Kheluya Vachuya Marathi Bhasha Shikuya

A multilingual, multicultural and a diverse country, India provides a natural ground for children to grow up learning different languages and develop a respect for different cultures. The various education policies drafted in India have recognised this rich cultural heritage and have required schools to provide opportunities for children to learn at least three languages.
In a world of increasing diversity and global mobility, children are growing up in an environment where they are exposed to several languages. Though exposure to such diversity right from a young age can be incredibly beneficial, many would feel that it confuses the child or even creates a lack of sense of identity. Research has proven that there is a benefit of bilingualism or multilingualism with regards to academic capacity, particularly in the early years of students’ life. At BD Somani, we take a lot of pride in exposing our students to and generating in them a love in learning Hindi and Marathi in an age-appropriate manner and have helped our learners to connect better with their cultural roots.
Similar to our Hindi Language Program, with the state mandating compulsory teaching of Marathi in schools, we were determined to develop a program that helped children learn the language and through the language gain exposure to the culture of the land. Moving away from the often taken path of introducing children to the svars and vyanjans and barakhadis, we decided to leverage students’ prior knowledge of the devnagari script, explore the similarities and differences between Hindi and Marathi to help students overcome the fear associated with learning an Indian language. To erase the belief that local languages are spoken by a selected few, our Specialist Teachers were roped in to converse with students in Marathi. This helps them use the language for meaningful purposes and language learning is thus not limited to the Marathi Class.
Learning Marathi has raised awareness of our multilingual and multicultural world and introduced a cultural dimension to students’ learning giving them an insight into their own culture and that of others. The learning of a local language, like Marathi, provides a medium for cross-curricular links and for reinforcement of knowledge, skills and understanding developed in other subjects. At BD Somani International School, we believe that the learning of the Marathi language has provided a valuable educational, social and cultural experience for our students. Our students are developing linguistic competence, extending their knowledge of how language works and exploring differences and similarities between the languages, primarily Hindi and Marathi. Being able to communicate with someone in a local language is an incredible gift. Multilinguals have the unique opportunity to communicate with a wider range of people making you a local no matter where you are from.
During the course of the Primary School Language programme, we see to it that our students learn to listen attentively to spoken language and show understanding by joining in and responding. There is no better way to learn a language than singing songs and listening to stories. Our teachers work hard to research and create a bank of Marathi Badbad Geet and contemporary stories in Marathi. Through this students are encouraged to explore the patterns and sounds of language and link the spelling, sound and meanings of words.
Plenty of opportunities are offered to engage in conversations; ask and answer questions; express opinions and respond to those of others, and seek clarification.
Students often speak in sentences, using familiar vocabulary, phrases and basic language structures to develop accurate pronunciation and intonation so that others understand when they are reading aloud or using familiar words and phrases.
As avid readers and writers, they present ideas and information orally to a range of audiences, read carefully and show understanding of words, phrases and also engage in simple writing. Together, students develop an appreciation for stories, songs, and poems that further enriches their language by helping to broaden their vocabulary and develop their ability to understand new words that are introduced into familiar written material, including through using a dictionary.
We use a variety of techniques to encourage the students to have an active engagement in Marathi Language. These include games, role-play and action songs. We use mime and actions to teach new vocabulary as this serves to demonstrate the language without the need for translation. We emphasize listening and speaking skills with the addition of simple reading and writing skills. A multi-sensory and kinaesthetic approach to teaching is adopted. For instance, we try to introduce a physical element into some of the games, rhymes and songs. We follow a scheme of work that enables the students to progress in each aspect of their language learning. We make our lessons as enjoyable as possible so that the children develop a positive attitude to the learning of language. Students are constantly encouraged to participate actively without having to worry about making mistakes. The goal is to help students become proficient listeners, speakers, readers, and writers in Marathi while gaining an appreciation for the culture, heritage and traditions.
Recently, we celebrated Marathi Divas in school which gave the students a real-life context to use their language skills and further added to their intercultural awareness and understanding. Languages not just allow us to communicate and connect with others, but aid us in understanding and appreciating the history of our ancestors and our upbringing.
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