It’s not the usual recess break that has got the kids excited, but the fact that they are now going to be taught their English lessons, albeit with a difference. Making language fun for students to learn is a unique pedagogy offered by the Chennai-based Karadi Path Education Company. S Mangayarkarasi, the principal of the school, is very happy that she chose to go with Karadi three years ago. “Most of my students don’t have an English-speaking home environment. After participating in the Karadi Path programme, there has been a substantial improvement in such kids and they are much more confident when they speak in English now,” she says.
Karadi Path is the brainchild of CP Viswanath, who firmly believes that language can never be successfully taught in a classroom. “It is the environment we are in that helps us pick up languages. Schools should create such an environment, where kids can pick up a language the same way they learn their mother tongue and not approach it as a subject,” says the 52-year-old.
The company decided to explore why English language learning is difficult but picking up the mother tongue or languages spoken at home are much easier. It took the couple 10 years to develop a methodology, which deconstructed how the mother tongue is learned and reconstructed from that a process for intuitive and experimental language learning in classrooms. “We must look at learning languages in a participative manner and not in a classroom. Language cannot be learned through instruction, word meanings and grammar. Unfortunately, that is the core of English instruction in schools,” says Viswanath. “Language learning must be 100% derivative; you grasp it from experiences and exposure in conversations. I may give you a lot of opportunities to guess what I am saying but never tell you what I am saying. Mothers use facial and voice expressions and hand gestures to communicate with a child,” he adds.
Karadi Path offers three modules for students, depending on their skill levels. Magic English is a one-year English language programme for kids from std. II and above. Each session consists of three parts — action, music and story path — using actions, songs and stories to impart language skills over 84 sessions. The programme construct varies across international schools, English medium semi-urban schools and a government schools and depending up on the age group. Power English is a four-year programme from LKG to std. II, which develops and accelerates English proficiency over 72 sessions a year. Apart from these modules, the company trains teachers on delivering the material effectively.