A group of students from a school in the city started teaching “communicative English” to support staff who would help them interact with parents or visitors who come to school.
Julien Ganganagar Day School launched the initiative last week to ensure that all staff members are “well versed in the basic language support of the school”, i.e. English and it will also teach teenagers to be socially responsible.
Students in Classes IX and XI have been given the responsibility of taking online courses from office staff, security guards, supervisors and lab assistants.
“The idea is that they will be able to interact with visitors or parents in English and this will reinforce the medium of the school,” said Bobby Baxter, the school’s principal.
“The best part is they’re excited to learn and some of them pick up quickly. They just needed some mentorship,” he said.
The school started with two lessons a week and currently has 12 staff members.
In a Saturday lesson, students are taught to introduce themselves in English and ask simple questions such as the purpose of their visit (to visitors) to the school, who they have come to meet or if they would like to have tea or coffee.
“These are simple words or phrases and once they start learning it will inspire confidence,” said one student in class.
For lab assistant Debashis Sarkar, this skill will help him interact more confidently with students and visitors without feeling “uncomfortable”.
“Sometimes there are visitors interacting in English and although I can follow what they are saying, I cannot respond in English. It creates a communication gap,” Sarkar said.
“Also speaking in English will be very useful for us in the future,” he added.
The school believes it would also teach students to be more sensitive and responsible and foster a sense of compassion. “It’s a social service for them and they would learn to give back to the community. Also, when you teach, you learn the importance of teaching,” Baxter said.
The training would also include a session on technological know-how and how to access the various online platforms.