Wednesday, August 10, 2011

'An Express' Way to master English

A school in Koduvely uses 'The New Indian Express' newspaper to improve the English language skills of the students

Photo: Students of the Sanjo CMI Public School holding aloft a copy of 'The New Indian Express'

By Shevlin Sebastian

On July 1, Fr. Johnson Palappally, the headmaster of the Sanjo CMI Public School at Koduvely, near Thodupuzha instituted 'An Express Way to Master English'. In this programme, every student from Class 4 to 10 has to read an edition of 'The New Indian Express' daily. The next morning, at Assembly, Fr. Johnson will select students at random, and they will talk about the news reports that interested them the most.

“The aim is to enable the students to develop the habit of reading,” says Fr. Johnson. “They will also become familiar with current topics.” Many of the students are fearful about reading English newspapers. So Fr. Johnson wanted to help them get over their apprehensions.

“The advantage of 'The New Indian Express' is that the newspaper has a simple style and is easy to read,” says Ginesh George, the head of the English department. “We want the students to fall in love with the English language.”

Another benefit is that the students are able to learn new words and phrases. “Yes, my vocabulary has become better,” says Maria S. Padathil, a Class 9 student. “By constantly reading the newspaper, my language has also improved. I have been able to do well in my exams.” What she enjoys to read the most is current affairs. “I also like the attractive layout,” she adds.

Another Class 9 student, Jibin P. Jenson says that he has learned many new words. “This is a good programme,” he says. “Initially, I never used to read the newspaper, but now I am developing the habit of reading daily.”

In order to ensure that the students are actually reading the English newspaper, the students have to declare on which page and in which column the news item has appeared. “In this way, students will not take the easy way out and read a Malayalam newspaper and get the news,” says the principal.

Asked what is the news the students most like to read, the librarian, Mrs. Sony Thomas, says, “The local news comes first. Thereafter, they are keen to read about current affairs, education, and sports.”

Fr. Johnson is being assisted by Sony, who is the chief architect of the programme, and Ginesh, the captain of 'EYE' (Empower Your English).

“Both of them have ensured that 'An Express Way to Master English,' has become a success,” says Fr. Johnson.

(The New Indian Express, Kerala)

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