ELT 2019 ~ On Request at Dar-e-Arqam School Branch Bani Gala Islamabad


Conducting and Monitoring  an ELT Pronunciation/Phonology  Session at  Bani Gala Branch of  Dar-e- Arqam  School  for Inservice Teachers.

Mrs Shahnaz Principal of the Branch was present throughout the session and also guided the Teachers


All 7 for Spoken English Language

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Demand for learning the Spoken form of English Language is greater …er I mean the trend seems to be that  ‘Knowing English language means having the skill to speak English ‘ nothing more .One of my neighbors teenage daughter said one day ‘Aunty your spoke must be good’

My spoke ? and then quickly I caught the sense of what she meant. ‘Speaking English means a ‘standard status’ ‘Just speak English .It does not matter whether it is correct or not,not everyone knows about that’

But this is a serious matter.How and what are the teachers doing about Teaching English? I wonder but …it is quite apparent that the situation is progressively deteriorating day by day.

I got a message from my younger daughter whose three kids study at primary level.The message -a line from the Examination Prep sheet for Class 2- ”Q A from lesson 2 will be listen’

any guesses?

Recovering from my year long indisposition I announced in June in my neighborhood that I will teach English language Spoken form to Girls and ladies who wish to improve…I visited a couple of schools myself for talking to the teachers and telling them about my plans.I sent letters to 14 local schools on the road where I live. The response’ I got 7 students but in ones and twos ‘

All 7 wanted to learn the Spoken form of English language.Well,OK

The first two had certain conditions

‘teach us to speak to the Principal’

Hmmnnn ‘

Just give us sentences that we may learn by heart and use them the next day in school’ They were teachers. I felt I could not teach them English nor improve their Grammar and felt really sorry for them.

I gave them a Formula

Please follow this and you will be good speakers I assure you…

The Formula

  • Select an object -any object- (a toy a book a spoon a key chain, an apple)
  • Name it-
  • Classify its category (like fruit-furniture-books-vegetables)
  • Name similar items (at least two)
  • Tell the Color ( red blue green orange)
  • Define the Shape ( round long circular)
  • Check the weight ( heavy light feathery)
  • Identify material- (made of plastic wood metal)
  • Estimate the cost
  • State availability (it is easily found in the local market)
  • Durability (it is long lasting..)
  • Personal Opinion (Do you like it? Who gave it to you?)

And in this way you will be able to speak more than ten sentences.Practice with different items and begin with these Chains/chunks of language

  •  It is a …..
  • It is an….
  • It has…..
  • It weighs about
  • Its cost is about…..
  • It is made of
  • I like it…
  • It was a gift from…..

This formula has been a great success not only for young beginners but also for ‘adults who want to improve their spoken form of language quickly and without reading any heavy books.

The first lesson is here….lets begin to learn…..and keep learning

Practice makes perfect.





~ First it is ‘Getting to Know It’ then separating the Creative from the Directed ~



Work on the ‘English Channel’ I mean the English Challenge has begun’…The first step’ has been taken.


‘A Language needs to be defined first. How can you learn something when you do not know what it is? ‘So very simple ‘

Elementary My Dear Watson’

Language is a system.It has parts.It has rules and laws but it is not the Supreme Court.In fact the Supreme Court uses it too.

It has sounds and lastly it has meaning.

The technical formula would be: System: sounds+meaning -linked by Grammar= Phonetics+ Semantics > Grammar

Now we are getting somewhere.

Language Travels,Changes and Develops.It adds new words and meanings to its treasure box from time to time

English came to our land with the English Travelers just like Persian or Farsi came with the Travelers from Iran.

Time to Use a Map

See this is England and aaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllllll the way here is Pakistan….see how far the language traveled.Now it is all over the world except for the 5 countries that have English as their First Language.They are Canada ? USA England New Zealand and Australia

Parts of a Language

From point A to Z  -26 letters. 44 sounds

It is getting technical but very interesting.

All languages have typical sounds and can be identified.Check the video clip of the ‘Efficient Translator’ Oh Dear with due apologies.

Ma’am did you learn your native Kashmiri language?

Good question-unfortunately NO’ and it is so sad to find now about the Kashmiri Phonetic system.Those who did not understand it,made fun of it…alas’

Ma’am I want to learn Creative writing’

Dear I asked you to copy the words written in color,with a variety of styles,and shapes-you wrote them down in a list form-that’s the difference-when there is no color or style or variety or a setting then it is ‘simple ‘do as directed’ but you did not COPY’ Why?

My student just smiled for it was as clear as day to her when I pointed it out. The Other key point: One always needs a Teacher’

I hope I am moving on the right lines….

Let The English Challenge Begin~ But Where Do I Begin…?~


majority of the world’s English users are now to be found in countries where  it  is a  Foreign Language

Barbara Seidlhofer writes in  Chapter 10 -in her Essay entitled ‘Research Perspectives in Teaching Lingua Franca’ and so Pakistan is one of them and I am one of the fast diminishing species ‘The   SNNM ‘

‘SNNM? what is it please tell me I am feeling ‘ high  anxiety’  ‘jaldi batao’

‘see you are always in such a ‘jaldi’ ‘samjh aa jaye gee aap ko?

‘yes yes ‘ aa jaye gee, ab bata bhi do na yaar’

Oh Dear this ‘yaar thingy’ ooopsss ‘I used it too. Just two days ago one of our wiggy ministers  was using this word  and I was feeling so grateful’

‘Grateful ? why’

‘Because I did not waste my  vote for him’

‘waste or cast’


‘well, I will tell you that I am one of Strange  Near Native Misfit Teaching Professionals

‘and so I had this challenge before me.To begin Teaching English to a beginner in the Teaching profession -a Master Degree holder,but the good thing about her is that she is determined to learn’

‘Oh Iqbal Sahib abhi bhi log hain jo ‘Khudi ko buland karna chahte hain ‘

and so I could not sleep , and kept thinking.I knew when we do not learn or do a task at the right time we have to go back two steps and begin all over again.

She said she could not write on a given topic

she said she did not know ‘tenses’ and became tense …

she said she had no interest in reading and opened a book to rote learn three days before the final paper and that she was Good at rote learning and so got through’

she said she did not know Grammar’

Oh Come on this is to say’she does not know English at all’

Yes something like that ‘

so what do you intend to do and how and what book…..

Ah what beautiful questions you ask?

‘I am going, rather drifting way back into the 14th Century.I am on a Viking’s ship sailing from the Northern Peninsular of Scandinavia and I have no ‘ house bound’ as yet…

house bound’

yes do you know that the word ‘husband ‘ was once two words’house and bound’ and this is how language changes’

Language’ yes I will have to first tell the ‘The Story of Language’

Oh Muse Take me to the Anglo Saxon world’ but please not for long….

First take a look’ I gave her a task’-it was to copy a group of twenty words’ written all over a page,in a variety of styles and colors’

You know what she did?


She wrote them down in a long list -in a column….straight -like the top to bottom approach…just the opposite of what was before her…copy she did but……..’

it is our single one sided mind set….

and I knew the ‘way to think-  matters ‘ to learning-no wonder she felt so poor in language ‘O People of Pakistan  you have been so poorly treated…but I will help…she is the 7th student coming in since June …..I hope more will come….soon….and so I have begun the Herculean Task….O Muse” Descend …’

‘For What offense was I made a Teacher of English?’


O Muse! the causes and the crimes relate;

What goddess was provok’d, and whence her hate;

For what offense …..

‘It is a real challenge’ requiring more than Superman’s strength power and skill’

‘What is it ? O it sounds so exciting’ not dangerous though’ let me see ‘OBL is dead now confirmed’ er…so its not him…it can’t be the Abominable Snowman…hmn now let me think…Is it related to the ancient Greeks or …er..the Barbarians..no the Mongols?

No No Dear it is the ‘thing all over the world and everyone is trying to conquer’

OMG ‘ I will sms and find out’

No need for that you are already on the track and will soon be off the track if you will follow this lead….beware I am warning you, but no…wait

‘O cursed spite’ why ever was I born to set it right’

I loved something really worthwhile without any problems attached …and now people think that I am possessed by it and that I can give them a bit of the sacred treasure…it is not so easy…oh dear…and yet again…I have another eager one coming in.Seeking me for the past two months.I am really a Wanted Person’ ha ha!

Now tell me I cannot wait anymore’

You want to know sure?

‘OK well, it is ‘ENGLISH’

and I have to teach it to …

she says she cannot write a single sentence…

Can she write her name?

she has a Masters degree…..what do you think?

how are you going to do it?

well that is the challenge ‘O Muse of Literature Linguistics creative Arts’ Awake Arise Descend’

I have a great task before me’

and now I will record it all….ELT Bloggers here I come…..


‘I don’t know how to write an application?’ she said


‘well, what have you been doing in the English period in school’ and you say you have a Masters Degree?


‘well what?

Well, you have to learn work hard and be serious in your attitude’

how much time you have wasted

All writing is learnt best by the Method of Modelling

‘You are not paying attention’ I didn’t say that’ ~Hardly Any English Language Input ~

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Radio was a favorite, transistor was a companion books were the best friends~

From Islamabad- driving on the highway after visiting three families perhaps is in itself a strain both on the mental and physical self’ Heavy traffic,the rough jumpy road IJP or The Mall the bumps will never go.’ I am glad we took the pizza it was enough for all’ ‘ Ah Yes, Insha Allah she will get the visa’ ‘Oh Dear’ its the driving, …..

pizza’ and visa’ do have the same sound’

Next morning at breakfast the hot topic being the ‘Islamabad incident’ I said’ Najam Sethi was quite serious about the governments role’

‘Ah yes. She was Secretary to..hmmffm…during the last regime’ ‘Who?

‘Nargis Sethi’ She was Secretary to….’

Oh ji I am talking about Najam Sethi and he is a he’…I picked up my plate and dragged myself to the tv lounge.Still under the effects of the hot Ramazan,maybe I was not clear in my speech.

‘I thought you said Nargis’…’In my heart I said’ I dont even know Nargis.The only Nargis I know was the Indian film star,then recently my Cooking maids contact is named Nargis and I cannot forget her…for serious reasons of kitchen affairs.

English language Listening Skills are a matter of the past.Ages ago when there was the radio.’All ears for news,drama,sport commentary, songs and views’ It was all focused listening and so English language was well heard and thus well spoken.

‘With the coming of the visuals,the television,talking thunderous movies, there is a split in ‘listening skill development’

The mind retains certain words and chunks but lacks the input and storage of proper structured sentences.

‘ It is said that listening is the earliest communication skill acquired, the most often used, but the least mastered.

Given that listening accounts for 45 per cent of time spent on communication (Eunson 2012:310), argue the importance of listening skills in the workplace.’ I say it is important everywhere,if English is to improve in all its forms. We need to focus on the two Receptive Skills- Reading and Listening…

All By Divine Will ~ The Challenge of The 7th Moment

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I Felt the Appointment as Ordained.

Madam, this is Air Commodore……on behalf of the President of PAFWA…. this is to inform you that you have been selected as Principal PAF Bilquis College…this is our offer…if you find it acceptable please let us know so that we can proceed… And so …I found myself flying in an air force jet plane …my son was driving KIA and was being constantly guided on the mobile phone.I felt as if escorted by two jets,till we reached the gates of E-9 AIR HQ Islamabad. The escort continued as a smartly dressed PAF officer met us inside the parking lot and led us to the Reception Lounge. ‘I was about to meet the most elegant lady,a graceful personality,smiling,positive attitude to the maximum, happy …Mrs Zareen Tanveer wife of the Chief of Air Staff Pakistan Air Force-Head of PAFWA Pakistan Air Force Women Association. ‘Mubarak Ho ji aap ko -aap ko kaam ki briefing den ge…I am sure you will run our college to the best of your abilities’ Insha Allah’ It was a small office with a table and space for just two extra chairs.The SLO (I came to know that he was ..so known) sat on a small chair at the side taking notes.Soon another gentleman entered holding an open laptop computer.He was introduced as Prof..from the AIR University Islamabad. I sat facing the First lady and the Prof sat on my right and he began his ‘briefing’ by turning the screen of the laptop a little towards me …’This is the 7th Moment in the latest research by Denzin & Lincoln 2000.They propound that… Child and youth care is in the Seventh Moment. The Seventh Moment is a term used in qualitative inquiry to describe the trend to open the doors to new ways of studying and looking at human behavior, attitudes, and conditions. The Seventh Moment is a period of “ferment and explosion” (Denzin and Lincoln, 2000, pp 2-12), that is “defined by breaks from the past, a focus on previously silent voices, and a concern with moral discourse, with critical conversations about democracy race, gender, class, nation, freedom, and community (Lincoln and Denzin, 2000, p. 1048).” In the Seventh Moment, practitioners and researchers are using a variety of qualitative research methods to understand and improve practice. They intermingle literary, poetic, journalistic, fictional, cinematic, documentary, factual and ethnographic writing and representation. No one form is privileged over the other (Denzin, 2001, p 7.). All of these methods of inquiry are concerned to some degree with the “what is” and the ways it can be shown. The researcher, who is often a practitioner as well, looks into an experience, and shows the experience in a way that is consistent with the way that it is experienced, heard, and/or visualized. The goal isn’t to prove, but to understand by writing about, drawing, performing, etc. and interpreting an experience. Like the child and youth care worker, the researcher tries to be in the moment, open and available to hear, see, and mirror back his or her experience of a child and/or what is going on around them. Self is always present in the Seventh Moment. Researchers’ biases enrich, and inform the narrative, and sometimes become the center of the inquiry. They are present in the moment curious about a phenomenon, feeling, child, youth, adult, etc. And knowing how their presence changes and influences the context of what they see and experience is a key part understanding a phenomenon. In child and youth care we have seen an increase in performance texts, stories, narratives, and other contextual examples of reflective practice because they fit nicely with the way many of us experience, observe, and think about the work. The way we make meaning of our developmental interactions is often best understood and portrayed in a short story, essay, film, portraiture, painting or other forms of expression that contextualize the experiences, and gives voice to those who might otherwise have been excluded. And these voices — the voices of workers, parents, youth, etc. — are being heard louder and louder. More than ever before we can see and hear child and youth care as it is experienced in the lived experience of workers, children, youth, family members and others. We are, as Jerome Beker, founding editor of Child and Youth Care Forum said, trying to “hear it deep and look to the questions that do so much to determine the soul of the work.” ‘Mrs Dar I want you to bring a Change in the College and this is the objective and mission I am handing over to you.If you can bring the College to the 7th Moment it will be a great service to the PAF.Go to libraries, visit other colleges,meet learned scholars, learn from them and bring back the knowledge for the betterment of the AIR FORCE learners students and the community’.

I was so honored, I felt a strange trembling, I realized the seriousness of The Great lady’s purpose, I tried to capture the Vision put before me. I looked for the Silver Steel Sword that I felt I would require for the Herculean Task but I knew in my heart that The First Lady had full faith in her selection and I had to come up to her expectations to the best of my abilities and experience. I stood up,we shook hands…’I have given you three increments to begin with…Madam,only one favor please, if you could arrange for transport and cut the monthly conveyance allowance I would be deeply grateful’ ‘OK , kar dein ji garri ka bhi’ and so “Best wishes and the date is 15th November 2008 ‘ National Flag Raised in PAF Bilquis College after 10 Years Today is the 14th of August 2013.National Flags are flying with honor The new Year 2009 saw the raising of the Pakistan Flag at PAF Bilquis College after ten years.The flagpole outside the main hall was rusty.There was no national flag in the college, only the one in the Principal’s office. The first thing I sanctioned and signed for purchase was the National Flag of Pakistan. It took three days to get the flagpole repainted and replaced in the proper space in front of the main college building.I asked the Admin officer (a retired army person) to Train a group of students to hoist and lower the Flag and so the ‘Flag Hoisting ceremony was launched and made a regular feature as part of the Morning Assembly.The first day as the flag was raised, the prayer said and the national Anthem sung,there appeared on the bright blue sky, one of the brightest of rainbows I have ever seen.’ Subhan Allah’ Allah is with Us’

By anjum wasim dar Posted in ELT Life

Learning English Needs Discipline


‘Can you follow instructions?

An activity to find the answer to the given question often revealed that 90% of the students cannot. The key line in second place in the questionnaire instructs ‘Do not write till you have read all the questions but 90% of students wrote their names ‘an instruction in the 4th line’

Learning anything requires a disciplined approach, regularity consistency and the desire to achieve some target.

Learning a language is on top of the list of subjects.

When I announced the Spoken English language course three students showed interest in doing it. All three wanted a change in ‘

a) time

b) money(payment of the course

c) duration of sessions

Well, it is indeed a difficult state of affairs as by this I understood that we as a nation have lost the value of following instructions, obeying the law and agreeing to a given timetable.Perhaps we feel too free in our homeland.

Can anyone just wave a wand or a rifle at anyone?

I am afraid we are moving in the opposite direction.

More soon.