So English it is!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
So English it is!
9
Fri, 06-29-2012 - 3:19am

Sorry for being MIA so much, Ishi finsihed school in April, and started again on June 11th. We are heading to Lucknow next week for her birthday so won't be there much until the 8th.

Just an update on Ishi's speech delay. She is still not speaking more than a handful of wrods, and I got sick and tired of everybody in her playschool urging me to forget about French forever as it is not a useful language in India and is confusing her.
To their credit they are caring a great deal, the school system in India is mega competitive and entirely privatised so school admit only those they want to admit, and pretty much look at perfect potential students that will be poster kids for their school. So much so that with the admission process starting in December for kindergarten 2013-14 classes Ishi needs to speak perfect English by then as they do conduct admission interviews for kiddos! Playschools don;t have this issue, but biggers school do!
I talked to my mom about it since she has a degree in early childhood developpment and was a pre-school and KG teacher in her youth. She told me that yes in this light it was better to focus on one language at a time, and that English had to have the priority.

Needless to say I feel angry right now, because like many other parents in India I am facing the harsh fact that without English kids don't get into schools, despite English being ONE of the 15 official languages or so, for a country that has a multilingual culture I find the school system quite sick and uneducated about bilingualism, at the most hindi as a secnd language is tolerated because that's the one spoken by a wide majority of people. Anything else is to be abandonned. No one want to accept that bilingual kids tend to speak later, and that no it's not confusion, and that with proper training pre-school teachers could deal with it. They want a school system that works on the natural selection of spiecies with those failing to meet a arbitrary standard to just fail and get lost. Pretty much a do or die game...sigh!

So we switched to English, knowing that part of the problem with IShi still not speaking is not that she doesn't understand, as she showed me on several occasion that she understands both French and English perfectly, it's just that she REFUSES to speak. But that the playschool teachers refuse to get, stubborness is not a quality, it's a defect that must be corrected it seems.
The positive is that since we shifted to just English Ishi is speaking a bit more words now, so hopefully she will be ready for thes damn admission processes in December.
As a parent from another culture I feel once more discriminated upon in this country, not the first time, and India is an extremely discriminative country, not just against foreigner but different cultural groups. I'm consolled with the fact that other mums in the playschool have been told their own regional languages are useless too and urged to speak only English just like me. But the way I see it this is how you kill a coutry's cultures and languages, by favouring only one and dismissing anything that do not fit the "standard" as useless :-(


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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Re: So English it is!
Mon, 07-30-2012 - 3:39am

Oh wow this is very comforting news!
Ishi is still not speaking much, at this point this is exactl what I expected all along, she is stubborn, and has nothing to do with her being confused by having too many languages spoken around her like the school claims. I hope she'll pick up French fast later too.
The problem with India it's that it's a one billion people country, with a lot living below the poverty level, the school system is do or die because then college admission is highly selective and without a college education one can practically kiss high paying jobs goodbye later in life, so schools put the pressure on parents and kids early on, I have a feeling finding a balance will be challenging, but both DH and I refuse to see ishi's life revolve only around academics like it is the case for many.


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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-27-2012
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 12:47am
It's good to hear you aren't giving in to just believe everything the school tells you. I think you have the key to any uncertain situation - and that is hope!

I hope you're doing well. Has your area been affected by the blackout?

- JM

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Wed, 08-01-2012 - 10:28pm

No we haven't been affected by the blackout, Mumbai isn't in the same power grid it seems, but all of North India has been, this was scary to hear. I have some friends living in the affected areas as well as in-law family, in some places the power was gone for over 12 hours!
I know how it feels though because when we were living in Bangalore we had once an 18 hours cut, that was because one evening a massive storm hit us and it uprooted a tree that went crashing on a power line, since it was raining heavy they had to wait until the rain stpped in the night to assess the damage and by then the same issue occured in so many location that the electrical department was short staffed, not to mention that in the middle of the night you won't find people to go chop the fallen trees in darkness. I was about 30 weeks pregnant, we had relatives visiting, and once the rain stopped around 9pm the humidity became unbearable as it was still the pre-monsoon time and the heat was on, and humidity means mosquitoes. That night was horrible, with no air, no ceiling fan to keep cool, and a horde of mosquitoes biting all over, getting under a light balnket was of course not an option whcih meant more body part exposed for the mosquitoes.
And Bangalore is far more temperate than the areas affected by this massive North Indian blackout where AC is almost a necessity if you can afford it.
We were in Lucknow for a week from 1st to 8th July and the temperature there was 42 degree on most day, the monsoon apparently hit the last 3 days of the trip bringing it down to 30-35, staying in the room without AC is though, and we had about 4 hours of scheduled power cuts a day then.


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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-27-2012
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 8:18am
Good to hear you lucked out! Your Bangalore outage sounds like Houston (where I grew up) after a tropical storm. I'm surprised it was 'only' out for 18 hrs. In Texas and Louisiana it can take days depending on the damage. And nowadays the Texan mosquitos carry deadly diseases. My parents would just keep the windows and doors shut and hope to retain as much cool air as possible. I know my dad was considering buying a gas powered generator - I'm not sure if he got it yet or not, though.

- JM

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Thu, 08-16-2012 - 8:29am

I guess it's only 18 hours because the authorities know the drill sadly too well, they know they are dealling with crappy electricity delivery system to begin with and that it makes it very issue prone, then finding labour to chop down a tree isn't too much of an issue, people need money and will do it on short notice, the morning after when they could finally have a clear access to the damage it was 10 people going at it on all front, that makes csolving the problem faster :-)
I tried shutting windows to keep the cool air in, it's not possible, the concrete walls are overheated all Summer long and windows are single glass panel whcih means they have a very poor insulation level. In Mumbai the humidity in the air is so high most of the year that closing the windows means the air gets stuffy and suffocating instantly, if you shut the windows that means you are turning the AC on whcih leads to such a high electricity bill, people do it only when necessary: at night and during nap time, the rest of the time we sit under the ceiling fan. The problem of opened window all the time is the pollution and dust coming in though, I dust in a day more dust that I would dust in a week in Switzerland, and it's that yucky sticky black pollution dust...ewwww


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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2002
Thu, 09-13-2012 - 2:44am

What you have experienced interviewing people in India for a job position doesn't surprise me one bit, the school system is not preparing people for life here, just a lifetime of mathathlete competition. The only worthy achievment in school is to be a class topper, if you ren't then you haven's achieved anything worth mentionning because there is no place for fostering and nurtuting other talents in most schools, things are changing now, there are more and more people that have had exposure abroad and want something different for their kids, but it's going to take time to change.

I kid you not I've been debating the possibility of homeschooling ishi, the question is still hanging in the air, but first DH think it's stupid because he grew up in the typical Indian system, then it's not completely clear about how recognized it is in India even though many people do opt for it these days, and then because I have zero knowledge of what should she be ready for in the long run to face that damn 10th standard board exam. And of course there is also the fact that i'm not the most poised and patient person alive and I am actually enjoying having the 2 hours I have now while she is in nursery class each day. The differences I have already noticed between her and some of her classmates is that she is exited by stuff a lot of kids don't care much about, like the caterpillars that are in the bushes at the playground these days, she tried to show it to her friends who really couldn't care less about seeing a bug in real rather than in a book or on TV...sigh! In The end I might end up just making sure she gets her curiosity picked at home and challenge her way of thinking as a side dish of education since clearly that's not what they want to focus on in school.
Another side effect of this narrow minded purely academic school system is that a lot of people find it extremely difficult to question things, or challenge facts they have been served in school, they accept the teacher's saying as utmost golden turth without even thinking that there might be more to it and that it would be worth researching.


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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-2010
Thu, 09-27-2012 - 1:48am