Just a few days ago it was my last day at the school for impoverished and needy children in Faridabad, until the end of the summer vacation, which is fairly short in India: By July 1st, I will be back at the school in my normal schedule. Over the break, I have been working on my lesson plans, now that I have a feel for the students’ capabilities in each grade level. Eighth grade is quite good at picking up grammar concepts in English, especially learning new tenses, so I will continue working on more helping verb constructions with them and finish up tenses for now in their classes. Afterwards, we will move onto clauses, but we will start with some basic subordinate clauses and work our way from there, as I see fit. The seventh grade class is not as quick on picking up tenses or working on prepositional phrases, so I will continue to review all of the tenses with those classes, as well as more practice with prepositional phrases. Hopefully before I leave India in October, we can start to introduce some more topics in grammar, but I think for now that subordinate clauses may be a bit too difficult for them, as they have a hard time being able to differentiate the subject of a sentence, the verb of a sentence, and other objects in a sentence. The sixth grade class is a very clever group of children, and we may even get to more advanced material before the seventh grade class, but I will play it by ear for now. We will continue working on new tenses and recognizing parts of speech. In the fifth grade class, they still have trouble recognizing nouns, adjectives, and verbs, so I will make some worksheets for them, which in which they will circle nouns, underline adjectives, etc. This should help them for more difficult topics to come in the future, like prepositional phrases and adverbs. Finally, the fourth grade class is very weak in English, as many of the students have been held back for many years, or have not had access for many years until now. As such, I will continue working on adjectives and nouns, as these two topics are somewhat strong for them in Hindi, but they cannot grasp a correlation with Hindi grammar and English grammar, which is quite evident in terms of adjectives and nouns. Otherwise, I have another picture from when the doctors were giving checkups to the students. The last day at school was especially touching, as the children literally touched my feet, a sign of high respect to elders in Indian society. It was a moment I’ll never forget, being a part of a wonderful tradition for my efforts working with these eager to learn students. I have high aspirations for these determined children, and hope that with my work here in India, they can be inspired to make names for themselves in society, whether in India or even abroad. Let’s see how my English classes on July 1st go!
At the charitable school in Tigaon, Faridabad, the teachers have been very impressed with our volunteer’s consistent work and contemporary methods for teaching the children English. In India, and especially in this school, most of the teaching encourages only students who can learn from rote memorization. Though rote memorization is extremely helpful, Ek Koshish feels that we can complement such methods with teaching for understanding the material as well, once enough material has been memorized. For example, our volunteer explained to us that he had asked the children to properly arrange the words in the sentence “There everywhere water is.” When the first student responded, he started answering the question by saying “Water everywhere,” when a teacher stopped him and said it was incorrect. The English teacher who assists our volunteer in all of the classes later explained to the other teacher, “Let the student make the mistake and think through the sentence. Then, Justin ji [our volunteer] explains what is wrong with their sentence, and lets them try again so that they can reach the correct answer on their own. This is how Justin ji teaches, so that the children can understand how to fix their own mistakes. It’s been very helpful.” The other teacher then observed him explaining to the child how to fix the sentence, and when he could make the sentence “There is water everywhere” she was very impressed! Let’s see if he can keep dazzling the teachers with his performance!