Although the long-term plan is to develop a multilingual curriculum and exemplar modules for the age range 5 to 15 year olds, as part of re-prioritisation based on factors including funding, it was decided to try and develop a framework for urban based multilingual pedagogy for three age groups or competency levels of children
- Age 5 to 8 year olds – Level I – pre readers
- Age 8 to 12 year olds – Level 2 – beginning and transitionary readers and writers.
- Age 12 to 15 year olds – Level 3 – Fluent readers
The main languages that we have been able to work with are Chhattisgarhi and Bundeli. A very rudimentary kind of work was done with Bhojpuri and Bhopali.
Towards this end, the team did extensive reading in
- Multilingualism and multilingual approaches to education;
- Linguistic aspects of language(s);
- Literary aspects;
- Pedagogy of multilingual education.
On the basis of above discussions among themselves and with resource persons, the team selected texts, stimuli, designed activities and tried them out in two sites of Bhopal – Ishwar Nagar and Habibiya – both in out of school support centres.
The trials were through regular centre based activities for two hours every day for about 4-5 months and an intensive summer camp of 4 hours a day, over five days a week, which ran over a month.
It had already emerged over the last year that stimulus in all the students languages, hindi and if possible English would be used. Translation activities would be devised and used and students participation through their productive enterprise of speaking, writing, drawing and making things would be part of the modules.
This year we grappled with what core ideas would we build the modules around. Themes lend themselves easily to design modules around. But themes have little to do with the nature of the linguistic and literary enterprise. Our readings and research lead us to the grammar of literary genres. Thus we were able to decide core ideas around which the module of each level would be woven. Each of these have both a language idea and a theme.
For level 1 the language idea was from oracy to literacy using the theme of play
For Level 2 module the language idea is the grammar of description woven round the descriptions of personal experiences and festivals in a multicultural context.
For the level 3 module the language idea is the grammar of narratives woven round texts on personal narratives, comparison between times. Texts from bundeli, Chhattisgarhi , hindi and English have been used as stimulus and children have also produced texts in each of these languages.
We have also put together a consolidation report of our experience at each of the three levels.
It has been a challenge to cull out modules and move out of just a documentation of experiences. We are happy that we have been able to work out a draft of both kinds.
One outcome of a multilingual classroom has been that children have not only started communicating with each other in the others language orally but have also started writing in each others languages. Due to the closure of the project we are not able to sustain the work in Bhopal as education work in urban areas is generally not being supported by any financial supporters.
The drafts of these modules are being worked upon to finalise for review.
Plan for 2016-17
There are two main foci of work this year
- Finalise the draft module and consolidation report for circulation and feedback, organise a meeting on the same and revise both of these.
- Using this as a base, work on a similar exercise of putting together materials from different languages of the rural region where we work in order that the multilingual work being done in our different areas gets a boost and is consolidated and multilingual education becomes a part of the pedagogy of our rural programs as well.