Language education is more complex than meets the eye. To a lay person, it may appear that anyone who knows a language is equipped to teach it; but the vast failure of India to provide a solid foundation in a variety of language capabilities to its children is evidenced not just in Annual Status of Education Reports (ASER), but also in students’ difficulties with using language to accomplish a variety of academic and non-academic tasks. The four courses of the Language Education strand are designed to equip MA Education students with a rigorous understanding of the nature of language and literature; as well as ways to navigate these with knowledge and nuance in curricular and pedagogic spaces. The large, diverse, multilingual reality and complexity of India provides the backdrop for these explorations. The four courses share and are guided by a framework of ideas. First, to help students to acknowledge, value and build on the multilingual nature of India through a stance known in the literature as “Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education (MTBMLE)” – which simultaneously provides children with access to languages of power, even while prioritizing their first language(s). Second, to see literature as an integral part of language education. Third, to understand and value higher order reading and writing activities along with attention to script-acquisition, as an important corrective to national norms of teaching language which focus exclusively on the latter.
Introduction to Language and Literature Education (ILLE) is the first of this series of courses. It offers students a theoretical overview of the nature, methods of inquiry, and content of the study of language and literature, and their implications for education in multilingual India.