US Government-Funded Fulbright Scholarships, established in 1946 by Senator J. William Fulbright, are designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of United States and other countries all over the world. These scholarships offer grants to US citizens (and now also to citizens of other countries) for teaching and training, advanced research, graduate study and professional development. In October, a few Fulbright scholars from US pursuing their grant in teachers’ category, and currently based at Chennai, visited the Satyam centre of the SARVAM programme.
The scholars visited SARVAM on October 27, 2013, and had an interactive session with all the English Access Scholarship students teaching English language and telling them about American way of life. The students were divided in to two groups and they were taught different lessons based on many activities and pair work. The classes began at 10.30 am and went on till 1 pm.
There were many activities weaving in aspects of greeting / introducing in English language.
The US political map was shown for an impromptu lesson on American geography. Various team games such as soccer, baseball, skiing and different games which are played in different states in America were displayed to them in the form of a presentation and it was correlated with the games played in India.
The instructor was very comfortable with the students. Her objective was to teach the students ‘action words’. She adopted lots of activity that focused on the action words or verbs. The activities were mostly games played indoor as well as outdoor. The methodology adopted was interesting and educative.
In another session the tutor introduced herself and went on to describe about the winter in America. She described the typical winter over there and talked about the dress and the food of the people during winter. Then she moved on to talk about the winter sports.
For another session the tutor during all her narration tried to bring in the common nouns used during winter. Her agenda for the class included ‘framing questions’ and the correct usage of ‘do’ and ‘does’. She got the students involved in some conversational activities.
On the whole, the visit by the American students was very useful to the SARVAM students and even the trainers. The students understood culture and different aspects of America and English language as it came directly from citizens of America. The Fulbright scholars were very friendly and taught very thoughtfully, which motivated and encouraged the English Access students to perform their best. Each batch of students was taught different aspects of English language- learning through activities and pair work.
The Regional Officer, United States–India Educational Foundation, Chennai wrote to SARVAM in a feedback, saying “All the Fulbright English Teaching Assistants had a wonderful time and they are very keen to visit SARVAM again and they may get in touch with you directly. Your students are so eager to learn that I am very sure with SARVAM’s support they will move ahead in life. Needless to say your work through SARVAM is so inspiring”.