Last week we posted the video Indian e-tutors teach British children maths as a visual support to our talking point Numbers. Some students have asked for a listening activity on the video clip, so here it is with the corresponding transcription.
Watch the video and answer the questions below about it.
1. How far away from London is Ludhiana?
2. What two pieces of equipment are used for students and tutors to communicate?
3. How much money do online tutors make in Ludhiana?
4. How many students are there on the online class?
5. What is the main disadvantage of the programme, according to the teachers union representative?
Now school in Britain has taken outsourcing to a whole new level by using call centre staff in India to help with math lessons here.
Children at a national primary school in North London have one-to-one computer sessions with tutors in the Punjab to supplement their school work.
The BBC's Howard Johnson's travelled to Ludhiana in India to find out how the long-distance lessons actually work.
(1) 4,000 miles away from London in North India's industrial heartland is Ludhiana, a city best known for its knitwear factories and manufacturing plants. But now it provides a new export: online tutorials in maths…
If I asked you what’s fifteen times 3…
…delivered straight into British homes and classrooms.
Pupils and tutors communicate with each other (2) using headsets and an interactive whiteboard. Lessons are designed to cover UK primary and secondary school curricula and can be arranged 24 hours a day.
(3) Tutors here in Ludhiana earn around seven pounds an hour, that’s roughly three times a local minimum wage. Now the British-based company that offers the services says that all have been security checked and must be from a maths teachers or graduates.
Ashmount Primary in North London became the first school in Britain to use the service. But what do their pupils make of their e-tutors.
It’s fun because it’s on a computer, not doing it down in your book.
When you’re in class doing maths, you don't really want to pay attention because the teacher is right in front of you, but now it’s on the computer and you, you’re speaking to somebody in India and you don’t want to waste the opportunity.
It’s fun because you’re talking to someone from somewhere else.
Ashmount teachers say the service is cost-effective but is of a high standard.
The biggest advantage is that it's affordable and, you know, we can get more children getting (4) one-to-one tuition and within the national curriculum framework, and so we know they're making progress and also the children really enjoy it, they like using the computer and, you know, they’re enthusiastic about the lessons.
But a teachers’ union says there are downsides to using the service.
These sorts of methods (5) wouldn't give you any sort of emotional connection between the teacher and the child, and we think that's a vital part of learning. Teaching isn't just about having maths knowledge. It's about having that connection with the child, knowing how to enthuse them. It's also about reporting back to their class teacher, so we don't think this method will work very well for children.
Despite criticism, Brightspark Education hope that by joining on the country’s shared history and language its service will expand into more British classrooms soon.
Howard Johnson, BBC News, Ludhiana.