WISHING ALL THE SILENT VOICE READERS. ‘A VERY HAPPY DIWALI’.
Dr. (Sr.) Mudita Sodder is regular contributor to SILENT VOICE;
English Proficiency Classes (EPC) is mandatory for all 1st and 2nd Year students of St Xavier’s College and St Xavier’s College of Management and Technology, Digha Ghat, Patna. When asked why, Dr (Fr) Nishaant S.J., the Principal of the college explained, “In order to explore the intersection of culturally responsive pedagogy and do justice and cater to the many vernacular medium students who join the colleges and have to listen to lectures in English, special English Proficiency Classes are held for those who score less than 80% in the Diagnostic Test. Those who score more than 80% are assigned to the Media Cell, where an expert trains them in creative writing and journalism.”
A streak of Xavierian enlightened madness this year began with a week-long Diwali Celebration from Thursday 16th October 2014. Instead of sombre sanity, St. Xavier’s Colleges decided to make EPC shine in the darkness even when the darkness does not comprehend it and the light of EPC flicker still against the withering winds, by teaching students English action songs and conducting English Language games in the canteen, thus using their kinaesthetic energy to create Garam Hava (sweat) keeping in line with the hot climate of Patna.
Another group of EPC students shut their eyes in deep meditation under ace guru, Fr Joe Kunnumpuram S.J, a counsellor, psychotherapist, healer, spiritual director, retreat giver, leadership-trainer and Director of Atmadarshan, Patna who guided them into flights of fantasy helping them to introspect and at least feel their own warmth and goodness within and turn and see and understand that their deepest longings are not for power and pride nor for hate and violence but for peace and harmony, for forgiveness and love.
A riot of very creative and colourful activities, have been going on in every classroom, during EPC this week. Shivani of BCA Part I opined, “Deepavali the festival of Lights has already begun for me. My first year in college has been most exciting! I have learnt a lot of English and have gained much confidence in such a short time.” “I look forward to every English Proficiency Class wondering what novel technique the teacher will use to teach me English in an effective and creative way. I have never ever learnt English in such an interesting way before”, remarked Mukund Shivesh of BBA Part II.
Nishant Kumar a B.Com (Professional) Part II student said, “Ajay Sir is amazing! He keeps us enthralled all through the English Proficiency Class. What’s more is the fact that he makes us do something in English in the class, gets each one to evaluate the same, collects our written responses at the end and then emails a very balanced and honest collective and individual feedback of those who have performed. His written comments are very endearing and helpful.”
“There is a lovely family spirit during EPC. We are only 32 students in the class and the individual attention given to each of us and the sharing is very bonding. The Language Laboratory, phonetics, games, field trips and hands-on-experience is very bonding which makes the learning of English very enjoyable”, observes Alisha Ekka of BMC Part I.
Special English teachers are selected to take these English Proficiency Classes. They are trained with demonstration workshops, constant supervision and feedback, together with model lesson plans and guidelines. Teacher, student perspectives of academic achievements are examined by videotaping the oral performance of every student at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the year in order to gauge the degree of culturally responsive caring and progress made thereby.
Dr (Sr) Mudita Sodder RSCJ co-ordinator of EPC at St Xavier Colleges commented, “If only we teachers/professors could connect and touch the lives of our students and make them a little more beautiful, joyful, lightsome and uplifting, then learning English or any other subject would be so much easier and fun. But then we teachers /professors would all need a little enlightened madness to try it out, yet knowing fully well that the alternative is only more of the same old, traditional, one-sided, boring lecture method of sombre sanity! May this Diwali make us all a little Divana!
Dr (Sr) Mudita Menona Sodder RSCJ
17th October 2014
Patna, Bihar, India
Photo No 1 In the Canteen
Photo No 2 Meditation-Fr Joe S.J
Photo No 3 Depicting Sati in Art Form
Photo No 4 Using Kinaesthetic Energy
Photo No 5 Winners of the Talent Contest.