Coimbatore

A unique experience for U.S.-born Tamil

Sushant Kannan taking class at a Panchayat Middle School in Yercaud.

Sushant Kannan taking class at a Panchayat Middle School in Yercaud.  

The teenager teaches English, Maths at PU school

For 14-year-old Sushant Kannan from Miami, Florida the five days he spent at a humble Panchayat Union Middle School in Yercaud was an eye-opener about his capabilities and the Indian education system.

Five-day internship

Mr. Kannan was here as part of a five-day internship programme offered by Tamil Nadu Foundation, a non-profitable foundation in the US which provides opportunity for students from Tamil origin in the U.S. to link with their ancestral roots here. Mr. Kannan, a class 9 student in Miami taught English, Mathematics, Arts and Yoga at the Panchayat Union Middle School in Muluvi.

The internship programme was an opportunity for the Class IX to learn more about Tamil Nadu and the culture in the State. “Though my parents hail from Krishnagiri, I have never been to Yercaud before and the internship was a great opportunity for me to learn about the people and culture here,” he says.

He added, “During my internship, I learnt about team building and leadership skills and it was a unique experience.” Mr. Kannan said that he was inspired by his cousin to undertake the programme. “My cousin underwent the internship last year and I was motivated hearing her experience.”

Speaking Tamil at home in the U.S. came handy during the classes here and the English teachers and his mother Sangeetha Kannan helped him out when required. The 14-year-old also learnt Tamil words like ‘koottal’, ‘kalithal’ in Mathematics, which he never knew before. “I handled classes 7 and 8 and I found them (the students) were motivated to learn new things. Compared to the normal classes at the school, I found my sessions to be more interactive.” He said that the students will be able to learn and perform better if they are provided with the right equipment. Mr. Kannan was moved when the students wanted him to come back for the sessions next year as well.

His mother, who also studied at a government school in Krishnagiri feels that things were better then. “Sushant’s father Kannan and I are from Krishnagiri. I, too, did my high school studies at a government school and I think things were better then. During the sessions, I found the kids were really motivated to learn. It was a learning experience to Sushant as well since he has never been to these places,” she said.

Bhaskar, headmaster of the school, said that though it took some time initially, the kids mingled well during the sessions.

“Sushant handled around two hours of classes every day and he taught some simple Mathematics techniques to the students, besides English. He taught the students English phonetics and grammar, which would be really helpful for them in the future. Such visits would help students get an exposure to other cultures,” he said.

“Initially, the students were a bit shy since he was from another place. But, after an hour the ice broke. It was more like teaching between peers so students also enjoyed it.”

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 5:16:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/a-unique-experience-for-us-born-tamil/article28415775.ece

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