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"Key role for teachers in student empowerment"

Special Correspondent

Ability to speak language depends on multitude of factors: expert

CHENNAI : The cognitive level of teachers is an important factor in empowering students to be good language learners, Carol Griffiths, faculty, University of Auckland, New Zealand, said here on Friday.

Students' ability to speak a language depends not only on classroom techniques used by teachers but also on a multitude of other factors, all of which involve decision-making on the part of the teacher, she said.

Ms. Griffiths was delivering the Padmashree S.Natarajan Memorial Endowment Lecture organised by the English Language Teachers Association of India during its two-day 37th annual conference, which began here.

Good language learning depended on learner/behavioural/target and situational variables. Teachers should provide teaching programmes to suit students' aptitude profiles.

They should develop awareness of and sensitivity to gender and cultural differences, she added.

In her inaugural address, Alison Sriparam, first secretary (English Language Services), British Council, said English teachers had a strong responsibility towards their students as the spoken word was important in any dialogue between cultures and groups.

The two-day conference would focus on issues such as whether unaccented English was a necessity in a country like India and whether teachers were focussing on spoken English in classes, she added.

A series of workshops were held in the afternoon by international language experts on topics such as integrating pronunciation, games and activities to encourage speaking, fluency vs accuracy, developing oral skills through stories and conversational strategies

S.Jagadeesan, chairman, Ethiraj College Management Committee, M.Thavamani, principal, Ethiraj College; Amol Padwad and K.Elango, vice-president and joint secretary respectively of ELTAI also participated.

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