A secondary school teacher from Dahanu has set the national record for framing the ‘maximum sentences using minimum words’ in English language. Balasaheb Chavan, 37, framed 50 lakh sentences using only 170 words while creating teaching techniques to help his vernacular-medium students understand and retain the language.
The teacher was granted recognition by the India Book of Records recently.
Chavan said the project started in 2010 when, as a teacher at K L Ponda High School, he realised the difficulties his students faced while learning English words and using them to frame sentences.
“Our school is located in the heart of the rural region where most students don’t know basic English words, let alone frame basic sentences. So retaining English was a task for them,” said the Dahanu resident, who took up the responsibility of developing tools to make the learning process easier.
The ‘sentence bank’ — as he calls the collection of sentences — started off with a small table of eight to 10 words that the students were asked to learn. From there, students would move on to using the words in different permutations and combinations to frame sentences.
Since the basic premise of the endeavour was to ensure his students understand the language easily, Chavan used simple nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs to frame the sentences.
“I would change just one word of a sentence to form the next sentence. For instance, ‘I am a good boy’ became ‘I am a good girl’ which then became ‘I am a nice boy’ and ‘I am a nice girl’.”
“The process of juggling the words to frame complete sentences got me hooked and even as I was developing the tool for students, I started constructing more sentences by adding few words to the list. The process was addictive and I continued until I had a bank of 50 lakh sentences,” he said.
In December 2016, the school teacher received a letter granting recognition of the record. “Balasaheb Chavan made 50,00,000 meaningful and error free sentences using only 170 English words,” states the letter.
The principal of K L Ponda High School is all praise for the young teacher. “Chavan’s approach towards teaching the language has benefited our students. They are no longer scared of grammar as they are learning with the help of techniques he has developed,” said MG Tajne, Principal at KL Ponda High school.
Chavan, however, is not one to rest on the laurels of setting a national record. The educator is now working on making grammar easy for his students by teaching them the technique he used in his ‘sentence bank’.
He is also aiming for recognition from the Guinness World Records as he has “never come across such a record at the international level.”
Originally Published In Mumbai Mirror