Extended school closures and lack of access to digital resources had taken a toll on the learning continuity of primary children in the marginalised communities of Kawasoti Municipality.
But Ram Kumari Mardaniya, a primary school teacher from Kawasoti municipality came up with an innovative idea to support her students keep learning English.
In early August 2020, the British Council in collaboration with the Curriculum Development Centre and Kawasoti Municipality launched a series of English radio lessons for lower primary students. The audio lessons provide a means to support English speaking and listening skills in primary and lower secondary. The materials are based on primary / lower secondary syllabus developed and mapped to a range of local syllabuses to cover key language points.
When Ram Kumari came to know about these English time lessons on the radio, she was excited to try them with her students. However, she was aware of the fact that her students were from families who had little or no access to any devices, often not even a radio. She knew that asking them to listen to the radio programmes was not possible for many, but she decided to find a way anyhow.
Although schools weren’t open for physical classes, she worked closely with her school's headteacher getting consent from the parents to voluntarily send their children to school to listen to the programme together. Her efforts were successful and her plan worked. Students put on their masks, sanitized their hands and gathered around in the school compound every day and listened to the programme on big loudspeakers together with their fellow peers.
“The students were delighted to come back to school, but I had to be very careful about maintaining social distance. I ensured to assign them some pre-listening tasks in order to build their interest," says Ram Kumari.
She had used the audio lessons very effectively. She engaged the students to sing songs together, learn new words and even sent kids with tasks they can do at their home.
“I never knew that learning through the radio could be so effective. I’m really happy for my students. They are now able to continue their learning even during this lockdown,” she adds.
The lessons are being aired on various radio channels in the Municipality.