36. English, Globish, Hinglish, Netglish

Some interesting reads:

Learn English online: How the internet is changing language

In Hinglish, a co-brother is a brother-in-law; eve-teasing means sexual harassment; an emergency crew responding to a crisis might be described as ‘airdashing’, and somewhat confusing to football fans, a ‘stadium’ refers to a bald man with a fringe of hair. There’s even a new concept of time – “pre-pone”, the opposite of postpone, meaning “to bring something forward”.

English or Hinglish – which will India choose?

The trouble with dysfunctional Hinglish is that it can cause havoc when clear and precise communication is required, whether on a simple taxi ride or in more serious situations like hospitals and law-courts. Young Indians still need better quality, standardised English teaching if they want to access the global knowledge economy and stay ahead of eager new English-speakers in China or Argentina.

Internet + English = Netglish

Crystal says the internet represents the biggest change in communication in the whole of human history. Changes underway, he says, “are immensely bigger” than those which followed the invention of the printing press.

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35. To beat or not to beat

Reporter - to beat or not to beat

Let me tell you this, back in my school days it used to be a perfectly-okay thing for a teacher to beat students. Unlike these days, there was no big fuss over corporal punishment. In fact, parents expected (and requested) the teachers to beat the ‘brats’ and get them straightened. It used to be a part of education, a complete school experience.

It’s just been this 10 or 12 years. This reformation. Banning of corporal punishment from schools. All forms of punishments, physical and mental. I’m a teacher myself now, and yes I am completely against corporal punishment. I too think that it has terrible and indelible effects in a child’s psyche. But sometimes in frustrating moments, I seem to reason that ‘beating the brats’ might be the only way out. I constantly debate with myself, what if the student was inherently wicked and deserved to be slapped on his/her face. I have somehow repressed that urge. Just one slap. I rationalize.

Child psychologists, educationalists and social scientists say corporal punishment is never a way out. It is never a solution. It will only prevent bad behaviors momentarily. When the experts say so, it must be true.

I specifically remember the day I was beaten severely by my Maths teacher when I was in class five. I was a nuisance and naturally, I got the beating.

With a pipe.
With pants stripped down.
In front of the whole class.

I hated the teacher to my guts.

There were other teachers too who would not hesitate a moment to whip you at the slightest digression of classroom manners. Sticks. Slaps. Uth-bas. Chicken. I hated those teachers too. I was a loud mouth, quick to reply and would provoke laughter, sometimes even at the expense of the teachers. They too must have hated me. (Don’t they, teachers, hate students?)

Nevertheless, academically I was way above the average. I never failed any subjects. In fact, I was always one of the strong contenders to get the top rank in the final exams. There were some teachers who appreciated that.

At times, I would plot against the teachers that I hated. “I will see these bastards after I get rid of this school. As soon as I finish my SLC exams, I will gather some boys and corner these bastards in a narrow galli and will avenge them”. I would thus imagine and get thrilled with it.

Thoughts,
they were just some violent thoughts.
Very natural thoughts.
But, only some thoughts.

Psychologists say kids who get beaten in the schools (by teachers or by bullies) turn out to be rebellious, anti-social and violent when they grow up. Those kids are likely to be criminals, they say. Or easily submissive and excessively introvert. But I turned out just fine. I did not murder any teacher. I didn’t wait for them in the dark galli and stabbed them from behind. I am perfectly ‘normal’. I still have some grudge towards few teachers, not because they were awful teachers but because they were simply mindless bullying teachers. Who says one can’t harbour grudge and be perfectly okay about it!

Most of my friends, who had to go through the same ordeal, they too turned out just fine. They didn’t grow up to be losers. They didn’t grow up to be criminals. We didn’t carry guns to the school and spray bullets indiscriminately. In fact, I have never heard any student murdering any teacher or other students in this part of the world.

We don’t beat students anymore. Due to inner conscience or due to compulsion. Due to increased social awareness or due to politicized slogans. The students too are aware of this. They talk about ‘rights’ and interestingly, never about ‘responsibilities’.

Most parents and teachers likewise still believe spanking the kids is our culture. It’s in our blood. My teacher colleagues complain how the students these days are getting difficult to teach; how the students don’t respect the teachers anymore; how the students are the ones to be afraid of. And, how the ‘fee-paying’ parents constantly grumble that the school is too lenient and is not doing enough to tame their brats.

To beat or not to beat.
Things remain to be seen.

[Feature article published in the Reporter Weekly, December, 2012]

34. Essay Writing and Students as the Teacher

Through out the last week, I had been teaching writing paragraph and essay to the students of class ten. We discussed about hamburger structure (topic sentence – supporting sentences – conclusion) for writing a paragraph, mind mapping technique before writing an essay and finally, writing an essay with a simple structure of introduction, main body and conclusion.

Then I assigned the students a project work on essay writing. They would have to choose one of the topics [pollution, tourism, drugs abuse] and they had to incorporate a hamburger structure, mind mapping technique and finally, write the essay.

I got their project works before the deadline and I was pretty impressed with the effort they had put into their work. I felt pleased that they wrote better than I had expected.

The next activity was completely unplanned and almost whimsical. I think I should do this often with these students – to let them pick a topic and ask them to teach the class for at least 10 minutes. So I told them that they had to teach (give a presentation) the class on the topic of their choice. I thought they would panic on hearing this but to my surprise, I saw sparks of interest in their eyes and knew that they were ready to take the challenge.

And teach they did the following day and the next day. Most of them came prepared and few of them were quite incredible while giving the presentation in front of the class. And as a closure to all the activities that we did in the last week, I asked them to write a short reflection on their experience of teaching the class and mail them to me.

Here are the ones that I have received thus far. These are their versions, un-edited text.

Aayam:

Last Thursday I had to teach about conditional sentences (if-clause) to the whole class. The day before I prepared a lot on the topic and the next day I was the first one to teach in my class. I was feeling very nervous. I taught all the types of conditionals with examples and I taught some important rules about conditionals. I was happy to teach conditionals to the whole class. I thought I taught really well but I know there was a lot of nervousness in me. So couldn’t teach as I would have liked. But I tried my best to make the class understand about conditionals.

Sagar:

Last Friday it was my turn to teach everyone about conditionals as our English teacher had assigned us. I felt very excited when I stepped in front of everyone. I was very nervous and wasn’t able to speak for few seconds. Then I felt happy that I got a great opportunity to teach everyone. Then I started to teach everyone. They didn’t raise any questions and I was happy that each and every of them were able to understand me. Then I wrote few points and taught well.

Finally my turn was over and I got good positive comments from my teacher and all of my friends. I was very happy that I got a great opportunity to get experience regarding teaching.

Salim:

Today it was my turn to go in front of the class and teach on the topic “Essay”. He told me beforehand to get prepared on this topic but I just forgot it. I was not prepared at all but I told him that I was prepared. And finally I went in front of the class. I felt somehow nervous, excited and happy. I started that thing with its definition. I taught the best I could. And it went all good. I felt somehow happy listening to my teacher praising me. Then I thought that teaching is good. All you got to do is understand the thing that you’re going to teach in front. I was able to teach them well means that I have understood a lot about essay. While discussing about essay I even gave them the basic concept of how to write the paragraphs by drawing a diagram of a burger. I hope they understood me well because I even explained them drawing mental mapping. This is all what I experienced teaching the class for the first time.