for all that we speak of, of the younger generation, or what we are fond of dismissively saying, the genNext hasn’t really changed much. Or so I felt while doing some candid assessment over the past month. The stuck-in-the-mud, narrow, conventional mindsets of the generation that is raising them, indeed a conservative community’s ‘traditional’ and ‘ethical’ set of notions has gotten under their skin too!
Assessment of Speaking Skills is a sort of IELTS type – a three stage – test that nowadays students upwards of Class 9 have to take. The final stage of the testing (max 8 minutes totally) is about problem solving, where a situation is given and the pair of examinees have to discuss and resolve the problem in 2 minutes, then present the solution to the examiner, who then asks a couple of probing questions. The intent of course, is just to test the fluency and proficiency, and little has to do with content, save that it is consistent.
One such pair (class/names withheld for obvious reasons 😛 ) were presented the problem where a couple of young girls want to go with friends for a film, but the parents are hesitant to allow them. The candidates were to discuss why this was so, and what could be done. At least 4 to 5 pairs picked this problem, randomly, and the discussion that ensued was frustrating to say the least, mostly because my own personal opinions were to be held in check, and I was to allow the interaction to take place, taking note of content, (not how much it matched MY ideas 😀 ), language range, interactive competence, pronunciation, yada yada…
This pair, and those others, were particularly focussed on this one point that yes, the kids – girls – please note, should not go for movies on their own. They could take their ‘brother/uncle/father/grandfather/some elder “man” ” with them for their protection. Also, parents were right in being hesitant because you know they had every right to be worried for their girls! One of the questions I could not help but put across was, what if these were girls? (and this was NOT in the script of the interview – oh yes, we have a sort of script to follow too- talk of hollow tests! Of course all the same I’m glad they have this test, at least “spoken English” is taken seriously!! 😀 ) To that question was the obvious response- immediate, let me add! Of course the parents would not mind, but girls, you know, they could be –hold your breath- raped. You know, for going to a movie without ‘proper protection’. You simply cannot imagine my utter dismay. I wish I could upload that file I have, but then there are ethics involved!
So, yes, the solution? Go for a ‘noon’ show, with all the family, or brothers/yada yada. I had a splitting headache that day,when I finished with the lot of them. I rather did like the topics given for the problem solving, and hoped that there would be creative solutions, not the usual ones, and that the kids would show that boldness that they tell us they are filled with. But there, even in a hypothetical situation their society, their community, their ‘heritage’ spoke, for them. Maybe, they took the easy way out, for after all, this was just a test and no one would take them to task for the opinions expressed, but for the same reason, I wish they had been actually outspoken and ranted, instead of me ranting here. Sigh. Sigh.
It’s difficult, really difficult to be a facilitator, when one does not really ‘facilitate’ openness in thinking at least through the test. However, the upside was that I got to them later in class and asked them what would actually be different for them, if this is how they thought! I hope that will facilitate some thinking on their part!
Will they think? At least about the movie-going part? I do hope so. And then, go for it. I hope. I do so hope.
21 February, 2015
Day#15 of #RamblingsInFebruary 🙂 Catching up 🙂