SSC English textual content blends classes with life abilities

MUMBAI: For , studying the English language has largely meant familiarizing themselves with passages and pieces from the classics — the works of William Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw are par for the course. But the new for Class X has been touted as an attempt to merge the old school with innovations that place language in a more contemporary setting. From life lessons shared by Olympian Mary Kom and physicist Stephen Hawking to the how-to of filling up an online form or writing a blog, the content varies.
Members of the state committee said the idea was to combine academic learning with instilling life skills. “When we started building the textbook, we had in mind the guidelines of the National Curriculum Framework which speak about equipping students with three important life —social, thinking and emotional. The textbook takes a communicative approach and emphasizes on critical thinking. There is a lot of activity that we have added to the text to help students learn as they do,” said Akhil Bhosale, member of the English language study group.

So while the bulk of the Kumarbharti textbook continues to be rich in prose and text from authors worldwide, it manages to introduce chapters on more current themes and personalities that students can relate to, such as former president APJ or the co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs; a first-person account by Jobs is among the chapters. A teacher said the idea was to stir the curiosity of those who lack the reading habit. “The chapters on people they have already heard about create a sense of interest and betters their understanding. Those who are interested in a career in English, may make an effort at extra reading.” The English Coursebook, which is part of the subject, also introduces students to more activity-based learning such as writing book reviews, filling up online forms, conducting interviews or hosting a blog. “These activities are based on the concept of Live English which aims to equip all students for day-to-day situations. If they have to call a help centre, they must know how and what to say to the person or they must be able to send a formal email,” said Bhosale.

Revisions in the text are aimed at bridging the gap in learning outcomes between the board and the rest. Compared to institutions affiliated to the SSC board, CBSE-affiliated schools use texts created by NCERT, while others such as CISCE and international boards prescribe a curriculum. Schools are allowed to pick their choice of publishers or use their resources to teach. “If a teacher feels a particular author’s work can explain a concept better, they pick that. The teachers also design activities that suit their class best. We, however, understand that this might not be possible for schools with a larger number of students,” said Sharonee Mullick, director, Singapore International School.

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