Telangana Field Trials, 11-13 April, 2016

The course is being developed around students listening to audio stories, followed by tasks that focus on listening and speaking skills. The content is delivered via Unplatform (which works without internet connectivity on an updated Chrome browser). After months of brainstorming, troubleshooting, and some trials in Mumbai, the CLIx English team was ready for field trials of two lessons in Telangana.

Students recap and use vocabulary from the audio story to talk about a picture

Organised by the CLIx English team and SCERT Telangana, the trials in three Zilla Parishad High Schools – in far-apart Gundlapochampalli, Rajendranagar, and Kukatpally in Hyderabad– gave us rich insights into the viability of the Unplatform on existing computers, the suitability of the course content, infrastructure needs, student reactions, andteachers’ requirements.

In each school, we worked with two batches, comprising 8 Telugu- and 8 English-medium students. Learners across all schools enjoyed the audio story excerpt about the experiences of three adolescents in their school and community. Scripted as conversations on issues of family, education and development, these stories aim to familiarise students with spoken English.

The Audio Recording tool (the lesson involved social greetings in English – students introduced themselves to a partner and recorded the conversation)) was the hands down favourite, followed by ‘CLIx Time’ – a listening comprehension task. Many learners said that working while having discussions with a partner was a refreshing change from teacher-led classes.

Students stand in rapt attention as they watch a demo of the Audio RecordingTool.

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At times, the hurdles seemed daunting – unresponsive computers, sudden power cuts, cumbersome technical manoeuvres, and more. But in the end the positive feedback – from students, teachers, and observers from the SCERT– reinforced our belief in the objectives of the CLIx English course, and the troubles became minor hitches along our steep learning curve.

More trials may be needed before the final roll-out, but this one has set the ball rolling for the CLIx English Course, Level 1, 2016.

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