of Instructional Materials
One of the most
challenging tasks in developing the Bridge Course was of converting the selected
passages into instructional material, as it was very important from the theoretical
point of view (see Fig.2). It was absolutely necessary to analyse every single
passage under each skill into specific teaching points and relate them to pupil
behaviours pertaining to that skill. In other words, it was a sort of content
analysis of a passage in terms of first, the language skills and then, the subject
matter. For this purpose, the two research assistants working on the project intensively
studied some good language instructional materials developed on each skill (A
Freshman's Intensive Course in English developed with the help of a British consultant,
Mr. Byrne, attached to the R.C.E., Mysore, 1968, the S R A material (U.S.A.),
1957, and some testing materials in English developed at the R.C.E., Mysore, 1968).
In addition to the study of the above materials which took about a month, they
also collected the last three years' P.U.C. and S.S.L.C. examination papers in
language and subject areas. A through screening and analysis of these question
papers were done to find out the implied objectives and expectations by the universities
and the techniques of evaluation followed by them. This particular step was very
useful for developing instructional material, as it threw sufficient light on
the weaknesses of our examination paper's particularly on the framing of valid
and reliable objective-based questions. The analysis and information derived through
them were informally discussed with the different language experts. On the basis
of discussions, a consensus on the formats of development of questions for language
instruction and evaluation was arrived at. While the formats for LC, LNC, and
RC were similar to those used in the SRA material, the formats for the GC and
EP developed and used by the RCE, Mysore and later modified by the language experts
at the Central Institute of Indian Languages, were utilized for the same.
this framework at hand, the two research assistants started the work of preparing
instructional material for the Bridge Course. The procedure was as follows: First,
the research assistant with education background critically examined the passage
and analysed it with reference to a particular skill. The analysis included the
division of a passage into cohesive or meaningful sub-units, instructions for
teaching them and developmental and evaluate questions on them. Then the passage
LNC, or RC was given to the research assistant with language background for further
linguistic analysis, e.g., grammar, context, syntax, etc. The questions thus framed
were of different types (see illustrations in the Bridge Course). The instructional
and evaluative materials of 4 to 5 passages were again discussed with two education
and language experts independently and on the basis of their constructive suggestions,
a systematic guideline for developing further materials for instruction and evaluation
was drawn up. Although the procedure was more or less the same for all passages,
a few deviations had to be made to suit the needs of various skills. Thus, all
the passages concerning LC, LNC, and RC were thoroughly analysed and converted
into instruction and evaluation materials. The main body of the course consisted
of a large number of questions. They were scrutinized again and the ones found
defective were either modified or replaced by new ones. Keeping the time factor
in mind, an optimum number of questions for each passage was selected for the
final version. (See the Bridge Course for complete details pertaining to all the
skills). The second step was to sort out these instructional materials into two
inter-related books, one for the use of teachers and the other for the use of
Teachers' Manual : It consisted of materials pertaining to all the five skills
included in the course. While arranging the teachers' manual needed detailed and
definite instructions for operations for teaching passages were developed in the
preliminary analysis, the need for modifying these instructions and arranging
them in order separately for both the teacher and the taught was felt. This point
pertains to the Process part of the schema discussed earlier. It was necessary
to develop the instructional guide for teachers in order to ensure as much uniformity
between them as possible. This part of developing the ridge Course was attended
to with utmost care and seriousness. A quick examination of the teachers' manual
will support this assertion.
students' Volume : Similarly, different sets of general and specific instructions
with reference to each skill and passage were developed for the students' volume
also. Having realized that students might be tempted to work on the material and
come prepared on the following day, separate evaluation forms for the material
contained in the students' volume were developed and used for testing the gains
of students. This volume contained instructions related to RC, GC and EP. In this
way the preparation of instructional materials and guidelines for the teaching
process were developed within a period of six months.
more characteristics and criteria for the selection of passages
selecting the passages for this skill, some consideration was given to the ability
of words and sentence patterns to produce audile images and discrimination in
the listener. Such cues, it was thought, could help him in answering questions
in the tests. The sentences were short, simple and easy to reproduce. They had
generally smaller paragraphs in the beginning and increasingly longer ones at
The passages under this category were slightly more difficult than those in the
previous skill. In all other respects they were more complex as the major emphasis
was on the explanation and exposition of them by the teacher. The student was
required much more than to merely reproduce what he had acquired through listening.
As a result, the passage contained more difficult words, more complex sentence
structure, and particularly a higher type of content which required the skill
of identifying the central thought and copying down relevant points within a very
short span of listening. In addition, as it was quite impossible for him to write
down verbatim everything that was spoken and explained, he was forced to put it
down in his own words.
The passages selected for this skill were markedly different from those in LC
and LNC. Their content and the language used in them were more complex and difficult.
The length of passage was also considerably increased. They were narrations full
of conceptual and ideational themes. The scope of acquiring higher order knowledge
was expanded in this selection. In other words, the passages were quite challenging.
Once again the passages chosen were like those selected for RC, as the students
were required to read the passage very quickly and having grasped the gist of
it, were expected to manipulate words, sentences and structures in their own language
along with giving correct and equivalent language substitutes for the same. Moreover,
they were instructed to develop the given theme on their own, producing a similar
but new version of the passage studied.
As these passages were essentially aimed at developing proficiency in two languages,
the content and the language structure were kept as easy, simple and low as possible.
The standard of an average P.U.C. student with respect to English was kept in
view. Wherever found necessary, the meanings of English words were given at the
end of the passage. The selection was made from the supplementary reading materials
prepared by the NCERT and CTE for the benefit of the P.U.C. students studying
through the medium of English.
evaluation was part and parcel of the course. As a matter of fact, it was very
difficult to differentiate where instruction stopped and evaluation started. For
example, a part of a passage on LC was recited as instruction in the Teachers'
manual and immediately, as planned, the questions regarding it were put to the
students. Right after that, further recitation of the passage was continued and
again on-the-spot evaluation was done. As may be seen from this description, instruction
and evaluation being two sides of the same coin, progressed hand in hand.
previously pointed out, according to the scope of each skill, a variety of questions
were framed. After a very careful scrutiny, an optimum number of appropriate and
suitable questions were selected for each passage. These questions pertained to
both language and content for LNC, RC and GC. As has already been explained, no
questions were required to be framed for EP. The distribution of these questions
within each skill depended upon the length, difficulty and complexity of the passages.
The questions were very simple. Most of them were designed to elicit one word
response. A few questions were of the nature where a complete but short sentence
was sought for. Sometimes they required answers of more than one or two sentences.
But in general a single word, key-point answer was required. At the end of the
passage, one or two recapitulating questions were also put.
The format of questions was more or less similar to the one adopted for LC. But
the questions were aimed at tapping higher order of thinking. Thus, the expected
answers were in the form of single words, simple sentences, complex sentences,
compound sentences, making up brief summaries on the notes taken and sometimes
even offering critical comments. As may be seen, although not aimed or planned,
their written expression was also tested by asking them to correct wrong spellings,
to derive equivalent words or synonyms to translate and transform what they had
learned in their own words.
Keeping the same format and continuing in the same vein, the questions under
this skill required students to analyse, evaluate, interpret, infer and give critical
comments on the passage studied.
The format of this skill consisted of two parts, first, the reading of the passage
and second, the development of another version on the basis of relevant and important
points from it for which questions for evaluation were not necessary. This was
a sort of open-end essay type of question in which the student's ability to organize
and summarize was tested.
: A pre-test for determining the initial level of attainment in skills of
college entrants was so designed that it could also be used as a post-test later.
The procedure followed was the same as described earlier for analysing the other
passages. Care was taken to select passages of an average (medium) difficulty
for each skill. The interest of students belonging to different disciplines was
also kept in mind while selecting these passages. Although the selection was done
from different disciplines, they were of general nature and did not seem to favour
the students with a certain specialized background. Put differently, while selecting
a passage, primary importance was given to its language aspect and only secondary
emphasis to its content. The information given in Table 2 gives a clear picture
of the number and distribution of passages according to different disciplines
from which they were drawn.