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Monday, January 3, 2011

Engineering English Language Communication
The objective in any language classroom is to get the learners to learn the target language and use it. This is done best when they are involved actively in the learning process. This in turn means that their interest must be sustained by using different techniques in classroom activity. A teacher who has a repertoire of techniques to teach different skills/ sub-skills is more likely to succeed in aiding you to realize your objective of being a good communicator than one who has a limited number of techniques at command.
As observed by Allright:
If the language teacher’s management activities are directed exclusively at invoking the learners in solving communication problems in the target language then language will take care of itself… (Allright-14)
This is part of the more general point that we will only succeed in engineering English if we attempt this task with a clear, theoretically and empirically informed, understanding of what kind of phenomenon English actually consists of. English or any other language, is a resource for making meaning, language is the key source of creating and transmitting knowledge. However in departments of linguistics and in language departments, language itself is treated as the object of study, thus language engineering concept comes into foreplay. Throughout the world, businessmen haggle over their transactions, contractors negotiate their deals, scientists and industrialists transmit their findings and technology, administrators put across their orders and responses, religious preachers exhort their followers, lawyers argue their cases, politicians consolidate their parties and deliver pre-election speeches to solicit votes, professors lecture to their students, unemployed appear for interviews and lovers articulate or reciprocate their tender feelings. All this is successful only through communication and effective communication.
Another significant point to be remembered is that having an inventory of techniques is by itself no guarantee of success; one must know when to use which technique. In others should be fine tuned to the needs of that particular situation. For instance grilling is a technique which can be used effectively at the practice or familiarization stage of a lesson; but not for a communicative activity which demands deployment of the learners own language.
Now before moving on to the techniques lets look the sub skills of a language. Language has been divided into four main skills, namely Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing (LSWR). Each skill has been further divided into sub skills.
Listening—gist listening, selective listening, attentive listening, etc….
Speaking—pronunciation, conversation, presentation, intonation, etc….
Reading — skimming, scanning, etc…..
Writing—vocabulary, paragraphs, grammar, mechanics, etc….
These skills and sub skills are not used in isolation when language engineering is the ultimate aim. From among these four skills two are like in puts two out put. Listening and reading are inputs and speaking and writing outputs. Without the in put, and more so if a language is acquired as L2, out put can hardly be achieved. In other words listening and speaking are two sides of the same coin. For instance identifying sounds while listening, helps in producing sounds while speaking.  Of course we all have grounding and ability in these skills, and so it is more a matter of sharpening and honing them in the context of daily working life. If one aspires to lead or manage others one has to be really competent in these four skills, because communication is life-blood of an organization and relationship is built, gap is bridged and bond is fortified only through communication.
Communication embraces a wide range of meanings circling around the idea of sharing, sharing which takes place because of the involvement of various elements like social contact, need, survival, understanding, love etc…Thus one of the outward signs of a person who is truly convinced that communication is dialogue and sharing of thoughts, ideas etc. is that he will be much interested in knowing about the person. Both sender and receiver contribute to the process of communication by which meanings are exchanged between them by a common system of symbols.
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