Khalsa College Report 2006

The month of August witnessed hectic activity with Khalsa College playing host to Oxford University students and UNITED SIKHS volunteers who were in Amritsar on the UNITED SIKHS – Oxford University TravelAid Project.

The team from Oxford comprised of four people, Annie Mcdermott, Miranda Jones, David Whiteside and Aiman Leung. They were joined by two UNITED SIKHS volunteers, Inderjeet Singh and Ramanpreet Kaur. They divided themselves into three teams of two and took groups of up to 20 students at a time.

The work schedule was dexterously and appropriately charted out. It included interactive sessions with the students and practical exercises pertaining to grammar and vocabulary. This gave our students the opportunity to improve their communication skills.
The sessions began on 8th August with the BSc 1st Medical and Non-medical groups. In this session, they tested the students’ vocabulary by making them play word games. All students introduced themselves in English.

Next, they interacted with the students in another session which was spent describing faces drawn on the blackboard. The volunteers then made the students describe each other’s faces. This exercise was tremendously enjoyed by the students. In the next session, the students were divided into teams of three and told to enact some everyday situations with the dialogues in English. The students came up with some hilarious situations providing much humour, and at the same time greatly enhancing the students’ confidence in spoken English.

On 10th August, some of the classes were given a lecture on some basic rules of grammar. The students were also questioned about their expectations of the English course syllabus.

On 17th August, it was a day of group discussions on a variety of topics like, ‘How I spent my Weekend,’ ‘Nuclear Energy,’ ‘Love Marriage versus Arranged Marriage,’ ‘Climatic Changes,’and,‘Higher education in India and abroad.’

A workshop on communication skills was organised in the Department of Food Science and Technology with the active support of the English Department. The delegates interacted with the students and discussed the distinction between Indian and English culture. The students showed keen interest in knowing more about the life and people of England and an exercise of identification and description of various national and international personalities followed.

The following week, a lecture comprising of a discussion on pronunciation was held which proved very useful and productive. The group’s efforts to involve the students and make them respond in classes so as to improve their language skills were greatly appreciated.

The team interacted with seven groups of 15-20 students each day thrice a week, (approximately 300 students per week for four weeks). The response by our students has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic with a lot of students requesting to be allowed to participate in the discussions.

We hope the experience of working with our English Department and students has been equally rewarding for the guests and that they have enjoyed the hospitality extended by the college.

Dr. Khanna, Head, Dept. of English, Khalsa College, Amritsar