Stories that Speak
“I like learning English and Kannada. After the Skill in Villages program, I know how to introduce myself. I know conversations. I know the names of flowers, fruits and vegetables. I can also talk to my mother in English. She doesn’t know English. So, she just laughs.”
“Most social programs are, unfortunately, found not to produce the hoped-for effects when rigorously evaluated. Programs that produce important improvements in people’s lives do exist but tend to be the exception.” What happens after a social intervention program? How do we make sure that the beneficiary also gets a platform to practice the benefits of the program? How can we make sure that Sridevi gets a reply to her questions ?
1 Flack, Thomas. 2018 . SOCIAL PROGRAMS THAT WORK . https://evidencebasedprograms.org/.
Name: Sridevi, Grade 1
“In school, we only learn reading and writing. But after this program, we also know how to talk in English. I can introduce myself, talk about my aims and converse with you. But I am still learning. And I find it difficult to talk properly in English because sometimes I don’t understand it. By the time I finish the program, I will speak English. FLUENTLY.”
‘Motivation to learn, to want to learn, remains a challenge. Without it, no matter how stellar instruction may be, there will be those “learners” who will not give their all.’ What would be a good measure – the ability to speak a foreign language or the willingness to achieve that ability?
Name: Aiswarya, Grade 1
“I want to become a police officer. What if I am in the police station and someone talks to me in English? I should be able to help them to catch the thieves. I want to learn English.”
It is important for the social intervention to have an objective that is connected to its context. After learning English, what do these 10-15-year old’s do with it? How can we make sure that no knowledge is wasted? How can we design the program in such a way as to help them achieve their individual and collective dreams?
2 L.Gropper, George. November- December 2015. "Wanting to Learn: A Necessary Condition for the Effectiveness of Instructional Design." Educational Technology, Vol no.55, No.6 24-33.
Name: Sahana, Grade 1
“After the interview, I took a four-month training. I got selected out of the 5 or 6 people from my batch. Now the program has been running for 3 months. Regularly, we read aloud lessons together. Speaking will take my time. But now the students have started to try learning at least. Compared to other jobs, this is better and respectful. This job helps me to improve myself and the students. In the future, I want to become a police officer though.”
What are the different objectives of the different stakeholders of the program? Is the program catering to these individual needs? Education is not solely about the student but also about the teacher who embarks on a journey with the learner.
3 Deutsch, Noelle Hurd and Nancy. 2017. "Self- Focused After- School Programs."The Future of Children, Vol. 27, No. 1, Social and Emotional Learning 95-115.
Name: Renuka Trainer
“It is very difficult to talk to the parents. They keep asking why we are taking fees. They like the program. But they don’t have so much to pay. But we try to convince them. We have a pre and post assessment. In pre-assessments, most of the students got 5 0r 10 out of 25. Now they are on a 24 or 25. Don’t you see the change?”
“Convincing the community is the hardest task”, says the cluster-heads. “They want to see the results immediately. Is there a magic- formula to achieving these results? And even if there is, should we use it?”
Name: Parvathy, Cluster-Head, SiV
“I will come for this English class even if it is for 10 hours.”
Amid discussions regarding results and returns to investment, how do we make sure that the life of the learning process is not lost on the way? It is essential that the learners enjoy the process to maintain the attendance and retention rates high.
Name: Bharath, Grade 1
“I love Maths. I want to become a bank manager.”
Rushabh knew what he wanted to become. But he did not know why. After a deeper conversation, Rushabh told me that he loves learning math. On one side, I was intrigued by the fact that the students had an opinion on what they wanted to become, and they voiced it even though they couldn’t explain their interests or dreams. Not even one student expressed the inability to discover their interest nor did they seek expert guidance for the same. On another note, these insights also illuminated on how important it is to place education in a larger context – how does the learning outcomes help the individual, how can curriculum be framed in such a way that the lessons learnt connect to the wants of the learners, how can trainers guide the learners to realize their passion and potential at an earlier stage.
Name: Rushabh, Grade 1
“There are two types of teachers. One is a teacher by choice. One is a teacher by chance. I came here by choice. Previously I was working in the Forest Department. But I was always interested in teaching. After coming here, I found that there is a learning environment already in the school. There are good faculties. There are decent facilities. But for better results, we need programs like ‘Skill in Villages’. After the program, I can see more students interested in learning English. As an English teacher, that makes me really happy. I hope the program could continue throughout the academic year than running only for ten months. That will make more impact.”
“Positive youth-staff relationships are crucial to effective programs, and competent adult staff are the linchpin of effective after-school programs targeting SEL outcomes”, suggests Noelle Hurd and Nancy Deutsch in their study of the self-focused After-School Programs. It is necessary that the program does not thrive as a separate unit. Rather, it should integrate with the community to achieve sustainable results. SiV has successfully aligned its interests and goals with that of the community in order to achieve continuous and meaningful results.
Name: Manjunath, English Teacher