In a gesture that speaks volumes of commitment to making the lives of people more comfortable with English language, students of Canadian International School (CIS) through their CAS English Conversation Club are teaching English to 40 housekeeping staff of the school. These sessions are held twice a week for 45 minutes each. The idea is to empower the staff in their day-to-day activities and work, improve their spoken language fluency and instill a greater connection between them and the school community. The housekeeping staff members expressed difficulties in communication between them, students, and teachers, and hence desired to practice and improve their English.
The students were encouraged to start a club to achieve and fulfil the wishes of the housekeeping staff. The student members include Siree, Niranjan, Opel, Shriya, Naina. They have been supported by CIS faculty members, Ms. Kum Kum, Mr. Lotfy, and Ms. Beena. Students were able to plan and organize the club and teach at suitable timings as per the housekeeping staff members’ convenience. The housekeeping members have expressed difficulty in communication with respect to their jobs, and hence the club is targeting their specific wishes - unique circumstances and situations in which they face the greatest difficulty. The club also is also working to improve the staff member's overall simple spoken English language proficiency. Vocabulary teaching is being done through role-play scenarios, flashcards, lessons, and games to make the experience enjoyable for them as well as the students involved in teaching.
The club is focused on improving the housekeeping staff members’ individual spoken fluency, and teach them on a personal level to build a strong connection between students and the staff. The club hopes to gradually incorporate better teaching methods and include more staff to have a greater impact on the school community and foster a greater sense of achievement for the housekeeping members.
Speaking about the initiative and challenges they faced, Siree, Grade 11 student, Canadian International School, Bangalore, said: “Through this initiative, I have learned to view the housekeeping members as more than just people in the background of school life. I am truly grateful to be able to help them out a little and get to know them better. Furthermore, I realized just how difficult it is to organize a functional club and maintain it. Our group faced challenges from deciding the venue, deciding timings, communicating effectively with staff and housekeeping members, and making the best use of the classes we are given each week to teach. Also, teaching a language is very difficult, Syllabus preparation, what to teach and making sure all-important factors to be considered. There are definitely many organizational difficulties we must overcome, but in the end, our teamwork has brought us far. We will do a lot more to achieve our objectives.”
Shweta Sastri, Managing Director, Canadian International School, Bangalore, said: “We are thankful to CIS community for this noble initiative. Empathy for the housekeeping staff members, recognising the significance of their role in the student body, realizing that the school does not comprise only students and teachers and a compassionate approach and attitude to the wider society are all values that we should carry and imbibe. The initiative by students, teachers and administrative personnel to make the lives of non-teaching staff better and equip them with resources to help them grow is very commendable and I hope everybody will benefit from this in a positive way.”