Friday, January 27, 2012

Sutradhar’s Open Forum - “Language and Literacy”

Via an email sent by Sutradhar

Sutradhar invites you to an Open Forum on ’Language and Literacy’ on 3rd February (Friday), at 4 p.m.

Venue: Ashirwad, St Mark’s Road, the lane opposite State Bank of India.

Time: 4 - 6.30 pm (Tea will be served at 3.45 pm.)

Language learning lies at the heart of the schooling experience. Understandably so, as language enables children to acquire other skills and proficiencies, and helps them comprehend the world. Many children encounter an unfamiliar medium of instruction when they start attending school. This can be an alienating experience, more so when the home is unable to step in and provide the necessary support. Children who flounder with the school language tend to fare poorly in other domains, and their self-esteem and social interactions are often inhibited.

A few individuals have explored the complexity of how children learn language, and how a rich culture for learning language can be nurtured. The Open Forum is an occasion to learn from their experience.

The akshara heritage: Research about how children learn to read has predominantly been with regard to the English language. Less in known about Indian languages that use the akshara symbols as a writing system. Sonali Nag, Newton International Fellow at the University of York, U.K., and founder of The Promise Foundation, Bangalore, will speak about her work with the akshara languages. The akshara is quite unlike the English alphabet in its form and logic, and Sonali’s work is documenting how these differences shape children’s cognition and the teaching of language. Recitation, writing practice, memorising all manner of materials, nuanced engagement with language and book reading are some of the experiences from classrooms that she will explore in her presentation.

The Karadi Path: The aspiration to learn English cuts across socio-economic groups. Thousands of children and teachers have put in tremendous effort towards this, with minimal results. C.P Viswanath, CEO of the Karadi Tales Company, Chennai, will speak about the Karadi Path – a unique pedagogy that has been developed indigenously, specifically for learners from non-English environments. The programme offers the possibility of becoming fluent in understanding and speaking English in just 60 hours. In contrast to traditional teaching methods that tend to be linear and logical, this approach is organic and multi-sensorial; and combines elements of music, storytelling and action. The premise is that English can be learnt intuitively just like the mother tongue.

The Hippocampus Reading Foundation: Umesh Malhotra, Director of the foundation, will share the evolution of the “Grow by Reading” programme. This programme seeks to initiate and galvanise libraries within schools to promote the reading habit. The programme is sequentially graded at 6 reading levels, with appropriate books for each level. Fun activities that children can do after they read the books motivates them to read and re-read, and spurs their comprehension. The programme offers scaffolding for librarians by way of an initial orientation, a monthly calendar of activities, and periodic meetings. The service is offered in 5 languages, and has been adopted by schools, NGOs and the government of Karnataka.

Visit www.sutradhar.com and place your orders; we will bring your materials to the venue. RSVP Sutradhar at 25288545, 25215191 from Tuesday-Saturday.

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