updates 2014-15

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The work done in this period can be broadly categorized as:

Team building

The multilingual team was expanded from two to seven. Four people joined the team on fulltime basis and one on voluntary basis. Since the team was mostly new, much of the time was spent in understanding the programme, its history and team dynamics.

Capacity building

The team underwent capacity building in two modes – discussion on readings at individual or group level and attending workshops and seminars, discussions with educationists.

The team did a number of readings of books, articles and selected chapters based on various strands of language such as semantics, syntax, pragmatics, morphology, first-language acquisition, socio-political aspects of language and literary elements in children’s literature. These were also followed by discussions which further helped the team members to build a perspective, get ideas towards forming curriculum or literary and linguistic elements.

The team attended the following workshops – a two-day seminar-cum-workshop on ‘Indian Languages’ conducted by the Linguistics Department, JNU, Delhi, a two-day ‘Assessment’ workshop conducted by Jim Tharu and a one-day Children’s Literature’ workshop conducted by Mukul Priyadarshini. The seminars, workshops and exposure visits provided an opportunity to exchange ideas with others on the field, share work, get more ideas, network etc. It instils confidence and also gives a sense of direction.

Summer Camps

Summer Camps were held at three locations (Barkheda-Pathani, Eshwarnagar, Habibiya) from May 16- June 12. The month of April went into preparation for the camps. The camps ran five days a week from 10:00 – 13:00 and were facilitated with the help of multilingual team and interns.

The camps were primarily focused on language-based activities. One of the objectives of the camp was to experiment language teaching by using songs and tales from children’s home language, Hindi and English. Apart from oral and reading-writing activities, we also facilitated hands-on activity, theatre, and educational trips. For example, we visited the State and Tribal Museums and later had discussions on it. Children also made stories and books out of them – which were very interesting.

The camps were held with a view to starting community centres at these sites – each of them being of different language backgrounds.

Community Centres

The month of July was spent preparing for the community centre which involved identifying possible sites, interacting with the community, reading, team discussions, and preparation for activities.

From the summer camp sites, we decided to choose two for community centres – Eshwarnagar & Habibiya. Eshwarnagar was selected because it has a good number of immigrants from different linguistic backgrounds (Chhattisgarhi, Bundeli, Marathi, Banjari, Nimadi). Habibiya too has children from different linguistic backgrounds (Bundeli, Malvi, Bhojpuri) but it was primarily selected because of strong presence of Urdu and Bhopali-speaking community. We were unable to open a third centre at Barkheda Pathani as we were not able to get a space in the community there.

We started the community centres on August 4.   These centres ran from August 2014 to February 2015 and functioned for two hours in the evening for four days a week. The centres cater to 25-40 children each. Children were divided into learning levels based on baseline assessment of Hindi reading and writing. The ideal weekly schedule involved reading, sharing field experiences, preparing materials, and running the centre from Monday to Thursday and discussion, review and activity planning on Friday and Saturday.

Overall Picture at the Centres

Eshwarnagar     Habibiya
Levels Level 1-2 Level 3 Level 1-2 Level 3-4
Attendance Avg. 12 Avg. 14 Avg. 16 Avg. 12
  Regular – 26 Regular – 28
Text Used Songs/Poems: 20+ Songs/Poems: 39
Stories: 30+ Stories: 60+
Visual Aids Movies: 2 Movies: 1
Short Videos: 8-10 Short Videos: 7-9
Art & Craft 10-Aug 20+
Discussions 10+ 5+
Multilingual Texts Stories Stories
Generated Folktales Folktales
Songs Songs
Idioms Idioms
Words & Phrases Words & Phrases

 

Highlights and Challenges faced:

Highlights Challenges
·         Collection & translation of community’s repertoire

·         Translating from home language to English as a pedagogical tool

·         Encouraging use of home language in discussions & translation activities

·         Engaging children with textual and lingual activities and giving it a production form (like books, charts, posters etc.)

·         Growing clarity on MLE perspective after readings, Muskaan/SPK visit, and especially Bhasha visit

·         Shedding inhibitions of children, building rapport and instilling confidence

·         Steady flow of children at centres

·         Willingness to engage with theory and its practical application

·         Keeping a steady flow of regular children

·         Looking into a text from child’s perspective – urban context, & from multilingual perspective

·         Creating a culture of constructive criticism and  regular feedback

·         Strengthening the theoretical background

·         Developing an eye to look at texts through linguistic lens

·         Competing with children’s festive time, TV time, play time, other learning activities like cycling, listening to music or dancing etc.

·         Keeping a steady and active participation of community

Developing multilingual pedagogy

From mid of February to March, the team has been working on text selection and different elements of multilingual pedagogy through discussions, workshop, and summary notes. The weekly schedule from mid of February included readings on different elements of multilingual pedagogy (syntax, semantics, literacy, etc.), discussion on them, and finally preparation of summary notes.

The next phase of the project will focus on developing a draft curriculum for multilingual pedagogy informed by field experiences from summer camps, learning centres and interventions in schools.

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