4 Essential Tips to Improve English in Rural India
23rd January 2020 By Joietouch

Over the last decade, India has witnessed drastic pedagogical innovations. However, with different experiences, it has dawned on me that these pedagogical innovations that have taken the whole education world by storm are just fit to improve the quality of urbane learners. What about Rural and Semi-urban India?

It’s saddening to see that rural and semi-urban India and their education yet remain highly neglected.  Around 65% of our learners come from rural India where education especially English Language Awareness is plagued by many problems like the flexible choice of various English textbooks, lack of English-spoken environment, outdated curriculum and a serious dearth of language proficient teachers.

Given below are some ways that can be adopted to improve the language proficiency standards of children in the rural and semi-urban area:

Teaching English as a Skill

Mostly the English language teaching is confined to the verbal explanation of the English lesson in regional language. So, English is studied as a subject where the learners are helped to understand the content without any focus on the structural nuances of the language. So, instead of a teacher reading a text, students must be made to read/ recite and corrected later. Rather than giving a vernacular explanation of a poem/prose, an attempt must be made to elicit responses from the students and discuss several interpretations. Such exercises are time-taking but rewarding. The increased participation by students in a language class is a key to teaching English as a skill, not a subject.


Teaching through Radio

Though radio has lost its charm of late due to technological advancements, it can be an excellent tool for creating English atmosphere in the rural areas. The session can begin by listening All India Radio English News at 8:15 a.m. This everyday dose of English news can work wonders in getting the students accustomed to English sounds, modulations, and pronunciation. Once, the students get interested they can switch over to BBC news and Voice of America.

Teaching through Videos

To add fun in the classroom, keep referring to short video clips in the classroom with tasks and exercises associated with it like- select ten new words while you watch the video/ repeat five sentences from the video/ talk about the things/characters in the video etc.

The English episodes of Ramayana and Mahabharata can bring immense delight in addition to moral values. This can be followed by comprehension, quiz, group discussions, and debates over morality issues.

Teaching through Advertisements

Even in rural areas, the commercials and advertisements do not fail to allure the children and cast an imprint on young minds. The advertisement punchlines can be assigned to students as practice-pattern exercises to develop grammatical constructions. For example:

  • Punchline (to practice exclamatory sentence) – What an idea! (Idea mobile)
  • Punchline (to practice imperative sentence) – Eye it! Try it! Buy it! (Chevrolet)
  • Punchline (to practice use of let’s) – Let’s make things better! ( Philips)

English has become the most widespread language in the world, used by more people for more purposes than any other language on Earth. In such a scenario, it is extremely crucial to empower rural and semi-urban India with trained teachers and tools that create opportunities for them to use English in meaningful and relevant real-life situations.