Learning skills are as important to a language as foundation materials are to a building
Opines R.R. Aiyar, Executive Sr. Vice President, Amity University Press in conversation with Varsha Verma. Learning skills are very important to a language. This point is further strengthened when Aiyar says, “Language is not a body of knowledge to be learnt, but a skill to be acquired.” A home uses strong materials to strengthen it. So also, reading, writing, speaking and listening give the very foundation to language learning. “It is a gradual process. Like a home, it also takes time to present itself in a stable position,” he says.
All the four skills complement each other. “One is interlinked to another. A wellrounded language has all these four skills beautifully connected. The skills work in pairs. When you are reading and listening, you are consuming a language. However, when you are writing or speaking, you are producing a language,” says Aiyar. Fluency in language comes when you master these skills.
There are no hard and fast rules. You imbibe this habit in the formative years. Environment and encouragements play pivotal roles. Parents and home, where complete education takes place, most certainly have a big say in improving the reading habits of children. Elaborating on this, Aiyar points out:
- Start with pictorial books. Pictures stay longer in the mind of a child. Simple language, is a start.
- Graphic or comic books certainly is the next best.
- Pocket dictionary or pocket notebook is a great help, when reading.
- If you get bored with a book, keep it aside. Take another. But read and read.
- DEAR program will help. D for Drop, E for Everything, A for And and R for Read. Once in a week, ensure that everyone reads for an hour on any subject. This should be made compulsory for faculty and non-faculty members and students.
- Presentation paper or project reports also help you in a big way.
- Regular newspaper reading habits is a big yes, yes.
In many ways, reading helps in gaining confidence in writing. “Writers mature with age like good Scotch Whisky. Writing blogs or just writing what you observe keeps your creative juices flowing. You will make mistakes. But, you will also learn from these mistakes. At all times, you will take care that your language gets foremost consideration,” says Aiyar.
“Reading gives you a great platform to improve your vocabulary; writing gives you a greater confidence in using these words; and, speaking, helps you in delivering a simple yet, beautifully structured language at its creative best. Speakers are not born. Orators have shaped up after considerable experience,” he shares.
“In my opinion, this is the most important skill and sadly the most neglected one,” feels Aiyar. “Sure, it is the hardest skill for language learners. One of the reasons for this is that there is an opportunity here to become passive listeners. Watching a film is fine. Listening a classical music is finer. But, to think that these can help you to become better listeners is far from truth. This is because you cannot just let the words flow in and out from your ears. Your mind is also a partner in this exercise. Honestly, you need to study what you are listening to. Passive listening is easy but will not help you in honing your listening skills. What you need is active listening. Active listening is when you are listening to music only, for example, and not in the kitchen cooking.”
“Tolerance is another big aspect towards improving your active listening. Many people do not possess this. They do not allow people to speak nor do they have patience to listen. The tendency will always be there to interrupt and give their option. Surely, such an option can even be given after listening to the speaker fully. Contemporary organizations make it a point to include listening skills as one of the aspect while interviewing the candidate,” he adds.
‘Champions of communication‘, this is what many people think that they are. “Unfortunately, most of the problems arise only because our communication has not come to the fore. For that to happen, our language needs to be well structured and the four nuances of learning well learnt,” he says.
On Amity University Press
On asking about his experience at AUP, Aiyar replied, “Blessings, guidance and motivation at every stage given by our Founder President Dr. Ashok Chauhan and Chancellor, Dr. Atul Chauhan. They have been there at every stage in our success story. Come 10th March, 2018, AUP would be 15 years young and growing. This wonderful journey has witnessed ups and downs, triumphs and travils. At the end of it all, a beautiful success story has emerged, mainly because of a very strong core team which has been with me for over 30 years.”
“I am what my team is,” says Aiyar with pride. Talking about the books subscribed by school, he adds, “Amity Schools, of course, prescribe our books, but it is just 15% of our total business. Our books are used in many well-known schools across the country. A few top schools which do not use our books, however, keep our titles as reference for their high production value and superior content development. “
On asking about the future plans, Aiyar shares, “Earlier, we were bringing out only CBSE books, but now we bring out ICSE books as well and in the coming year, we will be bringing out books for Cambridge Schools as well.” “Our endeavor at AUP, will be moving with time and imbibe all the changes in the right direction, without losing on the important ingredients and inputs of a well-accepted and with a proven track record past”, concludes Aiyar.