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On 17th and 18th of July, 2012, nine teachers from nine Kajoli centers from North Bengal gathered at the Kajoli Training Centre in Kajoli village, Sreepur Thana, of Magura District in South-west Bangladesh for training on Kajoli English Model which has been developed by RIB recently. The purpose was to acquaint them with the model so they could try it out on children in their centres and learn how they responded to the approach and whether any adjustment in the approach was needed. Once the model has been firmed up on basis of this exercise, the course would be introduced in the other Kajoli centres in Bangladesh which presently number around 200. A teachers’ training programme is envisaged to be held in this regard in October 2012.

The Kajoli English Model uses the same pocket board and pocket card approach used in the Kajoli Bengali Model. The only difference is that while the pocket board used for the Bengali model is made of cloth, for the English Model the pocket board is made of a plank of wood to hold the cards firmly. In the first part of the course, children learn to identify, in a step-by-step and playful manner, words inscribed on 60 pocket cards divided into 6 sets of ten cards each. On one side of the cards are words, such as cat, dog etc. inscribed on them with pictures representing the words. On the other side, the same words are inscribed without pictures, in both capital and small letters. A Manual has been prepared to help the teachers use the cards in different playful ways so that the children not only learn the alphabets/letters and their names but also how to pronounce the words inscribed on the cards or other words made of same alphabets/letters.

Once children learn the letters and are able read/pronounce simple words, the next step is to introduce simple sentences using the verb “to be”, i.e. am are, is, in the form of games that children play. Gradually other grammatical forms are introduced such as the use of words like: my, our, your, his, her, their etc and have, has, good, bad etc that children normally would use to express themselves. In introducing the lessons, the model has tried to follow the standard set in the English language text books prepared by the government for use in classes one and two of government primary schools. The idea of the model is primarily to prepare the Kajoli pre-school children for easy entry into class one of primary schools but also to make learning English fun and game.

Dr. Shamsul Bari of RIB, who developed both the Kajoli Bengali and English Models, conducted the training. He was assisted by RIB staff, Mr. Saifuzzaman Rana, and Kajoli Centre teacher Mrs Dipali Sarker, both of whom had contributed in the development of the English Model. The nine teachers and the three animators of Kajoli centres from north Bengal who participated in the training felt that the model would be very attractive to and effective for their children. They were impressed by the progress already achieved by 26 children of the Kajoli Centre of Kajoli, Magura, who were introduced to the model less than two months ago. They demonstrated the efficacy of the model by their energetic and playful participation in the training exercise.

Following the training session, RIB has entered into discussions with Ain and Shalish Kendro (ASK) of Bangladesh to introduce the model for children of their drop-in centres for street and slum children.

 

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