English Grammar Patterns in a Progressive Way, a book on English language by AM Abeywickrama, an experienced English teacher is one of the recent additions to the few works on the subject that have been published locally so far.
There is still a fast growing interest among school children and adults, mostly employed, in learning English with an eye on better career prospects-a continuing trend resulting from the steadily growing demand for manpower proficient in English.
It is a well-known fact, that the country’s national school system has failed to produce enough young men and women equipped with the necessary degree of proficiency in English to meet the demand for such manpower in the local employment market. This situation is largely due to the teaching of English being neglected for nearly three decades ever since the adoption of Sinhalese as the official language.
International schools and private tutories that have sprung up across the country have been making a worthwhile contribution towards covering the glaring deficit in the teaching of English under the national system of education.
Teaching of a foreign language is a challenge for the success of such an exercise depends on the efficacy of the methodology used for imparting the targeted knowledge. The methodology should be such that what is taught should be something cut and dry for application in day-to-day practical purposes. Then only the student would want to learn the foreign language with an abiding interest, ease and pleasure.
It is evident from the recent publications on the teaching of English that there is an ongoing search for methods of learning English effortlessly and with the kind of zest and the spirit of adventure typical of an explorer of some unknown territory. In this context, Abeywickrama’s work can be described as a valuable find of his own search for an effective method of learning English.
In fact, Abeywickrama’s work presents a methodology with a difference. He has made a commendable effort to teach the correct grammatical use of English along with the conversational usage of the language through a series of well inter-connected sentence patterns. These sentence patterns easily register in the mind of the student as they provide the key to express himself in fluent English about things that are familiar to him and the needs relating to his day-to-day life.
In Abeywickrama’s book, every sentence is accompanied by a Sinhala translation and at the conclusion of every lesson, the student is asked to translate ten sentences in Sinhala into English following the sentence patterns taught under that lesson. This method while facilitating self-study also by the way helps the student to improve his Sinhala knowledge.
Abeywickrama’s work is a boon to students seeking to learn English in a relatively short time with a smile, so to speak. In fact it is a valuable addition to any home or public library.