The six-hour journey from Pune to Beed was lovely. I love travelling in the monsoon through pouring rain, looking at all the shades of green passing by. I love the hills in the rain. They’re so full of life, so different from the parched summer browns!
My workshop last weekend was with Gurukul English School in Beed. Like so many other schools, it is an English medium school that is attended by children from non English-speaking families. It’s a huge challenge for the teachers, one that we can barely begin to tackle. Walk through the corridors and you’ll hear a mix of Marathi and Hindi, with just about a word of English thrown in.
And so, my workshop was on Communicative English with Functional Grammar. Led by an enthusiastic vice principal, the teachers came forward to participate, interact and share. They laughed as they donned roles of reporters and sportspeople. They pushed their way through difficult word games, trying their best to express their ideas and explore language teaching through communication rather than grammar. Most importantly, they let go of their inhibitions right through the session.
They told me about their regular three-hour power cuts, in addition to unpredictable cuts when it rains or is windy. They told me about children coming from backgrounds where school is just something children attend, not something that is particularly important.
It was a learning experience for me, certainly!