September 2017

The digital connect

Connected Learning Initiative, incorporates thoughtful pedagogical designs and leverages contemporary technology, including online capabilities, to provide quality educational content and experiences at scale in the domain areas of English, science, mathematics and values for high school students

English rollout of Elementary English module in a school in Mizoram

English is the world’s third most widespread language and practically the global lingua franca. It is the language of aspirations for many Indians as it opens doors of social access and economic opportunity that are often closed to non-English speakers. A significant section of the population has very little or no access to higher education, employment, or participation in democratic citizenship.

A global perspective

The Connected Learning Initiative (CLIx) of Tata Trusts aims to create opportunities for English language learning and construct meaningful interaction among high school students. The vision of the English program within CLIx, is to create a community of independent language learners who use English language to express themselves, not only to access economic opportunities but also towards richer human interactions and greater participation in democratic citizenship. The course focuses on education through platform based learning, blended learning and peer learning. It is designed to enable students to take a lead in communication, collaboration and deciding the pace of their lessons.

A learning environment

Stella (pseudonym) is an English teacher from the Durtlang High School in Aizwal, Mizoram, and she was instrumental in ensuring that the CLIx classes took place. She describes the role played by CLIx English module in developing the confidence, listening and speaking skills of the students, “The students have really started opening up. In a classroom situation, we have to maintain some discipline to finish our curriculum but in this course, there is no pressure and the students really enjoy it.” She was given continued support by the School Head and ensured that children got to spend some time on the training modules. She remains a highly involved teacher in the English courses and makes critical observations about the students while they are in the labs.

A student using latest technology during the Elementary English class

A confidence builder
The CLIx modules have played an important role in boosting the confidence of the students. Stella elaborates, “They walk around the lab, talk to their friends, and discuss with each other. When they come to class they have started talking more and opening up more. Even the silent ones have started saying something. Only after this module, did I realise that students have the potential to talk in English.”

The course has also improved interaction and peer learning among students. “The students work with their friends in discussing how to compose and what story to write. Only when none of them knows the answer do they turn to me. This has never happened before and they have never had this opportunity in a class before,” explained Stella.

The road ahead
Talking of the overall impact of the modules, Stella shared, “I have now started asking students to work together in classrooms and they are opening up and actually working together. They have started paying more attention in the classroom.”

She said that the teaching learning method which focused on interactions, communication and group tasks, has improved the students’ ability to engage with English, despite the fact that they were initially not comfortable with the language.

The students have learnt different methods to connect with peers and experts. The course design allows them to provide and receive feedback in peer reviews through digital tools. Best of all, the students are the ones who lead the way in communication and collaboration, taking charge of the pace of flow of their lessons.

Tata Trusts aims to provide the youth access to quality learning opportunities and the programme will expand opportunities for participating students and aid in strengthening the foundation of the Indian education system.