The Platform


The experiences I’ve had as an English lecturer have been diverse. The most common occurrence is that most of my students are frightened off by the English language. No matter how easily the language is taught to them, they lack the confidence to overcome their anxiety and don’t even try to learn it. While Bengali is the official language in Bangladesh, English is widely spoken. English is taught to students to prepare them for a global environment. Teaching English to college students in Bangladesh has made me realize that most students are terrified to read, write, and speak English.

The sense of disquiet, fear, nervousness, and apprehension experienced when learning or utilizing a second language is known as foreign language anxiety, also known as xenoglossophobia.

Most students, not just here in Bangladesh, are afraid of learning another language, particularly English. This is a result of not trying to learn the language and not practicing. The three most frequent reasons why people are frightened to speak English are fear of failing, fear of being misunderstood, and fear of making grammatical errors. The majority of pupils believe that making mistakes in English will make them appear foolish in front of others and that it will be “the end of the world” if they do.

According to a study from 2017, the primary obstacle for students’ in trying to learn English is hampered by the curriculum at their schools. In addition, the disparity between classroom culture and learning culture at the secondary and higher levels hinders students’ language acquisition. Another study revealed that one of the main causes of anxiety around speaking English is fear. According to research, more than 90% of students and teachers believe that the students’ speaking-related worry is to blame for their anxiety. Almost 70% of professors say that English is not used in everyday life.

According to my observations, the majority of students simply rote memorize their material in order to pass their exams. Students do the bare minimum to prepare for their exams, often turning to online programs to help write an essay EssayPro. Many teachers promote this mindset, so students simply accept their advice and do not attempt to learn or understand English. Rather, they regard English as a course that they must complete for their certification

In most Bangladeshi schools, a 45-minute English lesson begins with the teacher entering the room, opening the book, and writing two or three exercises on the board. For example, he or she might write, “I ate an apple” or “I have a pineapple.” Then he or she underlines ‘an’ and ‘a’ and explains that these are articles. That’s it. Both students and teachers are unfamiliar with the latest developments in language acquisition. As a result, students begin to fear the language more because nearly all modern technology is in English. And the use of technology, which children could have used to learn English, is feared by them.

According to Fazlur Rahman, teachers must be taught language teaching strategies. The size of the classroom must therefore be lowered in order for teachers to use discussion, dialogue, unscripted speeches, and peer learning strategies to teach English in an interactive manner. Seating should be circular so that students speak with one another in the language taught in class. Finally, the final examinations must assess all parts of the learned language, including listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Above all, teachers must establish a friendly relationship with their students in order to use the communicative approach, which is uncommon in school.

Just memorizing some exercises from books and other resources will never help students learn English; rather it will make them afraid. Teachers should encourage students to speak and use English in their everyday lives. Even if they make mistakes, students should be motivated to practice English materials, rather than just memorizing them for exams. Teachers should also be given the atmosphere to teach English in a manner with a global context. Interactive learning requires both institutional and teaching resources. Innovation and technologies of language learning should be embraced and introduced among students with joy.

Despite possessing massive potential, many Bangladeshi students are afraid of English. This is because English learning is not made easy for them. Reading English literature, watching movies and films, and having language clubs in schools are not widely promoted. The lack of monitoring is to blame. One of the biggest challenges to producing educated and professional generations in Bangladesh is the language barrier. The best strategy to develop a generation of linguistically competent young people who can engage and compete in this fast-paced world is to enhance teaching-learning quality by promoting an interactive environment in educational institutions.

Sadia Tasnim is a teacher and content writer in Bangladesh. She is currently a lecturer at Feni City College. She completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees in English from Port City International University. Her research interests include literature, culture, teaching techniques and language.