English for Rural Development: Providing Proficiency in English to Rural Youth
- Written by Sarika Khurana
India is one of the developing countries that has been contributing in large measure to migration of people to foreign countries, particularly the developed West, and Punjab is one of the States that stands ahead of others in this respect. It is estimated that there are about 1.5 million Punjabis in Europe and North America from Punjab’s Doaba region alone. Among these, many are now well-off in business and other professions and have earned a name for themselves in the host country. A large majority of these migrants is from the rural areas. In fact, migration from rural areas of Punjab to West goes on vigorously if the number of candidates from rural areas appearing in International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and in similar other tests of English, is any indication.1 Cambridge IELTS is conducted by the British Council and the IDP Australia for the benefit of those seeking to go abroad. As proficiency in English happens to be an essential requirement for issue of visa, even a student visa, a large number of candidates appear in these tests of English with a view of going abroad.
Interdisciplinary Teaching in English Literature: Old Hat or New Perspectives?
- Written by Nidhi Verma
In recent times, there has been a lot of academic brouhaha about interdisciplinarity. Interdisciplinary pedagogical practice allows the teacher to cross the traditional boundaries of discipline centred teaching by drawing from two or more academic disciplines to approach the text. Though the term has been in currency for a long time, in the Indian context it has gained popularity only recently.
The very discipline of English literature demands an active awareness of other disciplines. Fiction, however removed from the real world, takes its basis from the author’s background and sensibilities. No study of literature can be done in isolation and relies heavily on other disciplines, especially social sciences to heighten the understanding of the text. So even before the concept and theories of interdisciplinarity gained currency, literature teaching meant integrating academic disciplines.
Making Evaluation Authentic
- Written by Mukti Sanyal
* Article first published in Fortell, September 2011 issue.
Thirty-two years of teaching English tells me that one of the only ways of making testing interesting and relevant is by making it an authentic activity and an integral part of the students’ learning programme. This is especially important for teaching and testing at the under-graduate level. Students at this stage have already had twelve years taking formal testing and most have mastered the art of cracking and passing exams without necessarily learning anything valuable or significant. They are oriented to the system well enough to know that memorizing from guidebooks or kunjis is a sure route to success while for the reckless or the adventurous, cheating from slips of papers tucked away into shoes or blouses or attempting to send in proxy candidates are attemptable options. It is against this mindless taking of tests and examinations that I see value in what I wish to share.
The University of Delhi has thankfully made space for Internal Assessment from 2007 with 15 marks being allotted for Project/Seminar, etc. and 5 marks for Assignment (besides 10 marks for Home Exams and 5 marks for Attendance). It is in the space available for Projects and Assignments that I experiment with interactive, learning-oriented evaluation procedures.