Teaching Soft Skills in India (by Shrishti Choudhary)

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21 Responses

  1. Barbara Barbara says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this, Shrishti! I know I’m fascinated with English education in India, and appreciate the opportunity to learn more about it, and the challenges that teachers and students face.

    Are government schools generally considered to provide inferior education compared to private schools? Do parents who can afford the tuition usually send their children to private schools?

    Was Guddi a student in your program? She shows amazing resilience! I’m not sure I could have risen from those ashes as determined as she did.

    I hope you will write more about the work you’re doing with soft skills. I look forward to learning more from your experience!

    • Shrishti Choudhary Shrishti Choudhary says:

      Dear Barb!
      Thanks a lot for your comment. I admire your curiosity to know more about the challenges pertaining to the Indian English scenario.
      Govt. school do not provide inferior education, they do follow the same curriculum which is followed by private schools. What I am trying to emphasize over here is something teaching beyond textbooks. In Govt. schools teachers believe in just following curriculum and by doing so they forget about one of the most important facets of students’ character; their overall personality development which include all the skills like communication skills, coordination skills, leadership skills etc. Teachers teaching in Govt. schools have job security which makes them lethargic. In fact they are being paid very handsome salaries in comparison to their private counterparts. At the end of the day what matters to them is completing the task at hand (amount of syllabus covered), it’s like worrying about the quantity instead of the quality. This affects students in a more adverse way, what all they care about is mugging up the things instead of understanding. I am not saying every teacher has the same attitude but I can certainly say most of them have as most o f the students go to private coaching or home tuitions after their school in order to seek that very attention from which they have been deprived.
      Parents’ obvious choice is private schools if they can afford. Getting admission in private schools is considered such a daunting task and these schools don’t left even a single opportunity to grab all the monetary benefits whatever they could in the form of donations. That’s why most of the students in these schools belong to upper class. Since couple of years private schools have started following point based system for admissions but I still doubt its transparency.
      Most of our Govt. schools provide education in English Medium. But neither anyone (from respective govt. authority), takes the pain of actually analyzing the acquaintance of these students with English language, nor anyone takes the initiative to improve the current scenario.
      Guddi was indeed a student of great resilience and exquisite determination.

  2. virginia says:

    Of course you should keep writing about these students. Education is about changing things, about making dreams come true. Teachers like you make this possible.

    Thank you for sharing and working so hard for these kids.

    • Shrishti Choudhary Shrishti Choudhary says:

      I will certainly keep writing about such students who show that very exquisite determination. Education is all about making oneself confident enough to help himself/herself, to make someone independent, to provide that medium by the virtue of which one could express and communicate globally.
      And believe me Virginia, you don’t even come to know, when someone else’s dreams become yours and that’s the point when you want to put every effort to make those dreams come true in real sense.
      Thanks for all your kind words and appreciation. People like you, inspire teachers like me and make this possible. So credit goes to you… 

  3. Kathy Kathy says:

    Shrishti,
    You have discovered some critical pieces missing in children’s education in India. A teacher who sincerely believes in a student can take that student to new levels. Giving students public speaking experience–and there are so many interesting ways to do this–will help your students with their speaking skills and confidence.

    Thanks for sharing your stories about education in India. Fascinating!

    Keep up the amazing work . . . you never know where your kindness and influence will end.

    • Shrishti Choudhary Shrishti Choudhary says:

      Dear Kathy,
      There are certainly some aspects which need to be rectified; there are some broken pieces which need to be mended. I have discussed them in reply to Barbara. I do agree strongly with each of your statements. You are such an incredibly optimistic person. I respect that attitude. I believe people like you are my strength in real sense.

  4. Thanks Shrishti for giving everyone the opportunity to know and think about the challenges in English Language Education in India. Through your engaging writing style and Guddi you’d outlined how those who work hard can always smile at the end.

    This is something that I used to tell to my students when I find them struggling with their English. People have this bad habit of laughing at people when they fail and many take such failures to heart and recede to their cocoons. I often tell my students that others have every right to laugh; but what matters at then end is who has the last laugh. Many a times I’d noticed this inspires them to take up challenges and be a little more adventurous with language learning.

    I liked Guddi’s success story; however, I’d like to know more about what she did to succeed because her success can be replicated in many cases if her path is revealed. Hope you’ll tell us more about what all Guddi did to be what she eventually became.

    Keep writing – I often feel that India has a very unique English Language Teaching scenario and very often that goes undocumented. Efforts like yours stand out in such a context and opens up a window to the Indian ELT scenario.

    All the best.

    • Shrishti Choudhary Shrishti Choudhary says:

      Dear Cherry!

      There is no secret path which leads to success. There is no predefined formula for success. It is basically the determination which is quite unique in its own way. Circumstances vary with each student you encounter. Each student has his\her own way of analyzing the things and as far as I have seen no two students ever have exactly same perspective about the same thing. Sometimes you need to work a bit intense in order to understand the psychology of the student. But I will certainly discuss more about Guddi in my upcoming post.

      India indeed has a very unique English Language Teaching scenario but I doubt in a good way. I have seen engineering students who have excellent technical skills but not able to qualify even a simple interview due to the lack of soft skills. They are not able to express their ideas, they have scarcity of eloquent communication skills. Ultimately they are cursed with unemployment. We need to create an educational infrastructure which could actually cater to the need of the current demand pool. What all we need to do is to take an initiative, an initiative in the right direction.

  5. Adi Cerman says:

    Hi Shrishti,
    I am so glad to know you 🙂
    Thank you so much for sharing your blog link. That’s an amazing real-life story that reminds me to my very own experience in learning English as a foreign language back in the first year of my secondary school. I was the “Guddi” in your story and you know what..all the things you wrote there was exactly what I was feeling. 🙁
    It was so terribly embarrassing to me that the frustration almost made me hate English for the rest of my life. Luckily, I had someone like you who brought me back and said to me ” if you want to ‘beat’ your teacher and your friends, master English quickly and show them that your English is much better than your friends, even than your teacher. Luckily, it then became my turning point in my life!
    You brought an excellent point there about the needs of changing ‘the academically and socially unfair’ education system that only take sides on the students who, fortunately and unfortunately, are in better financial and social conditions.
    Therefore, I think that the role of an inspiring teacher is paramount in education! A teacher who can make everyone in the class feels that he/she is getting equal help, attention, and support from the teacher. I would say that actually every student needs exactly someone like you who can uplift the students’ confidence and joy in learning, which unfortunately it doesn’t come automatic as a package of being a teacher, probably it would the teacher has had some kind of ‘personality development training’, either formally or informally. However, I always believe “If there is a will, there is always a way”.
    So, let’s inspire our students so that they feel the joy in learning and making achievement in every single day of their life. Hopefully, ‘Guddi’s teacher there in your story’ would be inspired by what you are doing with the students and start doing what you are doing. Keep the faith and keep inspiring, Shrishti! 🙂

    • Shrishti Choudhary Shrishti Choudhary says:

      Dear Adi!

      I am blessed to know you indeed.

      Student like you suppose to be an apple of teacher’s eye. Firm determination is the key to success, and you got it at very right time. The way you struggled and gained your success, you are such an amazing inspiration.

      Your incredible words will certainly work as a catalyst for me and my work. I would like to thank you for getting so much engrossed in the blog and relate yourself to guddi. Getting your kind of reader is more than an inspiration. I would like to say your incredible words are my real strength.

  6. Angela Micky says:

    Hello Shrishti,
    Thanks to Barbara I have started reading your Blog ‘Teaching Soft Skills in India’ . Very nice and motivating. I just wanted to say ‘ Keep Up the good job and All The best’
    Cheers
    Angela 🙂

  7. Rose Bard says:

    Thanks so much Shrishti for sharing this with us. It is really inspiring to read/listen to real life stories like this.

    I love the work of Feuerstein and I thought you may like this short talk from him. Believe is the starting point. 🙂

    http://youtu.be/uXopVpQwivY

    I look forward to your next post.

  8. Astheart says:

    Hi there, seems funny to me as I am an IT engineer with the qualification in English Philology as well and currently a teacher of English in a high school! Regards from Central Europe!

    • Shrishti Choudhary Shrishti Choudhary says:

      Hi Astheart!

      I guess! We have lots of stuff in common to share and talk about. Looking forward to catch you up on Skype sometime. Have a great success ahead in your teaching endeavors.

  9. Karen Frazier Tsai says:

    Shrishti, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts in this post! It is a terrific blog! You have touched on what I consider to be one of the key issues in developing successful students. Teachers can, and do, make such a difference in the self-confidence of students. It is this self-confidence, combined with skills, that makes a student successful. Our job is to teach so that we are guiding our students to be independent and confident in using the skills we teach them. It’s more than just teaching the knowledge and techniques. We need to help our students know that we believe in each one of them. No matter what level each student is at, we need to encourage and help him or her, in whatever way we can, so that every student can become confident about speaking and using English. Teachers can inspire students to reach to new levels!

    Guddi’s story is amazing! She certainly had great determination!

    Looking forward to reading more of your ideas about soft skills! 🙂

  10. vinod kumar birkhani says:

    well shrishtiji, indeed, really your experience is inspiring for everyone. you have done great job.

  11. vinay says:

    Shrishti Choudhary
    I want your inputs regarding the soft skill training program , A Head Madam has asked me to take up soft skill training for the government boys high school .
    A brief idea about the school:
    1)Only high school (no co.ed,only boys ,i.e 8,9,10th standard)
    2)The students currently studying are from financially poor back ground and lack studying skills
    3)The students are highly irregular and the result percentage is very less
    4)lacks discipline
    these are the precise details given by their Head Madam and has asked me to take up training classes every Saturday for their students, please give your valuable inputs ASAP

  12. Lawan Dalha says:

    Dear Shrishti,
    This is an incredible story! I’m truly amazed and inspired by your courage. Keep the good work. I believe what is most important is not just one’s professional inclination, but how that impacts on humanity. Congrats!

  13. Faheem Shaikh says:

    Dear Shrishti ji,

    This is an admirable thing that you have done, this is also need of this New Technological Era for Educational Development.On the basis of these valuable points a teacher or an Educational Institute can develop new and hidden skill among the students.

    I thanks to you for doing this value able work , I think on the basis of these project a teacher can do ” All round Development” among the students.

    Again Congrats!