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Film 3

Film 3

Teacher: Asha Katikaneni
School: Government primary school
Class level: Grade 3
Subject / lesson topic: English language development
Languages used: English / Telugu


Description: In this film we visit a government-run primary school that is in the process of transitioning to English medium from Telugu (the state language) medium. The majority of the students who attend this school are from the Lambadi tribal community and speak this community’s language as their mother tongue. However, there is only one teacher in the primary school who speaks this language – the other teachers rely on the learners’ knowledge of Telugu to help facilitate learning in the target language (English).
In this lesson, the teacher mixes Telugu and English to support the learners in practising some vocabulary that has been introduced in previous lessons. She begins by asking the children to put the words into categories, based on their meaning. She then asks them to do some matching activities using pictures to check their understanding of the meaning.


The teacher uses Telugu to check that the children understand the instructions that she is giving, and to provide them with definitions for English words when they are unsure. She encourages the students to work together in groups.
Some of the learners in this class seem to struggle with producing single words, while others have some confidence in producing longer sentences. Interviews with the head teacher also suggest that the language levels of other teaching staff may also make a full transition to English medium difficult. This is a typical scenario in many government schools where there has been a policy decision to implement English medium instruction – often with limited resources to support the change. As a result, classrooms reflect the multilingual and translingual realities that exist outside of school. The question remains, however, about whether or not the children will end up with enough capability in the language(s) they need to pursue opportunities in education and employment in their later life.


Furthermore, while the teacher is clearly attempting to use Telugu more systematically as a resource to support learning English, there may need to be some further follow up and cohesion between the activities to ensure that progress is being made.