There is an old saying, “If you give a person a fish, you have fed him for a day, but if you teach him to fish, you have fed him for the rest of his life”. To a certain extent that summarises the attitude of the English department towards the teaching of English at NLA. We do not believe in teaching English merely for the sake of preparing students for examinations. In our English department, the focus is on learning as many language skills as possible in order for our students to go out into the world after school as adults who are able to think, read and write critically. For example, instead of teaching them how to analyse specific prescribed poems, we rather want to teach them how to analyse poetry in general.
We also believe that learning should be fun – something which is often not associated with the learning process. There is no reason why we cannot learn grammatical rules by rapping or singing or clapping while doing so.
We also try to integrate the teaching of English with other subjects in the school, because language is the one thing that all subjects have in common. Therefore, if they are doing the design of book covers or a poster in Design, we look at the grammatical aspects of such a cover or poster, teach it and finally assess the work as an English task as well as a Design task. The skills of doing a research task in any other subject, for example, can be taught in English and the task can be assessed by both teachers. In this way we make better use of time and teach learners that subjects do not exist in isolation.
To teach any language is a wonderful privilege as it is a way in which students can learn to express their feelings, views and emotions effectively, which has an influence on more aspects of their lives than we can imagine. Teaching a language is teaching about life, by Miss Tersia Thomas.