Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Kera'lish'

Early morning music lessons means deprived sleep, no ,to breakfast and rushing through the morning headlines. On one such a lazy morning waking up late made me miss my daily lazy-morning-schedule and I had to miss reading the paper. Thankfully, with the exam season on we have study leave and that means quality time at home. So as soon as I got back... I took my own sweet time to read the paper and it felt so good to read it without an interruption. I came across this interesting article written on Shashi Tharoor beginning coaching sessions for improving the communication skills of Keralites . Though I can't remember the precise words or matter discussed.. I am here to write about something that made my mind ponder for a while. His coaching sessions are meant to improve one's communication skills.. and interative attitude. Why he is targeting the Keralites are coz he feels they are blessed with ample amount of intelligence but are not able to compete at international level coz of their lack of confidence in speaking skills. He said that the main aim of the coahing was not to make keralites speak like Americans but to speak with clarity. Now that's one point I liked. Then he spoke about the time of the course and then it's pricing ..which is *hold your breath* Rs. 30000..for a period of two months. He also said that most of the students can pen their thoughts perfectly but are not able to conceive it in speech manner.

Having been brought up in a foreign country, I've never had a problem dealing with multiple languages coz in our school we had to mix with different nationalities. This in a way made us aware about their language, culture, customs, celebrations, clothing, etc. But when I came to Kerala for my summer hols, conversion with school kids or even college students had to be done in Malayalam. And most of the students can speak good English but again, their accent is something other states and countries can't tolerate. This is something we have to accept. It is a punishment to the ears. But there are reasons as to why it is this way. In any other state when a child says 'I study in an English medium school' it means that he is imparted wisdom in English and that teachers and the students converse in English. But in Kerala when a child claims for the same, it doesn't make him/her any different from the ones who study in a Malayalam medium school coz the teachers in Kerala converse in Malayalam. Even the literature lessons in English are explained in Malayalam. Teachers are not completely responsible for this. When they attempt to converse in English ,the mindset of a local student is so fragile i.e. a lack of confidence in trying to absorb the language ,compells the faculty to adopt teaching in the local language. This has caused major problems. Even if the students are rank holders ..when they attend job interviews held by dignified companies of international ranking, they see lady luck groaning at them. The ability to converse and interact with just anyone irrespective of nationality is a skill highly appreciated. Being confident in speaking English makes you confident overall. You become a positive person coz people start reflecting back and need you for different kinds of work they think you can do. Your self esteem also boosts up.

Another point which I noted in that article was the fee. Though almost everyone has a problem with English irrespective of whether you are rich ,sophisticated, social person types or the opposite...main ones to be targeted are those of the middle and 'low' class levels. As they are in abundance and also make a major part of the population. I was thinking of just how many would actually pay 30000 Rs. for a 2 month course which in a way guarantees you clarified speech rendering. Even the rich ones would hesitate. Instead if we students who are fluent in this language can probably help the latter by speaking to them in English whenever in a conversation. Make it a point to always talk in English during class/work and after too. Correct them when necessary and trust me they will sound way more perfect than what these coaching classes can give you. I am not against them.. I just feel it's way too pricy.. and that they won't reach their target with such a fee that too in Kerala where people think once, twice, thrice about investing. Or students could even gather together and hold some part time classes where they could enhance the weaker one's skills.. and as the students are working for themselves... it would make them feel comfy and confident to face their negatives. I am indubitably sure about the magnanimous change in the language skills of anyone who is weak in English if things are worked out this way. But like they say... Big things spoken are often not executed .

10 comments:

Vishnu Visakh S said...

nice...subject....

first of all..neha...malayalees..are not aware..of the importance..of speaking..english..well and with clarity..until..they..get a call letter..to attend for an interview...Yes..u have got the rigth idea..by..speaking engish..in classes..which can improve ..others communication skill..Here..If I take initiative..in speakin..enlish.in my class i definitely will bcome a funny character amoung frnds..its true..as they are..not aware of the probs they are abt to face..in the future..

So the important...thing..is..they shud b aware of the problem..which...they r about to face in the future without these...skills....Most of the malayalees hve a very gud theoritical knwdlge but...when it comes to practical..they go down..

Its because..they r not taught in skool..in the rite way..

I think Many of the people especially in kerala..thinkss...their mother tongue....is the main ..language..and.. children..shud study only that....but they r not..aware of the facts..tat..it will benift them only in kerala....and..may b not...as..Kerala..is changing....

Here in this..modern world..theoritical skills..are considered... second to practical skills..

Many of the students in ma class have..a great knowledge in English...but.they are not able to speak...The main reason is "LACK OF CONFIDENCE" ....they r affraid...whether it will go wrong..or others will make fun of them..if they make ne mistake...and all..

V cant live in this world..if people think like this.....

..ONLY PRACTICE MAKES IT PERFECT...

is the conclusion...

Vishnu Visakh S said...

And Rs.30000...for acquiring..this skill is just foolishness....

There r many institutions...in kerala....who helps people to increase their communication skills..at low fees...

g-man said...

its not as though all the english medium schools are that way. there are a few really good ones, but you also find people with deplorable spoken english even in those schools. believe me, i used to study in one. and the part about making it a point to speak english in class...well, firstly, people are just going to think that you're showing off. even if that is of no consequence to someone, the way in which people brutalise the concept of pronounciation is more than enough to bring them to a grinding halt. just plain thinkin about it won't do any good. there's gotto be nothing short of a miracle over here

Neha Sasikumar said...

Vishnu: Exactly!

g-man: Yes, so all I said was that only if one wants it to work out.. can the world change. There is no point in people forcing their children to these trainers. When you don't want to even try to speak then there is absolutely no point in these things. And here, the mindset is pretty dull. There are good schools..not denying that.. but still the majority are weak. OH BTW.. I am sure your favourite hero is Crap Bag :)

g-man said...

is that an insult, or a comment on my profile? either way, rofl! but on a more serious note, my favourite superhero is RabidClownMan (lightning, thunder, et al.)

Neha Sasikumar said...

Vishnu: I think we are pretty clear about how important the language is especially with campus selections and seminars ,etc. But people take it very light coz they know they'll end up somewhere ...only the determined ones fight through their negatives and attain success. And yes they give primary importance to Malayalam. And that's not a crime.. only that English should atleast be given secondary importance. Here we don't have anything like secondary. That's where the problem lies.

Neha Sasikumar said...

OOpsy! Not an insult!! Since your Princess Consuella Bananahammick a.k.a. Phoebe suits Crap bag a.k.a. Mike... just said it. No offence! Great to know that your favourite is Rabid Clown Man.

g-man said...

lol, that's what i thought :) no offence taken. glad to meet ya btw. i'm ganesh

Neha Sasikumar said...

Great to know you. Well Princess Consuella Bananahammick is not a super heroine.

Neha Sasikumar said...

Great to know you. Well Princess Consuella Bananahammick is not a super heroine.