All about English

THE MADRAS English Association (MEA) celebrated its sixth anniversary this past week "with a varied bill of fare", quite appropriately, at the British Council auditorium.

The programme "crystallised the different interests of the members", who were united in their love for the English language. The morning session was inaugurated by Rathi Jaffar, Special Officer for English, The British Council.

Rathi commented that apart from supporting the MEA in their ventures, the British Council would like to work together for better results beginning with ensuring a better attendance. In the absence of the president Prabhakar Reddy, the secretary Anand Kumar Raju gave an outline of the objectives of the MEA and wished that there would be more participation from city colleges and schools which would be eventually beneficial for all.

The ELT demonstration by S. Elango was a brilliant start to entire the proceedings. His informal talk on "How to use films for promoting language learning" alerted the audience to the possibilities of diversified classroom situations. The use of clips from the film "My Fair Lady" was effective and a sense of liberation from traditional methods of learning was experienced.

Anand Kumar Raju's play, "A Funny Thing" proved to be hilarious. Raju, Nafeesa, Fatima, Jagdish and Lakshmi brought the farcical situation alive with their reading and the audience was vastly diverted.

Poetry reading by Aruna, Sivakami, Sunderarajan, Nithie Victor, S.L. Peeran and Srinvasa Rangachari dealt with the sober theme of life in its various stages. Although all the poets were inspired, the touch of the master craftsman could be discerned when Srinivasa Rangachari read out his verse as the "grand finale'.

The talk on Julian Barnes was presented with great energy by Joseph Chandra who spoke persuasively on a subject that was simultaneously contemporary and complex. Saraswaathi, a veteran in the field of English language teaching, stressed the need to develop communication skills using literary texts as tools. She encouraged the idea of familiarising the students with literature of exceptional merit, which would kindle the latent creativity in them.

Fr. Peter Francis commented that the objectives should be identified clearly while teaching the language and the tasks should be structured to achieve these objectives. Excerpts were screened from the inter-school competition, "A Pageant of comic book superheroes", which was organised successfully by the MEA a few months earlier. Prizes were awarded to the students from the city schools, who had participated in this pageant.

In his vote of thanks, Raju, the guiding spirit behind the endeavour of the Madras English Association, hoped that non-academics, who have a love for literature and English, would also attend the events in the days to come.


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