GetSet

Assessing the Learning

Measuring the value of Training

Assessment is the engine that drives student learning. Learners need constant feedback more than they need constant teaching. How do we know whether we are learning right?

RuralShores Skills Academy (RSA) ties up with NGO’s and Foundations for providing training, courseware and certifications for its courses through its mechanism of online assessments.

Recently RSA conducted the first online assessment and practical test for a well-known NGO which is involved in training deaf students. Like with any other student or learner, it is imperative that we check the student’s learning to gauge their understanding and assessments and tests are the only way to do so. And when the students are deaf, it becomes vital that we test them physically through online and practical assessments because their hearing impairment prevents the normal evaluation of students’ understanding through instant verbal interactions.

So 3 months into the Basic IT and Data Entry Operator (DEO) course, it was time to conduct the final assessments and evaluate the deaf students’ knowledge about the courses and what they had learnt during the training.

Starting the Assessment

The assessment started at 10 am in the morning. The students seemed nervous. I was the assessor. My first job was to calm them down. Then I explained the general instructions to be followed during the assessment. An interpreter was present to constantly translate everything I said into sign language. I watched the interpreter translating my words into sign language using his hands and fingers which moved so fast, they seemed to be doing a jazz to someone who doesn’t know Indian Sign Language. I tried to make them laugh to break through the nervousness which gripped the students. I tried to encourage them by appreciating them for all the hard work and effort they had put into coming from places as far as 70 kms away every single day and some even relocating from far off villages to be closer to the center.

There were so many students we had to split them into two batches.

Learning Management System

The assessment began with an online test on our Learning Management System (LMS). LMS is a software we use to manage all the data pertaining to students, their training and assessments. The test went off smoothly and the results were available for each student right after they finished their exam. The online test was followed by a practical test.

What did we Test?

The students were tested on their typing speeds, MS office applications and were made to apply their learning and knowledge by solving real work place related problems.

The students having typing speeds with 98% accuracy were between 25-28 wpm.  They had a little trouble comprehending the English language in the questions, so we explained and clarified it to them; after which their laser-like focus was back and they jumped into the battlefield on all fours and started off ticking away the problems given to them quickly.

The students finished the practical exam in the given duration and were quite excited since this was the first time they were doing a practical test and online test which gave them a detailed analysis of their test results. Fortunately, all the students did well in the assessment which was a big achievement for both the NGO involved in their training as well as RSA.

The students were really happy after seeing their test results. They were trained on Data Entry Operator course and were instructed that accuracy is very important in this job role and that typing less and accurate data was better than typing large amount of incorrect data. Quality always holds eminence over quantity!

RSA looks forward to work with NGOs, Foundations or any organization who want support for conducting quality training, standardized assessments and certifications from RSA, which is an NSDC certified training partner.  RSA will also provide for the placements of the students/learners. RSA genuinely wants to work for the development of the needy students and advancement of every section of the society. And we all know that behaviour, process and passion of conducting training is critical to facilitate the right learning for the students.

– Mrinal Roka

Aiming to Inspire, Getting Inspired and Staying Inspired

DEAFNESS IS NOT HELPLESSNESS!

Lack of academic success is not due to the fault of the deaf themselves but because of our failure to stimulate them intellectually during their school years

– Dr Bill Watts

Imagine having ear plugs in your ears blocking you from the worldly noise around you. You have arrived in a soundless world. You can’t hear a pin drop. How do you know what is happening around you? How do you learn? What do you see?

Trapped in a hearing impaired body, your eyes become your gateway to the world. You gather information visually. From the basic ABC’s to computers and many skill-oriented courses today – deaf students face many challenges in their day-to-day lives. And more than often, their challenges in the classroom are over-looked. While people with normal hearing ability constantly absorb new information and knowledge through the daily noises, conversations and language that is spoken around them, deaf students do not have that luxury.

Meeting the deaf people

I had never met a deaf person in my life yet. When I was told that I have to go and train deaf trainers at Noida Deaf Society, I wondered how I would communicate my ideas to the deaf people. Would they understand me? I was aware that there would be an interpreter translating my words into sign language- the language of deaf. But would that really work? Would the interpreter correctly translate what I spoke? What would be the intelligence quotient of the deaf people? Or that of the interpreter?

When I reached Noida Deaf Society and met the deaf students and trainers, I was pleasantly surprised by the seeming normalness of their hearing impaired world. We were standing outside the Noida Deaf Society with a senior personnel of Noida Deaf Society and a deaf employee at the Society was enquiring her if we had any problem reaching the office. The road had collapsed nearby. They communicated using sign language and we watched their non-verbal interaction in amusement of a first-timer. They were comfortable with their surroundings, efficiently communicating through sign language. They greeted us ‘Hello’ with hand gestures and a welcoming smile on their face. We smiled back not wanting to showcase our incapability at using sign language or confusing them trying it. You would think they would be different from us with their hearing-disabilities, but they are really like us, just that the verbal language is substituted by non-verbal sign language. They may be bereft of hearing ability, but they have a brain that works as well as us though they may be disadvantaged by the ease with which we gain information from the outside world. And then there is their motivation to learn.

Training of Trainers

We trained them in Data Entry Operator (BPO) course. The curriculum for this course is divided into five modules:

  1. Typing Skills
  2. Basic IT
  3. Data Entry Skills
  4. Professional Skills
  5. Health and safety at work place

During the training when I interacted with the deaf trainers, I found that they have a good knowledge of IT skills and they were very good at using computers. We actually sailed through that part of the course training. Quite unexpectedly so! I hadn’t assumed that deaf are dumb. But I definitely didn’t expect them to be as good as they were at it. The NDS wanted us to teach them logical reasoning skills, so we built some exercises to test their reasoning abilities and filled the course content with it. Nothing better to sharpen your mental abilities than exercising your brain with some logical reasoning questions. They do wonders for concentration and focus.

Of course when they had a difficulty in understanding what I was saying or when they didn’t feel involved, their concentration drifted but that is something that is bound to happen to a hearing person too. The way to resolve this maybe is keeping them engaged by giving them real-life examples, involving them and asking for their ideas to make sure we are on the same page. And of course by making the content and training more visual through pictures and videos and more activity-based than theoretical.

I wondered during the training if the interpreter was understanding and translating exactly what I was trying to convey. I may be talking IT (Information Technology), they may be talking IT (India Today).  Covering training majorly through videos and subtitles can be a way to resolve miscommunication because of misinterpretation by interpreter.

It is difficult for deaf students to build a good vocabulary, so we made our content language easy and simple to understand. Given their trouble remembering and recalling information, we decided we can experiment with allowing students to record lectures, given the available technology on smartphones.

Professional Skills

One of the greatly appreciated part of our training was Professional Skills. NDS said that Professional Skill is a huge skill gap in the deaf community. Given their inability to intake proper information from their surroundings, things are easily misunderstood and minus the hearing power, they may not be able to perceive what business etiquettes and manners are. Professional Skills are not formally imparted by schools and colleges. So we taught them what constitutes work behaviour, what are time management skills, punctuality, team work, conflict management, empathy and how to communicate effectively. Communicating, that too effectively is imperative for deaf people because they are missing the important component of listening. Like any layman, they have to be taught what professional skills are, to mould their scattered understanding into something concrete.

Our Training Approach and Methodology – ‘GETS’

RuralShores Skills Academy has adapted a training methodology to drive its training process – ‘GETS’ (Guide, Educate, Train, Support). We teach the trainers to employ this technique to ensure effective training in an appropriate time frame. Mentoring trainers and students properly is important to ensure the success of a business and ensuring that training efforts are not misguided that may waste both employees’ time and the company’s resources. This is what we applied on the trainers and asked them to apply it on their students.

Guide – Mentoring, guiding and counselling the students in finding their interests and giving them a direction

Educate – Inventing and reconditioning methods and process of training for ensuring effective learning.

Train –Showing them how to do it and then letting them do it

Support – Encourage, encourage, encourage! Create an atmosphere of appreciation and support where students can learn and thrive”.

Education is a powerful tool to help anyone stand on their feet, especially the deaf students as it helps break down institutional barriers and build self-confidence. We must not live under the mistaken belief that deaf students are slow-witted and helpless. Such a belief and their perception of such beliefs through us will only lower their self-esteem. Most deaf children have normal cognitive abilities. All we need to do is provide them with a supportive and inclusive learning environment and help them succeed.

–  Shruti Patwal

Improving Reading Skills through Spoken English

English: Language to employability

Our Spoken English programme is aimed at improving communication skills and overall personality development of a student. In the corporate world, international markets and even inter-state trade within multi-lingual India connected by the English language, an employee’s proficiency in the English language is regarded as an important yardstick in influencing and ascertaining employability and human capital. In wake of rapid growth of globalisation, English language is an indispensable medium of business- and official-communication within India and the world. English is a business language which will influence your personality, job profile, employability and wages by a large percentage at both entry and experienced levels.  The fluency in English-language enables an educated person to secure white-collar jobs in the middle and upper echelons of the job hierarchy.

About the Course

Our Spoken English courses are designed to develop your speaking, listening and pronunciation skills besides English reading and writing skills for more effective communication in social and professional situations.

We have activities focusing on English conversation, public speaking, extempore, interview skills and group discussions along with learning basic grammar, sentence formation and vocabulary. We have experimented with a range of topics in the course which will encourage the student to think and deliberate on a topic, thus, enhancing critical thinking and reasoning abilities of a student alongside speaking English. We give them a trailer; but they will have to develop the full story. This course will develop a student’s confidence in using English in their daily communication.

What are the reinforcements holding up the fort of our Spoken English?

Let us see.

ENGLISH RHYMES

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky

The silliness of singing nursery rhymes teaches us not just the words, they stick into our memories. We remember them – the feelings of happiness and excitement when we chant them, the context the words were used in, sentence formation, the time, the pitch, the people we shared the moment with. It stays!

Let’s rewind back to your babyhood. How did your mother speak to you? Not in the way she spoke to other elder family members! With you – she spoke slowly, possibly in a higher pitch, she repeated the words – to make your little baby brain process and get a chance to catch the words and the way they are formed.

Nursery rhymes pretty much operate in a similar manner. They slow down the speaking process, involve repetition – which help the children learn to speak and later to read and spell.

In the flow, we may not always understand when one word ends and another begins, but the nursery rhymes help us learn the dynamics of English language. It gives us a love of language.

COMMON ENGLISH PHRASES

May I come in? 

How are you?

What is your name?                      

What are you doing?

Would you like that?

How can I help you?

Could you repeat that please?

These are some common English phrases and expressions that constitute the basic blocks of business English language. They form an essential part of corporate etiquettes and mannerisms. You must know how to use these common English phrases. There are no exceptions to learning these.

We teach such phrases every day in first 15 minutes of each session and mandate the students to use them in daily life especially during training classes.

ENGLISH STORY VIDEOS

Everyone loves a story!

We have included short English moral story videos at the start of every English class. We all enjoy a good story – no matter our age. These videos hold up interest level and help in absorbing the usage of English language- the what, when and how – besides building up vocabulary. 

CONVERSATION TIME

Let’s talk English!

The conversation sessions are based on daily life scenarios in animated and interactive learning format. They help learners speak English fluently with correct pronunciations.

And these were just the cream on the cake!

The main content of the Spoken English course includes Parts of Speech, Sentence Formation, Modals, Tenses, Orders, Instructions and Requests, Story Completion and Picture Composition and so on.

Our Spoken English course is designed with the objective of helping the student in gaining expertise in speaking English confidently. Join today and better your English!

Shruti Patwal

A Practical Case of Effective Training of Trainers!

Better Trainers – Better Training – Lasting Impact

RuralShores Skills Academy is a unique organization that specializes in creating value for the under-served rural and urban youth. We have a unique and holistic approach to our training which includes life skills as well as youth development

Youth development is a process of mental, physical, emotional and social growth to enable them to build successful career and lives. Life skills are the abilities that help build competence in young people as they face the realities of life and moulding capable adults to become effective leaders in their lives and the world.

RuralShores Skills Academy conducts specialized training for training delivery organizations and NGO’s looking to upgrade their trainers and thereafter provide courseware for students and also final assessment and certification for students.

In one of our projects, we conducted one such training in a remote location near Varanasi. There is a school run by an NGO in this remote location that holds free classes for youth in Maths, English, Science and Computers. The students are from the age group of 14 – 21 and come from nearby villages.

RuralShores Skills Academy is also a training delivery agency registered as a successful training partner of National Skills Development Corporation.

The NGO asked us to conduct a teacher training session, provide course curriculum in getting the students started towards employment through communicative English and basic knowledge of Computers and also assess their students.

Our Training Approach and Methodology

The training was for 4 days where teachers from the school coming from diverse backgrounds were taught our unique training methodology – G.E.T.S

Guide – Counselling the students to reveal and find their interests and passion

Educate – Through our process of training – for example, rhymes, group activities, assessments

Train – Practice makes perfect. Showing them how to do it then letting them do it.

Support – Encourage, encourage, encourage! Create an atmosphere of appreciation and support where students can learn and thrive.

The same methodology was used in training the teachers. The teachers went through rigorous 8 hour sessions for 4 days filled with mock training sessions and understanding the new course curriculum. They were first shown how to do it and then they would demonstrate their learning through teach back sessions.

At the end of the training, armed with the G.E.T.S methodology the teachers felt confident with the course curriculum and were raring to take their own sessions with students.

“Your methods of training that I learnt are now proving good for students!”

  • English teacher

“I have learnt so much in these 4 days that I feel I can really connect and teach my students in a better manner”

  • Computers teacher

“I am very happy with how the training went and I am sure training such as these are very much beneficial to our teaching staff.”

  • Client Representative

We truly believe in the philosophy that Education is the most powerful tool that can be used to change the world!

Mrinal Roka

Training Manager

Why We Teach Life-Skills?

DEVELOPING LIFE SKILLS – Skills Everyone Needs

Children and youth don’t naturally know how to make good choices especially when choices are many and increasing. In today’s dynamic world, having a method of developing life skills is an essential requirement to meet the challenges of everyday life. WHO defines life skills as “the abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with demands and challenges of everyday life.”

Life skills include things like emotional, social and mental skills—such as self-awareness, decision-making, empathy, critical thinking, and coping with stress and emotions. To cope with the increasing pace and change of modern life, students need new life skills such as the ability to deal with pressure, stress and frustration. The key life skill is good decision-making. And it is not innate. It has to be learned. Life skills help children know what to do in everyday situations as well as prepare them to make good decisions as they grow from childhood to adulthood.

Our collaboration with NGOs

In one of our projects, we work with the victims of human trafficking involving children and women as young as 12 years old. Given their traumatic past, the physical and mental scars make it difficult for them to learn and educate themselves. Most of them want to commit suicide. So the first step in skilling these young women is to inculcate life skills in them. RuralShores Skills Academy provides Life Skills to help the survivors cope up with the adversities they faced, ways to heal themselves and move on with their lives. In keeping with their background and baggage, this tailor-made course for human trafficking survivors provide Life skills through teaching anger and conflict management, dealing with pressure and stress, healing, hard work and persistence, personal health, reasoning, values and so on.  In order to move forward, it is important for these young women to leave the past behind them, empower themselves with a set of skills which will help them earn their livelihood and look forward towards a bright future. We train these survivors in necessary skills to make them employable and provide placements though our tie-ups with various organizations.As on date, we are engaging with a Foundation that provides us access to NGO locations where such young girls are being protected and developed.  We develop our women trainers with our approach and methodology before they go into the NGO to impart training to the girls.   This exposure is preparing us better and exposing our trainers to develop better understanding of possibilities that we all have to manage!

Our Personality Development Programme

Even in our Personality Development, Spoken English and other training programmes, we experiment with different topics of Life Skills such as:                 

  1. Leadership
  2. People-interaction Behaviour
  3. Emotions in difficult situations
  4. Creative and Critical Thinking
  5. Problem-solving
  6. Time-Management
  7. Personal Finance
  8. Ability to communicate and collaborate

All these are part of essential skills for success and survival in the 21st century, both for active and employable individuals and for development of healthy societies. Life skills help improve your personality. They hold importance as they adequately equip the youth for the active role required of them in today’s fast-paced, complex, technologically-enabled and diverse society.

Youth development is a process of mental, physical, emotional and social growth to enable them to build successful career and lives. Life skills are the abilities that help build competence in young people as they face the realities of life and molding capable adults to become effective leaders in their lives and the world.