Saturday, February 25, 2012

Din 177: When was the last time you did something for the first time?

I started today with a call to my dear sister. Priya is working on an essay about To Kill A Mockingbird right now, and when she shared with me the thesis and structure she has in mind for the piece, I flipped out. Her idea is so brilliant that it brought back the old rush of writing English compositions, and then Priya was a bit taken a back by how excited I got. Shameless English geek over here!

After telling Nanaji and Ruby Chachu about her plan for her essay, I got to work on a project of my own. It's for my princess's birthday, so I won't describe it, but I will reveal and write about it shortly (February 27th). Over breakfast, I played Dictionary.com's Word Dynamo game. Have I mentioned I like English?


For lunch, I went to the new and stunning Khanna residence. I got to see Nomita Auntie after quite a while, and also met the two newest additions to the family -- awesome Aakriti and adorable Avyaan!

(Avyaan wasn't in the mood for paparazzi.)

This has been an incredibly eventful and fortunate year for both of our families (knock on wood), so we ladies sure had a lot to discuss! Our conversation started from colleges and ended with the new house, with tons in between. We had a nice afternoon, and I look forward to seeing them again soon!




I returned home in time for the activities portion of class at Gyaan Ghar. Click here to read about the games we played today in the park. In my mind, however, I made more progress with a student after class today. You can read about my lesson with Sonu in more detail by clicking the link above, but I'd like to include my takeaways here as well:

I think Sonu's process is a perfect example of how rote memorization in Indian education is so, well, rote. For us in the US, "cramming" means studying non-stop the night before a test. Here, it means cramming information into your brain even if you don't understand it at all. Sonu just expected to memorize English questions and answers without noticing any patterns in the letters that made up the words -- this is normal to him, and truly shocking for little me, a product entirely of the American education system.



At the end of an hour and a half together, I was very pleased with our progress. A boy who couldn't recognize what he was even being asked when he walked in walked out knowing how to read and respond to 7 English questions. But of course, I will review this again with him tomorrow. And that's what's different about the work we are doing with our students. At his public school, the teacher would write each sentence once and tell him to copy it a number of times and bring it back to school the next day. I'll instead remind him of the patterns we discovered, so that he will be able to make similar connections when he is taking an assessment. And I'm not even an experienced teacher -- this is just the type of attention we are used to in America, and the type all these students would be getting if they had had the random fortune of being born into a different environment, as I have.

After class, Dadi and I went for a quick round of the park before dinner. Having eaten, we started a Ruby Chachu recommendation --  As Good As It Gets. I've now bid R. Chach good night and goodbye, as he leaves for Delhi tomorrow. Can't wait till he's back next week!

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