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Teaching of English at secondary level for rural children in India: An interview of a rural student
In India, English has become a compulsory language and for rural children in India, English in Hindi medium schools is like a third language since they are required to make a transition from home language to school language to English. Often, it has been seen that the English language skills of teachers working in rural schools are invariably poor.

Suman Chaudhary, a class X student in Rajasthan wanted to be interviewed so that her voice could be heard in respect of the plight of teaching of English in the state.

Here are excerpts form the interview of Suman Chaudhary, 15, the student of a Hindi-medium school in semi-urban area of Jaipur. She was interviewed on 'how English is being taught in her school' in Hindi and English translation of her interview is as follows:

Interviewer: Suman, are you happy with the way English is being taught in your school?

Suman: No, not at all. First, there are two books that are being taught in which the lessons are in literary English by foreign authors on the topics which are tough for both the teachers and students. Many topics are philosophical in nature and even difficult to understand by mature people.

Interviewer: Can you tell briefly how English is being taught in your school in Class X?

Suman: The teacher reads out the portion of a lesson from the textbook and keeps on translating them in the Hindi. She writes a few difficult words on the blackboard with their Hindi meaning which we copy down. Thereafter, we are given the homework of writing the spelling of new words five times each. Once the lesson is over, the exercises at the end of the lessons are given as homework, which we complete by copying the answers from a passbook.

Interviewer: How do you cope up despite a textbook being tough and the teaching being unsatisfactory?

Suman: I go to tuition classes held by the teacher in the evening. There too only revision work is done and some difficulties are attended at the individual level. However, no understanding is developed. The tuition just provides more time for mechanical practice.

Interviewer: What you suggest regarding teaching of English to students like you?

Suman: Since for very many rural students, especially girls, Class X is terminal education and for others neither English will be an elective subject or medium of instruction for higher education, there should be a book for functional English for everyday use.

It seems that uniformity of curricula without keeping in view of the context of students makes teaching of English ineffective for rural students. For rural students of class X, the textbook should be used for teaching communication skills and grammar of English.

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