High School Panjabi Classes

Langa(w)riters have posted in the past on issues surrounding the preservation of the Panjabi language here, here, and here. Be it anywhere from Panjab to North America, the preservation of the Panjabi language is intimately tied to the preservation of a Panjabi and Sikh heritage. For example, in a recent article on Live Oaks High School offering Panjabi courses, Mohinder Singh Ghag, director of Live Oaks Schools Foundation stated:

“The language is the only reason we have a link to our ancestors.”gurmukhi-poster-195x300.jpg

Thus, the discussion around solutions has understandably centered around learning Panjabi in homes, gurdwaras, high schools and universities. I personally think having these learning opportunities available at all these different sites is a much-needed step towards maintaining the Panjabi language. I have always found the process of getting Panjabi classes taught in high schools particularly interesting because of how they require engaging the community, the reasons for creating them, and how they are incorporated into the public K-12 educational system.

For example, commendably in Live Oaks, California (located about 10 miles north of Yuba City, California):

Punjabi community members knocked on doors and made announcements in temples to get teenagers to sign a petition expressing interest in a Punjabi language class at Live Oak High School.

About 25 students signed-up.

In addition, the incentive for parents, students, and educators is:

The class will count toward the two-year foreign language requirement for University of California and California State University admissions.

The Live Oak Unified School Board supported Mohinder Singh Ghags initiative because of the districts focus on language development. Superintendent Tom Pritchard said, “The class is something that meets the needs of our students and the board was very supportive.

When the public educational system, one of the strongest integration forces in a pluralistic state, offers Panjabi classes an important statement is made about the value and status of a minority language. No longer is Panjabi just an extra-curricular activity (i.e. Panjabi schools) students engage in if there they have time following the completion of their mandatory English homework. It can equally meet requirements and language development needs as other languages, while preserving Panjabi heritage.

I know there are various high schools in California (e.g. Kerman, Union City, and Yuba City) that offer Panjabi classes. I have always wondered what these classes are really like. Many of us know that what goes on in the classroom actually leads to concrete forms of preservation. So I ask former and current students of high school Panjabi programs what was it like? How did teachers integrate your Western upbringing into teaching you Panjabi as a teenager? What was particularly good about what they did? What could they improve upon?


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18 Responses to “High School Panjabi Classes”

  1. baingandabhartha says:

    That is awesome. I wish there was a centralized resource (web based) that other punjabi speaking communities could easily access to figure out how this could be reproduced in their area. So not to have to reinvent the wheel.

  2. baingandabhartha says:

    That is awesome. I wish there was a centralized resource (web based) that other punjabi speaking communities could easily access to figure out how this could be reproduced in their area. So not to have to reinvent the wheel.

  3. Phulkari says:

    baingandabhartha,

    Excellent suggestion … a web-based resource would be great! :)

    When searching for information on these programs, I have only found a few news articles, such as, here and here.

    You are right it would be an excellent community resource so that more of these opportunities are available to other Panjabi-speaking communities without constantly re-inventing the wheel! There may be people who may want to start similar high school programs, but just get bogged-down with how do I start, particularly when it comes to beaucractic systems like public education. The majority of the Punjabi Sikh community is relatively new (only 1 or 2 generations in the United States) … sometimes we just want to know how does it work.

    How should we start on this web-resource?

  4. Phulkari says:

    baingandabhartha,

    Excellent suggestion … a web-based resource would be great! :)

    When searching for information on these programs, I have only found a few news articles, such as, here and here.

    You are right it would be an excellent community resource so that more of these opportunities are available to other Panjabi-speaking communities without constantly re-inventing the wheel! There may be people who may want to start similar high school programs, but just get bogged-down with how do I start, particularly when it comes to beaucractic systems like public education. The majority of the Punjabi Sikh community is relatively new (only 1 or 2 generations in the United States) sometimes we just want to know how does it work.

    How should we start on this web-resource?

  5. baingandabhartha says:

    Probably would involve hunting down the people who started the mentioned program, interviewing them and all others involved and posting the details on the web-perhaps on this website…

  6. baingandabhartha says:

    Probably would involve hunting down the people who started the mentioned program, interviewing them and all others involved and posting the details on the web-perhaps on this website…

  7. […] light of the recent article on Punjabi classes in California high schools, I ran into this article in the Chronicle Herald […]

  8. Rupinderpal says:

    My solution has been to combine the online Sri Guru Granth sahib Dictionary and Encyclopedia to type words in English and get their Punjabi equivalent,…then to cut and paste that on the advancedpunjabilearningcentre website to check Gender and usage

  9. Rupinderpal says:

    My solution has been to combine the online Sri Guru Granth sahib Dictionary and Encyclopedia to type words in English and get their Punjabi equivalent,…then to cut and paste that on the advancedpunjabilearningcentre website to check Gender and usage

  10. charan says:

    i am charan kaur from sydney australia. i am teacher in Aiis chandigarh to teach punjabi language to usa student i have 10 years teaching experience . three years from Aiis. plz give me achance for teaching i am very happy to teach them

  11. charan says:

    i am charan kaur from sydney australia. i am teacher in Aiis chandigarh to teach punjabi language to usa student i have 10 years teaching experience . three years from Aiis. plz give me achance for teaching i am very happy to teach them

  12. Roop Dhillon says:

    yes there is. Use the Sri Granth Dictionary to type in word in English, it will return the word in Punjabi, cut and paste this in the Advanced Punjabi Learning Centre Dictionary page and soon you will have gender…thus the journey to improve your Punjabi begins

  13. Roop Dhillon says:

    yes there is. Use the Sri Granth Dictionary to type in word in English, it will return the word in Punjabi, cut and paste this in the Advanced Punjabi Learning Centre Dictionary page and soon you will have gender…thus the journey to improve your Punjabi begins

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  16. n songs says:

    i am teacher in Aiis chandigarh to teach punjabi language to usa student i have 10 years teaching experience . three years from Aiis. plz give me achance for teaching i am very happy to teach them

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