From Life Skills to teaching English- My Journey with Project KHEL
Contributed by: Yukti Malik
Dated: 17th September, 2016
Intruding in their playtime to teach English to a bunch of 15 students was no less than a Herculean task for me. While working with Project KHEL I happened to come across a challenge which made me realize that with patience, passion and perseverance anything and everything is possible. I was asked to teach English to a bunch of 15 students studying in classes 6-12. Initially, I was a little apprehensive about this until I thought to myself that having studied in an English medium school for 14 years this should be a cakewalk, only to stand corrected when I actually started working with them.
This task was not for just one or two months but had to be spread over a long stretch of time as I would get only an hour a week to teach them.
I seriously had no clue as to how to go about it but after a couple of sessions with them it made me realize that I had to start from the very scratch but my goal was not only to make them familiar with the language but also make them well versed in it.
The biggest challenge faced by me was they were all from different classes and were at different proficiency levels in the language. I really had to put in a lot of thought and effort to achieve a semblance of parity within this group to begin with. So I first started out with simple word games and then focused my attention on those children who were falling behind. A lot of after class help was also given so that the kids who were behind the learning curve of the class would not lose confidence and continued to strive. Sometimes children were distracted and did not like to study which would dishearten me but not deter me from my goal as I would always take it as a challenge. The best part was no matter how the sessions progressed the kids’ energy was so contagious that it would recharge me and motivate to come back with renewed vigor.
I used to research, reflect, think and devise activities which the students would find easy to relate to like word games, identifying wrong sentences or parts of sentences, pairing/grouping them so that they learn from each other. I would take help and advice from my seniors and team mates so that I am able to improve the pedagogy and make an impact in every session I am with them. Positive affirmations to the kids too were generously spread across each session to build their confidence.
It has been a good seven months now and they show their enthusiasm by actively taking part in the sessions. They are now more comfortable and less hesitant with the language, try to use new words and have overcome the language barrier. Nevertheless, in the words of Robert Frost “I have miles to go before I sleep.”