Most of my impressions had been formed by teaching and talking with the teachers last week. But as it had been the school holidays, I hadn’t actually taught any kids until today. So that was this morning’s work. Well, actually it was really fun. The class teachers were all the same teachers from last week so were eagerly inviting me into their classes. They were wanting me to do some Genki English example lessons, but my main aim was just to chat to the kids and find out what sort of language they use. This is how I design a curricula so it is very important. It’s quite easy to do though, you just do a little warming up to get them used to you then ask if they have any questions for you! The questions were basically the same ones that kids ask everywhere, although we were careful to let them ask in Hindi as well so they weren’t just limited by the English they knew. The only extra questions that aren’t in the GE curriculum were things like “What is your father’s name?” which did confuse me until I had the reason explained to me. What sports do you play? didn’t work at all though, the answer in every single class was “Cricket!”. “Any others?” I asked, and the reply was “Are there any other sports??”. One kid did eventually come up with “kabaddi” though. It was also interesting when they were asking me where I live. As usual I got them to guess (it’s good vocab practice for them and let’s you see the sort of things they know), but the guesses were always England, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, West Indies… I guess the cricket world defines the country names known as well!
In the older classes I also tried the Hammer Game and the Lines Quiz. This showed that their English is generally quite good, but as anywhere in the world it’s the confidence that needs the work. Which is just the thing I spend my workshops on.
One high school teacher kept looking across at my class and I thought he was telling me to be quiet. So I got the kids to do the English “Genki but quiet”, but he still kept looking across. Eventually I realised he wasn’t telling us off for being so loud, but wanted me to come and play the games with his class. And they were quite good as well.
So all this combined with seeing the teachers in their home environment really gave me confidence that this whole programme should work really well. There are so many kids packed into these schools (doing the warm up caused a dust cloud to appear in one class!) but with a few smiles and fun things to do, they are as genki and energetic as any kids you could meet.