You'd be hard-pressed to find a classroom in a government school like the one for students of Class 3 at the Panchayat Union Primary School in Tamil Nadu's Viluparam district. It now boasts colourful chairs and tables, an interactive smart-board, tablets and a stack of fun English books. What's more, the students speak fluent English.
This dramatic transformation was due to the efforts of their English teacher Annapurna Mohan, who sold off her jewellery to revamp the existing classroom into a cheerful, 'digital' one. "I decided to do it by myself because I did not want to burden anyone. Doing it myself also helped to get it done more efficiently, as I did not have to rely on anyone else," Mohan told The News Minute.
Realising the shortcomings of government schools like the one she was teaching in, Mohan has been working on improving her student's English skills by trying out new teaching methods. She told The News Minute that she began conversing with students in English for the entire duration of the class, and used phonetics to help them understand the alphabet and read and write complex words.
Her methods have clearly met with success. One of the many Facebook videos featuring Mohan's students shows M Pushpa, who is in Class 3, explaining how she uses her laptop to learn the correct pronunciation of English words, by visiting the Oxford English Dictionary website, carefully listening to the pronunciation and practicising it.
The student videos posted by Mohan on her Facebook page have also attracted the attention of people across the country and even countries such as Singapore and Canada, who've been supporting her cause by sending small gifts and money for the kids. Encouraged by the response and the students' progress, Mohan decided to go the extra mile and give her students a new classroom. Now, she has her sights set on introducing new methods of teaching in her school.