Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 9 : 4 April 2009
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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Copyright © 2008
M. S. Thirumalai


Teaching English in Multiracial and Multilingual Nations
A Review of Maya Khemlani David's Book

A Guide for the English Teacher - A Malaysian Perspective

M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.

Cover Page of A Guide for the English Language Teacher

Indian and Malaysian Contexts for Teaching English

South Asian nations share many values of English education with the multiracial and multilingual Malaysia. Professor Maya Khemlani David's A Guide for the English Language Teacher - A Malaysian Perspective is an insightfully written useful book for all English language teachers in South Asia. At the outset itself we highly commend this book for every college and university library in India and in every South Asian nation.

Useful Survey of Techniques and Strategies

This is a short book of only 143 pages, but within these pages, Professor Maya gives us a very useful survey of relevant techniques and strategies that English language teachers could use in their classrooms.

This book begins with a very valuable assumption,

While 'correct' use of language is highly desired in language pedagogy, it is imperative to realize that equipping students with 'politically correct' grammar and spelling norms does not necessarily result in them being communicatively competent (p. iv).

Impeccable Grammar is No Substitute for Appropriate Speech

Professor Maya Khemlani David further remarks,

a speaker with impeccable grammar and command of a language may offend or insult his/her interlocutor if he/she does not understand the sociocultural norms of the environment his/her interlocutor is from. The speaker may practice face-threatening acts by being very direct although it is not his/her intention to hurt his/her addressee's face. Hence, sensitizing students to different cultural norms an making them aware of the connotations and associations of language to the larger sociocultural practices must be incorporated in language teaching (p. viii).

The book is divided into 9 chapters, with a prologue in the beginning.

Problems of Rural Students

Chapter 1 Political, Economic and Social Backdrop to Language Teaching in Malaysia

Any one from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan who reads this chapter will find the insightful comments of Professor Maya very applicable to their own nations:

Rural students unlike their urban counterparts do not have sufficient access to English and their environment does not encourage the use of English (p. viii).

These rural students, hailing from usually socially and economically backward social groups (castes) face a lot of disadvantage when it comes to actually using English. Recent trends in South India clearly show that in math and science these students excel and are able to enter engineering, medical and other professional courses with much ease, but mastery of English continues to be very poor. Maya concludes, "The adoption of a pragmatic policy which caters to the linguistic needs of the nation and its people is vital and has to be done with extra care in multilingual settings" (p. 18).

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Mean Length of Utterance and Syntax in Konkani | A Study of English Loan Words in Selected Bahasa Melayu Newspaper Articles | Verb Reduplication in Tamil and Telugu | The Relevance and Usefulness of European Literature for Innovations in Indian Literature - A Review | Girish Karnad as a Modern Indian Dramatist - A Study | Code Switching and Code Mixing Among Oriya Trilingual Children - A Study | T. S. Eliot - A Universal Poet With Appeal to Indian Spirituality | Academics' Perceptions of Reading and Listening Needs for English for Specific Purposes - A Case from National University of Malaysia | Perspectives on Teaching English Literature to English Literature Major Students | Myths and Legends in the Plays of Girish Karnad | Acoustic Correlates of Stress in Konkani Language | Compassion - Leo Tolstoy's Philosophy as Seen in His War and Peace | Role of Space in the Narratives of Bharathi Vasanthan, A People's Writer from Puducherry | Teaching English in Multiracial and Multilingual Nations - A Review of Maya Khemlani David's Book, A Guide for the English Language Teacher | HOME PAGE of April 2009 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
St. John's Matriculation School
Malayan Street
Tenkasi 627 811
Tamilnadu, India

Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
Faculty of Malaysian Languages
University of Malaya
Kuala Lumpur
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