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The Akshara Idea
The National Curriculum Framework – (NCF 2005) states that English is a “symbol of people’s aspirations.....for a fuller participation in national and international life.” It is easy to sense the compelling desire that people in urban India hold to “speak” English. The situation in rural India is not very different, as we at Akshara found out from our experience of working in rural pockets of Gadag District, Koppal District and Bangalore Rural District in Karnataka. The Government of Karnataka introduced English in Std I in 2007-08 under imperfect conditions. Government teachers themselves have come from a system where English was a ‘tough subject’ that lacked any real connect with the learner’s life and was taught mostly through rote. Keeping the ground reality in mind, both of Akshara’s English programmes are designed to be child-friendly as well as teacher-friendly, even as the focus is on achievable language skills through Listening-Speaking-Reading-Writing.

Swalpa English Thumba Fun (Some English, lots of fun), a print-rich programme has teaching-learning materials which an average school teacher can implement easily. Combined with capacity-building sessions for teachers, this was welcomed by teachers in interior Karnataka. “This teaching material is within reach of our Teachers as well as students....which is ideal especially for our rural schools”, is the comment made by a Teacher/Trainer from Kushtagi Taluka, Koppal District.

How Does It Work

Colourful and attractive charts are used to encourage conversations in English between teachers and students. The programme begins with simple steps for basic comprehension of language, building vocabulary and getting the syntax right. A Manual guides the teacher through a combination of open-ended-questions and drills to enhance language production. Reading and writing skills are built over familiarity with spoken language. The classroom is equipped with print material like story charts, phonic cards, work books and reading cards. Teacher training is given in the cascade model which is the essential backbone for a scaled up programme and
builds basic capacities at every level.

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Akshara Foundation