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Oct 2, 2017

Some English lessons most English teachers did not complete

In this part of the world where English is being taught and learnt as a second language, secondary school teachers of English should never teach the language as if they were teaching a two-year old child "the s3x organs". They should rather expose the students to every nook and cranny of the language by doing justice to the topics in the scheme of work. By so doing, those who might be unable to visit the corridor of any tertiary institution can still have a good knowledge of the language and fluently communicate in it, both in speech and writing.

Some English lessons most English teachers did not complete

There are many English lessons most secondary school teachers of English didn't exhaust but this article discusses only a few. These lessons are:

1. The definition of a noun
In secondary/high school, we were taught that a noun is "a name of person, animal, place or thing", and this definition had been passed on to different classes of scholars. Until I became a student of English and Literary Studies, I had always taken this definition as the best and only definition of a noun. I was totally lost in amazement when I discovered that this definition of a noun is sick and limited in its entirety. If a noun is a name of a person, animal, place or thing, which most secondary school teachers of English ignorantly accept, what about words like happiness, sadness, idiocy, commercialization, democracy, institution, excitement etc., that are regarded as nouns?

A noun should be best defined as "a naming word" as it is used to name person (Tammy), animal (dog), place (Lagos), thing (book), emotion (happiness), process (nominalization), institution (The University of Port Harcourt) etc. Just name anything, and the name given to that thing becomes a noun.

Don't be a student of any school of thought that sees a noun as "a name of a person, animal, place or thing" at the secondary level while as "a naming word" at the advanced level. What is advanced in telling a secondary school student that a noun is a naming word?

2. The definition of a verb
This is another lesson most English teachers fail to do justice to. Most students only know that a verb is an action word because that is what they are being taught. The problem I have with this definition is that it is too lean and narrow. It does not cover all the English verbs.

The verb describes or signals an action (kill, slap, jump, run etc.), an occurrence (happen, become) or a state of being (exist, stand, and the 'be' verbs).

Verbs also show possession. The words in bold are the verbs showing possession in the sentences below.
Examples
  • have a book.
  • He has a book.
  • Tammy owns a duplex.
From this brief explanation, you can attest to the fact that the definition of a verb as an action word is very lean and narrow.

3. Stating the parts of speech
Most secondary school students and leavers will tell you that there are eight (8) parts of speech, which are noun, verb, pronoun, adverb, adjective, conjunction, preposition and interjection. I don't blame them because only a handful of them was taught by English teachers who actually exhausted the topic.

How many parts of speech did your English teacher mention to you? Well, there are nine (9) parts of speech: noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, conjunction, preposition, interjection and article/determiner.

As a teacher, it is very important you give a beefy definition of the subject matter of any topic you are teaching your students. Never see a class of students as too dull to accept such definition.

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