The well-known American author Ben Sweetlandonce rightly stated that, “Success is a journey, not a destination.” However, the route selected to reach an individual’s desired destination is one of the most crucial factors that distinguishes success failure.
Rakesh Rana and Ravinder Singh were two childhood friends in Ajmer, a small-town but popular religious cum tourist destination in Rajasthan. Both cheerful lads went to the same government run Hindi medium school and graduated the local Arts College managed by a charitable trust. Equally motivated and extremely dedicated – they believed their future would lead them towards quick career growth thereby enhancing the livingconditions of their families.
On completion of education, Ravinder managed to secure a small-time non-descript Accountants job which barely managed to make ends meet due to his meagre earnings. In stark contrast, Rakesh’s successful journey led him to Delhi wherein he easily secured a well-paying job with a leading communication firm and quickly started rising up the corporate hierarchy.
Pondering on the dissimilar fortunes, one could easily flash the ‘luck’ or ‘merit’ card since both friends had similar education and socio-economic backgrounds. However, on closer scrutiny one wouldrealise that Rakesh’s English languagecommunication skills were better developed vis-à-vis Ravinder. One of the main factors that helped nurture Rakesh’s English language communication skills was his fervent love for English novels – the school’s library and thereafter college’s reading room.
It was this one hobby, ‘reading’ that went on to pay large dividends in not only improving Rakesh’s English conversational skills but also helping shape-up his successful career.
Few would still champion the cause of promoting mother-tongue especially in educating the child during their formative years. Without denying or underestimating the role of mother tongue, we must also remember that English is the global language of commerce and opportunity. The increasing usage of English both internationally and in India in recent years illustrates the point very well.
The vast majority of Indians are multilingual and hence children could be taught another language such as English in addition to their mother tongue. In fact, it has been widely proven that childhood is the best phase in a person’s life to learn and hence introducing children to English during their formative years would help them grasp the language in amuch easier manner.
As most Indian homes are not English speaking, the children are introduced to the language at school. However, it would be ideal if parents could nudge their children towards inculcating a habit for reading starting early childhood itself.
Today, the widespread usage of smartphones mean that children can also learn English through multiple apps available on Android and Iphone platforms such as Hello English: Learn English, Speak English in 30 Days, Learn English Daily and many more.
Even the internet especially YouTube has multiple self-learning videos and channels that teach children not only English but also proper pronunciation of words.
Additionally, few DTH players offer engaging English learning channels that not only teach children but also catch their interest through interactive content. One such successful initiative is Tata Sky Active English which aims at enhancing conversational English skills amongst Indians. The best part is that content is on air 24 hours and people can access it according to their convenience. Tata Sky Actve English also teaches the correct pronunciations of words apart training for normal daily situations.
In the early years after independence, many Indians would urge their children to listen to the BBC radiosolely for learning diction and delivery, which were essentially needed communication skillsfor conversing in English. In fact, few years ago Bangalore-based NGO, Education Development Centre (EDC), the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Bihar Education Project (BEP) in collaboration with All India Radio had started an interactive radio programme `English is fun’.
In recent years, learning English has been transformed a dull and solemn classroom based affair to a variety of interactive and engaging approaches depending on the choice most preferred by the learner.
Success and learning are indispensable to each other and multiple English learnings options are available today – both traditional and new-age interactive approaches. Hence, no one can cite flimsy excuses and avoid learning if they want to achieve success in their lives.
The UN English Language Day is observed annually on 23 April since it’s traditionally observed as both William Shakespeare’s birthday and date of death.As the day approaches, it is a matter of pride that India now claims to be the world’s second-largest English-speaking country, second only to the US. Some estimate that around ten per cent or 125 million Indians speak English and this figure is expected to quadruple in the next decade.
However, a lot more Indians can learn English if they choose to learn through any of the multiple interactive and engaging approaches available.