Interviews

Rachna Sethi in conversation with Rimli Bhattacharya and her M.Phil.

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Rachna Sethi in conversation with Rimli Bhattacharya and her M.Phil. students, Debolina Dey, Paromita Patranobish and Shelmi Sankhil.

Rachna: Apart from writing papers as part of M.Phil course on children’s literature with Dr. Rimli Bhattacharya, you have also undertaken project work. Can you briefly tell us about your project work? How was it moving beyond the text and classroom? How did you deal with crossing-over of forms and genres?

Debolina: We, a group of four, went to the government home for boys in South Delhi [names of children withheld to protect them].  Our main mode of interaction with them was through the two plays that we did with them. They were not really “scripted.” In our attempts to create something we worked through pedagogies and myths of families, childhood, and of course mythology. We went with a fluid concept, we asked for their responses to conceptualize the play. But we were genuinely confused with the selection of story. Is it going to be a film, a text, or their family stories? The children are not orphans, but homeless boys…

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‘We Need to Rethink Language Teaching and Evaluation System.’ – Barun Mishra interviews Prof. Rajiva Verma, University of Delhi.

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Barun: Since you are the chairman of the committee to oversee the newly introduced courses of B.A. programme, I will be interested here to know first about its plan or scheme, particularly keeping in mind the variety of students that we see in the university and colleges?

Prof. Rajiva Verma: Well, that’s a big question. You have rightly said that those students who join the B.A. course come with widely different levels of academic achievement, and it is always a challenge to  design a course for such a range of students.  I think the range is particularly remarkable in the case of a subject like English, which is only taught through the medium of English . In other subjects, where Hindi is an optional  medium of instruction,  even those students who haven’t come from expensive English medium schools get a chance to catch up with  the supposedly brighter students from the elite English medium schools because they are able to study through Hindi. It might surprise  you to know that the majority of students in the B.A. course opt for Hindi rather that English as the language of instruction and examination. In view of the varying degrees of  proficiency in English among the students joining the B.A. Programme, the English Department has decided to continue with the three levels of English in the restructured course, though in my own opinion, two streams, a higher and a lower, would have been enough.

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A PLEA FOR EARLY ACCESS TO MULTILINGUALISM: Barun Kumar Mishra Interviews Professor R. K. Agnihotri

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Barun: What we gather from the policy decision of the state and its various agencies  regarding language teaching is that a greater emphasis is given to a simultaneous teaching of English language and the mother tongue. First, I would be interested to know whether the approach taken to teach is bridging the social gap or widening it further. Second, what do you mean by mother tongue education when there is a big difference between the regional language and the mother tongue, for example, Bundelkand region has two languages, Bundeli and Hindi together?
Prof. Agnihotri: I think we need to understand three important things first before we get into all this. One is the nature of language, the second is what we know about human mind where languages are concerned, and what the relationship between language and society is. These are three broad domains to be understood as the context to answer your question.

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