Getting The Basics Right

 

By Sanchari Bose & Umesh Kumar

It is no new revelation that it is wonderful to work at ETASHA. What makes spending time there even more special are its trainees; their enthusiasm to learn new things which motivate us to give our 100 per cent each week.

Upon completing our classroom-style Maths sessions, we decided to take it further through implementation on MS Excel. Excel might only be an MS Office tool but in today’s time, it has become an integral part of academic and work life. Since most of the calculations and official data are handled in Excel, we chose to teach them basic arithmetic functions like addition, multiplication, average and percentages on Excel using the built in functions. We also taught to make customised formulae if the required function was not present. At the end of an hour, we were glad to have completed the agenda for most of the students. A few brilliant ones even taught us a thing or two of their own.  Another session was arranged for those who required a bit more attention than the rest.

Basics

The next session comprised a conversation class and the extra class arranged for the trainees weak in Maths. The fear of Maths in students reminded us of our childhood. Hence,  removing this impediment became our aim as well as to  make them realise that Maths, is not to be feared but to be enjoyed and the formulae not just to be crammed, but their  underlying concepts to be understood. In this class, the concepts of the basic mathematical operations like Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division were taken up. Until these topics are not clear, no student can gain confidence in attempting or learning Maths. We hope to see the benefits of this extra class when these students are tested next week again.

The conversation part of the session was informative and fun. The students were given a chapter to read from a novel by Enid Blyton, one of the “Famous Fives”. They were asked to read out paragraphs and explain to us what they understood. This activity was done to increase their grasp on reading and to also improve their pronunciation and vocabulary. These sessions revealed some hidden gems. We even discovered that certain students already had a good grasp on the language; in fact they helped brush up our grammar and teach us some difficult words in Hindi as well!

We also tried to inculcate the virtue of team work so that the students who were already good in English can help those who were not. This was done for the weaker ones to benefit from the stronger ones, and to lessen their hesitation in speaking English. Considering the fact that these students come from Hindi-speaking backgrounds, if in the initial days of learning they translate what they read in English into Hindi, it would be easier for them to comprehend. This way they would know the meaning of the sentences and eventually will no longer have to translate them.

Therefore, the first conversation class helped us to scan through the batch and identify the students who needed more practice and the students who could help us do this. Hopefully, as we carry on further, no student will be hesitant to speak in English or fear Mathematics.

About the authors – Sanchari Bose and Umesh Kumar are employees at Accenture, and volunteer at ETASHA on Saturdays. Read their previous blog post here

Accenture employees are currently supporting “Project Udaan 2014-15” that aims to provide vocational training and employability skills training to 250 youth and place them into entry level jobs in the organized sector at Rs. 6,500 and above.

(If you’d like to volunteer at ETASHA, write to us at etasha@etashasociety.org)

3 thoughts on “Getting The Basics Right”

  1. meenakshi nayar

    Hi Sanchari & Umesh,
    Thank you so much for the enthusiasm and love with which you have taken on this work!! Your efforts fill in the gaps we in ETASHA can see but can’t deal with in the limited time we have with the trainees. I am sure the impact of your engagement with them will go well beyond their learning of the basics!!!
    Thanks again
    Meenakshi

  2. Anupam Varshney

    EXCEL-lent jobs guys, you make us proud 🙂 Keep up the good work, you are creating a difference.

  3. SUBRATA DUTTA

    Hi, Great to have these blogs, to share the experiences of volunteering on a weekly basis. The blogs speaks about the strong determination and the dedication of the Accenture CSR-S2S program for the project “Udaan”. Carry on guys….!!! We can bring a change to the communit..!!!

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