I am so sorry again that I missed out on my Sunday Sneak-Peek of the book I am reading. What with all the social activities going on in India (Anna Hazare - I am also a social activist associated with various causes) and the recent festival season of Ganesh Puja, things have been really really busy over here.
So, without further delay, let me share with you the page I am on right now. Its a book called 'Connect The Dots' by author Rashmi Bansal that has been sent by the book chain Crossword as part of promoting the Vodafone Crossword Book Awards 2010.
'"My objective is to make him pass. So I will not say, "Your training hours are over. I will not teach you." I told my faculty also, we must ensure every student passes the exam."
Within two years Vivekananda Kalvi Nilayam became the biggest tutorial in Chennai, with a strength of nearly 800 students.
Then one day Ganesh's brother Rajagopalan remarked, "I find the students are very poor in spoken English. Why don't we start training for that also?"
Ganesh said, "Why not? You are good at English. If you are interested, you leave the other subjects and concentrate only on this."
As simple as that. Rajagopalan admitted one batch and by the time they completed the course, they were fluent in English. But how - was it really that easy?
"See, Rajagopalan made the class casual and humorous. He told short stories and jokes, so even the dull students took interest and understood the concepts."
Rajagopalan had his own style of getting across to students.
"His training was so practical that he would never call a noun a 'noun'. He would call it a 'naming' word. Verb would be an 'action word' and so on."
Rajagopalan's logic was that when we speak our mother tongue we are not always aware of the rules of grammar. We learn by observation only. So why can't English be taught in the same way?
It could - he discovered. And the numbers flocking to the class were testimony to that! Ganesh had to hire a big hall with a collar mike and start taking 100 students at a time.
"Then the 101st student would come up and say, "Sir can you arrange an extra chair? If not, I will stand in the corner and attend, no problem."
Ganesh realised he had a winner in his hands. English training could become THE main offering - and not just one of the many classes at the centre.
So what was the hitch? Well, Rajagopalan was free to take classes........
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