Chalk With S: For Whose Amusement?

Today, my sister got home after her day at college, and was quite upset about a video her class watched. I would like to share her experience with you here.

The video points out that many schools in rural India have teachers that are unqualified and are teaching their students incorrect information. It focuses largely on the incorrect spelling being taught in English, starting with the days of the week. The teachers are interviewed and asked questions, which they are unable to answer correctly.

While the video points to issues that need to be addressed, my sister found it quite sad to watch. There are sound effects to encourage the viewer to laugh at the teachers. The way the questions are phrased are meant to belittle the teachers and mock their lack of knowledge of the English language, and ability to teach the same. My sister observed the reactions around her as they watched the video, and was disappointed to see that there was laughter, that some people found this entertaining.

In my opinion, whether or not you understand Hindi, this three minute video’s intention to make fun of the teachers is quite clear. Look at the writing on this chalkboard:

I agree with my sister on her view that drawing attention to a problem such as this need not include mocking the English language skills of those involved, when what needs to be looked at is the system. It brings up questions about media ethics, and how to write a story, and for whose benefit or amusement the story was written.

What do you feel about the effectiveness of stories told this way?

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