A note on my three blogs

A note on my blogs

(1) vio; in love with india - this one is the main blog about my Indian adventures, which started in 2005. I don't write much on this blog these days because I prefer to write privately in the confidential blog. But check out the categories and the index to figure out your way. I have kept some older posts not about India but which I still find interesting or relevant in Old words. Also check out my new, fun category Only in India in which I post photos of funny, unique, Indian situations...

(2) vio; sounds of india - this is my blog of sounds, because India wouldn't be as incredible if it was not so vibrant and just so full of incredible sounds!

(3) vio; confidential - this an extension of my main blog in which I post entries I do not want to reveal to the entire webspace for privacy or sensitivity reasons. You must receive an invitation from me and then accept the invitation to be able to read it. You may email me if you are interested in receiving an invitation.


Friday, 1 February 2008

A taster of teaching English to Indian children?

[Typed from paper journal]

So, every evening five neighbouring children come for class at the house, with one of Vijay's sisters. They give them extra work after school. The kids are aged four to twelve. Three of them are the cousins I visited the other day - with Rajul the super-cute, irresistible naughty boy. The other two are another brother and sister, including Neeha the adorable, tiny four-year old girl. The children sit against the wall, cross-legged on straw mats. The sisters give the children a variety of exercises to do, or rules and lessons to learn. Then one by one they come stand near the teacher to show their work or recite their lessons. Sometimes the kids have not done their homework so the teachers raise their voices, which usually make the children lower their heads down in guilt and become very small with a very small voice. I often sit with them during the 'class' and it always breaks my heart when this happens. I feel their pain in my heart - sometimes they cry - and I would rather give them compassion than punishment if I was the teacher. Some of the work the children do is English; very simple work since the sisters don't really speak English at all. The work usually consists of spelling simple vocabulary (e.g. the days of the week), reciting a 'poem' ('The cow has one leg, one mouth' etc.), or even - for little Neeha - just writing and reciting the European alphabets or the numbers from 1 to 10.

I have sat often during the classes and Vijay's sisters show me the kids' work and get me to participate in the teaching. It melts my heart. My first taster of being a teacher to sweat Indian children maybe. They are so 'sweet' that I had to look for the word in my English-Hindi dictionary to tell Neeha that she was ('tum mithi ho', 'you are sweet') as she was leaving the house the other day. The children like my presence, also because I am a pupil too - learning Hindi. I make them laugh a lot. Today I taught Neeha a little to count in English. She was not able to write '9' and forgot the '6', so I asked her to come to me after she had showed me her slate. With the translating help of Vijay, I got her to take the chalk piece and with my hand above hers I showed her how to write '6' and '9', and '7' also. Where Rita would have asked her to go back to her seat and start again, I gave her contact (love) as well as tried to explain the work in a fun way. '9' is '6' upside down; I showed, turning her small black board round and making a funny sound as I did so. I asked Vijay to explain to her in Hindi too. She then recited her numbers properly and could write '9' better. Neeha always looks miserable and scared in the class, but I had make her laugh one time; I was happy.

Soon I was asking more Hindi words. I went upstairs to get my book and became a pupil; I went back to the wall, sat on the floor next to Rajul and started to write in my book like the children. This made us all laugh, and I had to take a picture with them too. They were all excited when it was time to look at the picture on the camera screen. Then, I wanted to know the parts of the body in Hindi and wrote them down in my book. I drew a funny man in my notebook to write the new vocabulary around each of his body parts. Soon Rita asked me if the man was Rajul. Yes, I said in Hindi, 'Rajul hai'. The kids burst out laughing once again, and Rajni lent me her own Hindi book which had all the required vocabulary in it so I could copy it happily. Huhu, I love these little kiddos!

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