Igniting a spark

This week we were working with the children and facilitators at our partner Childscape center at Vikas puri (Budela village) situated in west Delhi.We have divided the children in two learning stages

1. Reading Group

2. Construction and comprehension group

In the reading group, children can recognize alphabet patterns but can’t yet read, so we will be working with these children to build their reading skills.

Our second group is of elder students of class 8th to 11th. When their teacher, Ashwani asked them to read their English book because that was the time of English class, the students refused to read English and again started doing their homework on other subjects.

After reading class, we went to the elder student’s batch and asked them to start reading and said we will help you to read your English book. Within a minute one student from that batch abruptly ran away from the class. He was scared of English much like the rest of the students in the centre. They said, “We feel shy to read English because we can’t read English properly, if we’ll read, everyone will start laughing at us. We feel shy and I can’t read in front of our class.

After listening to their thoughts, we felt they wanted more support and motivation. Therefore, we sat on the floor in a circle and started talking with them on different topics, just to build relationship with them and they shared so many things about them and we also told them about us and after a few minutes returned to the topic of English. This time they were listening to us and then we felt ok, now we found a way. We asked them till when you will run from English? you have to accept this because this is important. And they agreed with us and said yes bhaiya, we know that every signboard is in English and mobile and computer also in English, if we want to learn computer, we have to learn English.

And we picked their warm point and said to them,” Yes if you want to learn computer you need to learn English and if you go out somewhere from Delhi, you need English to read instruction or communicate with people.”

Initially, we started teaching English from their NCERT book after reading and explaining one paragraph to them we felt the words in NCERT book are hard to pick and understand for them. So we picked a comic strip where they can see what they are reading. To make a friendly and fear-free atmosphere I started asking some funny questions from the comic. initially, they were confused in many words like:- Sad — Said, Near — Hear, Neat — Heat. But in this comic strip we had visuals of these words so they got to know the meaning easily. And then they started enjoying the reading because now they felt confident that they know the meaning of the words they were reading.

We feel very happy to share one thing with you, every student in class was enjoying and we extended 15 mins of our class time. During the whole session, one student was trying to give every answer with full enthusiasm and you won’t believe that was the same kid who ran away from the class when we asked him to read the book.