Hello friends, before I post my recent experiment I want to brief you about my workplace and job profile. I teach English to 9th and 10th standard in Shri Krishna Vidyalaya, Gunjoti, Taluka: Omerga District: Osmanabad in the state of Maharashtra. It’s been 5 years that I have been working. It is a rural place located at the border of Karnataka and Telangana. It is a regional medium school having Marathi as its first language. There are four divisions for each standard with an average of 40-45 students. Out of four divisions, one division is semi-english medium having Mathematics, English and Science in English. Though the level of English language proficiency isn’t remarkable it is developing. Through activities, interviews, debates, games, competitions and exhibitions we try to bring English in use, both formally and informally. Following is one such attempt.
As a part of coursebook activity, I decided to conduct poster making competition for the first time in my school. Though the activity was for 9th standard I decided to conduct it with 10th standard students as well. I must say, everytime I conduct an activity on a large scale I am becoming more and more proactive. The procedure I adopted is as follows:
How did it go before the competition?
- I allowed students to make group of their choice. The number of members were strictly between 4 and 5.
- I gave them autonomy to choose any topic they want from the units taught. They brainstormed in group and quickly decided the topics. As they were discussing in their groups I was monitoring and showing them sample posters that I had in my phone. This gave them the idea how a poster should be. I also asked them to go for rough design initially and visualize how their poster would look.
- Roles like information collector, artist, assistant, oral presenter were assigned in the group.
- Criteria for best poster selection was displayed on the board. The criteria were: Appropriate title, Apt Information, Neatness, Decoration, Pictures and Oral Presentation.
- The group leaders were asked to write the list of members, assigned group number, roles of each member and their topic and submit it to me.
- The students were given 10 days of time for the preparation. During those ten days, I kept a check on their development through the group leaders.
And the day arrived…
Finally, the day arrived. Since we have 9 periods in a day, I reserved two periods of post lunch session for final touch and next two periods were for the competition. The groups put up their posters for display in their own classes. There were four classes (two 9th std classes and two 10th std classes). The students were extremely excited. It was unlike any other heavy post lunch sessions because the atmosphere became like a fair.
The juries were amazed at the creativity of the students. They evaluated each poster while two of each group members were ready with their oral presentations. It was a grand competition. Two posters from each class were chosen for the prize. Students from other divisions were called to see the posters. They too were very happy to see the glittering, appealing and extremely attractive posters. It was language learning in disguise. There were smiles all over. Other subject teachers were also glad to see the group work. Everything went very well but…
Picture abhi baki hai dost! That’s too filmy hn! I meant the best was yet to come.
My colleague and I decided to put up an exhibition on the eve of Independence Day. The idea was that on that day many parents, residents of our village and members of school management would be present. We started working on how and where to exhibit. By 14th August with the help of students and a few other colleagues we were able to make arrangements for exhibition in a large hall. The next day was much awaited. All the parents, villagers, school management team visited the exhibition. Dr. Patange, our school secretary along with other guests conversed with the poster presenters in English. It was absolutely grand. Students were very happy to present before the guests.
It wasn’t a cake walk. I had some challenges.
Frankly speaking, gradually I have started developing confidence in conducting activities in groups effectively or at least that’s what my reflection says.
- Having two juries for four classes wasn’t probably a good idea.
- The evaluation by the juries took more time than anticipated. So, students from other villages had to make their presentations hurriedly.
- Some of the students in some groups didn’t do much and they relied on others.
- As I hear from some students, the members in a couple of groups had disputes among themselves. Hence, they split and made separate posters.
- Financially, I was prepared to give two prizes from each class but the juries had tied up some groups with equal marks. So, I had to pinch my pocket a bit harder for the prize distribution. 😉
Yet, it was worth it!!