Saturday, June 25, 2011

Paper presentation at 6th International and 42nd ELTAI Conference on TEACHER DEVELOPMENT

I attended the 6th International and 42nd ELTAI Conference on TEACHER DEVELOPMENT at VIT which was held from 16th June to 18th June 2011 and presented the paper PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING AND LEARNING IN LAKSHADWEEP: THE CASE OF MINICOY ISLAND
Presenting the paper at 6th International and 42nd ELTAI Conference at VIT, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, INDIA

With Valce Stevance and others

English teachers around the globe

Valedictory Day - with Fellow from Cambridge University (left) and Secretary ELTAI (right)

English Hand Book for Class X (SCERT) New

Dear Colleagues,
Make use of this for your English teaching..

Sunday, February 27, 2011

English Dossier - Know Your Question Paper SSLC 2011

Mr. Rajanish Kumar Singh, DANICS, Deputy Collector, Minicoy releasing the first copy of English Dossier
A 10th class student receiving a copy of the English Dossier

Students witnessing the function

Know Your Question Paper is the first attempt in the English Dossier Series. There may be short comings but suggestions are most welcome to improve this booklet.
It is prepared after a lot of planning and thorough preparation. For this purpose all the available SSLC question papers based on the new syllabus from 2007 onwards have been thoroughly gone thorough. For each question detailed guidelines have been given including relevant source materials of the best authorities.
I hope all students will go through this eBook prior to the examination in a leisurely but serious way. That will help the students immensely to comprehend the questions in the right perspective and answer them in the best manner possible.

View English Dossier

Thursday, January 27, 2011

CBSE looks to a changing role

CBSE looks to a changing role

Interview with Vineet Joshi, Chairman, Central Board of Secondary Education.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is bringing about major reforms in the process of assessment of students, including the introduction of the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) scheme. This school-based system of evaluation seeks to cover all aspects of a student's development. In the context of the ongoing process,
Vineet Joshi, Chairman and Chief Vigilance Officer of the CBSE, seeks to explain and clarify the extent, nature and significance of the changes, and the challenges the Board has faced along the way in conceiving and introducing the new matrix, in this interview he gave
Aarti Dhar in New Delhi. Excerpts.
Could you provide broad details of the reforms the CBSE has initiated?
We've started implementing the reforms. The initial responses have been encouraging, but there's still a long way to go. It's just a first step of bold reforms in Class I to Class VIII, making the Board examinations optional in Class X and shifting from the marking system to the grading system.
This needs to be followed up with more options being given to students of Class XI and XII, to ensure that every student is able to do whatever he or she is good at and enjoys doing.
The CCE guidelines describe ‘continuous' in terms of regular assessments, frequency of unit-testing, analysis of learning gaps, applying corrective measures, retesting and giving feedback to teachers and students for their self-evaluation. ‘Comprehensive,' on the other hand, attempts to cover both the scholastic and co-scholastic aspects of a student's growth and development. Both these aspects of the evaluation process are assessed through formative and summative assessments from Class VI to Class X.
What are the options you plan to give Class XI and XII students?
Options in terms of more electives. Earlier, it was enough if you gave them a choice in science, arts and commerce. But in the changed scenario, not only are these three subjects opening up but there is vast scope in newer fields such as Media Studies, Design, Retailing and Logistics.
On the recent reforms, there has been some amount of controversy, confusion and anxiety. How do you intend to address these?
Our approach has been to be as communicative as possible, to ensure that the students understand the spirit behind the changes. In the process of this interaction we, too, have stumbled upon solutions to some of our problems. In the future also we will continue to focus on better communication so that things are clear to people. All that we're trying to tell people is that this [the CCE] is a better system of assessment than the earlier one, which was unilateral. This is multilateral.
Do the changes mean a shrinkage of the role of the CBSE and the State Boards?
I wouldn't say shrinking; it's a change of role. Until now we were setting the question papers.
Now we'll focus more on teacher-training, to empower them [teachers] to send formative assessments of students and do summative assessments in the best possible way to de-stress the child. Our role will see a change. In any case, as a regulator of quality we'll always have an important role. We've to ensure that the quality of assessment and education is maintained.
Will that also mean the introduction of career counselling in the near future?
One of the ideas of the CCE is to inform parents about the strengths and weaknesses of students. Naturally, it needs to be followed in the schools with teachers and students so that when they make a career choice they do not ignore the indicators that come through the CCE assessments.
It's a natural corollary, then, that schools will now be encouraged to tell a student that when deciding on his or her career it should be on the basis of aptitude and interest and not only on the basis of marks.
How is the response to the proposal for the aptitude test?
There is a provision for an optional aptitude test in Class X. Of the 10 lakh students in Class X, some 2.5 lakh opted for the examination that was held on January 22. The idea here is not to give a test but to start a debate inside homes and schools that one should choose a career based on concrete evidence that is available.
What has been the response to the optional Class X Board?
The response has been very good and encouraging for us.
Of the students who had the option to write the examination, about 67 per cent have opted for school assessment and the remaining for Board-based assessment. Of the 33 per cent, there were students who had to opt for the test compulsorily.
Do you think that students and teachers have sometimes felt they did not understand the new assessment system, particularly in rural areas?
We've started going to the cities which are far-off, where we expect that a teacher may not be motivated enough or well-informed. As time passes, there is more information- sharing, there is more dialogue. And more and more people do understand that this is a better system.
Is it a flexible system?
The beauty of the CCE is that it's highly flexible. In the earlier system, the Board examinations had to start on a particular day and end on a particular day; there is flexibility now. Schools can prepare their own question papers and choose dates for examinations eventually.
Right now we're giving a window initially by asking them to send their question papers to us — not for approval, but to ensure that a minimum standard of education is maintained and that there is some minimum respectable teaching happening inside the classroom and that a student's performance in class is also given adequate weightage. They can pick up our question papers, mix and match, and even prepare their own papers.
When will the final changes come?
When we win the trust of the parents in the system, and a majority of the schools are ready to take up the new responsibility. At present there's still an element of doubt among the parents, but once the first batch passes out, confidence will build up. The new system takes into account everyone's aspirations. The system has brought assessment closer to the context, and it's trying to integrate assessment with teaching.
The teacher now has a very crucial role. In the existing system, when a child passed out from school, whether he had learnt anything or not could not be known. There are students who can pass examinations very easily but learn nothing. In the opposite situation, a child may be able to put his learning in the right context but is unable to pass a short examination. Now everyone is involved — students, teachers and parents.
This change in the assessment system must have been a challenging exercise. Convincing parents, teachers and students must have been difficult.
It was. We did not have a readymade scheme to offer. We discussed it with the stakeholders, went around the country, held meetings with teachers, students, principals and academicians. This was followed by a quick SMS survey… The scheme was announced in August 2009. This was followed by teacher-training. This year we are mentoring and monitoring the process.
How useful has been your helpline in the changed situation?
There is a constant Web-based interaction going on. In the past six months we've received about 6,000 queries and this helps us to get to know of any impending problem that needs to be addressed. It's a two-way thing — on the one hand it informs us of the queries of the parents and on the other we get to know of problems.
Do you have any message for students?
Every student writing the Class X examination in a few weeks from now should be happy that he or she is part of the change that the CBSE is doing. I'm sure they will feel proud to become the first batch to have come out of the new system. As of now some of them might be feeling slightly perturbed, but when they look back eventually, they will do so with a sense of pride.

How the new assessment system can make the grade

Renu Anand
The CBSE's new grading and assessment system — Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation system — started by the Union Human Resource Development Ministry last year provides a holistic profile of the student and helps to identify the latent talents, says this expert.
Assessment is an integral part of a learning process. A teacher needs to know where his/her learners stand in terms of their learning. Till late, assessment to most of us meant learners being marked on test papers, and then branded by results that stuck with them. But this process often acted as a barrier to participation in future progress or learning. Learning, which should be an exciting, creative journey of discovery and internalisation of knowledge, is reduced to an unhealthy competitive race where the interest on marks was obsessive.
But all this changed on September 6, 2009, when the Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal announced the new grading system. He spoke of continuous comprehensive evaluation (CCE). This refers to a system of school-based assessment that covers all aspects of students' development.
It provides a holistic profile of the learner through assessment of both scholastic and co-scholastic aspects of education spread over the total span of instructional time in schools. The process helps to identify latent talents or positive attributes of the learner, which are not usually assessed during the year-end examinations.
Let us first take a look at academic assessment. Under CCE, the method of assessment is continuous. It does not mean that tests and assignments have to be conducted frequently. On the contrary, CCE discourages mechanical testing.
It employs various tools and techniques for assessment in informal and formal settings. This makes it more interesting, relevant and meaningful, and helps in improving greater learner participation.
The techniques used for evaluation are both summative and formative. The terms formative and summative evaluation were coined by Michael Scriven (1967) who used them to define their differences both in terms of the goals of the information they seek and how the information is used.
Formative assessment is largely diagnostic. It provides feedback to both teacher and learner about how the course is going and how learning can be improved during the course. Are the learners doing what they need to do? If not, do the teaching and learning strategies chosen by the teacher or trainer need modification? As opposed to this, summative assessment is designed to make judgments about student performance and allocate grades. Formative assessment is, thus, assessment for learning. It is often informal: that is to say, it is carried out by teachers while teaching in the classroom.
An essential part of formative assessment is peer and self-evaluation. Students are allowed to mark their own work and encouraged to raise questions about the assessment and the material covered by the assessment. To encourage this process, adequate feed-forward and feed-back must be provided to the students so that they are partners in their learning process.
Results of formative assessments are produced 'on the spot.' Teachers and students get them immediately and teachers can plan remedial measures to give students additional experiences in areas where they performed poorly.
Formative assessment involves classroom tools like:
Observation of students by the teacher to assess various aspects of personality development in individuals as well as groups during varying time periods to create a comprehensive picture/view of the child.
Assignments designed to allow the child to plan, compose and report about a unit of learning. These can be completed as class work and/or homework.
Projects are a useful tool of formative assessment as they provide opportunities to explore, work with one's hands, observe, collect data, analyse, generalise and interpret data and draw generalisations. Projects could be assigned to groups and could be multi-discipline or holistic.
The portfolio is a collection of the learner's work over a period of time providing a cumulative record of the learner's progress. In doing so the learner becomes an active participant in learning and assessment.
Checklists are a list of criteria that the teacher determines are important to observe in a child at a particular time.
Anecdotal records or narrative records of significant incidents in a child's life recorded by the teacher on a day-to-day basis.
On the other hand, summative assessment is assessment of learning. It is a pen-and-paper test carried out at the end of a course of learning. It measures or ‘sums-up' how much a student has learned from the course. It is usually a graded test, i.e., it is marked according to a scale or set of grades.
Summative evaluation is typically quantitative, using numeric scores or grades to assess learner achievement. Summative assessment invariably leads to the award of qualifications: grades, diplomas and certificates.
The second term comprehensive means that evaluation is concerned not just with assessment of knowledge but it also takes into account the factors that are inherent in students' growth such as skills, understanding, appreciation, interest, attitude and habits. In other words, evaluation covers all the learning experiences of the learner in curricular as well as non-cognitive and co- scholastic aspects of students' growth and development.
It seeks to explore the learner's latent talents in fields other than academic and records the learner's abilities, attitudes and aptitudes that manifest in forms other then the written word.
(The author has written an ELT school series published by Tata McGraw-Hill. Email:


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Poetry recitation

Poetry Recitation

Students must have selected a poem from the choices provided by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, copies of which are distributed to the judges before the Fair.  The poem selected must be recited from memory.  Contestants will be judged on pronunciation, delivery and interpretation, and memorization (see judging form for exact percentages). 

Students sign up for the order in which they will present their poem.  Judges should make sure to get the sign-up sheet before the competition begins.  These will be posted outside the room where the event is taking place.

Students will bring a judging sheet, the top part of which they have filled out, and will give this to the judge before reciting the poem.  The judge will use the form to judge the students as they recite. 

Judging Criteria:
Pronunciation (40%), Delivery & Interpretation (40%), Memorization (20%)

NATIVE SPEAKERS AND SPEAKERS OF COGNATE LANGUAGES.  Native speakers may not participate in this event.  Native speakers are defined as students who have been raised speaking the target language, or who have had one or more years of study in a school in which the working language is the same as that of the target language.

Teacher’s Guide: Organizing the Contest Events

We recommend that each school identify one or two teachers to serve as the coordinators of Poetry Out Loud. Duties for lead teachers will include enlisting fellow teachers to participate, distributing materials, organizing the school events, and keeping in touch with the state Poetry Out Loud coordinator.
Begin organizing your school event as early as possible in order to ensure greater attendance by the school community. Please see Publicity Tips for information on promoting the event within your school and community. Additional guidance, including sample press releases, can be found under Contest Promotion.
Classroom contests can be held during class periods. A school’s final contest should run less than two hours; any longer than that can be difficult for the audience. Ideally, 6 to 15 students should compete in each school’s final contest. If your school has 6 to 15 classes participating in the program, send one winner from each class to the school finals. If fewer than 6 classes are participating, 2 students from each class may advance to the school finals. If more than 15 classes are participating, you might consider holding grade-level competitions first, allowing two or three students from each grade to advance to the school finals. In structuring your contest(s), keep in mind that each recitation takes approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Judges will require another minute to mark scores, yielding a rough average of 4 to 5 minutes per recitation.
For the classroom contest, students must prepare at least one poem to recite. Participants in the school finals must prepare two poems for recitation. Students who advance to the state and national levels must have three poems prepared. Students will recite their poems in rounds, not consecutively, delivering one poem in each round. If the event will include a third round, it may consist of a smaller number of the highest-scoring competitors.
Students must select poems from the official Poetry Out Loud print or online anthologies. Not all poems on the CD or DVD are eligible for recitation in Poetry Out Loud. Any poem in the printed anthology is eligible for competition even if it is not available online.
It is strongly recommended that students who compete beyond the classroom level select poems of various style, time period, and voice. Diversity in the selections will offer a richer and more complete performance. For the state and national competitions, students must select one poem of 25 lines or shorter and one poem written before the 20th century. The same poem may be used to meet both requirements.
Students must provide the names of their poems and the order in which they will be recited in advance to the contest coordinator. Students may not change their poem selections or order once they have been submitted. This will enable the coordinator to have copies of the poems collated for the judges and prompter, and contest evaluation sheets prepared.
Reserve a school theater, auditorium, or other appropriate venue. The ideal setting will have a stage and theater-style seating. Competitors will stand alone on stage in front of the audience while reciting their poems. Other competitors may either be seated to the side of the stage or in the front row of the audience. Depending on the size of the venue, amplification may be appropriate.
At the school-wide competition, you will need volunteers to serve in a variety of roles:
Coordinator (1 or 2). The lead teacher(s) may be best suited for this role. The coordinator will ensure that the event runs smoothly, all volunteers are present, judges are briefed before the event, scoring is accurate, etc.
Emcee (1). An emcee will guide the competition from start to finish: providing welcoming remarks, introducing judges and students, and announcing winners. The emcee or the coordinator will need to keep an eye on the judges to make sure they have enough time to complete their scoring before the next student begins to recite. Since judges may need a minute between recitations to finish scoring and hand in their evaluation sheets, you may want to ask the emcee to entertain the audience or fill that time with biographical information about the poets or competing students (which you would need to have prepared). Another idea is to have music, live or recorded, between recitations.
Judges (3–5), accuracy judge (1). See Judging the Contest for advice on selecting judges.
Prompter (1). It is important to have someone following along with the recitations, ready to prompt a student who may get stuck on a line. Prepare a notebook with a large-font copy of each poem, in the order of recitation, for the prompter. Seat the prompter in the center of the front row, and have them follow along with the text as each student recites. Show the students where the prompter is sitting before the contest begins, so they know where to look if they get lost during their recitation. If a competitor is stuck for several seconds and looks to the prompter for help, the prompter may provide the next few words of the poem to get that student back on track.
Score tabulator (1–2). While the competition is taking place, someone should input the judges’ scores in a database so that no time is wasted totaling scores after the recitations are finished. An Excel spreadsheet works well for this purpose. A template is available on the website at It may be helpful if the tabulator has an assistant to collect the contest evaluation sheets.
Ushers. You may want to create a program for the event that lists the competitors and the poems they will be reciting, while also recognizing any local businesses that contributed to the contest. If so, plan on a few ushers to hand out programs.
At the competition, the emcee should introduce each student as they come to the stage to recite. It is the student’s job to identify the poem by announcing both the title and the author. (For example, “‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree,’ by William Butler Yeats” or “‘The New Colossus,’ by Emma Lazarus.”) The poem must be recited from memory. Recitations must include epigraphs and stanza numbers if included in the Poetry Out Loud anthology, but a student’s own editorial comments before or after the poem are not allowed. Footnotes included with the poem in the Poetry Out Loud anthology should not be included in the recitation.
A typical school competition may look something like this, based on 10 students, an average recitation time of 3–4 minutes each, and 1 minute between recitations for scoring:
1:00 pm Welcoming remarks and introduction of the judging panel, prompter, and accuracy judge. Recognition of any sponsors. Recap of the evaluation criteria for judging the recitations.
1:05–2:25 Recitations, taking place in two rounds. In the first round, each student will recite their first poem. In the second round, each student will recite their second poem.
2:25 Five-minute intermission for scoring to be completed and winner and runner-up to be determined.
2:30 Announcement of winner and runner-up. Presentation of certificates and any prizes.
A certificate of participation is available at the Poetry Out Loud website at You may wish to solicit prizes from local businesses, if appropriate. Select a school champion as well as a runner-up. Depending on the guidelines of your state competition, one or both of these students may advance to the next level of competition. Please check with your state Poetry Out Loud coordinator.

For Students: Evaluation Criteria

Teachers, coaches, and students may also find it useful to view the scoring rubric in the judge’s guide and on the Poetry Out Loud website. All evaluation criteria can be adjusted to accommodate students with disabilities. Additional guidance on implementing Poetry Out Loud for students with disabilities is available here.
This category is to evaluate the physical nature of the recitation. Consider the contestant’s poise, use of eye contact, and body language.
  • Advice for the student:
  • Present yourself well and be attentive. Look confident.
  • Engage your audience. Look them in the eye. Nervous gestures, poor eye contact with the audience, and lack of poise or confidence will detract from a competitor’s score.
Qualities of a strong recitation:
The competitor will appear at ease and comfortable with the audience. He or she will engage the audience through physical presence, including great body language, confidence, and eye contact—without appearing artificial. All qualities of the contestant’s physical presence will work together to the benefit of the poem. Nervous gestures, poor posture, and lack of confidence or eye contact with the audience will detract from a competitor’s score.
This category is to evaluate the auditory nature of the recitation. Consider the student’s volume, speed, use of voice inflection, and proper pronunciation. At the National Finals, contestants will use a microphone; when appropriate, one should be used in school and state competitions as well.
  • Advice for the student:
  • Project to the audience. You want to capture the attention of everyone, including the people in the back row.
  • Proceed at an appropriate and natural pace. People may speak or express themselves too quickly when they are nervous, which can make a recitation difficult to understand. Speak slowly, but not so slowly that the language sounds unnatural or awkward.
  • With rhymed poems, be careful not to recite in a sing-song manner.
  • Make sure you know how to pronounce every word in your poem. Articulate.
  • Line breaks are a defining feature of poetry, with each one calling for different treatment. Decide if a break requires a pause and, if so, how long to pause.
Qualities of a strong recitation:
All words will be pronounced correctly, and the volume, speed, pacing, and phrasing will greatly enhance the poem. Pacing will be varied where appropriate. Scores will be lower as a recitation falls short on one or more of these elements.
Recitation is about conveying a poem’s sense primarily with one’s voice. In this way, recitation is closer to the art of oral interpretation than theatrical performance. (Think storyteller or narrator rather than actor.) Students may find it challenging to convey the meaning of a poem without acting it out, but a strong performance will rely on a powerful internalization of the poem rather than distracting dramatic gestures.
The reciter represents the poet’s voice during the course of a recitation, not a character’s. The videos of outstanding student recitations (as well as the examples of poets reading their own work) will help illustrate this point. Appropriate dramatization subtly enhances the audience’s understanding and enjoyment of the poem without overshadowing the poem’s language.
  • Advice for the student:
  • Do not act out the poem. Too much dramatization can distract your audience from the language of the poem. Your goal should be to help audience members understand the poem more deeply than they had before hearing your recitation. Movement or accents should not detract from the author’s voice.
  • You are the vessel of your poem. Have confidence that your poem is strong enough to communicate its sounds and messages without a physical illustration. In other words, let the words of the poem do the work.
  • Depending on the poem, occasional gestures may be appropriate, but the line between appropriate and overdone is a thin one. When uncertain, leave them out.
  • Avoid monotone delivery. If you sound bored, you will project that boredom onto the audience. However, too much enthusiasm can make your performance seem insincere.
Qualities of a strong recitation:
The dramatization subtly highlights the meaning of the poem without becoming the focal point of the recitation. The performance is more about oral interpretation than dramatic enactment. A low score in this category will result from recitations that have affected character voices and accents, inappropriate tone, singing, distracting and excessive gestures, or unnecessary emoting.
This category is to evaluate the comparative difficulty of the poem, which is the result of several factors. A poem with difficult content conveys complex, sophisticated ideas, which the student will be challenged to grasp and express. A poem with difficult language will have complexity of diction and syntax, meter and rhyme scheme, and shifts in tone or mood. Poem length is also a factor in difficulty. Every poem is a different combination of content, language, and length, and the judges should score accordingly based on their independent evaluation of each poem.
  • Advice for the student:
  • For competitions beyond the classroom level, select poems of various styles, time periods, and tones. This diversity of selection will offer a richer and more complete performance. Note the additional poem-selection requirements for state and national contests, found on page 5.
This category is to evaluate whether the performer exhibits an understanding of the poem in his or her recitation.
  • Advice for the student:
  • In order for the audience to understand the poem fully, the performer must understand the poem fully. Be attentive to the messages, meanings, allusions, irony, tones of voice, and other nuances in your poem.
  • Be sure you know the meaning of every word and line in your poem. If you are unsure about something, it will be apparent to the audience and judges. Don’t hesitate to ask your teacher for help.
  • Listen to track 4 on the audio CD (or on the Poetry Out Loud website) in which poet David Mason introduces Yeats’ “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.” In his comments, he advises you to think about how you should interpret the tone and volume and voice of your poem. Is it a quiet poem? Is it a boisterous poem? Should it be read more quickly or slowly, with a happy or mournful tone? Your interpretation will be different for each poem, and it is a crucial element of your performance.
Qualities of a strong recitation:
The meaning of the poem will be powerfully and clearly conveyed to the audience. The student will display an interpretation that deepens and enlivens the poem. Meaning, messages, allusions, irony, tones of voice, and other nuances will be captured by the performance. A low score will be awarded if the interpretation obscures the meaning of the poem.
This category is to evaluate the overall success of the recitation, taking into account the above criteria, the diversity of poem selection, and any other factors that may impact a judge’s perception of the student’s performance. Note that points in this category are doubled in weight.
A separate judge will mark missed or incorrect words during the recitation, with small deductions for each. If the contestant relies on the prompter, points also will be subtracted from the accuracy score. Eight points will be added to the competitor’s score for a perfect recitation. (See page 13 for additional guidance.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dossier of english

it will be of helpful to teachers and students

Tuesday, September 21, 2010