The Wonderland of Books

The Wonderland of Books 
By Jawaharlal Nehru
Why does one read books?
Ultimately it is to understand life.
Our individual experiences are narrow. But books give us the experiences of others, often the wisest of their generation, and lift us out of our narrow ruts.
Gradually as we go up the mountainsides, fresh vistas come into view; our vision extends further and further, and a sense of proportion comes to us.
We are not overwhelmed by
our petty and transient loves and hates and we see them what they are hardly noticeable ripples on the immense ocean of life.
This larger vision enables us to see life whole and live it well.
This vision and sense of proportion are essential to keep us on the right path and steady us when storms and heavy winds bear down on us.
There is a strange magic about good literature. This magic comes to us slowly as we make friends with good books; and when we have begun to feel it, we have found the key to the wonderland of books. They never fail us, these friends that neither age nor change.
I have got more pleasure from books than from almost anything. There is only one other thing which is, in its own way, more magical; and that is music.
Literature, art, music, science—all make our life rich and deep,
they teach us how to live.
Mountains of new books continue to appear. Many of them are boomed up for a while and then forgotten. The avalanche of books
that is descending on us is very largely trash, and it is not easy to separate the chaff from the grain.
A lapse of period will sift the good
from the bad and the indifferent;
and a book that has survived the test of time is likely to be good, to be literature.
It is far safer to read the famous classics of old that have influenced thought for so long. With that background it is easier to exercise a wise choice in modern literature.
A worthwhile book deserves time and attention. Think of the pains and the great deal of thinking that the author has put behind
what he has written; and we just rush through it, and forget soon enough what we read.
A very good habit to develop is
to keep a notebook in which
we can jot down anything that
strikes us specially in a book we read. These notes help us to remember much.
Read More

Enrich Your English

Enrich Your English
A Workshop at V N Godhani English School

On the 19thof December, Fluentlingua conducted a workshop titled “Enrich your English” at V N Godhani English School in Katargam. About 250 students of standards 7thand 8th attended this workshop. Keenness to learn was writ large on their bright faces right from the beginning and was maintained throughout the programme.

The principal introduced Dr Dharmendra Sheth and Mr Hasmukh Umaria, chief trainers from Fluentlingua, to the wide-eyed students unable to contain their impatience to get started. 
After being felicitated, the trainers started the program and the students’ eyes were glued to the screen as Dr Sheth started the workshop with the presentation “Fun with English”. He explained with examples that “English is English”, and often it is not logical. This sure got the participants’ rapt attention and aroused their interest and curiosity. The stage was thus set. The title itself has so much learning potential in it, said Dr Sheth. The word “enrich” is stressed on the second syllable whereas the word “English” is stressed is on the first syllable. He went on to explain the importance of correct pronunciation. He explained that the word “pronunciation” is pronounced differently by different people. It sure brought some giggles as expected. And as the students tried to pronounce that word, it dawned upon them that there was a lot to be done in this area of English. This gave them the impetus to improve their pronunciation.
There were practice sessions on sounds, word stress, rhythm and intonation. To give the participants a clear idea of correct pronunciation, Mr Umaria first spoke the words, and the students then repeated them, trying to copy as best as they could. It was an eye-opener and an ear-opener session. By now, the hall resounded with English of good quality. This proved the point that imitation is the key to learning a second or foreign language.
Then there were some activities to learn word stress. Dr Sheth demonstrated the shift in word stress according to parts of speech, and explained the impact of suffixes and prefixes on pronunciation of words.
Students were then made aware of the importance of rhythm in spoken English. The concept of sentence stress was brought to students’ attention via nursery rhymes. A few sentence patterns were drilled too.
Correct intonation leading to identifying whether the word, phrase or sentence is a question or a statement was another lively exercise.
Then the students were given a passage to read aloud. It was putting-it-all-together session. A few students performed this on stage. The students cheered and were obviously impressed by their co-students’ performance on stage. It was evident, according to the teachers present, that after a few hours of the workshop, there was a perceptible improvement in their students’ speech.
The atmosphere was one of achievement and happiness. The programme ended with a vote of thanks.
Fluentlingua takes this opportunity to thank the management of the school, the principal, and Mr Haridas Patil, HOD English for making such a workshop possible.
Read More

National Conference at English Language Teaching Institute of Symbiosis (ELTIS), Pune

Dear Teachers of English,
English Language Teaching Institute of Symbiosis (ELTIS), Symbiosis, Pune has organised its 9th National Conference on
The Literary Kaleidoscope: From Bookshelves to Classrooms
on February 08 & 09, 2019. Do please try to attend it.
You can find more details on their website.
Thank you and I look forward to meeting you in February.
Dr Dharmendra Sheth
Founder, Fluentlingua,
Surat, Gujarat
Click this link to watch the video.
Read More

Playing chess on a train with a national level player

Hi everyone,

On a train from Mumbai to Surat, I was lucky to meet and play a game of chess with the national school level chess player (4th ranker) Senthanigh (spoken as Senthanil). Of course, he defeated me, but it was a great experience. Actually, he was going to Vapi to take part in a 15 day camp-cum-tournament. 

Here’s a picture showing that innocent and intelligent boy playing with someone who hasn’t played chess in the last three decades or more. 😉

He was fluent in his mother tongue Tamil and English. His teacher (escort) was from Delhi. She and I tried to teach him some Hindi words and learnt a few Tamil words in return. Time flies when you are in good company. His spoken English was good but with a heavy mother tongue influence.

PS. If you look at him and observe his behaviour, you can’t imagine, even in your wildest dreams, that he could be a chess player. That’s why we say. Never judge a book by its cover.

Happy learning… happy playing… and happy living!

Read More