Ms. Lalitha Rajan is a teacher from National Hill View Public School, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Bengaluru. She has been teaching English for about 25 years in places like Ahmedabad, Mehsana and Jamnagar. Mrs. Lalitha Rajan is the CCE coordinator of the school, and here, in this piece of hers, she speaks of how a Communicative English class can be made engaging and lively at the same time.
Teaching grade 9 and 10 students Communicative English is quite a challenging task as most students think that they can manage with the language skills they already possess. To make them understand and enjoy the nuances of the language, many activities are introduced so that the lesson in the text becomes vibrant and a wonderful learning experience.
In the 9th standard textbook, there is a poem by Pam Ayres - Oh, How I wish I’d looked after me Teeth.
After the explanation of the poem and a discussion on the poetic devices used in the poem, the students are asked to create a similar poem, ‘Oh, How I wish I’d looked after me ____________’ (the students can write about taking care of their hair, skin, eyes, etc.) The only rule they have to keep in mind is that their poem should have the same rhyme scheme as given in the textbook. Eg. ‘aabba’ in each stanza. So when children write, ‘Oh, How I wish I’d looked after me Hair, and oiled it with a little more care, the shampoos I used, my hair I have abused, and now my head is bare!!!’, the class is thoroughly amused at each student’s ability to bring humour into their piece of work.
Students enjoy anything out of the textbook and so when an extract from a lesson by P. G. Wodehouse is to be done, the students are put into groups of 8 students each. They are asked to prepare for a Book Talk on the life and works of P.G. Wodehouse. The students speak about the writer, his early life, his books, characters in his books (Jeeves, Wooster, Sir Galahad, Aunt Agatha etc.), they narrate some funny incidents from the book and also write out and read some of the famous quotes in the books.
Ex. The best advice I give people is not to give advice.
Some students who disturb the class are asked to speak in rhyme. The teacher calls out the name of the student. Ex. Raju, Speak in Rhyme, All the time. The student is now a little tongue tied and if he says ‘I cannot find my book’ he is advised, ‘In your cubby hole you must look’. Or, ‘Get your calendar here’. This can continue with, ‘Oh Mam, a note I do fear’, ‘Calm Down it was a warning’, ‘Thank God! That was alarming!’