A: There are three reasons for it. First, children in rural and tribal areas think and speak in their local dialect and not in the standard school language, therefore, for learning a new language with cognitive processes, it is desirable to begin with learning in a local dialect for sometime rather than in the school language.
Secondly, it is well tested principle of learning that education should be linked with the local culture and folk learning tradition of singing and storytelling in local dialect is most helpful for that.
Thirdly, it also helps children to link new knowledge with their prior knowledge.
Q: How do you go about it?
A: It requires quite a bit of hard work on the part of a teacher who has to first collect some phrases and lines of folk songs and make four line rhymes in the local dialect to make a beginning. Once 10 odd four-line rhymes are ready in place, the teacher himself or herself gets confident in singing them. He or she now can get connected to children. That is the way to make a beginning to teach school language.
Q: As a strategy for transition from home language to school, have you been able to standardise some classroom procedure for it?
A: Yes, the standardisation was done through some lesson studies and teacher training session, after having collected and constructed four-line rhymes, a procedure has been developed in which the rhyme is sung in local dialect and then the nouns are replaced with the standard language words for the rhyme to be sung again.
Lastly, the pedagogical tools like flash cards and worksheets are used to develop the sight vocabulary and visual symbol codification. After 10 odd rhymes, the teacher starts using the textbook for alphabet learning. Not only the students found the lessons interesting but teachers too were convinced about the feasibility of language learning with a short transitional course in language in class one.
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