Devabhasha Sanskrit curriculum has been devised by Integral Publishers for schools to teach conversational Sanskrit from Playgroup 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.
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 Playgroup 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
Thepedagogy continues to be used even today. It consists of presentations of and prescriptions for translation. The medium of instruction is usually Hindi.
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.
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 instills 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.