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Languages Lecture Series 2021 | Event Date: Monday, 24th, May 2021

The Department of Languages in association with ELTAI Kancheepuram Chapter conducted Lecture Series on "Why Read", "Creative Ink", and "Writing Meaningfully: Back to Basics" inviting eminent field experts during May 2021 via MS Teams. Dr. Sherine, Head, Languages & Rankings informed that the series of lecture is a prelude to the Creative Writing Competition planned by the organizers for the students of schools and colleges across the nation in June 2021. The series observed over 150 participations across the nation.

"Why Read?"

The first Lecture titled "Why Read?" was delivered by Dr. S. Mohanraj, Teacher Educator, Former, Dean, School of English Language Education English and Foreign Languages University, EFL-U, Hyderabad on 24 May. Dr. S. Mohanraj began the session with a question, "Is there anyone in this world who does not like to read? Or who does not read?", and went on to explain how does it help an individual. It enables a learner to: Read silently, read unfamiliar authentic text, at reasonable speed and with adequate understanding, he added. He reiterated in his lecture that to develop the language skills it is important to focus on reading and to master the reading techniques it is a simple process; one has to read silently and do not disturb others, focus on content, read for longer periods and be natural.

Further, Dr. S. Mohanraj elaborated on the importance of reading text types that includes: advertisements, recipes, signposts, wrappers, maps, jokes, notices and pamphlets letters, newspapers, legal documents, travel brochures, websites, articles, magazines, reports and circulars. Few useful tips of how to comprehend the reading text and the steps involved: Understanding the text, connecting with previous knowledge, engaging with the text, making hypothesis judgements, forming expectations, reflection upon response; and SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Respond, Revise/Recite) techniques were explained. The session concluded with four important captions which made the participants ponder and reflect: I read to learn new things; I read for ideas and inspiration; I read for enjoyment and Happiness; but above all I read to escape from the real world.

"Creative Ink"

The second lecture on "Creative Ink" was delivered by Dr. Antonysamy, Head, Department of English, Loyola College on 26 May. The session begun on explaining the intricacies of excelling in writing. Dr. Antonysamy mentioned that you need to possess a pen, a notepad and relaxed mindset to go ahead with non-stop writing. He also gave few tips on the instructions: For the next ten minutes, you have to write on anything you are interested in at the moment of the activity, without lifting your pen and this mindset will propel you to keep writing. When you start writing you need not pay too much attention to the spelling or about the right word in the right place or grammatical structure as it is written only for you. He advised that if the mind is relaxed, it helps to bring out the creativity. He also explained the importance of brainstorming for ideas and also follow read before you write, and read for pleasure and it would help you achieve creativity.

Participants were encouraged to involve in an activity on writing a creative story. Dr. Antonysamy also shared a video on "Blame it on Ash Wednesday", his experience related to a specific incident in his life and how he drafted a creative literary piece. He concluded by encouraging the participants to start writing and also celebrate small success and keep in mind the advice of Susan Sontag who wrote in her diary, “Writing is a little door. Some fantasies, like big pieces of furniture, won’t come through”. He also mentioned few book references for ideas for creative writing.

"Writing Meaningfully: Back to Basics"

The final lecture of the series titled "Writing Meaningfully: Back to Basics" was delivered by Dr. Kashiraj Pandey, Educator, Teacher Trainer, Assistant Professor, Dept. of English,Kathmandu University, Nepal on 27 May.

Dr. Kashiraj Pandey emphasised the need for honing the fundamental skills to excel in writing. He addressed the participants and also explained the basic etiquettes to follow while writing in a formal manner and also the use of simple vocabulary and expressing oneself with clarity in any form of writing. The importance of punctuation and its usage was explained with a sample literary piece. The students were asked to read it and comprehend the meaning. He reiterated the fact that those who aspire to write creatively can express themselves in the most simplistic manner based on what they think and take examples of what they notice around them. Every day would be a unique experience, the flow of thoughts should be drafted as a literary piece of work that is unique to the individual mind and also connect with the culture of his own nation. The thought process should pertain to the individual writer and it should not be thoughts or style of other writers. According to Kashiraj Pandey, the context, content and the style of writing varies from each individual. He narrated with an example of his own literary work “Letter to English” and “The Teacher I am: A Transformative Truth” The excerpt of his literary piece is as follows: I ask: How many more miles to walk? How many more hills to hike across? How many oceans to cross with adjustments? To become once more the teacher, I want to be. The session was practical oriented and Dr. Kashiraj also demonstrated how to write a story with focus on Topic Sentence/Main idea followed by statements to support the main idea and then drafting the concluding sentence.