Why is NCTB’S ‘English For Today’ Textbook Neglected?

English for Today
English for Today by NCTB

Although I do not remember how many times I had opened the book ‘English for Today’ prescribed and published by the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) for English first paper while I was a secondary school student, but I remember that the look of the book remained unchanged until the last day of my academic year. Actually, I want to say that the NCTB provided textbook ‘English for Today’ was not read by me. The incident is true of everyone like me. Our focus was taken to the guide books which were brought to market for commercial purposes. Our teachers and school authority obliged us to buy those. Of course, many of us were beaten/hurt by the teacher for not being able to buy those ‘guide books’ in the market. Most of the time, our teachers asked us to buy guide-books from selected publishers; actually, publishers’ agents convinced them to do that with some money.

Our esteemed teachers used to say that reading model questions from different guide-books is much better than wasting time reading this book.

The complaint was that the standard of curriculum and textbooks in our country were not very good in quality which was why students and teachers were leaning towards the marketted books. The books we read were in accordance with the curriculum of 1995.

The curriculum in Bangladesh was developed in 2012 and the textbooks were prepared accordingly. Innovation comes in every textbook. But the name of the book that is most logically up-to-date and scientifically changed is ‘English for Today’. Besides, new textbooks were also introduced for teaching English grammar. Both are arranged wisely. Although the textbooks on other subjects are quite sincerely accepted by the teachers, most of the English teachers do not pay much importance or use the books called ‘English for Today’ and ‘English Grammar and Composition’. 

I have seen students from a few schools talk to me about the market guide books for English in their schools. I have personally seen publishers of various books regularly send their representatives to teachers with samples or courtesy copies of their guide-books. Many say that these publishers pay little money to the teachers. But I’m not sure; If that happened then it would be a big threat to the nation.

For the past few months, I have been teaching in a secondary school in the capital. There I read the first letter in Bengali and the first letter in English. We were instructed not to go beyond the NCTB guidelines in any way. And I tried to follow his instructions. Although I had a preconceived notion of an English textbook, what I came to understand from reading it was that this book is truly scientific and teacher-student friendly. I also realized that if this book is taught to the students well, their creativity and proficiency in English will increase and they will not need any other guide book.

The only textbook in Bangladesh is ‘English for Today’ which has instructions on how to teach a part or how to read a part starting from the learning result. This is a textbook with a complete lesson plan. We know that to know a language, one has to practice speaking, listening, reading and writing. Because language is for communication, and these four skills are required for this communication. And these four topics have been given prominence in this timely textbook; Very nicely arranged and tidy. Even then, why are teachers neglecting the book ‘English for Today’? 

I have found a number of reasons why teachers are neglecting or emphasizing this scientific book. Some of the notable reasons are: not being able to leave the traditional thinking and teaching process, the mentality of completing the syllabus in a short time or not wanting to work a little harder, teachers not having clear idea about the textbook or they did not open the book well, lack of training or adequate training. Also, if I say that it is the responsibility of the school to see all the good and bad, they do not have the correct knowledge about the book. As well as the teachers saying that there is a book for the second paper in English, the students do not understand because it is in English. But looking at the book, not once did it seem that very difficult things have been brought here or arranged in a strict manner. If the teacher explains, the student will understand. There are also students who can understand on their own,

When I spoke to the students at a school near Dhaka, they told me that the teachers had said that the two English board books (English for Today and English Grammar and Composition) were useless. A very sad comment was swallowed by me then but I have come to tell the students that they should request the teachers to read the books introduced and provided by NCTB; Even if they don’t teach, they should wear it themselves.

Only if English teachers take a look at modernity will they be able to ignore the books that kill the creativity of the market by ignoring a scientific textbook like ‘English for Today’. We have a lot of teachers who are busy concentrating on finishing the syllabus in a hurry, due to which there is not much focus on teaching. And that’s why they hand over the market guidebook. But when I read this guide book, I noticed a feeling of indifference among them which I understand from talking to the students of some educational institutions. I think no teacher can do that even if he thinks in terms of professional honesty.

Most of our children in Bangladesh read compulsory English from first class to twelfth class but can speak two sentences in English. Why can’t you tell? Earlier English was taught in Grammar-Translation Method. That is to say, what was in the textbook was translated and taught and grammar was given priority. But now the method that NCTB has approved is Communicative language teaching (CLT) method. However, most of our educational institutions and teachers are still behind with that traditional GTM. The sooner we get out of here the better for us. For example, it is important to inculcate in students the idea of ​​when and why it is called ‘good morning’ without teaching them the meaning of ‘good morning’. The English language should be given importance in English classes, Which is what teachers are doing nowadays. However, nowhere is it stated that Bengali cannot be spoken or used subject to necessity. The use of Bangla language in English class depends on the student and the situation.

However, I do not have much to say about this because every teacher is aware of his own responsibility and I know some teachers who always dedicate themselves to teaching. I believe there are many teachers who are regularly inspired by others. However, I request all the English teachers of the secondary school to give priority to the NCTB books and teach accordingly. But I have no objection to any guide book on the market, We need those too.

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Md. Mizanur Rahaman Mizanhttps://www.mizanurrmizan.info
Md. Mizanur Rahaman Mizan aka Mizanur R. Mizan is a freelance writer from Bangladesh who has interests in teacher-education, research, literature, international affairs, history, and sports. Mizan likes watching different kinds of films and listening to pop and classical songs. Follow him on ResearchGate or join him on other social media.
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