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Rethinking Language Instruction: An Exclusive interview with Dr.Jinpa

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

This month, I am featuring Dr. Jinpa and Laura Kozaitis’s conversation on “Language,” the continuation of teaching Tibetan igilanguage (Bodhi) to Ladakhi students, and how schools should approach it. Ladakhi children grow up learning Tibetan, English, and Hindi in addition to the primary, spoken language at home, Ladakhi. Schools teach Hindi and English because they are the national and global languages, respectively. Tibetan is crucial because it is the written script of Ladakhi, and it is the language through which Ladakh’s heritage, culture, art, and history have been recorded. Tibetan language classes in Ladakh are known as the Bodhi subject. The Bodhi subject is often the sole pathway through which the Ladakhi cultural and historical identity is taught in Ladakhi schools.

Dr. Jinpa makes some interesting points about how there needs to be more instruction specific to Ladakh’s culture and history in Ladakhi schools. As it stands, the class-time study of Tibetan language (Bodhi) is limited. As a high school student, I was only taught bits and pieces of Ladakh’s history during Bodhi class. My social studies classes focused on Indian culture and history from a mainstream Indian perspective. I hope Dr. Jinpa’s suggestions on the teaching of the Tibetan language in Ladakhi schools will stimulate us to share our ideas on the subject in the comments section. How can we make Ladakh’s rich language heritage relevant and meaningful to new generations of students?

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