Teacher’s Roadmap to Mastering English and Other Foreign Languages ​​in Tamil Nadu – The New Indian Express

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Express press service

VIRUDHUNAGAR: It’s lunch break. The breathtaking silence inside the classroom contrasts sharply with the hustle and bustle outside. Acting as a teacher, a teenage girl exhibits aspects of the English language as her classmates gather and listen.

More than two decades and many challenges have passed away. After the Covid-induced lockdown, while visiting several public schools, it appeared to S Usha, Lecturer at the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), that most of the students are under the grip of xenoglossophobia, the fear of learning English and other foreign languages.

When children in class 6 at a public school in Sivaganga were asked to read a topic from books, Usha was shocked to see their lack of reading sub-skills such as comprehension and synthesis.

“Despite their talent and solid foundation, they don’t do well on a reading comprehension exam. The fear of language lowered their confidence levels and made them believe they could never perform well,” she points out.

S Usha, DIET speaker

The 39-year-old DIET speaker had a Herculean task at hand – quelling the fear factor. She proposed a strategy – semantic mapping – that could help hone students’ reading and comprehension skills. The method allows students to conceptually explore their knowledge of a new word by matching it with other related words or phrases that have a similar meaning to the selected word.

“The idea worked. In order to map the words, students must read the given paragraph repeatedly to understand the terms. The paragraph that is given could be a subject related to technology, nature and others. As the method is activity-based, they are interested in doing the exercise,” says the English graduate from Sivaganga, who has won numerous awards, including the Abdul Kalam Prize (2020). She has also won the National Innovation Award – 2021-22 from NCERT, Delhi for her technique.

Ask S Madhusri, 12, a student in class 6 at Sivaganga High School, she would say that it is easy to learn concepts through strategy mapping. “When I read a paragraph that is, say, about five lines, it’s always easy to remember. But when it comes to detailed concepts, it was difficult. After applying the strategy, now I am able to remember things easily. Plus, it just takes less time to learn,” she says.

Madhusri’s opinion is supported by S Swetha, 12, from the same school. “Paragraphs that took me an hour to understand could be finished in half an hour now,” she says. It’s true, adds Andal S, a teacher at the school. “Grade 6 students’ grip power improved a lot after they started following the techniques taught by Usha,” she says. After reading a paragraph, students are now able to easily convey the concept just by looking at the map, Andal says.

“During my school years, my teachers asked me to explain some subjects to my classmates. To help my friends, I started making efforts to learn. The practice continued during my time in college,” says the “born teacher” who began her career as an English teacher for grades 6-10 at a public high school in 2006 before becoming a DIET lecturer in Kalayarkovil.

VIRUDHUNAGAR: It’s lunch break. The breathtaking silence inside the classroom contrasts sharply with the hustle and bustle outside. Acting as a teacher, a teenage girl exhibits aspects of the English language as her classmates gather and listen. More than two decades and many challenges have passed away. After the Covid-induced lockdown, while visiting several public schools, it appeared to S Usha, Lecturer at the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET), that most of the students are under the grip of xenoglossophobia, the fear of learning English and other foreign languages. When children in class 6 at a public school in Sivaganga were asked to read a topic from books, Usha was shocked to see their lack of reading sub-skills such as comprehension and synthesis. “Despite their talent and solid foundation, they don’t do well on a reading comprehension exam. The fear of language lowered their confidence levels and made them believe they could never perform well,” she points out. S Usha, DIET LecturerThe 39-year-old DIET lecturer had a Herculean task at hand – quelling the fear factor. She proposed a strategy – semantic mapping – that could help hone students’ reading and comprehension skills. The method allows students to conceptually explore their knowledge of a new word by matching it with other related words or phrases that have a similar meaning to the selected word. “The idea worked. In order to map the words, students must read the given paragraph repeatedly to understand the terms. The paragraph that is given could be a subject related to technology, nature and others. As the method is activity-based, they are interested in doing the exercise,” says the English graduate from Sivaganga, who has won numerous awards, including the Abdul Kalam Prize (2020). She has also won the National Innovation Award – 2021-22 from NCERT, Delhi for her technique. Ask S Madhusri, 12, a student in class 6 at Sivaganga High School, she would say that it is easy to learn concepts through strategy mapping. “When I read a paragraph that is, say, about five lines, it’s always easy to remember. But when it comes to detailed concepts, it was difficult. After applying the strategy, now I am able to remember things easily. Plus, it just takes less time to learn,” she says. Madhusri’s opinion is supported by S Swetha, 12, from the same school. “Paragraphs that took me an hour to understand could be finished in half an hour now,” she says. It’s true, adds Andal S, a teacher at the school. “Grade 6 students’ grip power improved a lot after they started following the techniques taught by Usha,” she says. After reading a paragraph, students are now able to easily convey the concept just by looking at the map, Andal says. “During my school years, my teachers asked me to explain some subjects to my classmates. To help my friends, I started making efforts to learn. The practice continued during my time in college,” says the “born teacher” who began her career as an English teacher for grades 6-10 at a public high school in 2006 before becoming a DIET lecturer in Kalayarkovil.

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