We did teach the students at two times a day sometimes three, the sessions lasted about an hour, and we took our time to understand the problems they faced and how we can improve them, I was stunned to see the students engagement with the activities and books we were to teach them with. I am going to try to put together what I have learned from the students while teaching them English and Mathematics for I had spent quite a lot of time with these with the students.
The students face problems while studying English mostly because it’s a second language all the more problem arise with untrained teachers. Many students had a hard time with vocabulary and simple spelling; they also had problems putting the syllables together to form a word.
Like if you wanted them to read “prophet” they often lost the word somewhere between “pro” and “phe” often never reaching the end. And even putting words together for a sentence seems a problem sometimes, the textbook covers only so much, most of it is written in English (without any translation) so without vocabulary or the knowledge of how the language works (not necessarily grammar but accepted usage of the language) it’s hard to get the meaning through, the teacher’s in most cases need to put gestures and put students through activities in order for the meaning to sink in, as did we and some SMU students. Like Bhuvan she was excellent with children, teaching, almost hand feeding the information to them using the activities enlisted. If the students are not taught the basics from the very beginning they keep choking at words even at class 9 and 10 which was also visible.
At the end of the day it all comes down to the basics of learning the new language, students need to be encouraged and they need proper teacher’s not just books that tell you everything in English.
As for mathematics, I found most students taught very well, mostly because all they needed was in bangla and because teacher’s had a easier time with mathematics than with a foreign language, the thing about mathematics is you can figure out things after you memories certain numbers, and the reason I am still talking about the basics is because most students in villages also tumble a bit on math during their first years in school. Though a bit of practice and again fun way of teaching with figures could do miracles! Other thing I noticed about mathematics in general not in just Khaduli is that the students had a hard time visualizing the objects in heir theorem, and while drawing the graphs and various cones and 2d 3d things. A model if showed to them would be easier for them to understand as I have found teaching them with models much easier. A computer model could also be shown to improve their visual capacities.
All in all the students enthusiasm was what kept them at school and for math and English or any subject the main thing a teacher needs to do is encourage them, the students were all meritorious just a little bit more inspiration and enthusiasm could do wonders.
(After project ‘Sheba’, as part of CA’s action: Light Up )