A Page From My 2020 Diary
Experiences Of Teaching Kannada Online

Shall We Learn To Speak Kannada?

Kannaḍa Mātanāḍalu Kaliyōṇave?

The year 2020 can be called the mother of learning. Most of us have learnt something new – be it a skill, hobby, craft, language or even adapting to a new way of life. From the numerous courses offered online, I have upgraded my skills and knowledge. I freelance as a guest faculty at a college and this year I have explored new methods of online teaching to make the classes more interesting.

While online learning and teaching have their own advantages of saving on time, zero traffic woes, ability to multi-task etc., there are some instances when you sorely miss face-to-face interactions. But the last year has been about making changes, adapting to a new way of life and making the most of the resources available. So when some friends and neighbors in the apartment I live in wanted to learn the local language (Kannada), I volunteered to help them through an online platform.

Though born a Tamilian, I have been raised in Bangalore and have lived all of my 42 years in the city. I have a deep connection and a sense of belonging with the local culture, people and language.  So I was very pleased that I could help friends and fellow residents learn to speak Kannada – the language of my State and of Namma Bengaluru. This was not the first time I have taught Kannada; a couple of years back a few of us Kannada speaking residents had run a 6-month program to teach spoken Kannada on a voluntary basis to the other residents. In fact, this was run as part of the charity committee program, and any voluntary fees paid were taken as a donation to buy material for the literacy drive that was also parallelly run to teach support staff basic English. The spoken Kannada drive was conducted via face-to-face sessions at the clubhouse and it was very well received and we had a lot of fun conducting the classes. This experience encouraged me to now independently explore the current online opportunity of teaching spoken Kannada.

We chose the auspicious occasion of Vijayadashami to kick start our classes on the Zoom platform, keeping in mind the COVID-19 protocols of not meeting. We chose a day & time convenient to most participants and as of now we have completed 3 months of the classes, with a few breaks in between due to the festivals. We are a lively and diverse group with the oldest close to 65 years and the youngest just getting into a professional course in a college. Though we have lived in the same complex, some of us have never met each other. But this did not hamper our interactions. In fact the sessions provide some enjoyment when different people share their views of how a word is pronounced or what a certain word means in their language. Of course, the initial attempts at sentence formation resulted in some hilarious bloopers as well. However, though the sessions were done through video call, there were some challenges we faced like connectivity, interaction, correcting pronunciation etc. Since this is a spoken language class and mainly created to help ease communication with the local residents, helpers or businesses I feel face-to-face interactive sessions would be very helpful in the learning process. So, with the situation slowly easing out we plan to meet to master the speech and pronunciation too as the initial classes have helped set the basics of the language.

Here are a few tips for online teaching that I as a facilitator find useful

  1. Whichever online platform you choose, learn how it works beforehand to avoid glitches during the session
  2. Choose a well-lit and comfortable space with good connectivity so that you can concentrate on the session and are not disturbed or distracted
  3. Put out rules of the session (if any) so that you set the tone for the classes and everyone values the others’ time
  4. Get creative which teaching. Make the sessions more lively, interactive and filled with activities as otherwise, it is easy to be diverted in an online session
  5. Understand the shortcomings and work around those to ensure everyone participates
  6. Record your sessions (with permission) so that it is available for reference at a later time. Alternately, you can also create study material and share it

Have you taught or learnt anything new recently? What were your experiences? Do you have any other tips that could help others? I would love to hear from you….do write to me in the comment below.

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla, and happily SPONSORED BY RRE Studios and SHOWCASE Events.

30 Comments

  1. Amazing! You are a Tamilian and you taught Kannada. I am a Sardarni but born and lived in Andhra all my life. I speak Telugu fluently. I can actually read Kannada script as it is similar to Telugu. I think you are doing a brilliant job teaching Kannada. The points you have listed out for a good class are very useful. I see many people floundering with the app they use. These points will be beneficial for all of them.

  2. Thats lovely. Teaching online is a different experience compared to in-person teaching. So, it has to fill the gaps. Recently, I took podcasting session virtually. I also keep the same things in my mind when I am virtually taking any sessions. I am also a podcaster and when I haven guest on my show, I meet them virtually. Respecting their time, following up with them is very important. I liked the point you mentioned about recording.

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  3. This is one innovative way to overcome hurdles and go out to help people. Spoken language of the state is always an asset for people moving to the state to earn a living. Glad you were able to help out people in this regard. Yes, online teaching has a lot of problems. But it has many advantages too. Apart from all the points you mentioned, a teacher may not have to see the face of students who is not interested. Just joking

  4. Online classes are in vogue now. You choose to teach your traditional language through this medium is really great. I have taken many online classes where u have been learning new food recipes and techniques. It is as difficult to conduct an online class than offline one.

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  5. You taught Kannada… Wow.. I am a Bengali but I have lived in Mumbai and Delhi and currently in Gujarat… I speak Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, and Haryanvi fluently but I can’t teach… You are a great teacher, I am sure!

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  6. This is so Amazing! this is called the real version of ‘sharing is caring.’ When it comes to knowledge sharing, it makes you richer in experience and fills the heart with huge satisfaction when you feel that your knowledge benefits both ways. Having command of the local language always gives a brownie point for learners. I remember my struggle when I used to live in Kolkata, and language came as the biggest barrier for me; later, I learned it independently.

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  7. That’s such an interesting thing to do, and all the points mentioned y you are very important, especially getting creative with teaching, it really helps to hold the attention. Thanks for sharing your experience from your 2020 diary. 🙂

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  8. As an Army kid, I have always been exposed to regional languages and I picked up a few pretty well .Over the course of years with no practice forgot them. Your blog post is great and quite the hour of the day with online consumption of content going higher. Good Luck.. 🙂

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  9. Enjoyed reading your post. I taught design at the beginning of my career. Creativity cannot be taught. It was more of design concepts. Online learning is as much a struggle for the teacher as it is for the students.

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  10. Learning a new language is indeed a good experience. I am trying to teach my kids my native language. They can understand the language but always prefer to speak in English. Great tips for online teaching. It’s not easy to conduct online classes.

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  11. That’s so amazing. Learning the local language and trying to teach in that language is really commendable. Yes, I agree with all your points about Teaching online. I am teaching at EVidayloka and I can’t deny the fact that we need to be at our creative best to capture and retain the kid’s attention while teaching online.

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  12. I am taking online classes on Gmeet which has some limited features but yes, i take it comfortably. The issues i faced is participant’s network problem, sometimes my kids stay quit and stop interacting with me.
    You are doing a great job, a big round of applause for you. I agree with you if you really want the attention of the participants then we need to.make the class interactive.

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  13. Brilliant. This is so inspiring too. Yes pandamic has taught us to develop and upgrade new skills. Conducting online classes are not so easy but challinging one. Glad to know you are doing great! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Tips mentioned are also helpful.

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  14. This is the perfect example of spreading positivity & knowledge in the times of uncertainty & social distance. And this teaching learning definitely must have struck some bonds and taken away lockdown blues. Ofcourse there are glitches of the virtual World but thankyou for sharing your pointers. Inspiring work ! To keep learning & growing .

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  15. You know what Vasumathi I am Rtahasthani born in Tamil Nadu and lived in UP, West Bengal, Karnataka and Telangana. I find language as a key to making friends and relationships. I am so impressed with how you have managed your classes in Covid times. I taught orphanage kids when I was in Bengaluru I enjoyed but teaching was tough as Kannada was not my native. You did brilliantly

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  16. wow, you did something so superb. I too have such thoughts and after reading your thoughts it has been really got important to me to think over this again. Thank you so much for wonderful post.

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  17. Wow, you are really an inspiration to us. Being in a place for a long time definitely makes one feel the sense of belongingness.
    The pandemic has really made us all do and learn something new and challenging. Teaching a language is definitely challenging considering the wide array of students. Congratulations to you on this!

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  18. Yes lockdown condition has given us an opportunity to learn something new and I am so glad that you that utilized this time creatively and done something meaningful. like you, i also like to learn new language but somehow not able to to do it due to multiple responsibility. your tips for online learning is really great. thanks for sharing.

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  19. Wow.. hats of to you. Your are doing great and this initiative ofcourse is really commendable. I live in Bangalore and would love to get in touch with you for my daughter who is learning Kannada.

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  20. Knowing the local dialect definitely helps. I was reminded of the days I was in Bengaluru and everybody there knew English Hut preferred to speak in the sign language or in Kannada.. People like you are a saviour. Hats off to ur spirits.

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  21. Such an impressive feat! Congratulations and well done. As for me, I taught mapmaking to my kid and taught him the world geography.

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Vasumathi

Vasumathi

Blogger, Content Creator, Knowledge Facilitator, Hobby Photographer & Mom To A Naughty Dalmatian.