February 2010

Development of Communication Skills among the First Generation Learners at Primary Level

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Under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, I got an opportunity to interact with Primary Teachers on Developing Communication Skills in English in primary school children. This experience turned out to be a challenging one, and then I decided to write up the ground realities of Delhi Govt/MCD run primary schools, along with my revised training module to make teaching and learning of English language an enjoyable and sustainable experience for both the teachers and the learners. I strongly felt that teaching of English was not the only issue in the so-called govt. schools but the general primary education needs to be handled with new perspective using different modalities.

The Training Design:

Purpose: To promote the idea that language (any language) is not a subject in the school curriculum to be studied for content only, but it is a tool of communication and a pool of skills to be acquired in different contexts and used in every aspect of life.

Methodology: Interactive; Brainstorming; Hands on learning; Demonstration; Group-discussion; Presentations; Group-work and Display (Materials).

Approach: Child-centric.

Special element: Flexibility – scope for modification of the activities introduced.

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harpreet

Motivational Orientation towards English Language

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Most of the research on second language acquisition has been concerned with the measurement of proficiency in that particular language. The assumption that achievement is largely determined by the linguistic aptitude remained unquestioned until the seminal work of Lambert and Gardner (1959 and 1972) confirmed the impact of attitude and motivation on second language acquisition and achievement.

The study by Lambert and Gardner has been challenged by a number of scholars and expanded and modified by others (e.g. Dorneyei, 1994 by a number of scholars and expanded and modified by others (e.g. Dorneyei, 1994, 1998 and 2000; Gardner, Tremblay, and Masgoret, 1997; Oxford and Shearin, 1994)

Attitudes and motivation of the students towards English have been extensively studied in India. Lukmani (1972) examined the motivational orientation of female college students from Mumbai. The study by Khanna, (1983) (A Study of Some Learner Variables in Learning English as a Second Language) also examines the same area. Many of the reported studies (e.g., Agnihotri and Khanna, 1997; Khanna and Agnihotri, 1982) have reported that it is not the integrative, but rather the instrumental orientation that determines the proficiency of English in the Indian context.

The Present Study

Various studies have been carried out in this regard which has brought out the differences in the attitudinal and the motivational attributes in the native and non-native contexts. The following study attempts to uncover the motivational orientation of the subjects and establish the relation between the motivational orientation and language proficiency.

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L1 in the English Class: A survey of Government Primary Schools of Delhi

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According to the NCF (National Curricular Framework) ‘Most children arrive in school with full-blown linguistic systems’ which means that they have learnt not only the basic systems of their language but also achieved a fair amount of communicative competence through appropriate use of language. A three–year–old can engage in a meaningful conversation in his or her mother tongue in a way that is appropriate according to the social milieu and culture in which he or she lives. She is well aware of the social formulae and knows how to use them in a specific socio-cultural contexts. This can be attributed to the innate language  learning capacity that Chomsky propounded. This acquisition of language includes an appropriate use of word order and the rules that govern the child’s own language. This implies that the child can observe, generalize, experiment with language in specific contexts using logic and understanding that is inborn in every normal child.

NCF further says, ‘Given adequate exposure, children will acquire new languages with ease; the focus in teaching should be more on content than grammar.’ This would mean that meaning takes precedence over form. If this is the normal entry behaviour of children at class I in school, why is there so much apprehension about their learning a second language (L2)? During my long association with teachers of English who address young learners, I have found that they are a worried lot.

 

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CBSE Class 12th (English Core), Test 3

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Time allowed: 3 hrs.

Maximum Marks: 100

General Instructions:

  1. This paper is divided into three sections — A, B and C. All the sections are compulsory.
  2. Separate instructions are given with each section and question wherever necessary. Read these instructions very carefully and follow them faithfully.
  3. Do not exceed the word limit wherever given while answering the questions.

Section-A (Reading) Max.  Marks: 20

1. Read the passages given below and answer the questions that follow: (12 marks)

  1. A passion for austerity can effectually squeeze out the aesthetic sense to a last drop. But, if we can properly regulate our pursuit of discipline, having fullness of life in view, we need not do violence to anyone human at the cost of the others. Rather would they strengthen each other in the process.
  2. The fact is that the foundation must be strong to be able to support a super structure. That which upholds or gives shape must be firm. However soft and supple the flesh might be, if it were not laid on the rigid frame of bones it would be shapeless lump. Likewise joy and wisdom needs must have a firm basis, else wisdom would end in fantasy and joy in delirious drunkenness. This foundation is the discipline of restraint which is strong enough to discriminate and discard…
  3. If beauty is to be to the uttermost, restraint is essential. Unrestrained imagination cannot hope to create beauty in the same way as one does not set the house on fire to light the lamp. The fire must be kept in check so that it may illumine. The same holds good for our desires and passions. Allow these to flare up unrestrained, and they will burn to ashes that which they would rather irradiate.
  4. It is true, whenever our desires and passions sit down to feast, nature garnishes the table with beautiful things. The fruit does not merely appease hunger, it delights the senses with form and odour, colour and taste. The touch of beauty heals our hurts. Beauty has brought our instinctive urges under control. Dire need or want humiliates our humanity. We are no more slaves of dire necessity because the joy of beauty is there to liberate us.
  5. It may be seen, therefore, that ultimately beauty makes for restraint. One who rebels against the idea of controlling passion because they are bad, would readily discard them because they are ugly. As beauty draws us gently towards what is restrained, so does discipline deepen our enjoyment of beauty. If the honeybee does not have poise as it sits on the flower, it cannot suck the honey out of its core.
  6. In creating important works of art, artists have proved the strength of their character. Our unchecked passions tend to create a world of their own, out of harmony with the world around. The colourful may captivate the eye, but the beauty of harmony calls for understanding. It may be seen that mere eyesight is not enough, it must be reinforced by the insight of the mind in order that beauty may lie revealed in its nobility. One must have training to develop the insight.

(Extract taken and edited from Tagore’s Lectures on Art and Aesthetics)

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CBSE Class 12th (English Core), Test 2

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Time allowed: 3 hrs.

Maximum Marks: 100

General Instructions:

  1. This paper is divided into three sections — A, B and C. All the sections are compulsory.
  2. Separate instructions are given with each section and question wherever necessary. Read these instructions very carefully and follow them faithfully.
  3. Do not exceed the word limit wherever given while answering the questions.

Section-A (Reading) Max.  Marks: 20

1. Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions that follow: (12 Marks)

 

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