For all its linguistic diversity, close to 600 languages in India have been teetering on the brink of extinction for the past few decades. West Bengal’s Tundu language – considered totally extinct – throws light on this dismal picture in the disappearance of tongues. Once spoken by less than 100 men and women in Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal, the Tundu language is the latest of 220 Indian languages that have disappeared over the past 50 years. And a further 150 languages are expected to suffer the same fate over the next half a century. The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia - directly to your inbox Stark revelations were made during field research into endangered languages by the People’s Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI) some years ago. Jalpaiguri district, situated nearly 450km from Kolkata, capital of the eastern state of West Bengal, has a rich cultural diversity, given that it is home to many indigenous communities. Linguists say rapid … [Read more...] about India’s ancient languages teetering on the brink of extinction
Educational language games
(Part II – Montessori Revolution in Education) I was impressed by how articulate (madaldal) were the Italian children in the Montessori Scuola Elementare in Via Abruzzo 1 in Perugia, Italy where they speedily learned to read and write in beautiful longhand calligraphy as early as the age of four. The acronym GROW refers to the four competencies of communication, which are Grammar, Reading, Orals, and Writing that make a person literate. It starts with one’s oral expression constantly improved by enriching the vocabulary. This leads to the development of writing and reading skills. Grammar is essential to give the proper structure and meaning to both spoken and written speech. Discovery of children’s spontaneous writing and reading Dr. Maria Montessori’s “discovery of the new child” all happened in a tenement housing for workers at Via Marsi, San Lorenzo in Rome that still exists today. The government had built housing blocks for the poor but … [Read more...] about Montessori revolution in teaching language
By Regina Jokel Special to the Star Mon., May 14, 2018 At one point or another, most of us experience hunting for a word we feel is just beyond our grasp. But is this a normal part of aging, or is it something to worry about? Known as the tip of the tongue phenomenon, this common, annoying feature of our speech can be frustrating. We know what we want to say, what the word we want means and maybe even what some of the sounds or syllables are. But we just can’t find the word we’re looking for. And as we get older, this tends to happen to us more often. In typical aging, we might occasionally struggle to find our words, but get them eventually. But if things like this happen frequently and disrupt your ability to participate in regular conversations, it’s worth mentioning to your doctor. It can be difficult to tease apart whether you’re having trouble with language because you can’t find the words you’re looking for or if there might … [Read more...] about What to do when more words are staying on the tip of your tongue
What does Dungeons & Dragons have to do with dyslexia? In a quiet corner of Bishan, students with learning disabilities are being taught English using role-playing games (RPG). Last year, Mr Shaun Low, 30, a former educational therapist at Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS), started Swords & Stationery (S&S), a specialist educational therapy programme because he believes such children learn best with a visual learning approach. He explained that as RPGs are played visually and require improvisation of stories, they can be used to map out language concepts or teach narrative writing. Almost all the 14 children, aged nine to 17, that Mr Low tutors at S&S have dyslexia. All have some form of learning disability, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder. Mr Low said: "Standard schools focus heavily on rote learning and have tests that peg everybody to the same level. Some students who have cognitive deficits or even fine … [Read more...] about Helping dyslexic students with role-playing games
SINGAPORE: With all the changes to the education system recently, we should feel optimistic about our children’s future.Unfortunately, there remains an underlying disquiet in some quarters that exam pressure and competition to get into prestigious schools will remain unabated in spite of the changes. Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng announced in Parliament on Monday (Mar 5) that by 2023, all primary schools in Singapore will have an Applied Learning Programme (ALP).Mr Ng described it as "an investment worth making to nurture innovation and creativity".The initiative is not entirely new. Schools have been encouraged to develop ALPs since 2013, and currently, all secondary schools have such a programme.Since 2017, more than 80 primary schools of the 191 in Singapore have had an ALP.The idea is to help students apply their learning to the real world, uncover the meaning behind learning and develop a love for it.“There are no tests or exams. I have … [Read more...] about Commentary: The education system is changing, but does true change remain elusive?