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Teach English in BAyannaoershisudulun Nongchang - Bayannao'er Shi — Bayan Nur
As I was finishing my masters degree in theology and religion from the University of Exeter (UK), one of my friends once commented, “teaching and research is in your blood, you belong nowhere but in academia.” I remember this comment vividly as I was very happy to hear it. My grandfather was a professor of English at a renowned college in Pakistan. I am extremely passionate about my career in teaching and research and believe that I have inherited this passion from him. My degree at Exeter was interdisciplinary degree and allowed me to study religion, philosophy, art history and literature. In fact, all the courses that I taught back in Pakistan involved not only philosophical writings but also literary texts. After coming back to Pakistan, I taught a self-crafted course “Theological and Religious Dimensions of Art” in the liberal arts department of Beaconhouse National University. In light of the ideas of some of the most famous philosophers who have written on western and eastern art such as Hegel, Nietzsche, Peirce, Ruskin, Nasr and Burkhardt, the course aimed at bringing the students to discover the fact that artistic activity can help us bridge logic versus aesthetic, ethic versus aesthetic, and logic versus ethic dichotomies. Later, I also taught a couple of courses known as “History of Ideas” and “Global Ideas” at National College of Arts to undergraduate and postgraduate students respectively. Personally, I have learned a lot from my own experiences as a teacher. Naturally as I taught classes, there were teaching sessions which went really well and there were others which simply did not. So now there are a few things I do to improve my teaching method and course content. They include: a) I participate in seminars and professional meetings held at various universities, b) I meet people at reputable universities to design interdisciplinary course outlines, c) I use new methods of teaching, assessing learning and grading and d) I devote considerable time to what and how I should be teaching a particular topic before entering classroom. During the ITTT course I have learned various ways to improve in the above areas. My focus so far has not been on how I can make my sessions more interactive. But from this moment, I will use the strategies learned through the course to engage students in class discussions. Moreover, I will initiate group discussions among students and organize other activities help them to understand and discuss for instance literature intelligently. I am thinking of making them perform scenes from famous English plays in class in order to make them more interested in the course content. Similarly, I can make them write difficult words on board and later can have a discussion over them in the context of the book we are reading and even generally. Learning English is one of the basic necessities of time. I strongly believe that the students must possess ‘good’ English language skills in order to make their mark in society. This means, not only they should be able to speak well, but also they should be familiar with the art of reading and writing. So, for instance, the most important aspect of a class, after lecture, is class participation. In order for students to understand a topic and make quality participation, it is ‘absolutely’ essential that they come to class having read the material prescribed for that particular session. Only students who come to class after closely reading the text in question, are able to make intelligent connections between the writings of various thinkers, and their relation to their own ‘personal’ and ‘social’ reality. It improves their level of understanding when we compare and contrast their ideas during the session. In other words, the understanding of the subject matter reached in class is heavily dependent upon students fulfilling their responsibility of actively and intelligently engaging with the text. The knowledge gathered in the process, of course, will reflect in their assignments and exams as well. And all of this requires at least a decent understanding of English language. This is one of the reasons why now I am looking forward to introducing and teaching English language courses at universities, colleges and schools. I feel the courses which are already taught for the purposes in various educational institutes right now are outdated and hence do not spur the interest of students in the subject. After developing a course in light of the knowledge I have taken from this course, I shall go to various institution to negotiate my case. Personally, I would like such a course to be taught at school level so by the time students are in college, they know how to read and write especially.