On 27 October 2013, four Fulbright English Teaching Assistants visited the SARVAM village centre Satyam, and participated in taking a few English classes as a part of the English Access Micro Scholarship Program.
Every year, the US Government funds approximately 8,000 Fulbright Scholarships, to US citizens (and now also to citizens of other countries) for teaching and training, advanced research, graduate study and professional development. These Scholarships are designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of United States and other countries all over the world. In October, a few Fulbright scholars from US pursuing their grant in teachers’ category, and currently based at Chennai, visited the Satyam centre of the SARVAM programme. The scholars visited SARVAM on October 27, 2013, and had an intensely interactive session with all the English Access Scholarship students for more than 2.5 hours, teaching not only English language but also about American way of life. Out of the four batches of students at SARVAM, two batches were clubbed together and for the other two batches were taken classes individually. Each batch of students was taught different lessons based on many activities and pair work. The classes started at 10.30 am and went on till 1 pm.
The following were the Highlights of Batch 1 and 2:
Two visiting instructors taught the students how to greet and introduce themselves. They started the class with a mock conversation in front of the students on how to introduce and greet, and then they asked students to take turns and converse in front of the class. They wrote many synonymous words which can be used to introduce, and asked students to make use of them for their conversation.
Next, they wrote a particular set of questions starting from “How do you do?” to “What are you special at?” till the closing of the conversation and gave its corresponding responses. Later they corrected the errors in the sentences and went on to teach the proper usage of articles in a sentence. They showed some examples from the common objects around them like a bottle, an arm and so on.
The US political map was shown for an impromptu lesson on American geography, and then various teams in games such as soccer, baseball, skiing and different games which are played in different states in America were displayed to them in the form of a presentation, and also correlated them with the games played in India.
The following were the Highlights in Batch 3:
The instructor was very comfortable with the students. She quickly introduced herself and even got her class acquainted with her other colleagues. Her objective was to teach the students 'action words'. She adopted lots of activity that focused on the action words or verbs. The activities were mostly games played indoor as well as outdoor. The instructor consolidated the words learnt in the class and made the students use those words in their own sentences while they played and interacted outside. The methodology adopted was interesting and educative.
The following were the Highlights in Batch 4:
The tutor introduced herself and went on to describe about the winter in America. She described the typical winter over there and talked about the dress and the food of the people during winter. Then she moved on to talk about the winter sports.
In all her narration she tried to bring in the common nouns used during winter. Her agenda for the class included ‘framing questions’ and the correct usage of ‘do’ and ‘does’. To achieve this she conducted activities in forms of the games. Tense covered in this session was ‘simple past’. To further explain the use of tenses, she got the students involved in some conversational activities.
The End Result
On the whole, the visit by the American students was very useful to the SARVAM students and even the trainers. The students better understood the culture and different aspects of America and English language as it came straight from citizens of America. The Fulbright scholars were very friendly and taught very caringly, which motivated and encouraged the English Access students to perform their best possible. Each batch of students was taught different aspects of English language learning through activities and pair work. All the Fulbright Scholars had a wonderful time and they are very keen to visit SARVAM again. The Regional Officer, United States–India Educational Foundation, Chennai wrote to us in a feedback, saying “All the Fulbright English Teaching Assistants had a wonderful time and they are very keen to visit SARVAM again … and they may get in touch with you directly. Your students are so eager to learn that I am very sure with SARVAM’s support they will move ahead in life. Needless to say your work through SARVAM is so inspiring.”