A teacher’s journey into authorship

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Teaching and authorship go side by side for Dr Pradeep Jain, who currently teaches Hindi at Modern School (Barakhamba Road) in New Delhi and has so far written more than 80 academic and reference books for schools and higher studies. The Progressive Teacher meets this teacher-author and browses through his books among which Utkarsh series from Madhubun Educational Books deserves special mention.

Every author has a story behind the writing a particular book. When asked about his story on influences or inspirations that inspired him to become an author, Dr Pradeep says he once discovered a certain void in the Hindi curriculum while taking classes and he subsequently planned to write a good textbook to fill the gap. ‘I have come across a number of good school textbooks over the last 20 years of my teaching career. However, I found an ingredient missing in most of them – this ingredient we have finally discovered in Utkarsh,’ he mentions.

Dr Pradeep has co-authored the Utkarsh series with Virendra Jain and Raima Gupta. The first edition of the series was launched in the year 2012, followed by the revised and widely acclaimed edition in the very next year. ‘We have designed the Utkarsh series for Nursery to Class 8 to methodically help young minds to get on progressive learning as well as various aspects of gaining knowledge about life, career and many others. In addition, this series is also a guide to help teachers improve their teaching skills or methodology,’ asserts Dr Pradeep.

Writing an academic book, according to Dr Pradeep, is quite different from writing fiction. ‘It involves diverse challenges while developing the content, language, graphics and other related elements suitable for young minds of different grades or classes,’ he explains. ‘There are broadly seven skills— Speaking, Listening, Writing, Reading, Searching, Thinking and Presenting – which we introduce step by step for lower to higher classes in the Utkarsh series. A right mix of verbal and writing skills is essential for young children, whereas searching, thinking and presentation are for older children in higher classes.’

Utkarsh series is a comprehensive compilation of chapters on all possible subjects/topics, selected from different geographies across the length and breadth of the country. ‘Topics we cover in the series include almost everything under the sun compiled from Manipur to Gujarat, Kashmir to Kerala with the idea of bringing knowledge and national integration together to the school curriculum,’ remarks Dr Pradeep. Be it literature, politics, theatre, film, music, travel, career…Utkarsh covers all the fields of study in a meticulous manner.

Regarding the CCE pattern, Dr Pradeep sees both negative and positive sides of this system.

‘It (CCE) nourishes children’s creativity positively and identifies the difficulties they face at regular intervals throughout the year or academic session. It really makes learning easy for children, but the tradition or habit of reading for students is totally missing in the system.’ According to him, the CCE system is 75:25 as far as positive and negative aspects are concerned’.

Other than the Utkarsh series, some of the popular Hindi and Sanskrit books to the credit of Dr Pradeep include Bhartiya Sanskriti, The History of Sanskrit, The History of Indian Philosophy, Indian Culture, which are widely recommended reference books at college and university levels. For those youngsters looking forward to becoming authors in future, Dr Pradeep has a message – ‘Authors are not made in creative writing in schools. Keep reading, gain knowledge, then your inner self will finally urge you to write – of course, a book!’