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The Indian Paradigmatic Policy Of The 1990s

1807 words - 7 pages

The paradigmatic policy shift which took place in the 1990’s, opened the gates of Indian economy to a new era of liberalization, globalization and privatization. The socio economic changes which resulted from the revolutionary shift in perspective brought with it a new age of language teaching/training in India. A shift from General English language training to a more specific, requirement based and contextualized English language training gained momentum, in tandem with the sweeping changes that took place in all spheres of Indian life. The trainer/teacher who was accustomed to the safe haven of imparting general English language training was confronted with the task of specialized language training to a group of students expected to pick up specific language skills applicable to a specific contexts due to the demand of circumstance. The conventional non targeted approach to language teaching was replaced with an objective oriented training catering to needs of an emerging market. Though this change was an opportunity for trainers/teachers from an academic and economic perspective, it came along with a new set of challenges.

The demand for English language boomed with the growing economy, moreover English had the status of power and hegemony in post colonial societies. Technological edge and proximity to modern academic circles gave a new dimension to the sway of language in the modern times. Graddol points out “English is closely associated with the leading edge of global scientific, technological, economic and cultural development” (1997:4). So it impossible to embrace the opportunities rolled out by the new age without having a practical knowledge of English language to communicate and grow in the new found pastures of free market practices. The Indian trainer, in this background has to reinvent themselves to meet the diverse requirements emanating from various sectors. This requires them to break free from the traditional General approach to language training, and has to get acquainted with new vistas of emerging business, technology and socio economic changes. As Hutchinson and Waters points out “The ESP teacher should not become the teacher of subject matter, rather an interested student of the subject matter.”(1987:163) The ‘subject matter’ is not a static one, but keeps on changing with each set of learners, based on the background in which training is sought. Hutchinson and Waters has delineated the three traits required of an ESP practitioner; ‘Positive attitude towards ESP content, A knowledge of fundamental principles of subject area, An awareness of how much they probably already know.’ Hutchinson and Waters sums up these three traits to ‘the ability to ask intelligent questions.’(1987:163).This attitude to probe, learn and train need to be basic approach required in any ESP context.
The target group of ESP training in India is usually adults or students in tertiary level, who are required to perform specific language...

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