New book - MLE in Tribal schools in India by Dr. Mahendra. K. Mishra

What could be more fun than reading a book authored by someone you know and about a topic you know about? The latest book by Dr. Mahendra Mishra focuses on Multilingual Education (MLE) in Tribal schools in India.

I particularly liked the chapter on implementation as I remember so well how Dr. Mishra worked with our SIL colleagues Steve and Vicky Simpson, developing "Community Calendars" and "Theme Webs". It was around 2007 that I visited the project and saw the theme webs on the walls and the tribal teachers enthusiastically developing “big books”. That process is described on page 100 of the book which puts it literally and figuratively at the centre: This book is not just about the language issue in education but particularly shows a passion for the culture and folklore in which the children live and make that part of the teaching, books, and activities. In the concluding paragraph of that chapter Mishra writes "The community took a keen interest in sharing the teaching-learning process, delighted in the inclusion of their culture in the curriculum process, suggesting new themes to be included in the books.” Followed by: "The children ... became regular in attending school and participated actively in classroom activities'' (P. 107).

The book starts by explaining the issues and problems in tribal education and describing some of the early interventions in Odisha. It then describes how the program progressed in Odisha and later expanded to Chhattisgarh and even Nepal. To me, the most interesting sections are when they describe how stories from the communities were integrated into the curriculum, how teacher attitudes towards tribal children were addressed through teacher training, and how the community integrated with the schools. An important message is that at the early grades oral learning needs to be the norm: “Oral tales are an excellent medium of learning as these tales are connected to the environment and are therefore enriched with natural human relationships to the world of nature”  P 165.

Overall, it is a must-read for those who do not just want to bring the children's language into the classroom, but also their community and culture.  Well done, Mahendra Mishra!

Here is a link to order the book:




  1. to purchase of the book)