British Council on shaping the teaching of English

On March 11, 2024, the English Department of The Indian School had the privilege of participating in a thought-provoking workshop titled "The Future of English: Global Perspectives," organised by the British Council. The workshop focussed on exploring current trends influencing the promotion of indigenous languages and the impact of digital innovation on language- learning. From the English Department Ms Navreet Shergill, Ms Priyanka Singh, Ms Bebelin Esther, Ms Rakhi Singh, Ms Rhytham Massey, Ms Pragati Raychowdhury and Mr Venkatesh Pant attended the workshop. The event also attracted over 100 teachers from other  schools across Delhi, contributing to vibrant discussions on the future trajectory of English education.

The workshop featured distinguished speakers, including Prof Dinesh Prasad Saklani, Director, NCERT, N Alison Barrett MBE, Country Director of the British Council India; Sarah Rogerson, Director of English Programmes for South and East Asia and Prof Lina Mukhopadhyay of The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. 

Prof Saklani highlighted the Indian government's initiatives to develop online courses for learning Indian languages and introduced platforms like ‘Bhashini’ and ‘Anuvadini’ for translation. He discussed initiatives like Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat aimed at fostering national integration and promoting linguistic tolerance and respect. He briefly mentioned the Bhasha Sangam App, a mobile application developed by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with MyGov India, that gives the people of India a sense of familiarity with the wide range of Indian languages. It aims to foster the spirit of Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat by enabling people across India to learn different languages of different states of India and come closer to their culture. Prof Saklani also emphasised the plans outlined by the National Education Policy 2020 to simultaneously promote Indian languages and English. After Prof Saklani, Ms Alison Barrett shared insights into the British Council's work with the Government of India, under the direction of the NCERT, to enhance English proficiency among Indian citizens through various programmes.

Following the presentations, Ms Sarah Rogerson moderated a dialogue with Prof Lina, gaining perspectives on multilingualism and the growth of English in India. Prof Lina highlighted the benefits of learning native languages alongside English, while Ms. Nisha, a parent representative raised concerns about the negative transfer of the mother tongue on English proficiency.

The workshop concluded with a stimulating question- answer session where attendees shared their perspectives and posed questions to the panelists, fostering an interactive exchange of ideas.

In conclusion, the workshop provided invaluable insights into the evolving landscape of English language education in a multilingual context. It underscored the importance of embracing linguistic diversity while recognising the role of digital innovation in language learning. The event served as a platform for meaningful dialogue and collaboration among stakeholders, paving the way for continued discussions and initiatives to shape the future of English language education.