10 November 2014 Society 10 Questions

Pallavi Singh

The 23-year-old psychology student teaches Hindi to foreigners
Pallavi Singh

How is it like teaching foreigners?

I get the chance to meet people—be it models, movie directors and foreigners married to Indians. By now I have actually had students from every continent.

What techniques do you use?

I don't give them Hindi lessons from textbooks. I use modules which I have prepared myself, covering grammar and pronunciation. Skype lessons work well.

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Why do they want to learn Hindi?

To mix with the local crowd and interact with the driver or vegetable vendor.

Are you a strict teacher?

I have tended to develop quite a strong bond with my students. Most of them have become close friends.

How was teaching William Dalrymple?

I have learned a lot from him. Once, while teaching colour names in Hindi using flashcards, I found out that he is colour-blind.

Your lessons would have helped you too?

I have grown a lot as a person. Learning about the nuances of different cultures and professions has taught me a lot. Now I know how a film is made and how a bank works.

What's the toughest part?

Winning their trust. You have to make them believe that you are not after them to overcharge or exploit.

What got you started?

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It was a hobby at first; now it's a unique job where I both teach and learn.

What do you think should be the objective of Hindi lessons?

I think it should be focused more on conversational skills so that people are comfortable while talking in Hindi.

How do you expect to take this enterprise forward?

With all the good feedback I want to do it as a full-time job.

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