ക്ലാസ് പി ടി എ യോഗം ജനു.17 വെള്ളിയാഴിച്ചു ഉച്ചയ്ക്ക് 2.30 ന്


ഒന്നാം പാദവാര്‍ഷിക പരീക്ഷ സെപ്തംബര്‍ ഏഴിന് ആരംഭിക്കും..... ....

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Durga,Apu and The Train Scene

Creative Expressions in English Language Class-5




The last story of the first unit 'Rains of Love' in standard VI,is 'Making a Mango Pickle' taken from the famous Bengali novel Patherpanchali, written by Bibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyay. The story explores the bond between two siblings,Durga and her younger brother Apu. Their affection for each other is reflected in their actions. It is this part that the  learners have to read and comprehend by themselves. 

I began the  class by screening a film clip before the children without any introduction. It was the famous train scene from the film 'Patherpanchali'. All the children watched the film clip in pin-drop silence.

  I think the most beautiful long shot in the film is the train scene. It begins with Durga looking up at power lines.  Even with only few dialogues, the scene speaks volumes. Durga walks towards the power line pole and presses her face to it. She  hears a humming sound from the pole. Apu also does the same. Durga and Apu continue to walk through the large  grass.  The grass sways in front of the camera making the setting ideal and aesthetically pleasing to the viewer. The siblings continue to explore the grassy terrace.
Durga gives  a piece of sugar cane to Apu and asks him to eat. That is the only dialogue in the scene. Ray leaves the natural sound of the strong wind in the scene as well. Slowly,mixing up with the sound of the wind,we hear the distant sound of a train. The siblings run towards the railway track to see the train closer. Ray’s close shot of the train moving helps to convey how strongly they  observe this moving object.
The sequences of Apu and his elder sister Durga, exploring their little world and sharing secrets, are the most remarkable aspects of the film.


 After watching the train scene,I turned off the projector and looked at their faces. They were so happy. The scene they had watched had the  power to create a positive feeling in them. All of them were silent. I didn't say anything about the film. Instead, I wrote the following questions on black board.
  • Who are the characters of the film? Can you guess their names?
  • What is their relation?
  • Where are they going?
  • What is their intention to go out?
  • Can you identify the visuals showing their intimacy and love?
  • Do you like the film? Why?

 I put these questions to help them analysing the scene and to write a short note on it. There was no discussion. After reading the questions,Gowri stood up and asked.
“Sir,can we see the film once more?”
“Why not?”
I screened the film clip again. All the children  watched it with great interest.
They started writing. They had no questions or doubts. They finished their notes within 10 minutes.
Their findings can be summarised as follows:

  • This is a black & white old film.
  • The boy and the girl are brother and sister. The boy calls the girl 'Didi' which means sister. They are poor.
  • They are going through a field full of long grasses. It sways in the wind which is a beautiful sight.
  • The girl is bold and mischievous.
  •  The brother always follows the sister. The sister gives him sugar cane to eat. This says  that they  love each other very much.
  • They are going out to watch the train. They see the train for the first time.
  • We like the film very much. It is interesting. We also like the characters of the film.
 Their observations were deep. Even though it was a very short scene, it could create an empathy for Durga and Apu. Children liked these characters from the first shot itself, thanks to the magic craft of the great director Sathyajith Ray.

I told them about the the famous Bengali writer Bibhuti Bhushan Bandopadhyay,his novel Patherpanchali, and how  Sathyajith Ray made his classic film.
I screened two more clips from the film. The famous Rain Scene and a clipping  in which Durga and Apu were eating pickle. They watched the clippings with much interest.

 Now, the children  know who is Durga and Apu,the two unforgettable characters ever made in Indian cinema. It  was the right context to introduce the story.

 I led the children to the story. They began to read the first part of the story. They used dictionaries  to find out the meaning of new words.  After the first reading,Abhishek stood up and said.
“The picture given in the story is wrong.”
“Why?”
“Look, sir.” Pointing to the picture he said. “Durga is holding a mango. It is not correct. In the story she is holding a coconut shell full of mango slices and shows it  to Apu.”
He read aloud the sentence.
He was correct. I congratulated him for finding out the mistake.

When they finished their  reading,I asked them.
“Children,can you say something about the story?”
“Durga and Apu are planning to make  mango pickle.” Aparna said.
“Durga brought some mango pieces in a coconut shell and showed it to Apu. She asked him to bring oil and salt.” Dhanith said.
“Their mother went to ghat,sir.” Athul said. “She is not in the house.”
“Is Durga beautiful?” I asked.
“Yes,sir.” Adithyan said. He read the line. “On her finely shaped face,her eyes shone large like her brother's.”

Most of the children could comprehend the text by themselves. Some of them needed help. I divided the whole class  into seven groups for reading the story again. Members of the groups helped each other while reading .

In this manner,they read the whole story part by part. There were some difficult areas in the story they could not comprehend. We discussed those areas and I gave necessary help.

 I asked. “Children,do you like Durga or Apu?”
“I like both,sir” Jishna said.
“Why?”
“Both are good.” She said.
I asked to the whole class.
Children,can you say something about Durga?
Children thought for a while.
“She is beautiful. She has shining eyes.” Abhijith said.
“She is a mischievous girl.” Gopika said. “She is bold.”
“Sometimes she says lies.” Said Gowri
“She wears  a dirty saree.” Said Devika. “She doesn't comb her hair.”
“She is a wandering girl. She likes tender green mangoes.” Aishwarya said.

 “O.K. Children,now you know Durga well. What about Apu? Do you like him?” I asked.
“Yes,sir. We like him very much.”
“Can you say something about Apu?”
“He is a good boy.” Said Drishya.
“He is an innocent boy.”
“He never tells lies.”
“He likes his sister very much.”
“He always follows his sister.”

Afterwards,they wrote about Durga and Apu. They revised their writings in group and presented in the class.

Next day, I began with another activity. All of them sit in a circle.
“Children, suppose  Apu comes to our class and tells the story. What will he  say?” I asked.
They thought for a while.
Varsha came forward. “I will try,sir.” She said.

She began narrating the story.
“I was playing in the courtyard of my house. Then, I heard Durga calling..There was a coconut shell in her hand with full of mango pieces. She showed it to me......”
Varsha  narrated the story fluently.
Safeeda came and narrated the story in Durga's perspective. Sreehari and Malavika narrated the story in the perspectives of Harihar and Sarbojaya respectively. 

  It was a nice activity for development of speech. Moreover,they might have realised that a story changes when retold through the different perspectives of its characters.

The next task was improvisation of the whole story. They were sitting in a circle, groups were formed with three children and they began to discuss. But I gave no time for planning. Each group came to the centre of the circle and started improvising..

They used their own dialogues and it came out with extreme fluency. Each group presented with a little difference. Their actions,movements and dialogues were different. Some gave a comedy touch to the scene. Thus, they created their own texts from the original. Children enjoyed this activity very much.

At last,Vishnu came to me and asked.
“Sir, what happened to Durga and Apu in the film?”
“Durga died.” I said.
“Died?!” He could not believe it. “How?”
“Because of high fever. She didn't get treatment. You know, they were poor.”
He was silent .
“...Apu? What happened to him,sir?” He asked after a short while.
“Apu and his parents left the village in a bullock-cart. That was the last scene in the film.” I said.
I looked at him. He was sad. He walked, slowly,to his seat.




1 comment:

  1. Seeing is believing

    I had the opportunity to visit GUPS Kanathur and observe M.M.Surendran’s class along with Mathrubhumi channel’s reporter and crew. Mathrubhumi TV reporter Nishanth was really amazed to see the performance of class VI students. Nishanth said; “Sir, these boys and girls are really amazing! Look, how confident they are! They can speak English fluently and confidently. They have fairly good communication skills in conveying their ideas accurately in English. They can act, sing, dance and draw. The teacher, Surendran is with them, instilling confidence and encouraging them. Here learning English is a joyful experience”.
    The idiom “Seeing is believing” is what I can say after observing Surendran’s students. M.M.Surendran challenges the “chalk and talk” strategy of English teaching and learning. One of the features of Surendran’s strategy of teaching English is active reading. He makes his students active readers of the stories in the English text book. Reading and comprehension are crucial in language learning. Comprehension becomes meaningful only when children could analyse a text, improvise it in different forms and create novel texts. As a result, the texts come alive in the English language class room. I along with the Mathrubhumi TV team really saw the children enacting the following.
    Students read the part of the story in the text “Raja’s garden” in their previous class. I asked a few questions to the children about Raja’s garden. Then I asked them a tricky question; can you create Raja’s garden? Can you dramatise the scene? Instantly, the boys and girls started discussing. They decided to play different roles of Raja’s friends. Thus students started acting the roles of birds, flowers, jackals etc. By doing this the children experienced the beautiful description of Raja’s garden in the text book. The description in the text book came alive visually in the class room. One of the students described the animals, birds and plants in the garden in flawless English.
    Here is another example of Surendran’s improvisation. Students have to read the lesson “Making of a Mango Pickle” an incident from the famous Bengali novel Patherpanchali. Surendran posed a challenging question: “Can you enact the scene ‘Making of a Mango Pickle’? Immediately a few students came forward. One played the role of Appu and other played Durga’s role. They played the roles and delivered meaningful dialogues. The scene became alive in the class. The class became vibrant; the story became alive in the class.
    After observing Surendran’s English class we felt, if teachers teach English this way, students will become autonomous and independent users of English. Text books will come alive in the classroom. Teachers need not have to teach the English text book, but “do” the texts in the class room. In such class rooms children listen, speak, draw, act, dance, perform and write. Learning English will not be a burden to students in such classrooms. Students become delighted and involved in the process with much concentration. They feel relaxed and calm after doing each activity.
    We appreciated M.M.Surendran’s class and thanked all the students. Later the class was telecast by Mathrubhumi TV. There was also a detailed report in Mathrubhumi newspaper on “how the students of GUPS Kanathur speak English confidently”. The experience is really an eye opener. This school has the potential to become an academic model for the entire state.

    Dr. P.K.Jayaraj

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