A BOUQUET OF LANGUAGES
“While teaching a second language has its challenges, academically, teaching mother tongue to students has its own set of challenges as well! I realised this only when I began to teach. But now I know that if one uses the right elements, students learn.” – Ms. Farha Naaz
Ms. Farha Naaz
A teacher supported at our Shikshaantaar program in Delhi (ITEI-EDMC)
“Language is a bouquet of culture, heritage, and traditions,” FarhaNaaz says to her students. She asked them to break down this sentence to identify what it means to them in the context of their lives. One says, “Language gives us stories”. Another recounts how his grandfather tells him stories each night before he goes to bed. Another chimes in with “shayari”!
FarhaNaaz’s classroom is a reality across most of the primary schools of East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC). However, this reality, in turn, poses two constant challenges for teachers. One, the obvious challenge of teaching Urdu; academically. Two, the teaching of other academic subjects in Urdu medium.
Hence, it was no surprise at all when, during a training session at ITEI-EDMC, FarhaNaaz confessed that she often struggles to motivate her students to learn Urdu. She often felt bogged down by the lack of relevant and exciting teaching resources. So, she wondered what kind of training sessions could do to help her!
However, upon meeting other teachers who were struggling with the same issue, she found the company to discuss her concerns. Moreover, in the existing training format, she found the space to ask her questions without hesitation. “While teaching a second language has its challenges, academically, teaching mother tongue to students has its own set of challenges as well! I realised this only when I began to teach. But now I know that if one uses the right elements, students learn.”
For many, English is not a part of their daily conversations, so it becomes a foreign language for them. Added to this the inherent challenges of teaching other subjects in the Urdu-medium makes matters much harder. Hence, extending support to teachers is essential as no pre-service programme can ever adequately address all these matters in the absence of practice.
The amount of linguistic variety available amongst the nearly 3 lac students of the primary schools is a viable resource. To utilise it the strengths of teachers, need to be enhanced so much no language or its speakers be left behind!