Problems in Teaching English Composition in Pakistan

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Acquisition of any foreign language is a task not easy to accomplish, writing, which aims at exactness, requires greater accuracy, while in speaking one might mumble and so pass unnoticed. The mistakes in writing cannot go unnoticed. Hence writing requires greater efforts to eliminate them.

Faults and failures in the composition are due to both to the teacher and the student, the students have too little exposure to English to attain the mastery and hence they err or commit blunders. But the teachers too may be efficient in knowledge. Moreover, they may not be trained at all or if trained it may be only superficially. It is because the teacher training program does not place due emphasis on the writing skills or the techniques of composition correction. Classroom conditions further augment the problem.

The teachers are either not fully conversant with the rules of English grammar or else do not make well-directed efforts to drive these home to the students, especially in the earlier classes i.e. VI to X. The foundation, being weak, the students continue to stumble (commit mistakes) in the later classes.

The composition has not been given due importance because of the following two major reasons:

  1. The teacher takes it lightly and does not spare sufficient time for the guidance of students and correction of written work.
  2. The large classes pose a problem and the teacher confronted with more than 200 exercise books, to be corrected daily, considers the task too difficult to be tackled. So he just gives it up.

In fact correction of written work is the biggest problem of a teacher of English. This, no doubt is mainly due to large classes but also results from the fact that the teacher does not employ proper methods (which will be mentioned).

In the addition, students also are allergic to written work. They may read five pages but are reluctant to write five sentences and when there is little practice, the errors persist and are perpetuated. The situation further worsens when the composition is not corrected, uncorrected writing consolidates students’ habits, which are difficult to eradicate at a later stage.

Poor handwriting also increases the problem. The students sometimes try to hide their mistakes (especially of spelling) by writing in an illegible manner, thus making the detection of the errors difficult and at the same time ruling out the possibility of correction, thereby staring the vicious circle hiding the faults, rating out the possibility of correction and thus encouraging the commission of similar faults.

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