Supporting English Language Teaching During the Pandemic

Anand Desai and Neeta Jose presented two papers at an online International Conference on English Language Teaching during Pandemic Times: Grappling with the New Normal organized jointly by RIESI and ITfC on 25th and 26th June 2021.

About the conference- The global Covid-19 pandemic has forced educational stakeholders to disseminate knowledge outside the ease of a classroom. Each institution is perplexed and has attempted all possibilities to ensure uninterrupted learning during the crisis. The conference tried to bring together educators, researchers, students, and parents from across the country and outside it to share their learning experiences of teaching English during the pandemic and its future prospects.

This conference had aimed to deduce practical policies, provide ideas and strategies to educators and explore new research areas.

The two papers presented by Anand and Neeta respectively are:

1) Supporting ELT during the pandemic: Experience with Teacher Education by Anand Desai & Rakesh B

IT for Change has been conducting sessions on Krashen Hypothesis on second language acquisition and “Audio Resource Creation for Language Teaching” as a part of the Certificate and Diploma programs of the RIESI for English Language Teachers. The objective of our courses is to understand the principles of language acquisition and to explore new digital methods for language teaching including creating their own audio resources. Since the teacher has the best understanding of his/her classroom context, audio materials created by s/he will be more contextual and hence likely to appeal to the students.
During the past one year, these courses were conducted for multiple batches online. In these courses, the participants listened to audio stories from “Karadi tales”, ideated on the musical values, created their own audio resources for prose, poetry, speeches and enhanced the recordings done using Audacity functions. The participants also published these resources in public repositories for the benefit of other teachers. This paper deals with the experiences of IT for Change in conducting these courses.

2) Supporting ELT during the pandemic: Experience with Government and Aided Schools by Neeta Jose

The Covid-19 pandemic triggered nationwide lockdown lead to the prolonged closure of schools, disrupting academic processes and causing serious gaps in student learning. To address these gaps, IT for Change's education team conducted “Back to School” camps (when schools opened after the first wave), and online classes (during school closure periods) for class 8 and 9 students from government and aided schools in Bengaluru South-3 Block. Both included English language teaching components. Our experiences confirmed that many students, mostly from socio-economically marginalized sections, had highly limited speaking, reading, and writing skills in the English language. The paper discusses our program strategies - library activities, e-story books read-aloud, story re-telling, and language games that were taken up to support students, provide continuity in learning and build these skills. Our model leveraged digital technologies and aimed to create a collaborative and stress-free environment and provide positive experiences in language learning.


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