Bringing English Language to the Margins: the Case of Inclusive English Education in India
- Written by Anju S Gupta
When Chandrabhan Prasad, a Dalit writer, hosted birthday celebrations for Thomas Macaulay on Oct 2006, it was perhaps at one level a rather ironic attentiongetting gimmick, but it also opened up certain important issues.
“English, the Dalit goddess, is a world power today”, claims Prasad. “For complete emancipation Dalit/ Adivasi parents ought to give English education – if necessary, working more hours, borrowing money, selling off jewellery, even mortgaging properties”, he emphasizes, and it is becoming a widely shared sentiment. Over a century ago, Savitribai Phule, wife of social revolutionary Jotirao Phule, had written the same thing, saying in a poem, “shudras and ati-shudras (Dalits) now have the right to education, and through English casteism can be destroyed and Brahmanical teaching can be hurled away”. Dalits still believe this. (Omvedt, 2006)
Assessment: An Opportunity to Learn
- Written by Nupur Samuel
* Article first published in FORTELL September 2011 issue.
Purpose and relevance of assessment
As we all know, tests have become an accepted component of formal instructional programmes throughout the world. They are considered valid, reliable indicators of students’ performance and potential and are being used increasingly to make decisions about the quality of a particular programme/course, admission to various courses and selection for jobs. Sometimes tests are justified on the basis of accountability: are students learning what they are supposed to be learning? This kind of evidence is required to make judgments about how to spend resources, whether to continue with a particular course/ textbook etc. Tests also provide an opportunity to give feedback to language students for future improvement.
Hence it is important to deliberate upon whether our language tests help us to draw inferences about the language abilities of our students that are reliable and a true indicator of their proficiency and consequently help us to make correct decisions based on those inferences? What does a particular score tell us about that student’s language ability or about classroom teaching? Do scores and grades shed light on the kind of errors our students make, provide reasons for those errors along with solutions? Do they help curriculum developers to revise textbooks or help teachers to modify their teaching practices?
Teaching of English at the Primary Level
- Written by Kusum Sharma
Language is perhaps man’s most basic tool for communication. It would be difficult for men to live together, think or act without the sounds and symbols of language. It is impossible to imagine life without language - a life without gestures, conversation, writing, books etc.
Although animals have the physical capability and capacity to produce sounds, but only humans have the physical and mental endowment necessary to develop language use. Language is more than instinctive sounds given in response to environmental conditions. It is a system for interpreting and organizing experiences, ideas and thoughts as well as for communicating feelings.