From : Deborah Wood
To : Surendra Gehlot
Sent : Monday, November 13, 2006 20:20:13 +1100 (EST)
Subject : Volunteer for project Dr Wood response
I am sending you my written response regarding the teaching volunteering. I thank you sincerely again for providing me with such a valuable and insighful experience in India. I hope to return someday soon. In the mean time i would wecome a continuing dialogue with you regaring the volunteer program at mandore Guest House. Thankyou again, to you and your wonderful family. Please find attached my response.
VOLUNTEER TEACHING WITH MANDORE GUEST HOUSE
Dr. Deborah Wood, Australia.
Teaching - ages range from 3 years
to about 12 years old
Having just completed two rewarding weeks volunteering at a small village outside of Jodphur in the Bishnoi area, I thought it would be helpful for future volunteers if I recorded some of my experiences. I taught at a small government school each morning about fifteen kilometers from the Mandore Guest House. Each day as we arrived, the students rushed out to welcome us. I was accompanied each day by Surandra, who co-ordinates the volunteer program. He was a crucial presence as he was able to help me organize the large class, translating my instructions and providing me with the Hindi words I needed to get my point across.
The students level of English was very basic so I developed some very simple lessons around basic phrases such as; How are you, my name is, the time is etc. The students normal learning method is by rote with lots of repetition. I decided to enliven this by incorporating visual expression, visual aids and games. This seemed to be a successful approach, especially as the age range of the class is so wide. (The ages range from three years old to about twelve). The resources at the school are minimal so I found taking A4 and A3 paper was useful. We also provided colour pencils and crayons.
Dr. Deborah Wood, Australia.
Teaching - attention to Small Aged
Dr. Deborah Wood, Australia -
Teaching English Lesson in a rural
Each lesson began with oral and written presentation followed by the whole class repeating the words over and over. After copying down the words an activity was devised to further entrench the words into the students minds. This usually took the form of a poster or image combined with words. With much praise provided the work was displayed amidst applause and treats. I always tried then to incorporate the days new terms into a game. These children are fairly kinaesthetic in their approach to learning so games or dances are a fun and effective way to help them retain new information.
THREE EXAMPLES OF LESSONS
English terms; Hello, how are you? I am well, thankyou.
Using both English and Hindi I introduced the terms to the class and got them to repeat the phrases. Using selected students I role-played the meeting and greeting process with them in front of the class. The students then copied the terms into their books. The activity used to reinforce the lesson was simple; the students had to line up facing each other and shake hands with the person opposite. Then one side was instructed to say, “Hello, how are you”. The other side responded with, “I am well, thank you. How are you? Then the first line responded with, “I am well thank you.” All very simple but it worked well as they were all involved and encouraged to be loud and lively. They practiced for 5 minutes or so and I circulated giving individual attention. Finally I walked down the line and got each pair to perform the greeting in front of the others, with applause for each effort.
English terms; What is the time?, The time is … o’clock.
I began by drawing a clock-face on the board. Then wrote the terms for them to copy We went over with the class numbers in English and then I changed the hands of the clock on the board and each time asked the students to tell me what the time was. They were instructed to draw twelve clock faces and draw in the hands and write the time in English.
This took some time and much attention was given to individual students, especially the younger ones.
The activity that followed was the game ‘What is the time Mr Wolf (except I changed the wolf to Tiger). This game became a perennial favorite amongst the children that they asked to play each day. It is particularly good, as it requires much repetition of the phrases taught and is fun.
English terms for body parts.
A large figure was drawn on the board. The students were given photocopies of a body outline. On the sheet they wrote the word for each part as it was taught. There was much verbal repetition of the words and encouragement to wave, stamp, kick, waggle etc. the body parts mentioned. The students were then given time to colour in the body outline and then copy the words into their books.
The activity chosen for this lesson was the simple dance ‘Do the Hokey Pokey’. (Oh put your left foot in, put your left foot out, put your left foot in and shake it all about etc). Again this was good as it gave the children a chance to be up and about having fun while using the new terms.
These are just some ideas; everybody will bring their own expertise and instinct to the project. I cannot recommend highly enough how valuable this experience was for me. To be part of these children’s world for a few short weeks was a privilege and a joy. Their enthusiasm and respect was refreshing for a jaded teacher from Australia. The support volunteers receive at the Mandore Guest House is superb, as is the wonderful food. Surandra has thought deeply about a grassroots approach that is appropriate and useful for the villagers so either teaching, upgrading the school facilities or installing a new fuel efficient cooking stove is done with respect and sensitivity. I certainly will be returning and encouraging my colleagues to do so also.