A group of students from our school taught students from Vasantdada Patil Marathi Medium School basic, conversational English. We thought knowing basic English is extremely beneficial as it is a universal language of communication as it allows us to communicate with a larger group of people. By teaching it to students who did not know it as well, we hoped to help them communicate with others more easily.
Initially, the students were quite shy and hesitant to participate in class because they doubted their work and answers. We realised that they enjoyed more creative tasks, such as drawing and poster making, and games. We decided to try and incorporate these elements into each of our lesson plans. Each lesson would begin with a short game to recap the skills learned in the previous lesson, after which we would explain a new concept through explanations and examples. Then, we would usually give the students an accompanying task which they would use to practice the skills they just learned. The students would sometimes be asked to create posters describing themselves or be given picture prompts based on which they would write short stories. Each lesson would end with another short game, this time revising the concepts taught during that lesson.
Over the course of the activity, the students became more confident and were more willing to clarify doubts and answer questions we asked them. They were less nervous when they had to present their work to the rest of the class, or when they mimed words to their team members in charades. They would also try to talk to each other in English, instead of Marathi, which showed improvements in their English skills as well as their confidence.
Even though we were able to successfully teach the students basic, conversational English, there were some challenges we had to overcome. One of the biggest challenges we faced was communication, as the students mainly spoke Marathi or Hindi. Our group had three Marathi speakers who became the main communicators for the group. The rest of the members were responsible for planning the lessons. Giving each member of the group a specific role improved the lesson planning process as the workload was divided among the group and each person knew what they were doing, making the process more organised.
As the group leader, it was my responsibility to ensure that our lesson plans and materials were ready before each lesson. This was slightly challenging as I was required to communicate with the members of my group and remind them of their roles. I had to manage my own time in order make sure that I completed my role, and take responsibility for my group and lesson plans.
In the end, even though the planning and execution of the lesson plans was challenging, we learned how to organise ourselves better and how to plan effective lesson plans, and improved our communication skills. We also learned the benefits of knowing a universal language of communication, and ways in which it has helped us in our daily lives – ways we might not have noticed previously.
IBDP 2 student