Saturday, February 29, 2020

Rhymes and those times


The session was started by the recitation of a Marwari lullaby, ’Yelo Keeka,’ I learned a few hours ago. Working on the rhymes, I believed that I should pick up the local and contextual rhymes rather than the textbook rhymes. I took the help of the volunteers. Thanks, Som, Khangar, Mamta for helping out with the lullabies.   I sang the song and shared the experience of learning the Marwari. I talked about my learning process and the journey of learning the new language. 


‘I didn’t know anything when I started but, I was confident. I didn’t know what I was confident about........................ How does this confidence works,’ I posed a question to the audience?

“If I relied my confidence and strength on what I knew. My confidence would have stayed for a day or a moment because, I had the world to show me that I know nothing of what I was learning.

If I relied my confidence on my understanding of ‘what I don’t know’ I can work out in many ways to learn and keep learning.”

Emphasizing on confidence, I shared the anecdote of my student who displayed both the mind-sets in her learning. I briefed on the growth mindset and a fixed mindset. 



Explaining confidence and intelligence through mind-set, I shared the characteristics of the mindset.  Emphasizing confidence and the theme of the session, ‘rhymes,’ I encouraged the audience to share and recite the rhymes they know.

Many didn’t come forward and I changed the question.  I requested the audience to reflect on why the language used with 1-year-old babies are always sounds which almost rhymes.
‘Because kids cannot understand our language,’ ‘To create an interest and grab the attention,’ said another participant.
Receiving the varied answers, I requested the participants to recollect the lullabies they heard, they sang to their children. Everyone took their time in recollecting and a participant sang a lullaby explaining the meaning of it. I noted down the rhyming words from the lullaby. Further, I sang a rhyme in Telugu and asked the audience to repeat with me. I asked Dyu to share a Odiya rhyme and everyone repeated with him. Kaveri recited a Tamil rhyme and everyone repeated with her.
To talk and discuss  languages is different to listen and speak a new language. We can talk a lot about language learning without experiencing the process of learning the language.
Participants cried out that the Tamil and Telugu rhymes were mere sounds to them. They were mumbling out the words questioning the meaning.

‘It’s the same with us. I didn’t know what keeka meant a year back. It was a mere sound. Now,  I can associate the sound with meaning because of usage and exposure.’ I said talking about how sounds are perceived as language. 

Continuing the discussion on rhymes, I questioned the purpose of lullabies and also questioned the structure of it. ‘Why the rhymes are lyrical?’ 

The obvious answer to the question, I explained the rhymes and the forms of poetry. I shared the history of lullabies and the role it played in the lives. I also shared my story of how I felt that every poem needs to be a rhyme.  
Leaving the lullabies at home, I questioned the existence of rhymes in the textbooks. ‘To express, to enjoy, to learn,’ were few responses given by the participants.
Nodding to every answer, I indicated the ‘pre-reading objective’ of rhymes. ‘Rhymes are also used to introduce the concept of rhymes. Dwelling in many objectives, we often neglect the objective that acts as a foundation block to the reading,’ I explained.
Making the audience listen a Telugu song, we as a group performed the three processes of learning a rhyme.
We heard the song at first. We recognized the rhyme for the second time and produced the rhyme at third time. Making the audience listen to a Telugu song, they could understand how tough it was to perform these processes.
‘Same with the child. Our language is as foreign as Telugu is to us,’ I said trying to let the audience experience what a child goes through in language learning.
The group learned the processes of learning the ‘rhymes.’ The checklist was shared with the audience. 

1. Hearing the rhyme
2. Recognizing the rhyme
3.Producing the rhyme

‘Giving out space to children to express and creating an opportunity to learn through the stages mentioned seemed to be effective,’ I opinionated
Stating the purpose of the rhymes, I discussed the content. ‘Where should we pick these rhymes from? What kind of rhymes should be used?’ were a few questions.  
Discussing on contextual rhymes, I shared the dark theories behind a few familiar texts which surprised the audience. Discussing one rhyme after another, the group recited many rhymes.
Group decided on what kind of rhymes needs to be recited and went on with the next topic of the session.  The HOW.

 ‘How do children listen to rhymes these days,’ asked the facilitator.

‘Youtube. TV. Audio’ is the response given by the audience. 

I shared how the culture of singing songs to the children has declined and how we are relying on the media for lullabies or rhymes. 

A TED Talk by Patricia Kuhl was shown where she talks about the linguistic genius of the babies. After the talk, I explained why human interaction is important over the other mediums. The session was ended on a note to interact more rather than giving out phones to the children. 


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