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Beyond Language Barriers

A JPF project to help students and teachers in India with their English communication skills.

How did it start

Communicating your thoughts and ideas confidently and effectively is key to success in all walks of life. It is often a daunting task to achieve fluency if the language is not your first language. In the Marathi medium schools in India, it has been observed that despite the students’ intelligence and competence, they had fallen behind in English communication skills. After speaking with the teachers, we found some key problems -

  • Lack of opportunity to speak outside the English classroom.

  • Absence of an environment at home or school where English is spoken or encouraged.

  • A lack of space to practice, make mistakes, and learn without being judged.

  • A similar communication issue needs to be addressed amongst the teachers as well. 

What are we doing

In order to address these concerns, we decided to  focus on providing an environment to students where they can interact freely in English with each other without the fear of being judged and most importantly, start enjoying the experience of communicating in English. We started conducting weekly interactive sessions with students in India. These virtual sessions include various games, reading sessions, and group activities with emphasis on spoken English, in small groups of 5 to 10 kids per group with 1 to 3 volunteers based on the group size. These activities in an informal setting have helped students build their confidence. 


During the interactive sessions, students are encouraged to speak in english. We guide them through the activities and allow them to progress at their own pace which is helping them internalize the language and progress towards a state where the mind does not need to translate the sentences from Marathi to English but rather construct those sentences directly in English. 

The reading sessions with captivating stories are motivating them to read English books by themselves to find out what happens next in the story, thereby helping them build vocabulary and develop familiarity with English language. In these sessions, we encourage students to read the stories out loud and explain the meaning, which helps them to build connections with the written and spoken words and it also instigates interesting discussion in English about the story thereby boosting their confidence further in spoken English.

The sessions for the academic year of 2021-2022 are theme based. Activities that fall under themes such as Family, Travel, School, Entertainment are designed every week by the volunteers. 

JPF has also started a similar initiative for teachers who wish to work on their English communication skills. JPF volunteers have been meeting with teachers in one on one sessions to help them gain confidence in their English speaking abilities. 

Volunteer Leads Involved: 

Pranav Kulkarni, Arya Adake, Shobha Dravid and Rucha Deo

Student testimonials

"You taught the most difficult subject in school in a very simple way. So the fear is gone and the excitement to learn English is increased. Thank you so much for teaching us."


"All the activities you took were very cool. Every activity meets something new to learn. Thank you so much for teaching us so well."


"Thank you for teaching me how to speak in English. I am using ‘English Verbs’ app whenever I need help while constructing sentences."


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