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ERIC Number: EJ898184
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Dec
Pages: 27
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 49
ISSN: ISSN-1072-4303
Rebuilding English from the Bottom up: Negotiating Basic Literacy with/for Working-Class Adolescents in Kolkata
Fonken, Gael
TESL-EJ, v12 n3 Dec 2008
This ethnographic reflection foregrounds the efforts a K-12 English-medium (EM) school in Kolkata is making to pull EM schooling more fully into India's multilingual ethos. By focusing on the special needs of a small group of struggling working-class girls, the successes of the majority of working-class students at this school become more visible. Through a description of the activities emerging from an experimental "remedial" classroom, I imagine a curriculum designed especially for first-generation English learners. Although such adaptations would be more complicated to implement officially, my intent is to highlight the potential EM schooling has to better address the needs of a country whose majority is still chronically undereducated. For English to become truly Indian, students of all types need to be freer to use it creatively. As a guest teacher from the U.S.A., I recount some tentative moves in this direction, made possible by the special environment at this school. (Contains 2 notes.)
TESL-EJ. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: India