Reality Gives was very happy to get the help of the two enthusiastic volunteers Charmayne and Trevor from US in the last two weeks. They have visited different sites and wrote several blog articles for us to get updates on the projects. The first one is about the English Language Support Program and its recent project:
Dharavi has two public schools and Reality Gives has been working with the one in Kala Kila since 2009. Lakshmi Vishwanatham, RG’s head of education for 2+ years has developed an English Language Support Program (ELS) to enrich the curriculum for grades 1-3 since this vernacular school’s classes are only taught in Marathi, the regional language. Lakshmi oversees ten teachers who get an hour per day with each class to teach English. Her methodology is unique and has provided results: an active learning process that encompasses all of the senses- visual, auditory, speech, and tactile.
Remember language classes during your primary education years? Ever take a foreign-language class? For me it feels like there were hours of repetition of words, writing sentences, and looking at pictures…overall a little mundane.
Students are dropped into an active learning environment that is enjoyable. This school year Lakshmi is using plants as the medium for active English learning. The students have been able to sow seeds, watch the stems and leaves develop, create art projects, and sing songs about how plants grow which has allowed them to learn and use the vocabulary in more practical and memorable fashion.
Another unique aspect about the program is that the teachers get to stay with the same students as they progress from grade to grade. These teachers do not merely teach the children, they get to experience the exciting results of the ELS program.
They love getting replies and questions from students in English; this shows a student’s development of understanding. Sometimes the teachers will mime an action and students are starting to promptly recognize and state this verb in English. The best result though is found during home visits. Teachers will sometimes be informed by their student’s parents that the student is using English in the home and teaching English words to other siblings and family members. These results continually inspire the teachers and prove the efficacy of the ELS program at Kala Kila.