Tuesday, February 28, 2006


CASW 3 - Other presentations

Mr. Amarnathan and Neela , both presented their student samples. While Mr. Amarnathan wanted to know how one could develop a love for language in children , Neela looked at extension of s particular student's work including modes of assessment.

Both the language teachers gave us detailed background material on the kind of work that was being done.

Mr. Amarnathan's key question:How do we make language learning empirical and relevant to life in the process of developing listening and speaking skills and raise the state of language learning from mere academic survival to a living experience?

Due to the absence of a co-teacher,I was unable to attend the session in time and so missed out on the audio recording provided as sample. However,I was part of the participant discussion. Many suggestions were provided in addition to the ones that the teacher was already carrying out. With respect to his key question,I think Mr.Amarnathan has his work cut out for him. English is perceived as a global language and the means of technological communication, added to this is the over-riding Americanisation (canI say of the world?).Children and adults are so pre-occupied with learning the latest slang and being considered 'with-it' that they do not bother with their mother tongues.They find it easy enough to communicate with everyone around in English.(this includes the maids,drivers and the like).

Neela's key question: Considering that the student has shown great progress. Should she extend him in all four areas (viz-reading, writing, listening and speaking)or should she spend more time on lessons giving him guided practice towards making his written work flawless?
The implicit question being -Should assessment be summative or formative?

The immediate reaction to her questions was that the student should definitely be given opportunities to read/write/listen and speak more.And of course,it went without saying that assessment should continue to be formative rather than summative.Anitha's suggestion was that the students writing work could follow different formats each time so as to make it interesting.I felt that extending the student in listening and reading would lead to improved writing.

The two sessions dealt with the learning of languages from two perspectives and made for interesting listening.The spirited (with Mohua around ,it can never be anything less than spirited!)discussion on the topic of language learning was proof enough!

language learning - did anyone mention chomsky -i'm curious -
Yes, Raji, the language issue is one of the problems of globalisation - this uniform Americanisation that is systematically destroying plurality that is the strength of every culture. When you get coke more easily in rural areas than nimbu pani, you realise how widespread this menace is!

Amaranathan's question is very valid and only one's passion for the language without imposing on the kids, could yield effective outcomes. Theatre and music I think are the best tools, as also real life exposure- like visiting a village with a one-on-one friendship for each kid with a village kid, that will compel communication in the local langauage and result in learning far beyond the language!
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