Friday, August 30, 2013

Pea for English

Image Courtesy: Google
On 29 August 2013, I crossed a milestone in my teaching career. I planted a pea plant in the English class, literally. The idea behind this method that might seem an exaggeration is that the growth of the pea plant mirrors, somewhat closely, the steps involved in second-language acquisition. Preparing the soil [identifying the proper aptitude for language learning], Planting the seed [equipping the language learner with the basic laws of the second language], watering [reading on a daily basis, materials written in the language that is being learnt].

It was a challenging experience, just to set up the garden pot with a layer of rock at the bottom, then some soil, then some smooth sand, and then a mix of soil and cow dung. In order to give all the students in the class, a feel of how holding soil in one’s hand would be like, and prepare the space for planting the seed, I asked each one to take a fistful of soil and spread it in the pot.

Once, this task was done, I inferred some information about the attitudes of the students. Some of them were extremely careless about how they put the soil in the pot. They just threw the soil inside, and did not attempt to spread the soil and sand carefully. Some others, on the other hand, took the soil and spread it neatly inside the pot.
Image Courtesy: Google

Once everything was fixed, the principal was invited. She came in and inaugurated “Pea for English”, English coaching class. “As you sow, so shall you reap.” She mentioned in the conclusion of her address.

You might ask me why I chose to plant a Kerala pea-plant inside the classroom. Well, firstly, I always wanted to plant something in a classroom. Thankfully, it turned out to be a pea plant. Secondly, planting a seed is an archetype. Jungian archetypes are sure to connect among human minds, even if words spoken aloud, or written do not make sense. The unconscious self will pick up the sense in the teaching process, through its association with fertility and agriculture. This will enable language learning smoother, deeper, and effective. 
I am planning to take English language teaching to a new level, with the “Pea for English” classes. I may need some additional confidence and support, occasionally. So, please be there.   
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