Bringing Synthetic Phonics to Meghalaya Schools
Shainaz Jussa – March 2014
As a part of on-going educational trials in India, a group of Jolly Learning trainers from different parts of India gathered in the state of Meghalaya to give training to local teachers. Sarasa from Chennai, Ritu from Delhi, Gomathi from Hyderabad and me, Shainaz, from Mumbai, spent two weeks in West Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya holding sessions on synthetic phonics in order to help local government schools with English language teaching.
Meghalaya, one of the most scenic hilly states in India and one that gets the highest rainfall in the world, has, unfortunately, some of the most under-funded schools. The educational trials programme is the result of the co-operation between the Education Ministry of Meghalaya, Absolute Return for Kids, Stones2Milestones and Jolly Learning.
Although the trainings were spread across four regions within the state (for which we had to travel for hours on dusty roads), many teachers had to travel several kilometres to reach training venues. But after a fun-filled, yet gruelling Jolly Phonics session, the participants went back happy and feeling lucky they had the opportunity to discover a new teaching method, as well as to receive the Jolly Phonics Certificate of Attendance.
The training sessions were held not only inside classrooms, but also out under the spring sun of Meghalaya. One of the highlights was that among the participants there were 200 male primary teachers, who found it exciting to get trained by female trainers (which is rare in India). In general, all participating teachers showed a great amount of enthusiasm to use this teaching method in their classrooms, which will help more than 25,000 children from poor backgrounds develop their reading and writing skills.
While we, trainers, had an opportunity to see a variety of beautiful flora during our stay in Meghalaya, it was the hope, innocence and thankfulness in the eyes of the participants that truly stole our hearts!
Click here to view more pictures from Jolly Phonics trainings in Meghalaya.