Teach India!!!

I volunteered for the Times of India “Teach India campaign” and was assigned to the Kotak Education Foundation at Chembur. I was assigned to their Student Intervention Program(SIP)
Kotak Education foundation has tied up with a number of municipal schools in the area. The teachers from the NGO would teach the children basic English for one hour a day everyday after school. We as volunteers would interact with two children every week for an hour and give them a conducive environment to speak English.
A study done by a Bangalore based company showed that a significantly large number of people passing out of universities are not employable because they lack the basic interpersonal and communication skills. This is true not only for municipal schools but our entire education system. We are very strong in the ‘knowledge skills’ but not really taught skills as problem solving, effective communication, inter-personal skills which are quite important for life
The objectives of the program are
1) To teach children to speak English
2) To understand English
3) Overall gain confidence of communicating with people and learn interpersonal skills.

I intend to document my experience as a part of this initiative with the following objectives

1) To keep track of the progress of the kids assigned to me
2) To gather my thoughts together after each session
3) To document my experience so I can read it some years from now and feel nostalgic!
4) To have something to write on my blog
5) To maybe inspire others reading this to go out there and make a difference!

Day 1- Saturday July 19th 2008

10:30 am-Kotak Education Foundation Office
I walked into the Kotak education foundation office at Chebur Naka for the first time and Shriti from the foundation explained the entire program.
I was a little apprehensive about the entire program being a little unstructured but decided to go for the volunteers briefing in the afternoon where we were to discuss some structure

1:00 pm- Kumud Memorial School Deonar

I met people from diverse groups volunteering to teach. My group had two doctors, a lawyer, a Charterd accountant, students and other professionals! It was a pleasure to just see the diverse group willing to come out of their way to “Teach India”.
We had a brief briefing and were told that just talk to the kids and give them a chance to talk!
Honestly I was quite apprehensive..… I am normally quite good at making small talk with strange people but what will I talk to a 8th standard child who I would not have anything common in and infact may not even be able to understand my language!
The first 10 minutes were quite awkward…did the normal small talk with the child…what is your name…what is your teachers name….do you like school etc etc…and then what…! Now what should I talk to this child!! I am suppose to be the teacher….I have no clue what to do!!
And I a brilliant idea struck me….I decided to play a game with them…games are always fun….!
So we played the “I CAN SEE” game…
All three of us had to look around the room and say what we can see in complete English sentences
· I can see a fan
· I can see chairs
· I can a teacher wearing a blue dress…
· Etc etc etc
This gave me an opportunity to improve their vocabulary of the objects they see around them. As the game went along we went for a walk around the school spotting things and trying to describe them with adjectives!
This worked really well for me…I managed to make fruitful conversation with kids and also managed to teach them something in an informal manner!
When my second set of students came in….I was alredy a more confident teacher!!

About my teach India friends/children

I had four kids with me coming in two batches of one hour each
3) Rashmi
4) Komal
The boys seem to have a better vocabulary of words than the girls….but they were also picking up well!
In my next blog post I will write more about each of the kids, and what is it that I plan to do with them in the future!!


Filed under Teach India

4 responses to “Teach India!!!

  1. Parthu

    Firstly, I commend you for your decision of spending your spare time doing something that would be constructive, not only in the short run, but also in the long run! I firmly believe that inculcating practical (and not theoratical) knowledge among the children in our Country would pave our way to both substantial as well as sustainable growth!!

    What I thought was the most brilliant thing about your session with the kids was that you went about imparting practical knowledge to them, the practical way!! By making the children feel that they were actually playing a game, you ensured that they would completely open up, as there wouldn’t be an element of formality. Also, it is easier to retain learning that has its association, either with a visual or a practical incident.

    May be, during your next session, you could consider playing a game of ‘Scrabble’ or ‘What’s the Good Word’ with the kids. You could also ask them to state their thoughts about some prominent personalities by using as many adjectives in English as possible. The one who uses the maximum number of adjectives could be awarded.

    Great going ma’am……..keep up the good work!! Do let me know in case I could be of any assistance!! All the Best!!!!

    Warm Regards,
    Parth Kapadia
    (Your Rotaract Friend)

  2. Sudha

    Hi Shilpa. This is me Sudha again. I started reading ur other posts…now I know what this is about. What came to mind was..one can use songs and rhymes to teach English as these are better remembered by all!

  3. rahul


    I had registered at Teach for India at the time it was launched. I have not got any response from them till date. Is it a good marketing initiative gone awry in execution? I am keen to be a part of the program…..Please connect me to teh organisers, at yr convenience…….thanks!

  4. aplihs

    Well Rahul….too late..the program is over for this year….but there are other places you can teach in depending on the area you stay in…

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