Devabhasha Sanskrit curriculum has been devised by Integral Publishers for schools to teach conversational Sanskrit from LKG to Class VIII. Through Devabhasha, the dream is to empower every child with the ability to understand and converse in Sanskrit.
It has been wrongly argued that Sanskrit is a difficult language to learn and even after its study over a considerable period, one does not acquire adequate proficiency.If taught at an early age using the right pedagogy, students would be as conversant in Sanskrit as in any other language.
Six decades ago, Sanskrit was introduced to students in India in Class 5, at age 10, and taken away in Class 8, at age 13, much like today. However, research concludes that the age at which a new language can be learned easily, with great fluency and near-perfect accent, is from birth to age six or seven, and if introduced in later years, it becomes harder.
Devabhasha curriculum has been designed to remove this particular lacuna from Sanskrit education in India. It is taught from LKG and goes upto Class VIII on the premise that just as an infant learns his or her mother tongue effortlessly, s/he can learn multiple other languages too, spontaneously and without much effort if taught from the early learning years in Kindergarten.
DIFFICULTIES IN PRESENT DAY SANSKRIT CURRICULUMS
The pedagogy that was used 60 years ago continues to be used even today. It consists of presentations of and prescriptions for translation. The medium of instruction is usually Hindi. The tables of conjugation are used as mechanical tools which serve as strict guidelines that keep away the joyous treasure of the language. As a result, neither do the students of Sanskrit in India learn the language well nor do they become fully capable of understanding the rich literature it possesses.
SIMPLICITY OF DEVABHASHA PEDAGOGY
Devabhasha, on theother hand, has developed a course to nourish and teach simple conversational Sanskrit rather than the Sanskrit of scholars.Experiments in pedagogy show that students of literature often do not develop proficiency in language at the same level as those who studied the language in an intensive manner. In Devabhasha we attempt to avoid literary finesse but provide exercises for conversation, idiomatic expressions, letter and essay writing, paraphrasing and translation – all the main tools for linguistic proficiency. Devabhasha has a rich collection of songs, stories, poems, melodious rhymes, biographies and games.
We teach Sanskrit through the direct method, i.e. through the medium of Sanskrit alone. When a student knows that the teacher will not converse in any other language than the one being taught, the student will make a greater effort to learn that language. Devabhasha teachers speak, teach, live, breathe and enjoy only Sanskrit.
Duryodhana said, “Dharmamjanamina cha me pravrittih, adharmamjanamina cha me nivrittih,” “I know what is dharma or the right action but I don’t have the inclination to practice it. I know what is adharma or the wrong action but I do not possess the inclination to be free from it.” The over-arching question arises – what is the pedagogy that will chisel such a personality that not only knows right from wrong, but also possesses the strength of will to choose the right and practice it?
Educationists world over, are searching for a pedagogy that instils values in students.
Our forefathers had mastered the art of value education wherein they taught mantras and prayers in gurukuls. Why should we reinvent the wheel? In Devabhasha we have made an attempt to introduce Subhashita Literature which heightens, widens and deepens the consciousness. The last chapter in Devabhasha is Divyavani which has beautiful mantras and other invocatory shlokas, so that the children are exposed to values which must be embedded from childhood, for example – developing respect and regard for everybody, invoking a sense of responsibility for the environment, developing self-control, developing a sense of patriotism and so on. Verses like “Let noble thoughts come unto us from all sides – “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, “Yatra Vishwam Bhavati Ekaneedum” – this entire world comes to one nest, etc. are part of Devabhasha.
Through these mantras students are also exposed to the knowledge and presence of the Soul or Atma or Ruh – that portion of God which is within us all. This facilitates proximity and a constant connectivity with the Divine.The entire Devabhasha curriculum helps the children to grow from within.
Having said this, one would wonder, is the Devabhasha curriculum only suffused with mantras?
The answer is no! The objective of teaching Sanskrit is neither to turn the students into shloka or mantra-reciting parrots nor to turn them into Sanskrit scholars or pandits, but help them garner a lucidity and fluency in what is undoubtedly the most perfect language of all ages and the genesis of many languages across the world.
After developing Devabhasha text books – Classes LKG – VIII, Integral Publishers developed a BRIDGE COURSE for schools introducing Devabhasha from LKG – Class VIII. Through the Bridge Course, within one to two months, students will reach the level needed to study their respective text books, class wise.
ASSESSMENT & RUBRICS
Assessment & Rubrics for Devabhasha have been clearly formulated.
Lesson plans for classes I – VIII have been created and are being used by teachers in schools teaching Devabhasha.