Monday, November 19, 2012

H se Hammer, P se Powerhouse!

As a parent, I make great efforts to understand my kids and to empathize with them. Most of the times, I am able to predict their reactions to difficult situations and therefore prepare them to handle such situations better. Even then, there are certain things about my kids that catch me totally by surprise. I am currently totally surprised by Aloka's reaction to the move to a Dharamshala school and the need for her to learn Hindi.

I expected teaching her to read/write Hindi to the level expected for UKG in India to be an uphill battle. I was feeling sad and anxious for her (empathy overload) and was readying all parenting and instructional techniques to help her learn. It was one of the major adjustment issues I was prepared to deal with.

Last week, I asked Aloka to come to the bedroom to study, as is our routine every evening. I was planning to have her practice her favorite English spellings and subtraction, with one Hindi letter thrown in. She jumped up from the daybed, switched off the TV and said "Only if we study Hindi!".

In the last one week, she has learned to write 18 letters of the Hindi alphabet and read about 25 of them. Current problem is distinguishing between the letters that do not have equivalent letters in English (as in the difference between sounds/letters for dawai and dhanush, damru and dhakkan, tarbuj and tamatar). And these problems are getting resolved day by day- she can now say dhanush albeit accompanied by a lot of spit! She also struggles a bit with unfamiliar Hindi words for objects, such as hathoda for hammer. It helps that both the English and Hindi words for the object start with the same sound!

First attempt at the letter M

Not satisfied with learning to read the alphabet alone, she insists that I read her stories in Hindi and she points at simple words that she can recognize. When I think she has done enough for the day, she insists on doing just one more. This morning, I gave her homework to practice writing the letters she had learned yesterday and she says "No that stuff is easy peasy. Teach me how to write M"! At this rate, this little super-charged peanut of mine will be reading Hindi before we get to DS!

Instead of facing the struggle and drudgery that I was preparing myself for, I get to see looks of absolute joy and pride when she masters something new. Instead of an uphill task, we seem to be gliding down a gentle slope on roller skates- of her making! How wrong was I about this plucky little daughter of mine? Totally totally bowled over by this little child. Totally totally humbled by this powerhouse.

(As a learning designer, all I can say is that no learning strategy compares with the power of an inherent motivation to learn.)

1 comment:

  1. In less than a month, Aloka has learned to write each letter of the hindi alphabet, including the dreaded re and shr. Her handwriting is immaculate. She can read words containing up to 3-4 simple letters.