Debakshi graduated with History Honours from Presidency College, Calcutta India. She obtained a Masters in History and a Bachelor of Education from Calcutta University. She went on to do a certificate in TEFL( UK), a Young Learners Certificate (British Council) and a Diploma in TESOL.
After more than 7 years of homeroom teaching in several schools in India, including DPS R K Puram, she moved to Singapore in 2010. In Singapore, she has worked as an EAL teacher in an international school.
She believes in using differentiated instruction in order to address the weaknesses, strengths and needs of each student. Her passion for second language acquisition was ignited by a deep interest in non-English speaking cultures.
Debakshi is excited to be part of the OWIS community. She is attracted by the school’s holistic approach to education and multicultural environment.
A voracious reader, Debakshi has developed a predilection for Asian literature over the years. She loves reading books by Chinese, Japanese and South Asian authors. She is a passionate dog lover and is associated with animal welfare organisations in Singapore and volunteers for them. Debakshi and her husband are proud parents to their teenage son and two dogs, adopted from local shelters.
Learning a new language comes with its own challenges, especially when your child is also adjusting to a new school and culture. Here's an overview of the customised approach for second language acquisition at OWIS and the student-centred approach to teaching English as a second language.
Second language acquisition programmes begin primarily with teacher-led activities. As they progress, students complete increasing levels of independent work. Highly-trained teachers use a bi-literacy approach, which is believed to be the most effective method of instruction.
Effective language acquisition programmes plan instruction around themes as theme-based activities maximise opportunities for language and academic development. With every instructional unit, teachers incorporate essential language arts skills — reading, writing, listening and speaking. To enhance students' respect for their own and other cultures, teachers include multicultural literature in the curriculum, which also stimulates a high level of involvement and participation. Students actively use the new language in class to boost their confidence and skills, and teachers track learners' progress through regular assessments.
According to noted linguist, Stephen Krashen, students typically move through five stages of second language acquisition to achieve a level of fluency similar to that of native speakers.
All students studying English as a Second Language (ESL) will pass through these stages until they master the language.
Language learning involves teaching students about the rules, structure and nuances of the target language so they can learn to speak it. Language acquisition goes beyond merely teaching rules; students gain proficiency by using the language in meaningful ways. At OWIS, we use the latter approach to promote students’ involvement in their learning.
As students learn a new language, there is often a gap between basic interpersonal communication skills (language used face-to-face) and cognitive academic language proficiency (language used in the classroom). Students usually learn social language in six months to two years. But it can take up to five years to fully develop the specialised skills necessary for academic language proficiency.
At OWIS, we use a variety of strategies in our English as an Additional Language programme to close the gap, including:
Supporting students' first languages and cultures in addition to English as a second language increases the likelihood that they will become internationally minded, productive citizens, playing a vital role in contributing to the economy and society as a whole.
Effective for all EAL/ESL/English language learners (ELLs), our English language acquisition approach promotes learning in a highly-engaging, positive environment. To learn more about how our EAL programme can benefit your child, visit us virtually.