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Sunday, August 17, 2014

English Vinglish

                 How I Learnt Learning             

           English Vinglish

             If it is English Vinglish at school it is definitely a fine, prolific, classical murder. That too, professionally executed, licensed murders. It has nearly a million witnesses to it. It is done by eligible qualified degree holders. And the best part, it takes place daily. The victim is definitely a bad chap, since no one allows it to die. But yet, murdered daily, in the most efficient manner. Parts are stolen, sections are dislocated yet it is the one who is cursed... Maybe a dangerous creature, ruthless beast dangerous ogre...
Guess who, it is

      Honestly, the school I had been to, had strict punishments for those who didn’t speak in English- maybe suspension which had been implemented for not more than a zero times, and has another 10,000 years to go before it shall be.
    Almost each child and also a considerable percentage of teachers interacted in vernacular languages…being an English medium school, every person in the school should interact in English [pardon the house-keeping and bus staff], but the truth is, no one did, neither does, nor…most probably not…
Even a question or a statement by me (or some unlucky English speaking student) had replies only in Hindi.
     That was the story of the people who gave a damn to speaking English! Now, some really courageous guys and gals who tried their best to impress, or show-off their English speaking skills, had some disastrous outcomes, or literary calamities, I’ll say.
           Shakespeare would easily commit suicide had his plays been viewed and commented upon by any of these pupils or teachers.
            ‘Shakespeare’ writes wrong English
That’s what a teacher, expected to train students for giving a Shakespearean play-based exam a year later…said!
I’m like, Come on lady, Shakespeare is one of the finest English writers…and he writes wrong English??? Shakespeare would’ve really had a hearty laugh at this!
Moreover, some of the teachers and students, too gave me some damn good medicines, which acted as painkillers as well as quick heals to depression –laughter. Laughter is the best medicine isn’t it? But at the cost of the language?
And I shan’t laugh all alone, here are some of the best, or worst killings of English [Disclaimer: These are based on real life events, directly related to living people-if there’s any resemblance found; laugh at yourself, it’s absolutely healthy]!!!
Quoted by The Wordsworths and Emilys of my school:
           Sit your Place!                  [Ok, I sit my place!!!]
    Homework do or remark give you I! [Please do, it’s worth it!]
     What you do at home? [I sit and write those one million butcheries of English, done by my peers at school!]
   You not know anything! [All I know is-WHERE THE HELL AM I???...
      hey MS Word, Why do you ask me to write WHERE THE HELL is I???, been to one of those lectures, dearie?]
Fortunately, for the language, it isn’t a human being and just a language, else, it would have been one more addition to the suicide list!!!


             Those were the most tragic and painful events in the history of English Slaughters (Have experienced similar massacres? The comment box is all yours…)
Now, you know why sections were dislocated and parts were taken out! No doubt, it was shattered to grammatically wrong pieces…the English periods that were maximum in number, compared to other , saw such annihilations and massacres- some sort of vengeance over English, most probably…

            These were instances taking place day in and day out at school. Apart from this, there also were English periods (We mustn’t forget them, should we?).
There would be a textbook, a big fat book for Grammar and a Rapid Reader, or simply a novel (A novel idea, I’d say!). This was the typical syllabus for most of the schools in my area.

The typical scene during an English period was somewhat like:
        A teacher reading the text to the children… a several number of students sitting and looking at her with blank faces saying ” not a bit of what you’re reading is getting past my skull. It gotta reach the brain, aint it?” 

           and then there are some really involved students-determined and focused. Not to mention that they weren’t focused on what is being taught but on what they themselves were doing…
         A group sitting and engineering a pair of scissors, broken during a series of fatal battles that took place an hour ago! A couple of girls engaged in rubbing a piece of eraser on the desk, collecting the by-products and wow!!! They are fashion designers aren’t they? (A good neck piece made by them I’d say). Observing the minute specks of dust on their respective desks, studying carefully the refill of their pens, having a discussion over an imaginary cup of coffee (There’s milk for the young guys, any preferences?). The conference is about all sorts of thing like automobiles, apps, games, mobiles and how much has their beard grown since last Sunday (teens, you know!)…Whatever it may be it is definitely of more significance than a lovely piece of a literary masterpiece by Rabindranath Tagore!
(What are they talking about? The annual budget? The defence of the country? National Security? Secularism?...tell me! Its giving me sleepless nights!!!)
            And me, I’d be reading a chapter that shall succeed the one being taught; and read another chapter when the one I have already read is being taught…and you know the rest!!!
       And I’d say nothing wrong, if one has read the chapter, understood the depth and is able to express his personal take and gist in his own words-confidently…I feel there is no point in writing it…
        However, if the writing is a bit more subjective and relates to the understanding of the chapter and the research done by the student on the subject matter it is more fruitful. At least more fruitful than a dozen meanings, half a dozen questions, 3-4 briefs (which say: Evaluative and based on child’s understanding, but actually are just memorised!).
                 Evaluation done as a competition for getting marks is of least help, I’d say. In terms of help, it does not involve students in learning, researching and gathering more and more knowledge. A Jim Corbett chapter is read, mugged up thoroughly, and the child gets whatever marks s/he deserves (maybe not, sometimes!). But does he go forth and explore on Wikipedia? Does? S/he see YouTube videos, there are several documentaries, aren’t there? But does he want to? Is there any inclination or even focus on knowing more than the chapter? NO!!!!! But Why…?
         Now, the teacher could never get children involved in the discussions and what is the story about. The sole cause being the give and take. The teacher would see an uninterested crop and the students would see a teacher who was just reading the story like blah blah blah… and then no attempts would be made by any of the two…

            The gen-next is definitely going to require teachers to teach them. Out of The children who are studying now, hardly some want to become teachers! This is because they look down upon the profession of teaching. Instead of looking at it as a noble service and spreading knowledge, it is thought of as a low-paying profession full of strife and struggle.

           The ones having extra ordinary intelligence , would want to put them to use as a doctor.
         One with really fine oratory proficiency would definitely think of becoming an actor or speaker, giving workshops and seminars.
         One with damn good organizational abilities would become directors or something that shall enrich them.

       Looking at the skills mentioned above, all of these or even one of these is what a teacher requires!  Then why isn’t it any of the career choices of these people? That’s due to the children looking at teachers not teaching well, or being ridiculed, or being really very strict in giving unwarranted corporal punishments.
        Here, apart from the blunders of English, we also get to this serious topic of why  the teaching profession is not looked up to… or why isn’t it a choice of aspiring individuals??? Matter of concern, to be definitely looked upon…

            Getting back to our homicide- Grammar and creative writing was another place, where English was freely assassinated.
  But here, in the grammar taught in school, a child writes “the  children played in the  garden”  and gets it right! Very good, But while speaking he says,”The childs played in the garden tomorrow (while meaning yesterday!).  
MS word, please stop showing those red marks, you know what I am talking about! Don’t expect correct grammar from me, at least while I write this post!!!
           Conversely, a child writes “He throwed (ignore it ms word, ignore it!)  the ball” in the test paper! He gets it wrong. Yet, when he speaks he’ll say “He throwed that one me!!! So, although HE has really thrown a ball at him, when he says throwed, then is his English improving? Here, it is a lack of exposure sometimes…the child has never read a book ,other than his school textbook. S/he never reads the newspaper… whatever the news maybe, it’s ultimately written in English by journalists-who excel in their literary skills…
Coming to the library books that are like issued every week are not different from the geometry equipment that exercise the
Here’s the story of the library book:

And that was the story of Solomon…?????
That was the best way I could’ve explained the life story of a library book!!!
       The books I usually issued were unfortunate enough to be opened daily. I would spend most of the time in the library…sports periods, karate periods or anything physical and dangerous going on in periods were missed by me!!!The periods missed me, to make it sound better!
      I am sure the librarians knew me really very well. I wasn’t surprised if a teacher walking by asked me” Have you been removed from the class by a teacher?” that’s because a student, a BOY especially reading a book in the library is only possible if s/he has been removed from the class!

“English is a very funny language” a really popular Hindi dialog by Amitabh Bachchan!  Undoubtedly, it is a funny language! But at the same time, it is widely spoken language. It is spoken almost all round the globe. Maximum transactions interactions take place in English, as a medium of communication. Nevertheless, it doesn’t take place via annotations or comprehensions or brief answers… When one interacts- it’s the crispness, the fluency and command over English or for that matter any language…
              The statement, “Don’t you, any of you worry” from Uncle Podger hangs a picture, by Jerome K Jerome has so much humour in it. . The student doesn’t get it or even smile while reading this. Yet, he writes a long answer for 4 marks and that’s what it is! A four mark answer to the question- “Bring out the humour in the above statement.” The fun, not understood, the humour, WELL, DOES IT SOUND FUNNY???

There was a ridiculously staunch structure concerning the way something had to be studied. However, in this ridiculously staunch structure, there was chaos disorder and lack of organization!! This discussion shall continue in the post on EXAMS-BEFORE AND AFTER.

Everything the system boils down to marks, ranks and a rat race…
Here are a few lovely lines I read somewhere-
“Ultimately, it’s a rat race, even if you come out on the top, you are a rat!!!”
Written by-
SHAHEN PARDIWALA- One who lets his thoughts be read and appreciated  by hundreds on a blog rather than a teacher- who may give me nothing more than 5 out of 15!!!

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