English and Pedagogy
Directions (Q. Nos. 1-9): Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow by selecting the most appropriate option.
The main idea conveyed by the report is that our children do not get a chance to enjoy learning at school because the syllabi are irrationally organised, teaching is text book centred and the system of examination instills fear and encouraged mechanical repetition. Text books developed along the lines of reconceptualised syllabi can attempt to integrate positive values, life skills, aesthetic sensibility and concern for the environment. They are interactive and make a conscious effort to point both children and the teachers towards other sources of learning such as neighbourhood, nature, etc. In addition two parallel challenges deserve attention. The first is examination reforms. Rigid indifference to individual differences is the major flaw of the present system. From the quality of questions to the manner of evaluation, it favours drilled preparedness and ignores independent thought, while the unrealistically high cut-offs in coveted colleges are a further sign of systemic inefficiency. It is hardly surprising that the very thought of examinations makes the young depressed. Moreover, practices of splitting unified topics into arbitrary bits carrying small marks value encourage teachers to concentrate on scoring topics overlooking the importance of perspective and overall understanding. Little surprise that many elite high fee schools are opting for International Baccalaureate note because it offers status with its global certification but for its flexibility and respect for individual differences in learning.
The second area is teacher training which suffers from obsolete notions. Most teachers are trained mainly to cover the syllabus in a mechanical exam-oriented manner. By insisting that every child move at the same pace in all subjects teachers encourage rote learning and ridicule for those who fall behind. Teacher training whether for nursery or secondary school teachers should be embedded in courses, which have the capacity to develop both the teacher’s personality and perspective on society by linking subject learning with reflective and creative project work. The ultimate responsibility lies with universities and institutes of higher learning to ensure the quality of all teachers. Initiatives to improve the content of teacher training courses will ensure utilisation of desolate university campuses during summer vacations which conceal an enormous waste of infrastructure and expertise. The quality of education is a reflection of the quality of teachers and major improvements in their training and working conditions will motivate the young to pursue a teaching career and determine how India fares in the pursuit of economic and social development in the years to come.
Q1. What is the author’s recommendation to universities?
(a) Encourage only creative project work for primary school teachers
(b) Enforce strict rules so that only those truly interested take up teaching as a profession
(c) Utilise their infrastrucre during the academic year for teacher training
(d) Parson responsibility for improving teacher training content to a government body
Q2. Which of the following factors is responsible for children’s dislike of learning?
I. Rigid, logical, systematic organisation of syllabus.
II. Teaching methodology which does not focus on text books.
III. Examination pattern which rewards rote learning.
(a) Only I
(b) Both I and II
(c) Only III
(d) All I, II and III
Q3. According to the author which of the following conditions will influence India’s future development?
I. Replacing traditional educational systems with globally accepted foreign systems.
II. Improving employment conditions of teaching staff.
III. Getting global accreditation for Indian college courses.
(a) Only I
(b) Both I and II
(c) Both II and III
(d) Only II
Q4. Why is the International Baccalaureate gaining popularity?
(a) It is a rigid well defined system
(b) It has a good reputation
(c) Fees of other educational systems are too high for the quality of education given
(d) It allows students some scope to learn at their own pace
Q5. What will be the impact of having an interactive syllabus?
(a) Teachers and student will explore sources other than the text book
(b) Students may get distracted any perform poorly in examinations
(c) Weaker students may get left behind
(d) Teachers may not be able to cover the entire syllabus for the examination
Q6. Which of the following is not true in the context of the passage?
(a) Examinations arouse negative emotions in students
(b) Weak students are at a disadvantage if teachers force students to learn at the same speed
(c) Holding teacher training courses only during the academic year will help teachers cover the syllabus in an exam-oriented manner
(d) The responsibility for improving the quality of teachers lies in the hands of universities
Q7. Why do teachers focus on ‘scoring topics?
(a) Pressure from colleges who want to maintain high cut-offs
(b) Faulty examination pattern which divides topics into smaller sections
(c) It is an objective of teacher training programmes
(d) To reduce the nervousness of students during examinations
Q8. What is the drawback of teacher training courses?
(a) They are held during summer vacations, so attendance is low
(b) Content is being constantly changed, so teachers cannot keep up
(c) Their focus is on imparting education only from an examination perspective
(d) They focus on making syllabi interactive rather than focusing on examination patterns
Q9. Which of the following is essential to improve the quality of education?
I. Focus on encouraging educational systems like International Baccalaureate.
II. Reducing the number of examinations students have to take.
III. Lowering the cut-offs for expensive colleges so that all students have access.
(b) Both I and II
(c) All I, II and III
(d) Only I
Q10. What is the main focus of acquisition of a first language?