Learning English rhymes, the Gujarati way
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"Lal goli, vadli goli, lili goli navi. Peeli, kali, narangi ne tara mate jaa bali."
Having bid adieu to "twinkle twinkle" and "johny johny" era, the government primary schools are now moving to the usage of "innovative" English rhymes prepared specially by Gujarat Council of Education Research and Training (GCERT). In order to make these rhymes more easier to understand, some of the teachers have even started maintaining their own translated manuscripts, while others have penned down stories based on these rhymes.
The new rhymes, introduced from this academic session, were prepared keeping in mind both physiological and psychological development of a child. As a 10-year-old student will find no meaning and interest in rhymes that are meant for either pre-school children or in play-schools and kindergartens. Thus, these were replaced by more meaningful rhymes for children in Class V where English is introduced as a mandatory language.
"As the education department has completely done away with easier traditional rhymes like 'johny johny', not only students but also teachers are facing a tough time getting used to these new ones. At times, teachers in their free period or after school, would sit together and help each other in translating these into Gujarati language which are then taught to students along with English version in the similar manner and rhythm," said Harmonika Shah, principal of government primary school, Vasana in Ahmedabad.
Some teachers have even gone a step ahead with preparing stories based on these new rhymes. "During feedback sessions, we learnt that children are also taught stories in Gujarati that are based on each rhyme. As per the new curriculum, teachers are directed not to start English subject with alphabets but directly with stories and conversations to be taught in English. Some of them have used this in explaining rhymes, though in the local language," said Dharmesh Ramanuj, project co-ordinator at Gujarat Educational Innovations Commission (GEIC).
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