Every teacher must know about the new English NaliKali approach in teaching English

Every teacher must know about the new English NaliKali approach in teaching English


The Government of Karnataka is planning to roll out the English Nali-Kali (Joyful Learning) Teaching and Learning approach all across 53,000 government primary Kannada and English medium schools and Karnataka Public School (KPS) in the academic year 2020-21. The ENK will be rolled in three levels: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Level 1 will be rolling out in the 2020-21 academic year. 

The ENK approach could be a real game-changer in government schools in the state of Karnataka.


Brief History of Nali-Kali (Kannada/Urdu/EVS/Maths)

Nali-Kali (Joyful learning) started in the year 1995 in H D Kote, Myruru, Karnataka as a small UNICEF experiment project. Then later the government decided to expand the H D Kote experiment to the entire district of Mysuru. This was further upscaled in 1999 to ten blocks of Mysuru district (except Mysuru urban taluk) under the Janashaala program.

Nali-Kali Urdu materials were also developed and piloted in Government Urdu Medium school in 22 blocks of Mandya, Bidar, Vijayapur, and Yadagiri districts.

Finally, in 2009-10, the Nali-Kali approach of Teaching and Learning was rolled out in all the Government Kannada medium schools of Karnataka.

The Nali-Kali approach

- this is a very effective approach for multi-grade and multi-level teaching.

- no traditional style of examination is conducted as the children are assessed on-the-spot and continuously throughout the academic year.

- it is a completely student-centered approach, the teacher is only a facilitator.

- it accommodates various learning styles

- it is interactive, activity-based, and cooperative

- students learn through: multiple sensory stimulations, peer guidance, self-evaluation, and very important - play way.


Overview of English Nali-Kali (ENK)

As you know, children’s exposure to language is not the same.

The language that children speak at home and with people around them is called their “native language” or “home language”

When children speak one language at home but often hear a lot of another language in their surroundings it is called a “second language” 

When children neither speak a language at home nor are they exposed to it in their surroundings, that language, to them, is a “foreign Language”.

For most children in government schools, English is a foreign language and they most likely hear it only in the classroom.

When children enter school they have a basic level of vocabulary and grammar of their native language. The focus of native language teaching is therefore on reading and writing. So, the focus in Nali Kali Kannada is on Reading and Writing.

When children are taught a foreign language their vocabulary and grammar is nil and therefore they have to be taught basic vocabulary and grammar besides reading and writing. So, the focus of Nali Kali English is on both oral language and reading and writing.

The Nali Kali English methodology

Listening & Understanding, Speaking correctly, Reading with meaning, and Writing to express themselves.

Instead of listening passively to the teacher, children in the English Nali Kali class are engaged in conversing with their classmates and the teacher in English.

While teaching a foreign language, the focus has to be on developing vocabulary through listening, remembering, understanding, and speaking. 

Children understand better if they are taught concepts that they already know. So, it is important that the earliest vocabulary that children are introduced to are those words that they already know in their native language. 

Keeping this in mind, the English curriculum runs parallel to the EVS curriculum and the words and concepts explained to children in the English class are those that have been already covered in the EVS class. Therefore, children will be able to relate the new vocabulary words and concepts to the ones they already know.

English is taught in 2 parallel sessions. One session is on Listening and Speaking (L&S) and another is on Reading and Writing (R&W). Eventually, these two sessions merge to focus on increased reading as a way to gain language fluency. 


Listening and Speaking (L&S) curriculum focus on increasing the child’s vocabulary.
It enables the child to use English as a means of communication and also introduces children to words they already know and understand in their native language. The L&S session is a whole class process and does not follow the regular thatte(circle) process.

The Listening and Speaking (L&S) curriculum is thematic and has 7 topics and activities. The total cards/steps for L&S are 50.


The topics/themes/milestones in L&S curriculum

1. My body
2. Manasa's Family
3. My Neighbourhood
4. Colours
5. Numbers
6. Animals & Birds
7. Transport

Each topic/theme/milestone is introduced through a set of 6 activities that follow a constant sequence

1. Total Physical Response (TPR)
2. Presentation of Concept
3. Rhyme
4. Conversation Circle
5. Language Game
6. Story Telling
7. Evaluation (as this is an evaluation step, it cannot be considered as a theme/milestone) 


Reading and Writing (R&W) curriculum enables children to recognize, read, and write small and capital forms of the English alphabet. Children become familiar with clusters of letters and their sounds. They recognize, read, and write 3 letter words and sight words. Associate meaning with written/printed language. Read simple words/short sentences with the help of pictures and understand them and write simple words in grade 1. 

The letters in R&W are introduced as groups of commonly used letters rather than the conventional alphabet method. R&W session follows the regular thatte(circle) process and has 3 thattes(circles) in the class.


The Reading and Writing (R&W) curriculum has 6 milestones consisting of 202 steps/cards

1. Strokes (in this milestone students practice strokes of letters)

2. C O A P T

3. E S B I N

4. U D G R M

5. F H L W Y

6. J K Q V X Z


Each letter is introduced using 5 steps

Step 1- Students recognize pictures of objects that begin with the letters, recognize the letters and their sounds

Step 2 – Students identify letters from their sound 

Step 3 – Students trace the letters and write them in the air using correct hand movement

Step 4 – Students write the letters in their Workbook

Step 5 - Students circle the pictures recalling the sound of letters

Step 6 - Students revise the letters in the cluster with the teacher (as this step is for evaluations, it can't be considered as a step of introducing letters)


The classroom process

Coming to classroom management, the oral curriculum is arranged in a 3-year continuum where each activity (rhymes, stories, games, TPR, concepts, conversations) is designed in a graded manner. This allows older children to revise what they have already learned, while the younger children are prepared for concepts that will follow in future grades.

In the first year, all children in grades 1 to 3 will start from level 1. In the second year, children will be divided into two levels, Level 1 and level 2. Daily exposure to English Nali Kali includes 40 minutes of Listening and Speaking and 40 minutes of Reading and Writing.

Listening and speaking sessions follow the whole class approach. Reading and Writing sessions follow the regular Nali Kali thatte(circles) approach. Nali Kali English follows 3 thattes(circles) instead of 5 thattes(circles) in Kannada Nali-Kali.



Download the module: Overview of English Nali-Kali.







Credits: Samagra Shikshana Karnataka and UNICEF


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