The first two-day Pak-TESOL Sindh Regional Conference has started under the theme of “Innovation in English Language Teaching & Future Directions” organized by the Institute of English Language & Literature, University of Sindh (SU) Jamshoro in the Ayaz Auditorium, Arts Faculty Building here on Monday.

The inaugural ceremony of the conference was presided over by the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Sindh University Thatta Campus Prof Dr Rafique Ahmed Memon.

In his presidential address, Dr Rafique Ahmed Memon said that there were different requirements of the twenty-first century- one of them was the modern skills for teaching & learning English.

He said, first of all, teachers were required to be fully trained to cope with the challenges in this regard, adding that Pak-TESOL was a forum through which English teachers were being informed about the latest art of learning and global development.

He said that the teacher should have a set of skills to force the students to come to the classrooms by utilizing the latest methods of teaching.

He said that unless the English teachers were trained, the students will not come to the classroom with enthusiasm and passion to learn, be it university, college or school.

Dr Memon went on saying that there should be student-centered classrooms for English language teaching & learning and the educational environment should also be student-centered, where teaching might be shifted from the teacher to the learners in a pleasant milieu.

He said that having a big degree did not mean that a person was ready and fit to teach English language, but he/ she needed expertise and abilities, which are being provided through the Pakistan- TESOL forum.

“Pak-TESOL is proving to be helpful in the research regarding the prevalence and pervasiveness of English language in the country”, he said and added that there was a need to involve students more and more in the language learning process in the classrooms.

The PVC further said that the students should identify the teaching method of the teachers so that it might be noted and implemented that which techniques were a successful model for their learning.

Addressing the ceremony, former Vice-Chancellor of Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) and Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences of Art & Design Lahore School of Economics (LSE) Professor Dr Shahid Siddiqui said that the Regional English Language Office (RELO) of the American Embassy introduced & started the Pak-TESOL (Teaching English to speakers of other languages) program for teaching English language.

He said that the purpose of the conference was to provide information about teaching, preparation of curriculum for language education and relevant material to the scholars and students of English language education.

He said that English language experts will share their views on English language education, student performance and challenges faced in linguistics, among other important topics.

Dr Siddiqui stated that English was the most important language of science, technology, education and diplomacy at the global level, adding that through lingua franca, the effective view of Pakistan could be conveyed to the international community.

Director of Pak-TESOL Project and Professor of AIOU Islamabad, Dr Muhammad Kamal Khan said that such kind of platforms provided an opportunity to bring together the English language teaching community to discuss the latest trends, problems, practical difficulties and best practices.

He said that there was a need to pay attention to the use of digital content, English language for educational purposes, the teaching of English language through literature and the teaching of intercultural communication with the help of modern methods of English language teaching (ELT).

Director Institute of English Language & Literature and Dean of the Faculty of Arts Professor Dr Muhammad Khan Sangi said that the conference had brought together many English language teachers and professionals from all over the country to provide knowledge and contemporary modus operandi of teaching in English language environment.

“Under these circumstances, English language teaching and research can be combined as a global language competence building”, he said and added that innovation should be considered in the English language teaching for the development of lingo communication involving the professionals.

Pro-Rector National University of Modern Languages (NUML) Islamabad Professor Dr Safeer Ahmed Awan said that students should play their role to ensure the clean environment and beauty of Sindh University campus, because improving the environment of their educational institution was a big contribution.

He hoped that the Pak-TESOL conference would prove to be the best source of learning for teachers, scholars and students to teach and learn the English language.

Earlier, Secretary of the conference Saira Altaf Chandio welcomed the guests, while Dr Abdul Hameed Panhwar extended a vote of thanks to the speakers and the participants at the end of the opening ceremony. Nazar Hussain Chandio of the Institute of Languages received the honor of reciting some verses from the glorious Quran, after which the national anthem was played. All the attendees and guests on the stage stood up in the honor of the national anthem of Pakistan. On the occasion, Deans, Faculty, other scholars, and a large number of students were present.

The proceedings of the conference were conducted by Fauzia Chandio of IELL. After the opening ceremony, various sessions started, in which the scholars presented their research papers regarding English language education. The conference will continue today (Tuesday) as well, after which the two-day English language learning workshop is scheduled to get underway.

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Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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