Headshot Young Girl

Sanyukta Bafna

VIA22 APAC

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Challenge

Recently I took on a new role at my school to head the creation of a Digital Program for seven subjects across grades. Instead of using traditional textbooks, we wanted our program to be digital so that students can access the latest multimodal resources in all subjects. Another goal of this new curriculum is to also provide students access to knowledge from experts in relevant fields with references so that they know where it is coming from. In the quest to create this rigorous program, one challenge we have faced is the limited access to culturally relevant resources that are digital. Our English program is currently being designed to incorporate different national and international standards. Even though we have found many resources that help students build language and literacy skills, we have struggled to find rich literature from Indian authors. While curating different texts we found that many of the free resources as well as paid ones were mostly based in the US or other western countries. Though there were some Indian reading passages, they weren’t nearly as rigorous or engaging. We know that there are many culturally relevant texts, Indian authors and publishing houses in the market. However most of these are not easily accessible via an online platform especially for schools. Decades of research has shed light on the fact that students need to be represented in the books they read and the overall knowledge they imbibe across subjects in schools. Practical experience from the classroom has also shown us that culturally relevant texts inspire and engage students more because they can make connections between their lives and what they learn.