26 May 30 minutes in a classroom: Hindi
This week begins a new fortnightly feature, “thirty minutes in a classroom”. We asked new Development Associate, Prasanna Bista to attend a year six class and report back on the student learning experience at Woodstock. In weeks to come we will feature different classes and grades for you to enjoy.
It is 12:30 in the afternoon, while it is lunch time for high school students a Hindi class begins for 27 grade six students. Only occasional whispers can be heard in the classroom for each student is engrossed in the reading assignment given to them. Every now and then, a hand darts up, then another and another, any question or queries are immediately addressed to by the teacher. Only Hindi is permitted in the class, both the teacher and students adhere to this concept. “It is a healthy, positive atmosphere that is difficult to find in most schools,” said Mrs. Vandana Vinayak, Hindi teacher. Faces from all different regions of India such as Gujrat, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and South India as well as students from countries such as Nepal gather to learn one language.
Despite their different cultures and backgrounds, students work in harmony with one another to accomplish their tasks. It is not only the teacher that participates in the teaching; students help each other out with the problems they face as well. “They are always helping each other out, if ever there is a need,” said Mrs Vinayak. The class helps to bring about the command of the Hindi language in students. It also helps them to stay in touch with their roots. Students are exposed to an international environment while still being able to converse in their mother- tongue. “It is important for an Indian student to be able to speak and comprehend their native language,” said Mrs Vinayak. In Woodstock, language is as essential as any other class. “It’s been given the same importance as other subjects,” said Mrs Sanjaya Mark, head of Junior School.
Over the years, the Hindi department has begun to use technology to aid students in learning the language. “Almost every topic now has some form of technology involved,” said Mrs Vinayak. The students now use software such as Power Point and Story Maker; they also watch and make educational videos to gain a better understanding of their topic. “The use of technology is especially helpful to visual learners,” said Mrs Mark. Overall, the class helps to shape students who are both international yet in sync with their culture. The Hindi class provides an opportunity for future leaders, thinkers and representatives of Woodstock to carry their language to the world outside.