Cast a Spell

The Spell Bee Video series on Star In Me

The contribution of a good educator is a cornerstone to a lifetime of learning. With online education becoming a norm for routine schools, there have been interruptions wide and far with lasting impacts. The many disadvantaged children, including underprivileged children with lack of facilities and children with learning difficulties have been tipping off the margins. Apart from many fundamental problems, students also feel the lack of connecting with their educators and getting validated from them: the routine sense of validation during learning, which builds upon a concrete sense of accomplishment of a goal or task.

There is a striking revelation, when I observe children from underprivileged backgrounds. The lack of exposure in reading and writing, and interruptions in their learning, masks their learning profile with that of a learning difficulty. The methods deployed to facilitate learning for children with special needs can work wonders in this situation. But there is a gap nonetheless, even in the domain of special education with specific context to higher classes. The nature of special education as a child advances to higher classes in India is more accommodative than intervention based. Simply stated, this implies offering alternative subjects in place of those where learning difficulties are felt much more, offering reduced syllabus, easier question papers, scribes for writing, a reader for reading out. Needless to say, these comprehensive strategies have been extensively planned and rolled out, but there are cases where intervention can be more promising, encouraging and fruitful.

During creating the video series for my venture Star In Me, aimed at helping underprivileged children prepare for English literature, I understood the process of learning. We can break it up like this. Children simply retain the content of English literature in Hindi in their memory. While answering an exam paper, when they have to reproduce what they have stored in their memory, they simply translate that information into English, to the best of their ability. Fair point. It works to an extent for English Literature. But that isn't the goal of having language as a subject? There has to be proactive effort for building up vocabulary, the spelling and the confidence to use these words effectively in context. Not only do the children need help with the newer words they read with each chapter, but there are many commonly used words where they get confused. For example, homophones, or words which do not follow phonetic rules.

Repeated learning greatly aids memory. But considering the profiles mentioned, children in senior classes have bigger challenges with other subjects and spend less time studying or learning English.

To ideate a strategy for a video series for spelling help, I took to the idea of developing a narrative, a context, richly visual to create a link for remembering the spellings. The visuals used are a key component for retention. The visuals and the narrative augment the multisensorial aspect of learning, whereas the context or links used, create a logic, which aids memory, and helps to systematically reproduce it while writing the words.

I have collated the series of my spelling videos, concurrent with my app and channel. Star In Me as it is the learning support instrumental towards the cause. I hope that through my effort in creating this resource, many children will be benefitted. The comprehensive and synchronous study material, which is made offline via the app will be relevant and valuable.

Any feedback or suggestions will be appreciated. If you do wish to contribute or be a part of the Star In Me, write to me at the email provided.

To watch the first video published on my channel today, go to the link

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