Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

English Curriculum from classes 4-10

    Ministry of Education
    Darla Middle Secondary School
    Chhukha Bhutan
    Format for school level Curriculum Conferences

    5th to 6th September 2016
    Page No
    Area of concern
    Short Term
    Average Term
    Long Term

    Can be corrected and implemented by 2017
    Requires 2 to 3 years to update and implement
    Can be updated and implemented from 2020
    Story, Siena’s fun run

    -Not relevant to Bhutanese context.
    Use of western names – could have used Bhutanese names which would be easier for the students to remember.

    -Remove the text
    -replace with a short and meaningful one

    Some small mammals in Bhutan.(essay)
    Wild builders(essay)
    Dangerous animals! Bees and Wasps, Tiger and Crocodile(essay)

    -Informational Text
    -could go for one essay in the theme.
    -title needs to be changed to “some dangerous animals”

    -could go for one essay in the theme.
    -title needs to be changed to “some dangerous animals”

    Everyone knows what a Dragon looks like.(story)
    -Little Kay(story)
    Pg 80

    -could have more Bhutanese folktales.
    -could be replaced by Bhutanese folktales
    -lengthy and high standard

    -could be replaced by Bhutanese folktales

    Underground road to freedom(poem)
    Pg 169

    -concepts like slavery and freedom are difficult to convey.
    -figurative/symbolic meaning is difficult to convey

    -it can be included in higher classes.

    The streets are free(essay)
    Pg 204


    -replace with a better article and short essay

    Getting Along: A How- To Manual(essay

    -small letter size
    -inappropriate in Bhutanese Context
    -inappropriate in Bhutanese context

    1. Remove the text and include Bhutanized text related to friendship

    Jean Claude’s Island(story)


    replace with a short and meaningful one

    Listen with your eyes(essay)
    117- “Here in North America….”

    -shows that the text is not appropriate in Bhutanese context.

    -use ‘There’ while teaching

    127-129Jessie’s Island(Essay)

    -letter Format
    -No letter Format
    - the sender of the first letter is not clear.

    -teach recent letter format and avoid teaching the text letter.

    Letter from Laya(Essay)

    -High Standard for the particular class

    -it can be included in higher classes

    A Mountain Legend


    replace with a short and meaningful one

    -The People who Hugged the Trees

    – a story similar to other stories in unit III, sl/no: 1,2, 3, 4. – similar theme about planting trees/nature/ taking care of trees.
    - Unit III
    1. The Never-Ending Greenness(Story) pg-85
    2. Wolf Island (Story) pg 91
    3. The Earth Game(Story) pg-95
    4. Last Chance for Cheery Tree Creek(story) pg -99
    Opinion: similar theme about planting trees/nature. Could include one or two of these stories. Go for The Earth Game.

    -similar theme about planting trees/nature. Could include one or two of these stories. Go for The Earth Game.

    Page 28-33) A Blind Teacher (Essay)

    (– Verbose words( eg:groped, imminent, idiosyncrasy, imbibed, etc) and figurative languages( …everything died down to pin-drop silence… move heaven and earth…stirred quite a commotion…)– not for class VI standard – could make it simple.

    -can be included in higher classes

    Courage(page 54) (Poem)

    Well, I am not Chicken (Poem –Unit 6) Similar theme and pessimistic view(Unit 6 poem) Go for courage poem.

    -Remove and go for courage poem

    We are Plooters (poemPg106

    – negative views about self.
    What is Plooters?

    Remove the text as it has negative views about self.

    The First Skateboard in the History of the World (story)

    –not relevant – the game is not popular in Bhutan, and a long story for cl. VI.

    Well, I am not chicken(Poem)

    – Similar theme of the poem (Courage), and pessimistic views of oneself.

    Remove the text as it has negative views about self.

    Writing –Essay (40 marks)

    – Marks for writing essay is too much

    -could give it for grammar or other tests.


    Twin Telepathy

    -no values and involve more scientific terms.

    -must be replaced with a better one in text

    Writing –Essay (40 marks)

    – Marks for writing essay is too much, could give it for grammar or other tests.

    -could give it for grammar or other tests.


    Which Way?
    Pg 9

    -high standard

    -connection of story (confusion)

    Prayer flags blowing in the wind.
    Pg 65-67
    The interweaving of the two words…

    The words should be Worlds

    -use ‘World’ while teaching

    Homemade sound effects

    -totally unnecessary

    -replace with a better text
    Prescribed/ specified nature of language text or syllabus for classes IX and X

    Dawa the Stray Dog of Bhutan.

    Prescribed/ specified nature of language text or syllabus for classes IX and X

    Replace the novel,
    – time to change.

    Prescribed/ specified nature of language text or syllabus for classes IX and X

    Replace the novel,

    The Giver

    - Replace the novel, The Giver –
    time to change.
    Suggested novels
    1. The grapes of Wrath –John Steinbeck
    2. To kill a Mocking Bird –Harper Lee
    3. The Catcher in the Rye –J. D. Salinger
    4. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
    5. Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
    6. Jane-Austen – Pride and Prejudice
    7. Oliver Twist –Charles Dickens
    8. The Great Expectation –Charles Dickens
    9. Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
    10. Wuthering Heights –Emily Bronte

    Replace the novel

    General View:
    -Class VI English syllabus is very vast and huge.-48 texts plus 6 supplementary texts to be studied. It takes more than a week to cover a story sometimes.
    -could reduce number of stories; there are 15 stories to study for common exam besides essays, poems and grammar.
    -most of the stories talk about theme of nature and trees like in unit II and III.
    -Each unit has more than seven texts; Unit 4 has ten texts.
    -It’s a heavy textbook for small children to carry back and forth to the school.
    -Could Bhutanized text; include Bhutanese writings, local contents but intact to general, globalize in nature
    -Should have prescribed text with uniform activities for grammar for the entire standard.
    -sudden shift of syllabus from class 3 to 4
    - Most contents are imported

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Language policy: Decolonising the mind

 This article was published in the national newspaper, Kuensel.
May 29, 2016 Opinions 1 Comment 254 Views

A language will become dormant and ultimately vanish when it is no longer spoken as the first or primary language. It disappears when its speakers disappear or when a community of speakers of one language becomes bilingual in another language, and gradually shift to speaking another language – most often, a dominant language used by a more powerful people.
The loss of language is not primarily caused by external forces such as military, but it is caused by educational subjugation and also internal forces, such as people’s negative attitude towards its own language.
The loss of language has consequences much wider than simply losing expressions. It means losing identity, culture, history and crucial knowledge.

A dying language in Bhutan
Educational Subjugation
The loss of language in many countries is to be blamed on education. The English language is beginning to conquer and contribute to a language shift in our country too. The education policy of Bhutan is that we must only speak the English language in the classes and the schools. By and by, our mother tongue dialects like Khengkha, Kurtoep, Sharchop are vulnerable as most children speak English, and our local languages are restricted to home. Now local languages are mostly used by grandparents and older generations and even if our younger generations speak it, they speak the language partially and infrequently.

In schools, I remember we were punished for speaking our own mother tongue. The schools’ goal was to assimilate children into the English language and culture. We had to wear the tag labeled ‘Speak English,’ for speaking Sharchop or we were made to cut grass or even beaten badly just for speaking the native language. And this trend is still there in the schools. But little has it been reformed as language policy is being framed and students are made to use only English and Dzongkha in the schools, and corporal punishment is not as common now like before. English has become the measure of intelligence. We have been rewarding any achievement in spoken or written English. And we tend to think that all things originating from the West are symbols of enlightenment and progress, and all things associated with what we have are primitive and inferior.
And when or if this continues for more generations, it plays an active role in language death. If children are not speaking it now, then children will probably not speak it in the next 50 years.

Negative attitudes by parents and community
Today, if children are with their parents, they might be punished for speaking their native language at home. Parents today encourage their children to speak and learn the English language instead of their heritage language. Babies are taught other words and languages, not mother tongues. We are bombarded with American, British and Hindi shows, movies and games, language and many young people think they are cool and anything Bhutanese is not. We have negative attitudes towards our own language that might lead to languages becoming endangered. Our students and parents feel ashamed and outdated when they speak their native languages. We have different views of where we belong.
I’ve met many Bhutanese people whose English and Hindi skills are arguably better than their Sharchop or Dzongkha.

What does language extinction mean for the rest of us?
The extinction of a language results in the loss of unique cultural knowledge embodied in it for centuries, including historical, spiritual and ecological knowledge that may be useful for many. Language is the knowledge-vessel of tradition and heritage. Many oral stories in Bhutan are passed down through its language, so when the language disappears, it may take with it important information about the early history of the society.

The extinction of a language results in the loss of culture. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o says that language carries aesthetics of a culture; the entire body of values by which we come to perceive ourselves and our place in the world. Ngugu (Decolonising the Mind) says that colonial power didn’t use any weapon to fight and colonise African countries. Language was used as both an insidious tool for imperialism as well as a weapon of resistance for colonised peoples. With language, they disrupted the entire fabric of the lives of their victims; in particular their culture, making them ashamed of their names, history, systems of belief, languages, lore, art, dance, song, sculpture; even the colour of their skin. That’s why Ngugi considers English in Africa a “cultural bomb” that continues a process of wiping out pre-colonial histories and identities.

The loss of language results in people attempting to assimilate with other communities, thereby losing one’s identity. Language is a powerful symbol of identity. Much of the cultural, spiritual, and intellectual life of a people is experienced through language. This ranges from prayers, myths, ceremonies, poetry, oratory, and technical vocabulary to everyday greetings, leave-takings, conversational styles, humour, ways of speaking to children, and terms for habits, behaviours, and emotions. When a language is lost, all of this must be refashioned in the new language-with different words, sounds, and grammar.

The education system 
The most important thing that can be done to keep a language from disappearing is to change education policy. Education system should support mother-tongue instruction or multilingual education, and create favorable conditions for its speakers to speak the language and teach it to their children. We cannot teach in our language, but we can use local languages in teaching to uphold our native language. Children mustn’t learn that their language and their culture are worthless, of no use in the modern classroom or society like in our education system. Our languages should be given attention in all education policies and it should be drawn up by the government. UNESCO also acts on many fronts to safeguard endangered languages and prevent their disappearance. It says, “In education, UNESCO supports policies promoting multilingualism and especially mother tongue literacy. It supports the language component of indigenous education and raises awareness of the importance of language preservation in education.”

Increase of prestige
Since the most crucial factor is the attitude of the speakers toward their own language, it is essential to create a social and political environment that encourages multilingualism and respect for minority languages so that speaking such a language is an asset rather than a liability. Speaking one’s language should be a matter of pride rather than feeling detached from others. Children and parents must not think that their mother tongues are non-standard languages, wrong to speak, inferior, for the uneducated, and should be abandoned.

The loss of language has great impact on one’s identity, culture and knowledge. Knowing this, there are many things to be formulated in education or students’ learning as it is the main factor of degrading local language. So that we can change the mentality of our own language and speak with pride.
Contributed by 
Saacha Dorji
Darla Middle Secondary School

And I like this comment. Thank you jbradley. We are in the same boat.
  1. jbradley
Hello Saacha Dorji, all that you say is so true. I work in Australia with Indigenous languages, I have seen in 35 years of teaching and research three languages die, or at least only have one or two very elderly speakers. The result is a youth whose identity is not strong and thus they are open to many kinds of social ills such as drug and alcohol addiction, anti-social behaviours and most extremely suicide. Having ones own language respected and used also creates a very strong sense of well being. A person who has lost their own languages is, as you say and scholars such as Mignolo and Ngugi a colonised mind. Having visited Bhutan and sensed these issues I wish you all the best in this most important endeavour.
John Bradley, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia