Friday, November 15, 2013

English impact in rural India -- Report

A new report has just been published -- Viven Berry (ed.), English Impact Story: Investigating English Language Learning Outcomes at the Primary School Level in Rural India (London: British Council 2013). The 74-page report is available as a PDF on the ASER website amidst several other reports.

This collaboration between ASER, British Council and Pratham consists of the following essays:
  • Foreword by Martin Davidson: "There is a growing interest in what the world's children are learning and how this learning can be measured and assessed."
  • Message by Madhav Chavan: "Working with children, Pratham has identified another challenge for learning English – the fact that many Indian children have difficulty reading their own language."
  • Message by Rob Lynes: "However, research shows that all’s not well with English learning across India, especially at the primary level where the foundations are supposed to be laid."
  • Introduction by Ranajit Bhattacharyya and Debanjan Chakrabarti: "While this report is primarily for those involved in the framing and implementation of English language policy in education systems in India, it has wider implications for countries with a similarly wide cache of multicultural and heteroglossic capital."
  • "Multilingualism in an international context" by Jason Rothman and Jeanine Treffers-Daller: "They illustrate how being able to communicate using several languages benefits society through fostering intercultural understanding; they also outline the cognitive advantages gained by multilingual individuals who switch between languages on a daily basis." (From the Introduction)
  • "An English for every schoolchild in India" by Raghavachari Amritavalli: "It is common sense to use our existing knowledge, including the knowledge of other languages, to help us make sense of what is said or written in the new language. One’s other languages can also help to scaffold expression in the new language."
  • "Evolution of the ASER English tool" by Rukmini Banerji and Savitri Bobde: "The evidence generated in all three years points to the fact that language reading skills, both in regional language and even more so in English, need urgent attention throughout India."
  • "English language learning outcomes at the primary school level in rural India: taking a fresh look at the data from the Annual Status of Education Report" by Jamie Dunlea and Karen Dunn: "The paper describes the application of various statistical analysis techniques to investigate trends in English as a second or foreign language (L2) reading performance over time, as well as the relationship between first language (L1) literacy and L2 reading ability."
  • "Looking back and looking forward" by Barry O’Sullivan: "The view, therefore, that emerges from the three chapters that set the background to this report, is that while English is a hugely important element of the educational process in India, its true value should be seen in terms of its role in the multilingual society that is India."

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