Mansi’s English Communication Improvement Program was a learning experience for me too. When I first met her, talked to her, I noticed few remarkable things. She had very low confidence; she seemed unhappy about something going around, scared to speak up for herself and loads of inferiority confidence. Just one positive thing I could observe, that was the urge to get out of all these negatives but don’t know the way out.
I started up with making her talk. I chose topics for essays with personal experience, where she could connect to herself. I started asking questions about the topic, asked her to note down the points. Then we worked on increasing the number of points for the topic. At first she was doubtful to speak up but then I taught her to ask questions. She responded well!
Next step, we numbered the points we noted down as per the priority. Then we grouped them into paragraphs! We built up at least one sentence for each of the point. She was surprised to notice the development of her essay!
I gave her a daily activity to write down her daily chores. It helped her to construct sentences and I got to correct her tenses right! Another activity I gave her daily was to recite a stotra (sto-tra – a prayer recited in front of God) in Sanskrit with the condition that she should recite it so loudly that it should be heard in another room. I had a secret motive behind this to give an exercise to her vocal cords, this could help her talk loudly and thus give a boost to her confidence! She followed these two things religiously!
I introduced to her the basic etiquette like to greet each other when we meet with a ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’, ‘Good Morning / Afternoon / Evening’ as per the appropriate time of the day, to reply with a smile saying ’I am fine. Thank You!’ I explained to her the reason why we say ‘Bless you’ when someone sneezes and ‘Excuse me’ when we cough.
Next activity was to play Scrabble! We started with simple 3 or 4 letter words and it worked well too. Then we noted down all the words we constructed. We added adjectives and adverbs to all the words wherever possible. Thus I helped her notice the specialties for the things!
Our next activity was List-Making. We made lists of flowers, fruits, things in the room, and plan for the trip and so on. We racked our brain together to increase the number of items in our list.
By now, she had started liking the sessions. I could feel that since at least once in a day she used to call me up, ask doubts about new words and sentences she read in the book. I felt very happy to see the process of ‘Mansi overcoming her wall of fear’ was started.
Now Mansi could read without hesitation. If she finds a new word she doesn’t know how to pronounce, she can split the letters correctly and put the word together to make a meaningful pronunciation. Also for this new word, she looks up for the correct pronunciation, its meaning, synonym, antonym and other information about it. This was one way to add up data in her vocabulary!
With all these tips and tricks I worked out with Mansi, after 2 months and twice a week, one hour sessions, today Mansi can confidently talk to me in English. She asks me about my schedule, shares her experiences, writes down her travel experience to her home town, and makes cards for her Aunt’s anniversary with beautiful quotes in it! Most important thing, she has learnt to make a choice for her and speak it up to the person in front of her!
To see the amazing transformation in Mansi was a beautiful experience for me. It gave me a sense of pure satisfaction, to have put in all my efforts to help her stand up for herself and be herself. Thank you God for giving me this feeling of satisfaction, and giving this opportunity to enlighten a life in a small way!