Pallavi Singh from Mumbai makes a living out of teaching Hindi as a foreign language to expats and foreigners living in India. She spoke to SheThePeople.Tv about her inclination towards the language and the pedagogy she adopts to make her lessons interesting.
She has done two Bachelors in Engineering and Psychology. “I have a diploma in French Language and a certificate course in “Counseling and Guidance”. I am lucky to have pursued all my educational interests.”
Excerpts from the interview
Have you always been passionate about Hindi?
I have enjoyed Hindi since childhood. Our home was heavily subscribed to “Champak”, “Nandan”, “Billu”, “Chacha Choudhry” “Pinki” comics and others. I used to look forward to the mail every month. During summer vacations, when I would make it a point to read them all in a day. I also liked my Hindi periods a lot during my school days. While other students would play “Zero-Kata” on back benches, I would sit on front benches and intently listen to his dissections of “Kabir ke Dohe”.
Can you tell us something about the teaching methodology you adopt to teach the language?
I use humor in my classes by cracking jokes with my students to keep the atmosphere light. As my students are all adults with their own grown up issues and concerns, I think it is important to make sure that classes are a part of the day they look forward to.
My course module is proprietary .I have made sure that the Hindi I teach is highly applicable to daily life scenarios. I try to hone their Hindi conversational skills.
Keeping in mind the effect of globalization on Indian languages, do you feel the popularity of Hindi has reduced with time?
It has not been reduced. I think it has been genetically modified. Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat etc. are used by Indians has Hindi sprinkled all over it. Brand taglines, for instance, “Pepsi thi, pi gaya” is in Hindi. Hindi has just become more tweaked and suited for millennials’ usage patterns. As any other language, Hindi has also gone through its own evolution.
What are the various challenges you faced during the journey? How did you overcome those?
The challenges were, are and will be there. I just knew I had to devise an immunity to combat them. When I initially started, it was friends, family who never understood the seriousness of what I was doing. Business-wise, as any other establishment I have good and bad clients, inevitably I have strategically devised business policies to make sure that the economics are not affected.
Also, needless to say, there is a stereotypical image of a “Hindi Teacher”, which I do not adhere to. So people are pleasantly surprised when they get to know me.
What is your take on work-life balance?
I love my work and hence I think my work is my life. I have reached where I have by focusing and heavily investing in it. Nothing else has given back to me like my work has. I am a sincere and a dedicated person who gives their best. Some friends call me “workaholic” but I think I am just one of those lucky few who extremely enjoy and love what they do. Having said that, I do socialize as well. I constantly try to attend events/do things outside of teaching to consciously maintain an equilibrium.
Do you agree with the fact that technology is a boon for entrepreneurs? How do you make use of technology to facilitate your teaching process?
Technology is definitely a value-addition to my teaching methodology. I have created online-flashcard database and various other pop-quizzes, “match-the-following”, “Guess-The-Word” games to help my students practice Hindi while they’re stuck in traffic or just have some spare time to kill. It is good to have a balance of on-paper and online materials.