Monday, December 20, 2010

The Colonial Ghost - 7

The Findings

The first picure is one of the best products from the Malayalam medum division and the second one is the best product of the English medium division. What qualitative diffrence do you find between them?
We analyzed the written work done by the children both in the English and Malayalam medium divisions. Children following the State syllabus had no inhibition in writing their ideas in English. All of them had written something. Some of these writings were better than what the children in the English medium divisions wrote.
We found that children in IV B had performed better than those in IV C. The reason was obvious. The teacher in class IV B (a gentle man) had done some justice to the classroom processes whereas the teacher in Class IV C had ignored the classroom processes altogether and had taught in a manner that was convenient to him.
Interaction with the Staff
In the evening we got an opportunity to interact with the teachers of the school. The Head teacher told us that the teachers were willing to stay after the school hours. We consider this as an indicator for their concern for school matters.
We assembled in the conference hall. We were happy to share with them the good things we had observed. At the same time we expressed our anxiety about the children in the English medium division. We showed them what the learners had written about their morning assembly. It appeared that they were shocked.
‘We opened the English medium division a few years ago because of the insistence from the part of the PTA,’ said the Head teacher.
‘Don’t you think this is really unfortunate?’ I asked the teachers. ‘The children in class IV A have nearly four years of experience of learning English because they started it in the pre-primary classes.’
‘Do you discuss academic matters in the school SRG meetings?’ asked Kaladharan.
They explained the practical difficulty. Some amount of sharing takes place among the teachers handling the Malayalam medium divisions. But this does not take place with the teachers handling the English medium divisions.
‘What do you infer from the written work of the children? The children following the State syllabus and textbook were able to express their ideas in whatever English they were able to learn. This was possible because they were experiencing a process-bound learning programme. The NCERT textbook does not demand this.’
We felt the presence of an unpleasant silence spreading in the room.
‘We are sorry to tell you about this,’ said Kaladharan. We will not ask you to convene a PTA meeting and propose the immediate closure of the English medium divisions. It will not look nice. You may continue to retain the parallel divisions in English. But at the same time you will have to ensure that all children irrespective of their medium of learning should get quality education.’
‘All what you can do is strengthen the classroom process in the mother tongue medium divisions. If you can show the parents that children in classes 1 to 4 can read and write in English and above all, speak the language, the parents will be convinced. They will demand that their children should be taught in the mother tongue.


  1. English medium or മലയാളം medium, പഠിപ്പിക്കുന്ന അധ്യാപകർ ഒന്നു തന്നെയല്ലെ? അവരുടെ ആംഗലേയത്തിലുള്ള നിലവാരം എന്നേ പോലെ തന്നെ.. മലയാളം നന്നായി അറിയില്ല എന്നു മാത്രമല്ല ഇഗ്ലീഷ് അതിനേക്കാൾ പരിതാപകരം. എട്ടാം ക്ലാസിൽ എട്ടു വട്ടം പൊട്ടിയ ഞാൻ ഇതൊക്കെ പറയാൻ എന്ത് ന്യായം? ഞാൻ ഇതാ ഇപ്പോഴും പഠിക്കാൻ ശ്രമിച്ചു കൊണ്ടിരിക്കുന്നു....

  2. It seems that you are blindly opposing english medium parallal divisions in govt/aided schools.This view is reflected in all your blog posts. Why you are not thinking about the poor teachers who are trying thier level best to satisfy the 'greedy parents' as well as inspectors like you? If all the parallal english mediums are banned, will it solve the entire problem? The specimen displayed by you indicates that ordinary children perform better than their counterparts in english medium.I do agree. But how can you generalise the issue? Let the poor teachers tackle their problems in their own way. Instead of leading agitation against english medium divisions, you may insist them to implement new methodology in english medium divisions also. Otherwise only the so called unaided english schools will be benefitted.

  3. Dear friends,
    Do you thnk that I m blindly opposing the English medium divisions? Whether it is English medium or Malayalam medium quality should be ensured. That is our concern.
    secondly, the State syllabus is capable of giving quality education to children. There are several thousands of primary children who can write their own poems and stories in English. The study conducted by RIESI, Bangalore highlights the achievements of children in English in the context of the revised curriculum of Kerala. Why is this fact not highlighted? The findings of te study will be posted in the blog.
    The criticism is on the people's belief that English medium is a panacea for the poor quality of education in the country. Moreover, it is also a criticism of the belief that NCERT textbooks are superior to the text books of SCERT Kerala.

  4. "the State syllabus is capable of giving quality education to children"

    Dear critical pedagogy sir, don't think that the quality of the course books is all. How can you say the text books prepared by SCERT Kerala is good? Have you ever taken the real feed back from the classrooms? Can you say that the secret behind the raising percentage of sslc results is the quality of textbooks or the quality of classroom activities? I challenge you people who speak loud for the "constructivist curricula" of our little Kerala.

    "The study conducted by RIESI, Bangalore highlights the achievements of children in English in the context of the revised curriculum of Kerala."

    Who are behind the mentioned studies?
    Who are behind the revised curricula of Kerala> Is there something common between the two?

  5. I dont know about the 'common factors' you have mentioned. But I have real classroom experience of teaching English right from std 1 to 7 and I am satisfied. It is really challenging to speak aloud for 'constructivism'. Open discussions are welcome;hidden arrows are ugly. Take the challenge!