|Classroom methodology in a communicative curriculum|
15-25 January 2001
To focus on communicative language teaching at the
secondary level for teacher trainers.
Sri Ramkrishna Ashram, Nimpith, West Bengal. The workshop was held in the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (Agricultural Research Centre) of the Ashram, in a rural setting amid sylvan surroundings. Nimpith, situated in the southern part of West Bengal, serves as a gateway to the Sunderbans, the largest delta in the world and the home of the famous Royal Bengal Tigers!
West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE) and
State Council Educational Research and Training (SCERT). They sponsored the travel, food and accommodation for thrity-five participants from all over West Bengal.
The Ramkrishna Ashram were quietly efficient, punctual and prompt with technical support, provided comfortable and warm hospitality with personalised attention and organised a memorable sightseeing trip to the islands of the Sunderbans.
Resource Persons: Dr Raymond Mackay, University of Edinburgh, UK, and Professor Arpita Banerjee, Institute of English, Calcutta. Arpita Banerjee started the programme with a fractured foot and Ray Mackay without his luggage! I am extremely grateful to both of them for smiling through it all.
There were thirty-nine participants. Thirty-five of them represented all the eighteen districts of West Bengal. Four of them paid to attend – two from Rajasthan, one from Delhi and one from the newly created state of Jharkhand. One person from Bangladesh could not attend due to visa problems.
Each day the focus was on a particular area of language teaching. Four different perspectives were provided on each area, by exploring the following:
The daily sessions lasted from 9am to 5pm; workshop started with an icebreaker followed by workshop objectives and expectations. The teaching modules consisted of:
The evenings (6.30-8.30pm) were spent viewing video on Language Teaching, activities related to Total Physical Response and miming for language building. We also covered appreciation and teaching of poems, viewing video films, camp fire and the typical Bengali past time, the ‘adda’, which is an informal and often vigorous group discussion activity on any topic under the sun!
The event was inaugurated by the Minister for School Education, government of West Bengal.
The resource persons were the stars of the event.
The participants unanimously agreed that the Resource Persons were excellent
and that the British Council should continue to organise such summer
schools in India. An overwhelming number of the participants felt that
the location of the venue, the food, the accommodation, the organisation
of the workshop and the workshop modules were excellent. A couple of
participants, though, found it a little difficult to sit through the
whole day for about two weeks! On the first two days, they did check
out if they could work flexi-hours, but soon realised they couldn’t.
To their credit, they never complained. Suggestions for topics of future
summer schools include:
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