About

After two very enjoyable years teaching Hindi at Boston University, I entered an M.A. program in Hindi-Urdu Foreign Language Pedagogy through Kean University and graduated in fall 2018.  Now I am eager to put all the latest teaching techniques to work!

I’m currently teaching a non-credit Hindi class at MIT Tata Center, and also have some time available for private tutoring and classes.  I offer beginning and intermediate classes, as well as private lessons, meeting in Cambridge or remotely via Skype.  Please contact me for more information.  

I also manage the Boston Hindi-Urdu Speakers and Learners group of more than 800 members. We arrange social and cultural get-togethers at which we speak Hindi-Urdu,  and we occasionally offer lessons as well.  All events cost less than $5, which covers our organizing costs.  Join the group here.

MY BACKGROUND

I first got interested in studying Hindi and Urdu after a trip to Pakistan during a year off from college, when I accompanied my best friend on a visit with her family in Karachi.  The most fascinating conversations I had on that trip were the ones with Urdu speakers, in which my friend had to translate for me–conversations with women of a small village we visited, and with the cook who worked in my friend’s grandparent’s house.  It was in those translated conversations that  I first experienced the lively curiosity and unabashed generosity of many South Asians. The people who had not been out of the country much or learned much English were often the ones I learned the most fascinating things from.

When I returned to Brown University, I decided to major in South Asian Studies, and afterward did graduate study in the Harvard University Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies.  I also studied Hindi on an exchange program at Banaras Hindu University, at which time I lived with a Hindi-speaking family, worked at Sarada Ashram, and learned to play shehnai (poorly).   I also learned a lot of Hindi working in an Indian restaurant after college. It really came together for me there, as I had long shifts during which I had to speak Hindi and walk  simultaneously!  I guess that’s further evidence that communication-centered language study often works the best. Throughout the years, I’ve continued studying on my own and in reading groups with a Hindi instructor from Johns Hopkins (while I was living in Washington, DC) and Harvard (while living in Cambridge).  In fall 2018, I completed an M.A. in Hindi-Urdu Foreign Language Pedagogy from Kean University.

I have taught Hindi-Urdu on and off for many years.  In the 90’s, I taught Hindi at the Language Exchange in Boston; and from 2000-2009, I taught on weekends at the India School in Bethesda, Maryland while I worked as a Program Specialist at the Smithsonian Institution during the week. I moved back to Cambridge in 2010, where I’ve been teaching Hindi-Urdu since.   In 2009 and 2011,  I organized, along with the generous help and funding of the Director of the India School,  a school field trip program for children in an underfunded Hindi-medium school in Pabsara, India (you can see some pictures on the Gallery page).  It was the first time the school offered field trips, and the first time most of the children had visited  nearby Delhi.  The  trips have now become a twice-yearly tradition.  Before teaching at MIT Tata Center for the last three semesters, I served as Part-Time Lecturer of Hindi-Urdu at Boston University for two years.

MY TEACHING STYLE

I try to gear my teaching as much as possible to whatever students prefer, since everyone has different priorities and learning styles.  Most beginning students are interested in developing their communication skills, so I usually provide as many opportunities as possible to converse in class.  I generally focus on introducing new vocabulary and grammatical features into structures that students already know somewhat, so they can increase proficiency without becoming overwhelmed, and review at the same time.  It can be hard to get exposure to comprehensible input on your own, especially at the beginning levels.   In class, the goal is to keep the conversation and other input at levels that can be handled reasonably comfortably,  and with confidence, while using authentic Hindi-Urdu materials (songs, stories, advertisements, movies, periodicals, websites, etc.) whenever possible.  I encourage students to bring their own materials if they wish.  I also try to help students have structured conversations with Hindi-Urdu speakers in the community outside of class.

If students would like to do homework, that will only help, but not all students have time to or want to do homework, in which case we can work with that as well.

I have most of the well-known Hindi textbooks and we can choose materials according to your priorities.    I prefer Rupert Snell’s and Simon Weightman’s Teach Yourself Hindi, but should you want to use another book, I am familiar with  the other major texts.  For Urdu, I recommend Teach Yourself Urdu by David Matthews and Kasim Dalvi.  I have a number of anthologies for intermediate and advanced students,  or we can choose another text that interests you.  But much of the work we do is not focused on a text book; I believe it’s more productive to focus on  communication-based study using authentic materials of personal interest to students.  Please see the Resources page for links on other texts.

I often teach at my house, which is in Huron Village, Cambridge, and near the Alewife T Stop as well as the Mt. Auburn  Street and Brattle Street bus lines.  There is plentiful street parking if you prefer to drive.  If it’s easier to meet elsewhere, I can sometimes meet at other Cambridge locations (coffee shops and bookstores).