Due to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) 2009, until 8th grade, no child in state or central board in India can fail a grade. They get promoted to the next grade even if they fail.
As part of this collaborative project between my classmate Aradhana Venkat and I, we took a trip to a small village near Bangalore. While interacting with the students from a Government school situated in that area, we found that most of them while having English as one of their subjects, barely knew a few sentences. They were neither interested in the subject nor were they forced to study the same. Even if they did not score well in their exams, due to the RTE were made to pass. Hence, the teachers too were struggling to teach the subject and maintain continuous engagement and concentration of the students.
As an intervention, we decided to take up one chapter of their English textbook (Karnataka Textbook Society (KTBS), 7th Standard, English Textbook 1) and formulate a guide for the teachers to teach the chapter with more activities and engagement. The student at the end must have a better understanding and grasp on the language and the story.
Our objectives of teaching Unit 6 : Uttanka’s Gurudakshina were :
1. To make students understand the story and answer the questions.
2. To make them learn new words and teach articles and participles as part of grammar.
3. To use their vernacular language (Kannada) as the base for explanation.
4. To make the tool replicable to other chapters as a teaching aid.
The proposed approach uses the vernacular language of Kannada as the basis for teaching. This helps the students understand the meanings while repetition of the same chapter numerous times makes them memorize the story.
The various activities are participatory, interactive and focus on all three aspects of speaking, reading and writing. Children are taught by using cut outs of printed words and images stuck to a piece of cloth or a wall. This method was chosen so that teachers can run the activities by themselves using the limited resources that a government school has.
Pre reading activity preparation
First step of teaching the chapter with images and kannada & english words
Second step of teaching with images and english words
Last round of revision with only images
Teaching participles using interactive cards
The values and principles focused upon are :
Learning through revision - As the teacher keeps revising the chapter multiple times, the children grasp the words quickly and understand the chapter thoroughly.
Confidence building through speech - The exercises urge the students to come up and speak in English thus building their confidence in the language.
Replicable tool - The tool of using placards and adjoining visuals can be replicated to teach the other chapters, slowly speeding the teaching process.
Teamwork and collaboration - The various exercises make the students work together to form collaborative answers and solutions.
Classroom participation and inclusiveness - The teaching method being interactive ensures that all the students participate and learn.
Visual aid to thinking - The image references and Kannada translation for the various english words provides a visual reference and makes it easier for them learn.
Increasing relatability through student intervention - Since the students are making the visuals, it will be easy for them to relate to the it.
The complete teacher's guide can be found here