Showing posts with label English. Show all posts
Showing posts with label English. Show all posts

Saturday, January 28, 2017

[MLE] English compulsory

Panel of secretaries recommends to make English a compulsory
Copyright: Financial Express

Earlier this month a panel of secretaries from the Group on Education and Social Development has recommended to make English a compulsory subject in all schools beginning from class VI, and to start at least one English-medium school in each of the 6,612 blocks in the country.

This news was reported in the Indian Express and the Financial Express a couple of weeks ago. I had hoped by now a few more details would have come out, as the panel aims for its implementation by this April. However the newspapers remain silent about it.
The panel claims that this recommendation is in line with the three language formula by that it still allows the medium of instruction be the mother tongue, while English will have to be added as either number two or three. The advise goes against the RSS recommendation of last October that suggested that "the medium of instruction from elementary to higher levels in schools should be the mother tongue and English should not be compulsory at any level."

These same discussions are very common in the field. I e.g. recall an NGO working in Maharashtra that taught the children in their tribal language, but added English , rather than Hindi, from the start to keep the parents motivated to send their children to school. Pedagogically not the most sound method, but it definitely boosted the parents participations!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

[MLE] Book release: English and multilingual education

New book on multilingual education in India with a special focus on teaching English.

 

Dr Mahendra Mishra is a well known figure in the area of multilingual education in India. He  was State Coordinator for Multilingual Education (1996-2010) in Odisha and spearheaded the mother tongue-based multilingual education in the primary schools in ten tribal languages there. So, when he (co-)writes a book, we better take notice!


MLE proponents usually have a love-hate relationship with English as the English is often suppressing the building of a good foundation in the mother tongue. It is therefore quite courageous to write a book on "Multilingual Education in India: The Case for English". The description makes you want to read more: 
"Some perceive English language education as a hindrance to the growth of lndian languages and allege that it causes a social divide. The arguments of this book convincingly correct this uninformed notion and prove that English has been a tool of empowerment and a driver of social and economic mobility. The contributors demonstrate that local languages and cultures can be revived by integrating them into English language education."


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Language and the Sustainable Development Goals - UN Symposium

British Council Panel

Symposium: Language and language differences tend to get taken for granted by planners


The Study Group on Language and the United Nations, an independent group of scholars and practitioners on matters related to language, convened a symposium on Language and the Sustainable Development Goals in New York, on 21 and 22 April 2016.  Its goal was to examine the importance of issues of language in the formulation, implementation, and successful completion of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 


Monday, November 30, 2015

[MLE] British Council Conference on Multilingualism

Delhi Conference on Multilingualism and Development

Last week the British Council India hosted the 11th Language and Development Conference on Multilingualism and Development in Delhi.


The Statemam  published this week an article with highlights of the conference Of course there was quite some attention given to the role that English plays in the sociolinguistic arena india. Prof Ajit Mohanty spoke in that regard about  "a double divide: one between the elitist language of power and the major regional languages (vernaculars) and, the other, between the regional languages and the dominated indigenous languages."

While talking about the promises the parents are given while enrolling their children in private English medium schools, Giridhar Rao of Azim Premji University, "argued that it is a false promise for two reasons. The first is the poor condition of the education system in the country. ... private schools do not give better academic results compared to government schools. The second reason, according to Rao, is that the introduction and teaching of English do not emerge out of a mother-tongue-based multi-lingual education."

Relevant was also a presentations  by Seemita Mohanty, National Institute of Technology, on Mother-Tongue-Based Multilingual Education in the Indian State of Odisha.. She concluded: "Even though the programme is progressing on the right track, there are still numerous issues that need to be handled at the implementation level before it can be designated a success."

Not to often we hear about the particular linguistic needs of Moslim learners. Sajida Sultana, English and Foreign Languages University, presented on Muslim Education and Multilingual Contexts: A Study of Madrasas in Hyderabad. It focused on the multi-lingual context of madrasa education and concluded that "there is a need to have a greater understanding of madrasa education and also to relate research insights into curricular innovations in the teaching of English in non-native contexts."

Many more presentation were given. The British Council website reports: "The event was the largest of the conference series so far, attracting over 260 participants and with a programme of more than sixty sessions. Over 30 countries were represented, from Afghanistan to South Africa, Bhutan to the Philippines."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Learning in English and mother tongue are not mutually exclusive

 

Kieran Cooke from the Universal Learning Solutions, claims that if a synthetic phonics approach for literacy is taken governments do not need to choose between the mother tongue and e.g. English but can do both simultaniously.

The article on the World Education Blog  describes a Synthetic phonetic approach to reading as :
"This approach teaches pupils letter sounds (for example, mmm not em, sss not es) and how to blend those sounds together to read words (so d-o-g makes ʻdogʼ). At the same time they learn how to write words by segmenting a word into its sounds, and then forming letters for those sounds."

It then gives some examples from Africa which proof that also for non Mothertingue English children this approach gives better results than conventional methods. There is also a reference to India:

"One study using this approach with Kannada-speaking children in India shows that synthetic phonics in English is more effective if it is introduced in the mother tongue first. Teaching in the mother tongue for one term gives the pupils enough time to learn the letter sounds of their mother tongue and read simple words. It provides enough time for pupils to read and write confidently before the language of instruction changes to English, often in upper primary or lower secondary. "

The blog post concludes:
"It is clear, therefore, that there is need for children to read and write confidently in both English and their local language. However perhaps we need not have to choose between whether pupils should learn to read and write in English or their local language"

It is a bit questionable if these claims are really about language or more about a good reading method, but nevertheless the statements are worth some deliberation.

Thanks to Lissa Davies for the tip.
Regards,
Karsten
http://www.mle-india.net/

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

[MLE] A sad story from Nepal

Dear multilingual education friends,

Usually newspaper articles report on something new starting. This time Republic in Nepal reports on a failing project. The article Multilingual education fails to attract students in Jhapa points out that due to book supply challenges and resistance from the parents, several MLE classes have stopped.  It would be interesting to investigate further what is going on there. If you know any background on this, please put your comments on the MLE-India blog just below this entry. A few quotes:
In Jhapa district, more than three dozen schools had been conducting classes in around half a dozen local languages, including Rajbanshi, Limbu, and Santhal. However, many of these schools could not implement the mother-tongue based education after stakeholders criticized the use of local languages as the medium of instruction.
It seems one of the problems was with the teachers:
Jhapa had introduced a provision of hiring teachers who knew local languages, but the plan faltered as teachers who could teach in local languages were not available.
But is seems the main issue is:
“Parents want their children to learn English rather than their own mother tongues,”

Thursday, January 30, 2014

[MLE] NCERT study ; "States realize English is what people want"

Dear Multilingual Education friends,

As a follow up on the NCERT study National Study on Ten Year School Curriculum Implementation the Times of India published this week an article titled States realize English is what people want. A few quotes
It's not just parents across India who are confused about the time and importance to be given to education in English and the vernacular; the latest data from NCERT reveals our education establishment is just as perplexed, with very little uniformity in the way regional languages are treated.

Almost 30% states devote [only] six to seven periods a week in Class V for teaching the local language, the study says.

English seems to be scoring. Introduced towards the middle of elementary school, it is now offered at the Class I level in 26 states, making it clear that most states have realized that that is what people want.

"While they (parents) may know they are abandoning their heritage by putting their children early into English-medium private schools, they are sanguine about this, choosing to survive in the present milieu over being the reluctant custodians of local languages that have given them precious little in terms of livelihood in return for loyalty."

Monday, January 20, 2014

[MLE] Release of ASER Report - also: Implications for English teaching

Dear multilingual Education friends,

Every year the ASER report provides a great source of data with regards to realities of primary education in rural India. The ASER press release states:
Every year, ASER finds out whether children in rural India go to school, whether they can read simple text and whether they can do basic arithmetic.

Nationally, the proportion of all children in Std. V who can read a Std. II level text remains virtually the same since 2012, at 47%. This proportion decreased each year from 2009 to 2012, dropping  from 52.8% in 2009 to 46.9% in 2012. Among Std. V children enrolled in government schools, the percentage of children able to read Std. II level text decreased from 50.3% (2009) to 43.8% (2011) to 41.1% (2013). Over the last three years, there has been a steady increase in the provision of libraries in schools that have been visited. The All India figure for schools with no library provision
dropped from 37.4% in 2010 to 22.9% in 2013.

Given the changing priorities in education policy and the shift in focus to learning outcomes, we hope that in the next few years there will be much better news to report on children’s learning.
While reflecting on the data, Rukmini Banerji, the director of ASER, wrote in the Hindustan Times an article on "When and how English should be taught in schools". Some quotes:
The figures indicate that about half of all rural children in Class 8 can read a set of simple sentences and of those who can read about three-fourths can explain the meaning of what they have read. - See more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/comment/analysis/when-and-how-english-should-be-taught-in-schools/article1-1166370.aspx#sthash.lllnv1NR.dpuf
When and how English should be taught in schools
When and how English should be taught in schools
When and how English should be taught in schools
When and how English should be taught in schools
The figures indicate that about half of all rural children in Class 8 can read a set of simple sentences [in English] and of those who can read about three-fourths can explain the meaning of what they have read.

Time and again, the NCF 2006 focus group paper on the teaching of English dwells on the need to help children learn their first language well. Looking at our own realities, it is essential that we must develop our own ways of bridging between languages and creating our own processes for language development within and across languages

More often than not, the weakness in learning a new language has less to do with the new language and more to do with lack of capability, competence and confidence in the original language. Second, if children have print material around them — books, stories, posters, newspapers, slogans — the more they learn how to deal with print. This is true regardless of the language. (ASER 2012 figures indicate that apart from textbooks, less than 20% of rural households have any material to read.)

We have found that children respond well to texts that have both languages interspersed. This is different from bilingual texts where both languages are placed side by side.

We have found that children respond well to texts that have both languages interspersed. This is different from bilingual texts where both languages are placed side by side. - See more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/comment/analysis/when-and-how-english-should-be-taught-in-schools/article1-1166370.aspx#sthash.lllnv1NR.dpuf
We must encourage children to have fun in using language differently and appropriately in different situations for different purposes. Serious investment in building strong foundations in language skills will reap rich dividends in all the languages that children use. Whether Hindi, English or any other language, our approach to children in our fertile language landscape must be connected to our realities and suited to our condition, capabilities, needs and uses.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

[MLE] ECCE- Article: The Word and the World

Dear MultiLingual Education friends,

Against the backdrop of the new Early Childhood Care and Education policies Prof Shivali Tukdeo recently wrote an article in the Indian Express titled The Word and the World . A few quotes:
The inclusion of home or local languages in preschool is a step in the right direction, for educational as well as social reasons.

Evidence-based studies on early childhood and research in educational psychology and cognition suggest that exposure to multiple languages can facilitate early development.
Given the interactive nature of early learning, home languages and local vernaculars would be excellent resources to introduce the child to the rhymes, rhythms and stories of a world that she inhabits. With the inclusion of mother tongues and local vernaculars in preschools, many neighbourhoods and localities, with their different stories, will enter the realm of school.
If the responses to the recent textbooks in Santhali, Gondi and Kok Barok are any indication, Adivasi children want to see their languages in school. The development of local languages as languages of knowledge production and dissemination will be crucial in democratising our education.
The language debate would be more productive if it were not framed within the binaries of either-or. The proposal to introduce mother tongues or home languages is not against English, and should not be taken to be so.

Monday, September 16, 2013

[MLE] : The ECCE has hit the press

Dear multilingual education friends,

Several of us have had input in the drafting of the Early Childhood Care and Education policy (ECCE) on request by the Women and Child Development Ministry.  It clearly states at several places that the use of the mother tongue of the children is the preferred medium. E.g.:
The mother tongue or home language of the child will be the primary language of interaction in the ECCE programmes. However, given the young child‟s ability at this age to learn many languages, exposure to the national/regional language and English in oral form as required, will also be explored.
This weekend the policy hit the press with the language issue in focus. Yesterday on the front page of the Delhi version of the  Indian Express was an article titled: "Govt wants Playschools to mind Language, go Vernacular" and today a similar article was published: Speaking in Tongues.

Unfortunately, as newspapers tend to do, the articles look for controversy rather than consensus.  The articles contrasts the use of the vernacular with English instead of emphasising that the policy, at least from my perspective, tries to keep them in parallel. Let us see if other media will be picking this up also and report on it in a more balanced fashion. (Note: Last week The Times of India had an article on  Centre plans to regulate playschools, creches, which did not mention the language issue at all!)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

[MLE] Videos from the 3rd International English Language Teacher Educator Conference

Dear multilingual education friends,

The British Council is pleased to share the link of the videos from the 3rd International English Language Teacher Educator Conference (TEC) held in Hyderabad from 16 - 18 March 2013. The videos have been uploaded on YouTube and you can view them at this link.

There are some interesting presentations such as

  • Evaluation Study of MLE of Odisha” by Lata Pandey from NCERT,
  • “Grounding ELT in an MLE Framework” by Ajit Mohanty from JNU
  • “Importance of Mother Tongue Education for Quality Education” by Pamela Mackenzie from INfD
Enjoy watching them and others. From some of the speakers there are presentation available also.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

[MLE] A positive newspaper article on MLE pilot projects in Assam

Dear multilingual education friends,

In Assam some good pilots are going on and the press has found them. Last week the attached article appeared in a newspaper in Assam. Interestingly the article highlights that from the boy they feature his English has become better. It seems that is an important point for advocacy because it is English that the society values most. A quote:
"Kisun, however, is an exception. He is the only one in the family who attends an Adivasiya school and can read and write English"

"'Earlier when I was studying in the LP school in the village, I could not understand English or follow any of my lessons. However, after coming to Adivasiya school, I can read and write English to some extent. I have also learned my own language better now.'"
The article then continues to explain more about the school, the pilot project and the brother MLE efforts in the country and worldwide. See Article.

[MLE] Times of India: Writers pitch for mother tongue

Dear Multilingual Education friends,

A group of writers in Karnataka submitted a petition to the supreme court in favour of mother tongue medium education supporting the state government's rule on this regard

Are you interested in this in more detail, control click on the following: Times of India: Writers pitch for mother tongue


A quote from the petition:
"Children can learn better in their mother tongue and it's the appropriate medium. Even Mahatma Gandhi had echoed the same view. Nobody has opposed English. English can be taught as one of the subjects at primary level.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

[MLE]: The Hindu: Let a hundred tongues be heard

Dear multilingual Education friends,

Shrimps back gets broken when whales fight. This is an idiom from Korean, meaning when there is fighting between powerful men, weak people could be a scapegoat of the fighting unless they are very careful. This metaphor seems to fit well in this big fighting between English and Hindi and many other local languages which could be scapegoats of this fighting. The English whale seems to be winning the game as there are scare materials available in Hindi for tertiary level education in Delhi and even many government schools in Karnataka will use English as a medium to compete with English medium private schools. Sumanyu Satpathy, linguist at the University of Delhi, wrote an article on it in the Hindu. A few quotes:
“The domination of English and Hindi is turning Indian education and culture into a depressingly monolingual affair.”
“If you live in any of the Hindi-speaking States, it is likely that every other day you would hear of debates about the future of Hindi. Naturally, the spectacular rise of Hindi is not often talked about in these quarters as a threat to the linguistic diversity in India,”
“the Odisha government has announced that English medium public schools will be set up in three tribal districts in the State. This is going to prove disastrous for the linguistic ecology of India, and consequently for the local cultures.”
 “not an insignificant number of students in premier departments and colleges in Delhi University complain of the dearth of textbook material in Hindi. Elsewhere in India, higher education is also officially available in both English and the State language; but the production of textbooks in the local language is awfully impoverished.”
 “The argument here is not about banning English medium schools; far from it. It is, rather, for strengthening local-language-medium schools, improving their pedagogic tools, and for generating opportunities in the local markets on a par with the globalised market for a healthy linguistic diversity.”

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

[MLE] Article: Multilingual Education in India: Myth and Reality

Dear Multilingual Education friends,


Samir Karmakar and Kinnari Pandya of the Azim Premji University, Bangalore published an article on Multilingual Education in India: Myth and Reality in which they plead to give more attention to the context:
Any approach towards MLE is bound to fail if the stated form of the policy lacks an understanding of what is being aspired by the population with reference to the Indian languages which is often being decided by various economical and historical factors. Therefore, understanding the linguistic culture in India becomes a must.
Very often the success and failure of a policy depends on the implicit, unofficial, unwritten, de facto aspect of what we call public opinion. Therefore, it becomes quintessential to understand the linguistic culture of the population to achieve the stated goals of the policy documents. This includes an in-depth investigation into the ideas, values, beliefs, attitudes, prejudices, myths, religious strictures, and all the cultural baggage that we bring to our dealings with language from our culture.
They argue that multilingual teaching should also be done in the higher grades:
This approach of gradual replacement of the non-dominant forms of linguistic communication by the dominant ones only widens the linguistic divide in India and will leave India as fertile ground for intolerance defeating the agenda of promoting cultural pluralism.


Since higher education is the avenue to institutional recognition and establishment, we should create opportunities of learning through the mother tongue unlike the various proposals of structural and gradual replacement of multilingualism by a monolingual world order.
A key quote is:
Success of MLE in India, then, primarily rests on mobilizing the public spheres rather than suggesting solutions only to the school teachers and government officials. More specifically, introducing MLE in India expects the involvement of parents in the dynamics of teaching-learning process.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

[MLE] Article in Guardian "Language exodus reshapes India's schools"

Dear MultiLingual Education friends,

The Guardian had last week an article on the role of English in the Indian education system. A few quotes:
"More and more across India, parents are forsaking educating their kids in their mother tongue in favour of English. Despite warnings from educationalists that a child's cognitive development is affected by early schooling in an unfamiliar language, there has been an exponential increase during the last decade in English-medium schools in the country.
The latest data compiled by the National University of Education, Planning and Administration (NUEPA) shows that the number of children studying in English-medium schools has increased by a staggering 274% between 2003 and 2011, to over 20 million students."


"When the standard of teaching in a regional language school is good, the difference becomes apparent. "In India, teaching of languages is generally very outdated, no matter which language," said Anita Rampal, professor of education at Delhi University. "But a study we did in Delhi showed that students who began learning in Hindi for the first five years in a school that taught language well showed the ability later to think independently and write creatively in both Hindi and English.""

"Cultural theorist Rita Kothari pointed out that English and regional languages contain different "storehouses of knowledge", both of which are essential for a student. English provides a wealth of modern ideas and historical understanding. "But without regional languages, the richness of the landscape will get flattened," she said."

Friday, March 23, 2012

[MLE] Article "Linguistic imperialism alive and kicking"

Dear Multilingual Education friends,

The British Council, as well as some US agencies,  are active in south Asia and other places promoting the use of the English language in the classroom. A recent article by Robert Phillipson in The Guardian titled "Linguistic imperialism alive and kicking"  is criticising this as "undermining multilingualism and education opportunities". Some quotes:

The myth is the belief that studying English is all you need for success in life. Policies influenced by this myth prevent most children from accessing relevant education.

Is Anglo-American expertise really relevant in all such contexts? In fact educational "aid" worldwide does not have a strong record of success. There is scholarly evidence, for instance from Spain, that primary English is not an unmitigated success story: quite the opposite.

Governments have tended to clutch at a quick fix, such as importing native speakers, or starting English ever earlier, either as a subject or as the medium of instruction, in the hope that this will make the learning of English more effective. Such demands should be challenged by ELT when both the demand and the response are unlikely to be educationally, culturally or linguistically well-informed.

As many states in India are pushing for English,  this is a very relevant debate.