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Posted at: Apr 11, 2018, 12:09 AM; last updated: Apr 11, 2018, 12:09 AM (IST)CAREER HOTLINE

Mastering English skills

Pervin Malhotra               

Q. I studied in a government school and later did BCom. through correspondence. I am now doing  Company Secretary course. However, I lack the confidence to converse in  English fluently. I am facing a lot of embarrassment because of this even in the compasny where i am currently doing my internship. Please suggest how I can improve my English. — Skhbeer Singh

A. Like it or not, English is the most widely spoken language in the world, besides being the lingua franca or global link language of education, technology and trade in most parts of the world. And with the world's largest share of English speaking people, India is fast emerging as the centre of gravity. Moreover, English has a unique bearing in aspirational India where it's considered a passport to upward social and financial mobility. 

Those who can’t speak and write good English do find it somewhat tough to survive in the modern information age. The best way to improve your verbal skills is through self-learning. This is possible by consciously listening to English programmes on radio and TV, and paying attention to correct pronunciation and intonation. Watch Ted talks and keenly observe good speakers.

Practice reading aloud from the newspaper (in privacy of course!). This simple exercise will also hone your GK skills. Browse these five pages: front page, business, international, edit and sports. Make bullet points on the edge capturing the gist of the articles. Record and review your process.

Grab every opportunity to converse in English. The more, the better. Ask a well-meaning friend to help you out and correct you wherever necessary. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. English is not our mother tongue. A few of us can claim to be 100 per cent fluent. However, practice makes a man perfect. Once you overcome the initial hesitation; you’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly your vocabulary and conversational skills improve. Just try these simple steps and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. 

There are plenty of mobile apps and audio tutorials that you can use.

Try http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en

This free website helps you strengthen your English language skills through fun games and interesting exercises. Similarly, log onto Voice of America's website: http://learningenglish.voanews.com

You’ll find their broadcasts and word list very useful.

Scope in library science

Q. I am in second year of BA (Hons.) English. I am a voracious reader and also see myself as a people person. Could you describe the role a librarian plays in this digital age?

A. An ideal librarian needs to be friendly and helpful while keeping abreast of emerging fields of knowledge. Your love for reading combined with your flair for interacting with people can take you a long way in this field. 

What’s more, the role and scope of a career in this field has increased manifold thanks to technology. Increasingly, libraries have geared up to undertake large-scale digitisation of their rare books, periodicals, patents, manuscripts, photographs etc, for which they require trained manpower. As a result, conventional librarians have redefined their services and job profiles. From being mere book-keepers and journal managers they’re transforming into information architects, content publishers, editors, digitisers, indexers and consolidators,  which calls for considerable technical skills and continuous updating of knowledge. That said, we need librarians more than ever, to find creative ways to find and use data. What automated and digital systems cannot do is pique the curiosity of a reader, and inculcate a lifelong habit of reading in children. 

Your profile as a librarian will be varied and change according to the institutions in which you work; schools, colleges, universities, public libraries, research institutes, archives, audio-visual media, commercial/industrial/scientific organizations, newspaper industry, public and private sector undertakings, government departments, national museums, foreign embassies, corporate offices, and other organizations that need to access large amounts of information.

You can pursue a BLib (1-year) degree after you complete your bachelor's degree, and top it with MLib or specialised certifications in Information Science. 


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