A rant – Learning/teaching techniques

And the school related problems begin. We had a good run so far.

Daughter managed fine to catch up on the portions that she missed out on – she joined 2 months after schools here started. Hindi was the only thing in which she was clueless. Since Grade 1 is the beginning of Hindi, that looked manageable too. I spoke to the teachers, and everything looked under control. Notice the past tense? Well, we got a note saying that they have a test, and we had three days to prepare. Three days to prepare, no notebook/textbook, and a child who seems clueless.

I’m a hair-breadth away from going crazy. They keep the notebooks at school, so there is no or little work being sent back home. Which is fine, provided all the learning is taken care of, at school. The problem happens when you realize that the portions that the children are expected to know, they don’t actually know. Then the onus falls on the parent to ensure that the child knows what she is supposed to know. We had no trouble in the other subjects. They were stuff she had done already in her previous school, and stuff which she could make sense once she read it. But Hindi is a completely different ball game. Initially, when they had to catch up with the others, they used to bring home the notebooks, but soon that stopped, so we had little idea of what was going on in class, only to find out that there was a whole load of stuff that she has no clue about. When they brought the books home, I would go through the letters with her, but when we don’t have the notebook, it gets difficult to try and go through the lessons with her. At best, we could try and teach her in our own way – but what if it conflicts with what the teacher is teaching. As I said, it’s been a bit crazy.

The only saving grace is that I am in touch with another mum whose child joined at the same time, and both these children seem to be in the same position. So we are not all alone, we have company. I’ve got just today to try and get her co-relate the sounds and the letters. Sigh! I’m not too fussed about her not doing well in a test, but what worries me is if she gets demoralized in case she doesn’t fare well. So I’ve got to try and keep her morale up, while getting her up-to-speed. Wish us luck!

As my friend was saying, it seems so unfair that English, we spend 2 years understanding the sounds, learning the alphabets, and for Hindi, which seems far more complicated, it is such a sudden and quick jump. Is it because they assume that everybody is a native Hindi speaker and can easily grasp the language? I remember finding Hindi very tough, even though technically both English and Hindi were foreign languages for me – at the starting point.

ok, I’m done, just needed to get that out of my system!

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30 thoughts on “A rant – Learning/teaching techniques

    • That’s what I plan to do. I thought I had better go and speak to the teacher personally. They did seem very nice and receptive, when we had a PTM a week or so back. I guess they don’t realise how different a language it is for her.

  1. Hindi scares the hell out of me even today ! And I studied it from Class V.
    Our school had a rule that conversing in hindi would be penalized, and I am talking of late 70s and 80′s – convent school !
    I get picked on hindi even today ! Few months ago I picked up a hindi short story to test my reading skills and I did fine , but when it comes to talking, I cannot compete with a person from chattisgarh who speaks such chase hindi even when his first language is not.
    There is some good literature about yoga, maths, etc written in hindi and now that is what encourages me and my partner to learn the “difficult ” words and may be Sanskrit, ( the arya samaj website indicates that they teach sanskrit – wish us luck in continuing our search to get a teacher in sanskrit in NJ !!

    And we all play catch up – at every age – Good luck Smitha. I assure you, your daughter will be fine, just because your morale and spirit is fine .. it sure rubs off well

  2. Did you read these posts by Sangi…she has done a brilliant job about it..and then her letter to Kapil Sibal..

    http://lifeandtimesinbangalore.wordpress.com/2012/08/26/an-open-letter-to-kapil-sibal/

    http://lifeandtimesinbangalore.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/language-imposition/ – Under this go to Adventures with Hindi…she had written, ranted, explained and done everything else we all do..but in a super manner :)

    I hope things work out soon, like IHM says, request to get the books home everyday na..espeically since they know that Poohi joined in late and doesnt know too much of Hindi because of her upbringing in England!

  3. Smitha!!!! Thanks for that heads-up. I started to teach R basic Tamil alphabet but I think I’ll switch to Hindi now, considering that will be his second language when we move to India!! Gosh, this sounds tough girl! All the best. Knowing you, I know you will find a way out. I just know it :-)
    (PS: You want some yeast from Tesco to be couriered to you?)

    • If you plan to relocate, that would be a good idea. You don’t need to worry about any other subject, they are well ahead in English and Maths in the UK- she’s been acing everything else, but Hindi. Sigh! That has become a nightmare.

    • Things are better, and I guess the learning for me is to ensure that they send home her Hindi books everyday, so that I can get her to go through it on a daily basis…

  4. Ah. The Hindi. Here too, it is the same! Hindi is the most anxiety causing subject! At one of our in house meetings we had suggested that Hindi be taught only at Grade II or III. That is Standard II or III. What happens for a child in India, who does not live in a city- a metro so to speak- is that both English and Hindi are going to be Foreign languages. And learning the alphabet of two languages at teh same time or even a year apart is traumatic for the child to say the least!
    Here at our school, they are introduced to the English Alphabet in LKG, Malayalam in UKG and Hindi in Class I. Horrendous I tell you!!! Till, finally, some of us were able to get through to those who decide and had a slight modification of syllabus, not doing away with a language mind you!! It most certainly is terrible.
    Am glad that you have teachers there who are approachable and can help out! All the best!

  5. I’ve given up, Smitha. My daughter goes to one of the oldest schools in Bangalore and the stuff they make the kids do in kindergarten is beyond belief. I had a major fight with the teacher after the first month and they hadn’t given all the books yet. There were only few kids who hadn’t got all the books and they were made to sit idle when others were busy working, and apparently the teacher was taking the 5 year olds to task for that!!!! Gave the teacher, the principal and whoever came in front of me several pieces of my mind.

    Oh dear! That sounds so sad! How can they have such expectations from a little child?

    Then came the PTM where the teacher said my daughter is slow, you won’t believe the amount of stuff that they are supposed to learn in the first two months! Told her I don’t care however slow she is, I refuse to push her. It is showing results now, she is learning the logic and is a happy child. Can’t wait to put her in my son’s school next year, unfortunately, they don’t have kindergarten there

    Goodness! I am sure she will be happier the way you handle her. How can they start labelling a child so early in her life! Its beyond me! ‘It is showing results now, she is learning the logic and is a happy child.’ – That is what is most important, isn’t it?

    • That is exactly how daughter was until last week. In the past one week, we’ve worked hard to get her to understand the sounds of letters, and I think it’s kind of payed off. I have now realised that unlike schools in the UK, the child doesnot do all the learning at school – especially in subjects that they don’t know much about..

  6. ugh!! Always hated hindi!! My elder son is learning it now and he seems to be able to pick it up better than I did!!
    Can you buy the same book and keep it at home as a second copy? Would that help? I say, tell the daughter that it’s just the first test and she should not worry if she doesn’t do too well. And, prepare her for the second test, since you now know the crazy system!! :))

    • Welcome here Aa’s mom.

      Getting a second copy is a nightmare. I’ve just copied the relevant pages, and hope to get her to go through it everyday. She had the first test today, and apparently the teacher told her ‘Very good’, so I’m hoping that all her hard work payed off. Now on, I plan to get her to work on it every day. Fingers crossed she’ll be fine by the end of the year.

  7. I am dreading teaching S Hindi when she starts first std. I mean, I learned the language only till seventh std. and going by what I hear from many other parents ( non native hindi speakers) who have opted for hindi as the second language, it seems to be tough. Hugs to Poohi and you, I am sure you’ll both crack it together.

    • Welcome here Nithvin!

      I learnt it the hard way. Now I get her to go through the letters everyday – or atleast every other day. That way she seems to grasp it better. Hopefully it will get better as they learn – fingers crossed.

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