Principal Objectives of Teaching English as a Second Language in Elementary or Primary or Secondary Schools of Indian Subcontinent

The place of English in the whole scheme of our subcontinental education has been a subject of much heated debate and the heat has not yet subsided. English is a foreign language and being a foreign language is like our foreign plant, can grow with great difficulty on the native soil. Study of mother tongue is the labour of love. The language in which students are taught is one of the most significant issues for schools. Many academicians have become concerned about how best to educate students about the skills of English language and the culture. As children of all ages and from dozens of language backgrounds seek an education, most schools have adopted some variety of bilingual instructions. As days are passing and globalizing is hitting the nook and corner of Indian conditions, we are becoming ardent admirers of English. In fact, English education has admittedly done us great good.
Generally speaking, in the public sector, students are taught in their native language until their knowledge of English improves, which is often accomplished through English as a Second Language. Some people have criticized these bilingual programs for not encouraging students to learn English more quickly, or at all. Some academicians fear that English will no longer provide a uniform basis for national identity; others worry that children will have a hard time finding employment if they do not become fluent in English as the colonial burden of western education have shaped us. In response to these criticisms it can be said that any language inputs at the early stage education can be fruitful. 
Debate about bilingual education centers on whether it is legitimate for English as a Second Language students to receive a substantial amount of their instruction in their native language rather than in English. Supporters of bilingual instruction believe that students should gain confidence in using their native language before being introduced to the English curriculum. They believe that competency in one’s native language provides important cognitive and social foundations for second language learning and academic learning in general.
Opponents of bilingual education believe that if English as a Second Language students are taught English at an early stage in their education, they will gain an advantage in both learning and language. Opponents advocate minimal use of the minority student’s native language and introduction to the English curriculum at the onset of the student’s schooling experience.

Broadly speaking the four fold aims of teaching English in Schools of Indian Subcontinent are:

1. To understand English when spoken. (Listening)

2. To speak English. (Speaking)

3. To understand it when written. (Reading)

4. To write it. (Writing)

These objectives are illustrated below

A. Listening: To understand English when spoken

1. To enable the learner to understand radio-talks, television, news, commentary, announcement, films etc.
2. To enable the learner to communicate with people in buses, trains, stations, offices, schools, colleges etc.
3. To enable student to understand lectures in seminars, meeting.
4. To enable the students to interact with the people coming, from other states and abroad.

B. Speaking: To Speak English

I To enable the students to speak to people coming from other states and abroad.
2. To enable the students to speak to people in buses, trains, flights, offices, stations etc.
3. To enable the learners to express themselves in meeting, debate, quiz programes etc.
4. To enable the learner to speak over telephones, microphones etc.

C. Reading:

I. To help the students to read English story books, poems, etc. for pleasure.
2. To enable the students to read text books, magazines, journals, newspapers and understand them.
3. To enable the students to read questions set in different examinations, forms for admission, visa form, passport form, etc.
4. To help the students to read advertisement, hoarding, banners etc.

D. Writing : To Write English

I. To enable the students to answer questions set in different competitive examinations.
2. To enable the students to fill up forms for various examinations, Contents & Methods of Teaching English admission test, fill up forms for higher education,  various booking etc.
3. To help students to write letters, summaries, description, reports etc.
4. To help the students to reproduce ideas, experience etc.

The main objectives of the study of English as a second language are as follows

1. To enable pupils to attain working knowledge of the language from utilitarian point of view. A second language must be treated as a skill subject and the ability to read, understand, write and speak simple English should be considered enough evidence of this working knowledge of the language.

2. To develop their capacity to express themselves in the language freely, correctly and with proper pronunciation in talks or conversation on ordinary topics.

3. The third objective is to enable the pupils to express their ideas of non-technical nature in simple correct English. The stress is obviously on expression which is the result of impression on proper comprehension.

4. The fourth objective is to generate in the pupils a love for the language and a desire to cultivate it at leisure for pleasure and profit, though desirable, should not be stressed upon for the purpose of examination.

Keeping in view the role of English as an international language, as a window of the outside world, as a library and as a link language both in India and abroad, we cannot disperse with the study of English. It will be suicidal to do without English.

Ardhendu De