engaged in the profession of teaching English at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Rising up to the current turbulent period, as all the educational institutions have shut their doors, the ELTAI has thrown open multiple opportunities for teachers and learners to be immersed in the environment of English as linguists reaffirm the principle of “use it or lose it”.
The association has been organising webinars focusing on the critical issues such as learners autonomy, love for literary texts, social media literacy, multimodal approaches, flexible cognitive models and several more. Encouraged by the responses as each of them attracts more than a thousand attendees from different parts of the country, it has now decided to organise events for exclusive groups and one such attempt is the webinar for students by students. The whole endeavour of education which is supposed to centre them misses no opportunity, ironically, to decentre them and to contrive to silence them. Hence, to listen to their authentic voices a platform is made available to them.
To commemorate the forthcoming teachers’ day a three-day event is planned with the aim
to promote awareness among students across the country of the need to be
proficient in English;
to enable them to participate actively in various competitions that require
knowledge of English and the skills to use this knowledge to communicate their ideas, as well as their critical and creative thinking in a variety of formats;
to enable teachers at all levels of education to showcase their knowledge and
skills for enhancing their students’ learning.
Keeping the contemporary creative trends in mind, ten competitions are planned for students and teachers and the finalists will perform on the teachers’ day. These competitions are quite new to our context - three competitions for school students namely, memes, doodles with mini-sagas, and reflections on a book and for college students twitterature, e-posters and slam poetry are being conducted. Unusual but interesting competitions such as blogging, PPT and podcasting are planned for teachers of all levels.
All the competitions have received overwhelming responses from the participants due to the novelty of competitions; drifting away from the traditional ones such as poetry writing, essay writing or elocution could be the primary reason for attracting so many contestants. A student under the category of schools mentioned that he was vaguely aware of the memes, although popular among his age group and the competition has goaded him to familiarize himself with this genre of writing. It gave him a chance not only to be verbally humourous but also club it with the other modes of expressions such as identifying appropriate images and videos and this navigation enabled him to express his creativity in multiple ways.
Twitterature was yet another genre which aroused a lot of curiosity among the participants as this was unfamiliar. Similar to the western classics that were tweeted in America, many contestants have tried their hands with the Indian classics, mainly Ramayana and Mahabharata, and they confess that it has made them revisit those classics as they were almost lost on them and a relook at them from various perspectives not bound by the typical reverential and submissive attitude have brought new insights into their life. They treat this intellectual engagement a rewarding experience even if they don’t win any awards.
These novel competitions have generated a new-found enthusiasm among the participants and some of them are sure to continue their pursuit. An exciting experience awaits on the Teachers’ Day celebration and you are welcome to witness it.
“English, reaching our shores about 400 years ago with the founding of the East India Company in 1600, has now become a naturalized language even rechristening itself as Hinglish, Tanglish and many more. As an integral part of our linguistic ecosystem, English is to be strengthened and celebrated and the competitions on the teachers' day are an attempt in that direction.” - Dr Elango
The author Dr K Elango is the National Secretary, ELTAI and former professor and Head, Dept of English at Anna University Chennai.