St. Mary's Pallikkoodam
Beginning of 2020, the world woke up to a completely different challenge, a challenge no one had ever experienced in their life time. The sustainability and survival of the human race was in question. The initial months of Covid-19 were chaotic, frightening and showed the signs of vulnerability in facing this challenge. However, the biggest gift of human has always been its ability to adapt to the change. True to this nature, the world started adjusting to this very own challenge of a pandemic within the next few weeks. Individuals, groups and the corporate world, all started to look beyond and adapt.
Our church was one of the very early adapters of this new normal. The situation forced us to think differently and come up with ideas to embrace the new world. A group of volunteers with the support of the Parish leadership explored various ideas to support the community during this time. They found this as an opportunity to go back to the basics and explore initiatives which can connect all.
One of the major challenges the church faces is, the ability to connect to the new generations and make them feel connected to the beautiful worship and other traditions. Main hindrance is - the Language. The new generations in this region, or any place outside Kerala, has very limited opportunities to learn Malayalam and understand its nuances. The group decided to address this gap and decided to start a Basic Online Malayalam Class to teach the church family, our mother tongue, Malayalam. And thus the journey of St. Marys Pallikkoodam began.
The Class was inaugurated on 22nd Aug 2020 with the blessing of H.G Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, the metropolitan of Bombay Diocese and the vicar of SMOSC, Pune Fr. Sajeev K Varghese. The classes were conducted during weekends for 5 months. An assessment was conducted and the certificates were distributed to the students who successfully completed the Malayalam course. A graduation ceremony was conducted on 24th January 2021 which marked the official closure of the program.
4 Pillars of Pallikkoodam
The journey of Malayalam Pallikkoodam was possible because of the involvement of various factors. A summary of those main pillars are as below.
The interest, involvement and consistency showed by the students were an important factor for the success of the pallikkoodam.
The following actions were undertaken to enable the student participation -
Interest level for this initiative was captured using an online survey which was rolled out during the month of July. An overwhelming response was received across different age groups which reinforced the need of such an initiative.
A competition was conducted to select a Logo for the course. 13 entries were received. Prof Binoj John, Head of Department, Animation Design at MIT Pune selected the logo which reflected the message of the initiate in the most beautiful way. The winning logo was submitted by Ms. Jennifer Mathew Daniel- which was used in all communications going forward.
The classes were started from 29th Aug 2020. 2 classes- one for seniors (Class A) and the other for Sunday School Students (Class B) - were formed to enable focused learning. All the students and parents were involved from the beginning.
WhatsApp group consisting of all the stakeholders were formed with proper direction on the usage of the group. This enabled flow of communication to reach everyone on time.
A dedicated team of volunteers were involved in planning and execution of this initiative. Their dedication, love for the community and language was another driving force in the journey of Pallikkoodam.
Following teams were made for the smooth running of this initiative.
Content Creation Team: Responsible for identifying the content which needs to be used by the teachers for the class, its design and creation. They also made sure that these contents were easy to understand, they incorporated English and Hindi to convey the meaning.
Assignment Team: Responsible for creating evaluation for what was learned in a class. Reading, writing and speaking is covered in this process. Every assignment was an example of creative way of engaging the students.
Teaching Team: This team was responsible for rendering the content and introducing assignments to the team. Every session had revisions, reading, writing, speaking and group activities.
Attendance and administration team: This team maintained the attendance and took care of other administrative activities needed for the smooth functioning of the class.
Most of the students were learning Malayalam for the first time and it was important to connect to them in a language they know. Special emphasis was given to co-relate the pronunciation in languages like English and Hindi.
It was important that the students can form words in the initial classes itself, so the letters were selected in such a way, that after learning them, some meaningful words could be created. This approach encouraged the students as they saw the results immediately.
Tried and tested methodology of learning was adopted which included Content Design, Review, Rendering, Evaluation, and Support. This enabled the whole curriculum to go through a framework which enforced check and balance throughout the journey.
Focused mentor groups were created for supporting the students and thus make the learning more effective.
4. Technology as an Enabler
Like all other areas, the newer technologies adoption is another reason for the success of the program.
Following are the few technology enablers for our Pallikkodam Journey.
Virtual sessions using Zoom online meetings. This allowed students to participate from different geo locations.
Google Drive: A dedicated folder structure was created and every student had their own workspace to upload their assignments. The evaluation and feedback was shared in the same folder. Every reference material was also uploaded to a common folder for easy access and future reference.
All sessions were recorded and uploaded to church’s official Youtube channel.
Google surveys/forms , Microsoft office applications etc were other technologies that were used whenever needed.
Please refer below image to know the curriculum covered during this Basic Course in Malayalam.
One of the advantage for virtual classes was the ability to record and use it for future references. Below is the reference for all the class recordings which can be referred by students across the globe.
YouTube video recordings:
Refer the below folder for all the contents used during the class.
The whole journey was possible only because of the blessing from the Almighty. We pray to God to help our students to further enhance their journey of learning Malayalam. We, as Pallikkoodam family, recognise all the support given by our Vicar and Church administration for the smooth functioning of St. Marys Pallikkoodam.
For any further enquiries, please contact Vicar, Management committee of SMOSC, Pune.