English is increasingly becoming a “must-know language” in India. It is rather interesting to know that in a multilingual society, irrespective of official language policies developed to support the use of regional languages from an educational perspective, English is used in all areas of communication in the nation. It is the language of administration and education. Furthermore, employability in India requires fluency in English. As a result, even parents from low economic strata sending their children to vernacular medium schools want their children to learn English.
According to experts, learning any language needs an environment that speaks the language, an active network that communicates in the language, an expert with the ability to teach in a structured manner, and technology that would help in learning.
The English Language Crisis
Only a small percentage of high-income Indians are fortunate to be educated in India’s private English medium schools. There is still a large portion of the Indian population, wherein students attend state-affiliated vernacular schools where English is not the primary medium of education. Such students are deprived of quality English learning and often find it challenging to compete in the job market. The observation is that students from vernacular medium still learn English in traditional methods. Usually, teachers may not have the skill to teach English. Hence, there is a gap between what students learn and what they require.
Teacher Professional Development
One of the critical factors influencing improved student results is better teaching skills. Teachers, with the capability to teach English, along with the availability of adequate resources to cater to teaching-learning practice, are essential for active language learning. It is particularly vital concerning students from a regional language medium. The objective of the nation’s education reform is to enhance student performance through transformations in teaching practices. Changes in professional development have a direct impact on changes in teaching practices. Hence, to ensure quality teachers, the focus must be on professional development.
Often, teachers find it difficult to reconcile the content of professional training with the practice of the classroom. Professional learning must be deeply rooted in the specific contexts in which teachers operate. However, most of the preparation for teachers in India are in workshops within the school. Teachers must play an active role in their professional development. Any form of professional development related to teachers' initiatives must be supported. It would contribute to better learning outcomes in a classroom.
Technology Oriented Learning
The existing system of English language education is not able to fulfill the emerging requirements in a highly competitive global environment. There is an urgent requirement for enhancement in the teaching of English to vernacular medium students, mostly from underprivileged socio-economic backgrounds. Providing English education to a student from the regional language medium must be an enduring obligation for English language teachers. They must use various techniques to teach English, keeping in mind teaching-learning requirements and contextual barriers.