Editorial

We cordially welcome you to the February-March issue of NELTA ELT Forum 2021 and take pleasure to present this issue consisting of a diverse collection of articles on ELT and pedagogy-related topics. In the meantime, we sincerely extend our gratitude to the contributors while enjoying immense support from them. This issue focuses on the perspectives of different authors where we have included ideas from classroom practices, reflections, and teaching-learning experiences to quench the learning thirst of English teachers.

Ms. Sezgi Yalin, in the article Speaking’ in Isolation: 20 Topics to Get your Students to Speak in Class or Online, shares her firsthand (online) language teaching experience on helping learners to naturally improve their speaking skills. New Campaign in Teacher Professional Development by Mr. Raju Shrestha highlights different ways of teacher professional development modes such as online learning, virtual learning, self-determined and self-directed learning during the corona pandemic. Mr. Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, in his article Classroom Management Technique Used by ELT Teachers: A Comparative Study, discusses the research findings of classroom management strategies used by community and private school teachers of western Terai of Nepal. Mr. Govinda Puri analyses the pros and cons of using digital gadgets by young children from the health, psychological and social perspectives in the article Electronic Gadgets for Young Children: Allow or Restrict. We have also included expert responses related to the various emerging issues of language and learning pedagogies. It includes discussion on critical pedagogy, independent reading, transformative learning, teaching speaking, and integrated curriculum.

We hope the present issue will create a space with useful insights into our day-to-day language learning endeavors. We extend our sincere gratitude to the contributors for their immense support in bringing this issue to this stage and are hopeful to continue this trend of bringing productive and practical ideas in the upcoming issues. We’d like to appreciate the reviewers for their invaluable contributions to this issue of the NELTA ELT Forum and expect similar support from them in the days to come too.

Editor in Chief

Dr. Kashi Raj Pandey

Issue Editors

Mr. Kamal Raj Lamsal (Issue Coordinator)

Mr. Gopal Prasad Bashyal                                                                                                                                       

Mr. Batuk Lal Tamang                                                                                                                                

Ms. Shyama Khanal Poudel

Mr. Hom Raj Khadka

Mr. Guru Prasad Poudel (Technical Support)

We have hyperlinked the articles for readers’ convenience as below:

Speaking’in isolation:20 Topics to Get Your Students in Class or Online

New Campaign in Teachers ‘Professional Development

Classroom Management Techniques: A Comparative Study

Electronic Gadgets for Young Children : Allow or Restrict

Professional Dialogue On Contemporary issues in ELT & Pedagogy

‘Speaking’ in Isolation: 20 Topics to Get Your Students to Speak in Class or Online

Sezgi Yalin

Abstract

Just like many other EFL/ESL teachers, it has been exhausting and challenging for me to adapt to online teaching. When I was asked to virtually teach some French students from A1 to C2 level and to focus on helping them improve their speaking skill, I had to quickly produce some materials that naturally prompt speaking practice. Considering the fact that these students are adults and all work for a banking company during the Covid-19 lockdown, I needed to design my materials so that their interests, levels, and needs were targeted. Those materials are presented in this article which can be used in a 40-minute online lesson.

Introduction

Each online lesson was designed for one-to-one, 40-minute lessons. The fact that I only had a few days to prepare, I focused more on the content of my speaking lessons and less on overcomplicating things by trying to use many different types of online tools. I wanted to keep my lessons simple to ensure better teaching and ultimately, better learning. I only used some basic tools such as digital worksheets, Power Point, and a whiteboard where to show pictures, questions, tasks, language clarification, and language errors. There are lots of good tools out there, but it does not mean these good tools make better teaching. What makes good teaching, what produces quality lessons is the better use of tools whether basic or sophisticated.

Most of the designed activities introduced here contain only discussion topics and the tasks with related prompt questions. They can be used at any level if the language used in them is graded.

Here what is not provided are pre- and post- tasks for these discussion topics, but by following the speaking teaching framework introduced below, students can be easily prepared to discuss the suggested speaking topics, and then be challenged to focus on correcting their language errors, if any. When using the speaking teaching framework, the two things that need to be done are:

1. ‘plugging in’ one of the discussion topics presented here into the ‘speaking stage’ in the framework;

2. and then making changes to the stages ‘before’ and ‘after’ the ‘speaking stage’ so they fit in with the given discussion topic.

Every single ‘speaking stage’ during my one-to-one lessons was always followed by an error correction stage as suggested in the speaking frame below. Depending on the needs of a student, my error correction usually focused on grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and register.

The lesson

Speaking Teaching Framework – 40 mins

Each stage of this speaking teaching framework is designed so that it is highly student centered. Therefore, there is a lot of pair/group work; it can, however, be adapted so that it can also be used in a one-to-one teaching situation.

Aim: By the end of the lesson, students will have had practice in speaking during a speaking lesson in the context of…

Lead-in

5 minutes

Interaction patterns: T-Ss, S-S, T-Ss

  • Set a context for the speaking and get the students to work in pairs or a small group so that they are engaged with the topic of the speaking before they do the task. Conduct brief class feedback after the students have discussed.

Pre-speaking

10-15 minutes

Interaction patterns: T-Ss, S-S, T-Ss

  • Prepare the students for the speaking task by giving them tools (examples of the language) you want them to use in the task, as well as useful information to help them create a context for the task.

Speaking task

10-15 minutes

Interaction patterns: T-Ss, S-S, T-Ss

  • Set the speaking task. As they are speaking, monitor while making a note of any typical mistakes you notice – you will use these for feedback at the end.  Depending on time, you can circulate the students so that they speak to more than one person.

Follow-up

5-10 minutes

Interaction patterns: T-Ss

  • Ensure there is some kind of feedback at the end – ideally this would include feedback/ corrections on the content, as well as the language they used. Use the examples you made a note of during the speaking task. 

(Thanks to Gabriella Megyesi for creating this framework, and to Samantha Birkett for developing it).

Discussion Topics and Prompt Questions

1 My Photograph

Choose a photograph. It does not have to be beautiful or good. It might be a photograph you saved for a reason, and it means something to you:

  • It might be a photograph YOU took;
  • You might be in it;
  • It might be cut out from a magazine just because it makes you happy.

You should NOT describe the picture. You should tell your listener HOW this photograph takes you somewhere. Here are some questions you can answer to help you with this:

1/ How does the photograph make you feel?

2/ What does it make you remember?

3/ What’s your relationship to the people or place in the picture?

4/ Is there a story behind this photograph?

5/ Do you remember when the photo was taken? If yes, do you know what happened the moment before or after the photograph was taken? If not, can you imagine what happened before or after it was taken?

6/ Is there anyone who is not in the picture? If so, why not?

7/ If you could, what would you ask the photographer or the people in the photograph?

8/ Talk about another photograph that was NOT taken, but now you wish it had been taken. Describe that photograph in detail.

2 Describe It in Details

Describe one of the below in as many details as you can by answering the following questions:

A/ a location you have been to;

B/ someone you met for the first time;

C/ a period of time in your life (e.g. your first year at high school)

1/ What did you see, and smell?

2/ How did it/that person make you feel?

3/ Was there anyone else there? If so, who else was there?

4/ What did you do?

5/ What happened afterward?

6/ Did anything change?

7/ Why did you choose to describe this particular topic?

3 A Brave Moment

Think about a time or a moment when you were really curious. During this time or moment, you were also very scared; you, however, felt that your fear was not as strong as your curiosity:

1/ When did this happen?

2/ What were you curious about? Why?

3/ What were you scared of?

4/ How did you overcome your fear?

5/ Why was your curiosity stronger than your fear?

4 The Funniest Thing Ever

Imagine you are an inanimate object. You could be, for example, a mobile phone, a tree, or a vase in the living room. By using descriptive language, answer the following questions:

1/ What’s the funniest thing that happened to you last year or that you saw happen?

2/ Where were you?

3/ Who was with you?

5 Five Different Periods From My Life

1/ Think about five time periods, ages, or moments from your life.Do not spend too much time on thinking too hard on these periods. Instead, just tell me about each one as they come to mind.

Example:

High school

University

Sleepovers at a friend’s house (age 18).

Working in Thailand (age 24).

Travelling to Poland (age 25).

2/ Which period was the most interesting one? Why? Tell me more about it in detail.

6 A Memory

Think about a memory of a gathering. It must be a gathering that was really meaningful to you. It could be, for example, a birthday celebration, or a graduation ceremony. Tell me about this gathering by answering the questions below?

1/ When was the gathering?

2/ What time of year was it?

3/ What was it?

4/ Who was there?

5/ What was the activity?

6/ Do you remember some of the words that were used during this gathering? What were they?

7/ How did it make you feel?

8/ Why was it meaningful to you?

9/ Has it changed you? Has it shaped you? How?

7 Something I Read

Think about a short list of texts (e.g. books, articles, an e-mail message, a letter) from your past. The text you read meant a lot to you during a particular period in your life.

1/ What did you read?

2/ When did you read it?

3/ Describe your life at the time.

4/ How did it make you feel? Describe it in detail.

5/ Why did you need to read it at that particular period in your life?

8 Places

Think about different places. These places might be a town, a city, your childhood home or garden, a friend’s restaurant, or a forest.

Tell me about at least five of these different places, but do NOT describe them. Instead answer these questions in detail:

1/ How did each place make you feel?

2/ What did it feel like to be at these places?

9 Something Meaningful

Think about a new beginning that was meaningful for you. This could be a new job, a new school, a new habit, a new hobby, or a new relationship.

1/ Why was it meaningful?

2 How did it change you?

3/ What is the difference between the past and the new beginning?

10 Your Younger and Older Self

1/ Think about your younger self.

A/ How many many versions of your younger self are there?

B/ Choose one of them and talk to this younger self. Praise or thank your younger self, and tell your younger self whatever comes to your mind.

2/ Now, think about your older self.

A/ What would you like to tell them? What would you like to request from and ask your older self?

B/ What are you doing right now that you think will help your older self?

C/ Where might your older self be living?

D/ Who might your older self be spending time with?

E/ What might your older self be doing?

11 Message to the World

A/ What is a perfect world for you?

B/ What two things would you change in the world?

C/ What is the best thing in the world?

D/ What is the most upsetting thing in the world?

E/ You want to say something very important to the world. What would that be?

12 Isolation During the Covid-19 Pandemic

1/ What have your days of isolation been like?/What were your days of isolation like?

2/ What have you learned/did you learn about yourself during these/those days?

3/ What has been/was the most important moment for you during the isolation?

13 A Stranger

1/ Think about a stranger. This stranger might be someone imaginary, or someone you met once.

A/ When did you first notice him/her?

B/ What happened since you met him/her?

C/ What did you want to say to him/her, but you couldn’t?

D/ What did you want the stranger to tell you, but did not?

14 Thank You!

Think about all the ‘essential workers’ like your postal worker who have been working/worked during the Covid-19 pandemic. Talk to him/her to express your gratitude for him/her.

1/ What would you say?

2/ Which questions would you ask them to show them you care about them and everything they have been doing/did for us?

15 Talk to Your Mother

Think about your mother or someone who has been like a mother to you. This someone 1/ might have mothered you; 2/ might have raised you; 3/ might have given you money or medicine when you needed it; or 4/ might have reminded you that you are special.

1/ What would you say to this person? Think about at least 3 things to say to her/him.

2/ What would you want this person to know? Think about at least 3 things.

16 A Memorable Pet Biography

Think about a pet which can be yours or someone else’s. Answer all or some of the questions below to help you tell me a memorable biography of this pet:

1. When and where were you born?

2. Do you recall any interesting stories regarding your birth?

3. What is your earliest memory?

4. Who was your best friend? Are you still in touch with them?

5. Is there a teacher that you remember for good/bad reasons?

6. Was there someone you really looked up to when you were a teenager?

7. What was your first job?

8. What was your best job?

9. What was your worst job?

10. Who was the biggest influence in your career?

11. Do you have children? If so, how many and what age and gender are they?

12. What is your goal as a parent?

13. How would your children describe you as a parent?

14. What is your definition of “happiness”?

15. What is your most memorable travel experience?

16. Who is your biggest fan?

17. If you could possess one super-human power, what would it be?

18. What is your greatest fear?

19. What is your greatest hope?

20. What are the main lessons you’ve learned in life?

17 My Name

Think about your name, and how it sounds:

1/ How does the sound of your name make you feel?

2/ Do you know the meaning of your name? If yes, what does it mean?

3/ Where did it come from?

4/ Is there a story behind how you got your name?

5/ Do you think names shape our personality?

6/ If names shape our personality, how has it informed who you’ve become?

7/ If you could change your name, would you? If not, why not? If yes, what would it be and why?

18 Time Capsule

Think about your time in isolation because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and imagine it as a time capsule.

1/ How has this time changed your life?

2/ What was difficult for you during this time?

3/ What made you happy during this time?

4/ What were some things you thought about? What were some of the things that you did NOT want to think about?

5/ What were some things you ate?

6/ What do you think you will never forget about this time?

7/ What are some things you want to forget about this time?

19 My Favorite Store

Think of a store that you love. It could be a favorite shop from your childhood or it could be a place you go all the time. Imagine that you are at this store right now, and answer the questions below:

1/ What do you see, smell, or taste?

2/ Where is it, and what types of goods are sold there?

3/ What is your favorite thing about your favorite store?

4/ When was the first time you visited this store?

5/ What type of people go there?

6/ If that store is not around anymore, what would you do to help it stay in business?

20 A View from My Window

Think about a good spot in front of your favorite window.

1/ What do you see and small outside of your window?

2/ What is the weather like?

3/ Are there people or is it empty?

4/ Describe what is happening at the moment.

5/ Does the view bring back any memories? If yes, how do these memories make you feel?

6/ If you could, would you change this view? If yes, what would you change?

Conclusion

The materials presented above are easily adaptable into the speaking framework provided in the article. This can be done according to student needs, and interests. They can also be used at any level, and no online tools except a platform are required to put these materials and the framework into practice.

Ms. Yalın has been teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language and training teachers for more than twenty years. She earned her B.A. in Journalism and English Literature at Roosevelt University in Chicago, and her M.A. as a Fulbright scholar in teaching English as a foreign language at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She worked as an English teacher, teacher trainer and director of studies in the USA and Poland, and gained additional experience in the field in various countries such as the UK, Spain, Egypt, Lebanon, Kazakhstan, Israel, China, Nepal, Tibet, Vietnam, Cyprus and Turkey. She is currently a freelance teacher trainer working for Pilgrims Teacher Training Centre in the UK and Cambridge University teacher trainer courses (CELTA) around the world.

New Campaign in Teacher Professional Development

Raju Shrestha

Synopsis

Teacher professional learning has been extremely reshaped with the advent of modern technologies and methodologies that created a rich and robust impetus for policymakers, planners, and practitioners to think and rethink the nature and process of teacher learning. Amidst such context, COVID-19 abruptly appeared as a strong stimulus to ignite the modern spirit of technologies and methodologies. This experience has also given many opportunities to explore different ways of developing teacher professional resiliency through online learning, virtual learning, self-determined and self-directed learning.     

Scene setting

The term ‘teacher professional development is not a new concept for us. It is much discussed much written and less explored area. Simply, professional refers to someone who is trained and qualified and displays a high standard of competent conduct in his or her practice. In the field of language pedagogy and learning, attempts are made to make teachers truly professionals by involving them in a wide variety of activities and programs. Teacher professional development may require many things including training, qualification and commitment, communication and collaboration forums and networks, entry requirements, and so on.

Different scholars have viewed it from different perspectives. Some say teacher professional development is the next step when once a teacher’s period of formal training is over (Richards & Farrell, 2005). In the same way, some others state that professional development is sometimes used to describe moving teachers forward in gaining new knowledge and skills (Craft, 1996). It can also be said that teacher professional development or growth means enabling teachers to generate their ideas from classroom practice (Victoria H. in Burns, 1999). By considering these ideas about teacher professional development, it will be fruitful to mention Glatthorn’s ideas about teacher professional development. Glatthorn (1995 as cited in Reimers-Villegas, 2003) states that:

Professional development, in a broad sense, refers to the development of a person in his or her professional role. More specifically, it is the professional growth a teacher achieves as a result of gaining increased experience and examining his or her teaching systematically. Professional development includes formal experiences such as attending workshops and professional meetings, mentoring, etc., and informal experiences such as reading professional publications, watching television documentaries related to an academic discipline, etc. (p. 11)

Overall, certain characteristics of teacher professional development can be drawn that support and promote our understanding. Martine, L.E. et. al. (2014) list some of the flagship characteristics of successful teacher professional development programs. They include:

  • Professional development is instructive. It supports teachers as they gain content knowledge and acquire instructional strategies.
  • Professional development is reflective. Teachers need to reflect deeply over time, focused on theory-based practice.
  • Professional development is active. Teachers are thinkers and intellectuals. They should be engaged in the learning process.
  • Professional development is collaborative. Collaboration challenges teachers to expand their thinking.
  • Professional development is substantive (i.e., content-based). It should be extensive and intensive focusing on specific topics. 

Finally, teacher professional development involves multi-level experiences andactivities. It demands from the teacher to be a classroom learner to action researcher about classroom problems, cultural diplomats within the cross-cultural settings of classrooms, and so on (Sharma & Shrestha, 2012). It demands every teacher to be reflective, creative, and critical practitioners. Therefore, teacher professional development is a personal journey or personal mission rather than something that can be done and prepared by others.

Survey of the practice of teacher professional development

The genesis of teacher professional development can be traced back to 2004 B.S in Nepal. This is the time of formal teacher education in Nepal. Since then the concept of teacher professional development got a priority. This sector has crossed many ups and downs to arrive at the modern form of teacher professional development. When we review the historical trajectories of developments of the field, we see four types of legacies or trends being practiced (Shrestha, 2077). They are:

  • The first wave (beginning in the 1960s) – Focus is on teaching skills and pedagogy. The goal is teacher’s internal effectiveness.
  • The second wave (around the 1990s) – Focus is on student learning and content knowledge. The goal is interface effectiveness.
  • The third wave (after the 2000s) – Focus is on the collaborative culture of the organization. The goal is future effectiveness.

To put critical eyes on the different waves of teacher professional development, Nepalese teacher professional development practice adapted all three waves. We started from content and pedagogy-focused practice to collaborative culture. In recent years, we are practicing collaborative culture or to be more specific, reflective practice. We crossed the two previous eras in the teacher professional development sector. They are the content knowledge era and pedagogic knowledge era. However, most of the teachers still lack both content and pedagogic knowledge. Recently, with the advent of modern technologies and methodologies, a new kind of spirit appeared in pedagogy and learning. The spirit of new pedagogies supported and promoted by modern technologies and methodologies further ignited by the abrupt appearance of COVID-19. It created an adverse atmosphere in all spheres of human society. At the time of adversity, looking for an appropriate learning atmosphere in both educational institutions and training agencies is like sketching future trajectories to make the new journey in ancient route. Planners and practitioners were thinking about new strategies to inject into the conventional practice of teacher and student learning to give new dynamism. In Nepal too, the Centre for Education and Human Resource Development (CEHRD), an apex body for designing and developing policies about teacher professional development did a meticulous effort to respond lockdown and shutdown situation of COVID-19. Consequently, Teacher Professional Development through Distance Mode, Standard Operating Procedure-2077 has been developed. This document introduced a new wave in the field of teacher professional development. This new wave can be taken as the fourth wave in the domain of teacher professional learning. This is given below.

  • The fourth wave(after the 2020s) – Focus is on professional resilience, developing adaptive capacity, online and virtual presentation through synchronous and asynchronous modes of delivery.

In Nepal, based on the fourth wave we have recently adapted flipped model of professional development.             This model of teacher professional development is discussed in detail in the following heading.

The shift in the model of Teacher Professional Development

Flipped learning, in simple terms, refers to homework at school and school work at home. This concept was originally developed for classroom learning. Later, the idea is transmitted to the teacher learning too. Flipped learning has four pillars. They are:

  • Flexible environment
  • Learning culture
  • Intentional content
  • Professional support

Applying the principle of the flipped classroom, Justin Moorman (as cited in OECD 2018) introduced the idea of flipped professional development (PD) for teachers. This model allows teachers to personalize learning based on their professional development goals and places them at the center of their development. According to Moorman, flipped PD activities are divided into three phases:

  • Engagement
  • Collaboration  
  • Application

By and large, the flipped model is based on an online mode of delivery. In online training delivery, there are two main modes of learning. They are synchronous and asynchronous modes.

  • Synchronous mode– Synchronous mode refers to happening together live or in real-time. A video meeting in Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc. is one good example of the synchronous mode of training and learning (PETC Trainer’s Handbook for Adapting Teacher Training from Face to Face to Online 2077). Trainees and facilitators meet at the same time from different places through different online channels/tools such as Zoom Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc. They join in an online meeting and collaborate and share their experiences, expectations, experiments and get exposure to the contents being planned to discuss. It is the online face-to-face mode. In loose terms, we can say this is real-time learning.
  • Asynchronous modeAsynchronous mode refers to happening for each person individually- without expectation of any or immediate interaction. An email exchange, messages sent through WhatsApp, Viber, Slack, Facebook messenger, Moodle, Offline reading, etc. are a good example of the asynchronous mode of training and learning.   Trainees receive some relevant and useful pre-loaded materials by the facilitator either through e-mails or uploaded in learning portals or site. Materials can be questions, queries, doubts, e-books, journal articles, research papers, slides, newspapers, audio clips, video clips, web links, etc. supported by some kind of worksheet given by the facilitator. Trainees have to go through the materials and make notes or prepare worksheets. This is, in loose terms, an offline mode where trainees have to sit at their place and do the searching, selecting, reading, reflecting, exploring, and exploiting the main messages and meanings being based on the mandates given by the facilitator. Trainees have to prepare daily diaries as a separate events. Based on the diary maintained in the asynchronous mode, they share when they meet in synchronous mode.

In the flipped model of professional development, trainee teachers will have extensive study and intensive discussion on the subject matter. Therefore, during this flipping process, we see engagement, collaboration, and application of learned knowledge and skills. This is the fourth or latest practice of teacher professional development being practiced in Nepal. This practice gives much emphasis on asynchronous mode of learning with the ultimate aim of developing a culture of self-directed and self-determined learning.

Flipped model of professional development also expects to develop digital competencies on the part of practitioners. Digital competencies here refer to 5Cs- they are communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creative problem solving, and creativity. These are the soft aspects that are expected to develop to tight the nuts and bolts of teacher professional knowledge and skills.     

Overall, the flipped model is based on the principles of adaption like personalizing, localizing, modernizing, and customizing learning for teacher professional resilience. This sounds good in theory but practice determines its usefulness and relevancy in fostering teacher professional development in the real sense. 

Shifting to a new model is not the panacea

It is said that action speaks louder than words; so, venture in words must be properly followed by the venture in actions. In such a case, every significant change should trigger powerful emotions including loss of the known, fear of the unknown, anxiety about failure, anger at those who resist or push too hard, uncertainty over the consequences of what is being changed (Cloke & Goldsmith, 2007). Those teachers who do not want to prepare themselves to change won’t benefit from the flipped model of professional development. Teachers should be more active, better prepared, curious, enthusiastic, and entrepreneurial, never-ending satisfaction seekers in their personal and professional development. Only shifting or introducing change is not a panacea. It is the attitudes, behaviors, and efforts of the practitioners that determine the significance of the changed context. 

Summary

In today’s digitally rich learning environment, a technology-based and self-led model of learning are better than the conventional expert-led model. The self-led model will be supported and promoted by digital technologies. The need for digital technologies in professional learning has further been promoted by the pandemic situation created by COVID-19. Until and unless we focus on self-regulation and adaption of the available resources for the sake of personal and professional development, we don’t grow and develop professionally. Therefore, the direction of teacher professional development in Nepal should be towards professional resilience. The decisions for professional development should be self-determined and self-directed while the delivery should be done by using digital technologies.      

References

CEHRD (2077). Teacher Professional Development through Distance Mode: Standard Operating Procedure-2077.

CEHRD (2077). PETC Trainer’s handbook for adapting teacher training from face to face to online.

Cloke, K. & Goldsmith, J. (2007). The end of management and the rise of organizational democracy. Jossey-Bass: A Wiley Company.

Craft, A. (1996) Continuing professional development: A practical guide for teachers and schools.  London: Rutledge Famer.

Martin L. E, Kragler, S, Quatroche, D. J. & Bauserman, K. L. (2014). Handbook of professional development in education. The Guilford Press, New York: London.

OECD (2018). Teaching for the future: effective classroom practices to transform education.

Reimers-Villegas, E. (2003). Teacher professional development: An international review of the literature. UNESCO: International institute for educational planning.

Richards, J. & Farrell, T.S. C. (2005). Professional development for language teachers. Cambridge: CUP.

Sharma, B. & Shrestha, R. (2012). Readings in English language teacher development. Kathmandu: Sunlight Publication.

Shrestha, R. (2077). A resource material for secondary English teachers. Kathmandu: Sunlight Publication.

Mr. Shrestha is Technical Officer in Centre for Education and Human Resource Development under the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Government of Nepal. He has rich experience in teaching field from school to University level. He has authored and co-authored ELT books of school to University level. He has also gained teacher training experience of nearly a decade. Presently, he has the responsibility of developing teacher training curricula, writing teacher professional support materials, providing support to Provincial Education Training Centres (PETCs) by conducting MToT and ToT programs. He has keen interest in research, teacher development, and system strengthening domains.              

Classroom Management Techniques: A Comparative Study

Krishna Prasad Bhattrai

Abstract

The present article aims to find out classroom management techniques used by the secondary level English teachers working in private as well as community schools of western Terai in Nepal. The primary sources of the study were six teachers who were selected by using purposive sampling based on the convenience, experience and judgment of the researcher. Questionnaires were used as the major tools of the study. The government-aided school teachers used teaching materials, motivational strategies, lesson plan, group divisions, etc. whereas private school teachers were found using student-centered strategies such as  interaction with the students, use of gestures, use of group work and pair work as the techniques of classroom management.

Background

Language stands as a universal medium through which humans can express their ideas. It also expresses human feelings and emotions. Therefore, language helps to express our culture, custom, and civilization. There is a triangular relationship between teacher, students, and language in the classroom. If the teacher properly manages the language class, the learning turns to be meaningful. Quite specifically, properly managed ELT class helps to motivate and fascinate the learners in the classroom.

Classroom Management

Hyden (2009) argues that Classroom management refers to all the teacher behaviors and classrooms’organizational factors that lead to an orderly learning environment. This includes the established routines, school and classroom rules, teacher responseto student behaviors, and the instruction that promotes a climate conducive to student learning. Both teachers and students play a significant role in proper classroom management. It includes sitting management, diversity management, light management, students’ leadership management, teaching and learning material management, time management, teaching content management, etc.

Generally, we find the teacher’s dominant role in classroom management which may disturb the process of classroom management. So,the flexible teacher will be able to alter the situation as a necessity. In this context, Harmer (1991) asserts “[f]lexibility is the dominant characteristic we would expect from the genuinely adaptable teacher” (p.258). In the present context, most of the teachers claim that maintaining silence in the classroom is a good example of classroom. For suitable classroom management, learners must feel democratic, interactive, and motivated in the process of learning.

Challenges on Classroom Management

I have already mentioned that classroom management is a planned and organized activity and procedure that facilitate a learning environment where an ELT teacher should have ideas to manage the classroom. Generally, the proper concentration of the learners in the class such as eye contact, interaction with the teacher, solving class work and homework within the allocated time, following the classroom instructions, and being punctual in the classroom indicates the managed classroom. Besides these positive beliefs, there are some challenges for successful classroom management that hinder classroom management. Paul and Don (1994, pp.489-490) mention the following management problems.

Sociological Factors

The first reason is sociological involving a variety of factors including increasing crime and poverty in our society. Many children spend more hours watching television each day than they spend on their study including the time they actually spend at school.

Lack of Information

The second problem is that historically teacher has had only a few maxims together with their institution to guide them in making management decisions. Chaube and Chaube (2003) claim that destroying the school property, bullying the younger student, irrespective of behavior towards the teacher, stealing things, and cheating at examination (p. 133) are some of the challenges for proper classroom management. Too much time must be spent counseling and teaching children better ways to handle anger, stress, and frustration.

Furthermore, the teacher should inspire the learners to read stories, install creative TV/ computer games,  showing podcasts, encourage them to fix classroom codes, and activate them to group work could be a catalyst for winning the sociological barriers of classroom management.

Techniques of Classroom Management

Classroom management enhances children’s learning. without successful classroom environment teaching cannot be fruitful. It is regarded as an intellectual job as well. Dixie (2008) has suggested that body language, eye contact, voice, gestures, positive psychology, punctuality, knowing people by name, the structure of the lesson, using praise appropriately, scanning and circulating the classroom, and optimum control (p. 59) can help manage the ELT classroom in the present context.

Similarly, Hyden (2009) has given some guidelines to keep thestudents in a calm-environment. These include: the teacher should keep the lesson moving, the teacher should not lecture the whole period, the teacher should talk to his students when students are being disruptive by talking, polling, or crumplingpaper, the teacher showed stand by them (P. 68). Supporting Hyden’s idea I’ve pointed some key aspects to maintain well manage classroom which adopts ICT tools, contextual learning content, blended classroom policy, integrated curriculum, practical and experiential teaching, and learning, motivational activities, competitive environment which help to manage the classroom.

Research Site and Participants       

The six English language teachers of two secondary level schools (T1, T2, and T3) are from government-aided and (T4, T5, and T6) are from a private school of western Terai were selected as the primary sources of data.Two secondary level schools (one government-aided and one private) were selected by using a non-random sampling design. The analysis and interpretation of the collected data are made based on the answers given by the selected English language teachers of the selected schools.

Findings: Teachers’ Opinion on Classroom Management                

The responses of teachers to each question are analyzed and interpreted qualitatively for open-ended questions. The data are analyzed on the basis of following responses.

Initially, I asked them aquestion to know their perception of classroom management.

T1 says that “The classroom management is the process to manage thenecessary elements in class-room like light, furniture blackboard/marker, etc.”

T2 viewsthat it is the way to manage useable and the need-based teachingmaterials and according to its subject matter, group, division of the students’cleanliness and attractive classroom.

T3 says that the use of teaching materials inappropriate situations in theclassroom is known as classroom management.

T4 says that it is the way to create a situation where students can learn thecontent easily.

T5 says that it is the process to manage the physical as well as the psychological

aspect that the teacher has to do.

T6 views that management is preparing for all kinds of things that appear inthe classroom.

From the obtained data, it is clear that classroom management is managingnecessary elements in the classroom and making favorable conditions forteaching and managing teaching materials. It is also helpful for effectiveteaching and learning.

Next question was asked to find out the importance of classroom management.

T1, it is necessary for effective language, class. It creates learner’sinterest, and they become eager to learn.

T2 views that it helps to do effective teaching for student’s age with theirbehavior and attitude.

T3 says that without classroom management, teaching will be meaningless.

T4 views that it is necessary to increase student’s educationalachievement.

T5 says that it facilitates teaching and learning.

T6 views that classroom management creates an environment to teach and learnthe expected content from the teacher and students’ side respectively.

Based on the above-mentioned response, it is assumed that classroom management helps for effective teaching, gearing up the students’ learning and increasing students’ educational achievement. Effective classroom management creates a positive learning environment and helps to boost up the students’ achievement. With this, learners can achieve the expected goals and objectives of learning. 

The next question was asked to find out the reason for the problem that teachers have to face in the classroom.

T1 says that many problems like students’ behaviors towards teachers, environmental problems, socio-cultural problems, etc.

T2 views that economic condition, study attitudes, age, and teachers’ activities were some problems.

T3 says that lack of students’ vocabulary power and less conscious guardianswere some problems.

T4 says that multi-ethnic background and multi-culture are thereasons to bring the classroom problems.

T5 says that students have come from different backgrounds and cultures. So, itcreates problems in the classroom.

T6 opines that careless of the teachers to the learners is the main cause of the problems.

It shows that multicultural and multilingualism, teachers’ and students’ behaviors, and the economic condition ofthe students were responsible to create problems in the classroom. Despite the socio-cultural, economic, and multilingualism, there are other problems faced by the EFL learners. These include sitting management problems, lack of teaching-learning materials, lack of student-friendly content, teacher-centered methods, the need for moral education for the EFL learners, and lack of specific code and conduct of the schools.

Next question tried to explore the problems that a teacher has to face in his/ her daily classroom practice. In response to this question:

T1 says that problems like lack of furniture, light, ventilation, and large classes were the problems in creating effectivemanagement in classroom practice.

T2 views problems like lack of instructional materials, vocabulary power, hard labor of the students, a large number of the students, etc.

T3 says the problems like ventilation problems, small classes, and lack ofteaching materials were the problems in creating effective management in theclassroom.

T4 mentions problems like stealing the things and destroying the school properties were then main problems in the management

T5 opines that disobedient, teasing teachers, lack of physicalfacilities, and untrained teachers were the main problems.

T6 views that tearing the paper, cheating, talking in the class were the main problems that affect creating effective classroom management.

Crowded class, lack of teaching materials, narrow class, side talking in the class, bullying the younger students, stealing the things, and destroying theschool property were responsible for hindrance in creating effective classroom management.

Another question tried to seek whether teachers have done equal treat or not? The responses given by the teachers are:

T1 says that to ensure equal participation in learning, he had to use different activities like group work, pair work, talking individually, etc.

T2 has similar views that he also divided the students into many small groupsand conducted the different tasks.

T3 views that he ensured mostly equal participation in learning by focusing on students’ equality.

T4 give similar tasks to each student and monitor one by one.

T5 says that dividing into groups, sharing ideas, etc were the best way toensure equal participation.

T6 says that providing the task to the students according to their capacity wasthe best way.

These views indicate that group division, providing similar tasks, focusing all students equally, and talking individually can create equal participation in learning in the classroom.

All the teachers agree for preparing daily lesson plan which is the milestone for effective classroom management.

It was found that maximum use of teaching materials and provision of equal participation in the learning was emphasized by the government school teachers.  Similarly, most of the teachers were found using different techniques such as providing motivation, treating misbehaviors immediately, and focusing on students equally.  Likewise, Private school teachers were found to use learning by doing method, child-friendly teaching and group work, and pair work techniques in the classroom management.  Similarly, it was also found that providing more time for interaction, use of punishment, use of gestures, and talking individually were the techniques used by the private school teachers.

Discussion

While taking the responses of the selected English language teachers, they highlighted the physical and psychological problems of teachers and learners for effective classroom management. They have emphasized learners’ counseling, group works, and interactive activities to solve the classroom management barriers. All the selected teachers projected archetypal modes of solving the EFL classroom management problems. In the same token, they only blame their pupils for the difficulty of classroom management instead of being active and aware of themselves. Lack of teaching-learning materials and unethical behaviors of the students are the archetypal classroom management problems. However, the respondents are unaware of their readiness to solve those traditional and modern problems about the lack of managing digital materials and methods in the classroom for effective learning, motivation, and a learners-free classroom environment.

Conclusion

The maximum use of teaching materials and provision of equal participation of learners and teachers in the teaching learning process help for the good management of classroom.

References

Chaube, S.P. & Chaube, A. (2003). Classroom organization. New Delhi: Vikash Publishing House.

Dixie, G. (2008). Managing your classroom (2nd edition). New Delhi: Viva Books.

Harmer, J. (1991) The practice of English language teaching. London: Longman.

Hyden. K. (2009). Top five classroom management. http://www.jestor.com.

Paul & Don J. (1994). Classroom management: Behavior approach. Young Voices of ELT. pp. 489-500.

Mr. Bhattarai has been teaching in Siddhartha Campus and Bal Secondary School, Kapilvastu. He is the PhD scholar and teacher trainer. He has completed M. Phil and MA in English literature from University Campus, Kirtipur. Similarly, he has accomplished Master’s degree in Sociology/Anthropology from Trichandra College. He is the General Secretary of NELTA Lumbini Province. He has more than 10 years of teaching experience in different colleges and schools.

Electronic Gadgets for Young Children: Allow or Restrict

Gobinda Puri

Abstract

Electronic gadgets have become an indispensable part of everyone’s life now. With the increasing use of technology, children get automatically exposed to digital devices and tools right after their birth. The young children grow up playing with the gadgets and also observing their seniors using them. In this context, this paper discusses the impact of electronic gadgets on young children in this fast-growing digitalized world and argues for the judicial use of devices for digital learning and adjustment. Despites having some health hazards, learning difficulties and psychological disorders of excessive use of gadgets, it is difficult to keep them away from electronic gadgets. If children are restricted from using gadgets, they may probably miss the most important part of the world and might have difficulties in their lives even later. This indicates that children shouldn’t be restricted to use gadgets rather should be monitored by the children.

Keywords: digital devices, philosophical rigidity, digital learning, young children, adjustment

Explanation

The debate among the parents, teachers, and even educationists on allowing young children to use electronic gadgets at home or restricting them is intensely increasing. Many parents seem to be worried about the excessive use of electronic gadgets by their children at home in the context of Nepal. On some occasions, the parents and other teachers of young children also complain that the excessive use of electronic gadgets by young children may ruin their study and creativity. An American Pediatric Occupational Therapist, Cris Rowan (2014) also argues that handheld devices (smartphones/mobiles/tablets/iPods) should be banned for children under the age of 12. Similarly,  another researcher, Shuler (2009)  stated that cell phones and video games should be banned for young children under 11 years by making policies and rules. However, children seem to be more motivated towards electronic gadgets rather than concentrating on their studies. The philosophical rigidity of parents, teachers, and educationists to restrict electronic devices at an early age sounds ridiculous. The important issue here is probably not the use of gadgets by the young children but how and for what purposes they use them. Although using electronic gadgets excessively may have some disadvantages for children, they should not be restricted to use at home because gadgets can be used not only for their learning and development but also to be fit in this digital world.

Researchers report that children spend their time with gadgets like telephone, TV, radio, computer, laptops, iPods, smartphones, games, and stereo systems invite various health-related problems (Sundus, 2017). The children may use gadgets basically for playing games, watching videos, listening to songs, chatting with their friends, browsing different websites but while using such gadgets, children normally do not care about their health particularly not paying attention to their body posture, screen brightness, and the distance between the screen and their eyes. Moreover, watching on the screen continuously causes stress as well.  As mentioned by Sundus (2017) in the Journal of Depression and Anxiety, a study in the USA on kids showed that one out of three children starts using tablets or cellphone before they even start speaking. According to the USA Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average child spends about 8 hours a day watching electronic screens. As the children grow, the use of gadgets also increases. The excessive use of gadgets will surely affect the long-term vision of children decreasing the blinking frequencies from 15 to 5 per minute if they are not well managed.  The main problem here is that the parents of the young children may not be monitoring the activities of the children on gadgets and also not supporting them to explore learning materials.

All the things that young children do with gadgets may not be harmful or distracting for them because they can entertain, engage, educate, and also develop creativity themselves. In other words, they may use such technologies for various purposes. On top of all, young children may use gadgets for studying online and acquiring knowledge and skills at home. For example, many young children in the world including Nepal used various applications like Zoom App, to interact with the teachers and their friends and continue their studies during the lockdown period due to Coronavirus Pandemic. In this regard, Chaudron et al. (2018) state that digital technology is mainly useful for four purposes: (1) leisure & entertainment; (2) information and learning; (3) creation, and (4) communication. The children first may use digital gadgets for spending leisure time and have fun. The children in their early ages particularly under 11 years mostly seek pleasure or entertainment. Secondly, they may use gadgets for getting information and learning. Every moment, children may learn new things either through gadgets or the environment. The third purpose can be to recreate new. Children often do innovative things by using gadgets. For example, they watch videos and may learn new ideas. Taking reference to Sundus (2017)  it can be reasoned that electronic gadgets can have a more positive impact on development and learning.  Furthermore, children who use electronic gadgets may have better motor skills, improved cognitive skills, more fun and refreshment, lessons, and competition skills.

 Electronic gadgets may also have some health-related effects on children if they are used excessively. The little negative impact of the gadgets might have deemphasized a positive impact on children.  For example, researchers report that the gadgets have various problems such as health hazards, non-malignant tumors, cancers and effects on the brain (Arshi, 2015),   psychological effects like speech delay, attention deficits, learning problems, and anxiety (Sundus, 2017), pedagogical effects such as distractions and off –tasks behavior (Hamilton, 2007). Hamilton further argues that the use of electronic devices can also develop the ability of the children to engage in inappropriate behaviors like texting unethical messages and pictures to other persons, watching unnecessary videos.  Similarly, Sigman, (2013) in his article presents that screen viewing leads to less reading, television viewing gives bad effects on mathematical ability, reading recognition, and comprehension, and also increases various problems such as hypertension, obesity among preschool children. However, these negative effects may be insufficient to ban electronic gadgets for children because using electronic gadgets can have more benefits than its harms.  Besides some health-related problems which can occur to people of all ages, electronic gadgets can be supportive of children’s all-round development as well.  Hamidah and Purnamasari (2018)  report that early childhood has rapid growth and development in intellectual, emotional, and social aspects since 80% of development takes place during this period. Everything has negative and positive aspects and so do have electronic gadgets. The negative effects can be minimized by engaging children with productive activities in the gadgets.

Electronic gadgets may also develop the creativity of young learners. If the children are given access to digital technology, they can find various materials like pictures, videos, and games to develop their criticality and creativity at the same time. Whenever the children get such devices they start doing creative activities too. These activities can be drawing or picture, changing or editing photos, making a video, making a character or avatar that lives and plays in games or sites like Monsters, making an animation, making their music, writing a blog, designing a gift, making websites, making an app or game, modifying or changing games, changing or editing somebody else’s music. However, the parents and teachers think that excessive use of these gadgets may cause several problems in young children. The parents and teachers might have been guided by traditional parenting and teaching.

 Nowadays, every household may have access to electronic gadgets where young children grow up observing their parents and seniors using gadgets. They may have multiple devices and also access to internet connectivity and social media at home.  Those situations attract young children and they cannot be banned from using but they can utilize them for good purposes. The world has progressed tremendously on technology and connectivity and the children can automatically be part of it.  For example,  Digital Nepal Framework (2019) reports that Nepal has enjoyed incredible success in digital adaptation in comparison to neighboring countries particularly in mobile usage exceeding 100% and internet 63%. As mentioned in the report of the Nepal Telecommunication Authority, there was an addition of 2.25 million new internet users in 2017 alone, translating nearly 250 new internet users every hour.  It is expected that Nepal will lead to internet penetration by 2025 compared to china and India in the next five years. The main reason for internet adaptation is the popularity of social media which tremendously increases the number of users in every household. The government record of 2018 shows that there were 9.3 million Facebook users in Nepal. Entertainment and video watching are other popular use of the internet where more than 6.4 million registered users on YouTube (Government of Nepal, 2019).  In such a fast-growing digital age, children get automatically exposed to digital resources from an early age. In this regard, Gwenn O’Keeffe (2011, p. 801), MD, asserts that today’s children grow up with digital technologies that affect child’s social and emotional development. He further suggested that parents should meditate on their child’s online world and the real world.

Electronic gadgets have become an indispensable part of everyone’s life now because they can access everything ranging from information to entertainment in it.  Moreover, these gadgets can be the best tools for learning, communicating, and entertaining for children.  Due to the advent of science and technology, the world has become a global village where children get automatically exposed to digital devices and tools right after their birth.  In this digitalized world, they grow up playing with gadgets. If children are restricted from using such gadgets, they may probably miss the most important part of the world and might have difficulties in their lives even later. The future of the children may be more digitalized and advanced where they will have to live in the digital age.  If we restrict the children to use gadgets as Bill Gates restricted his kids using cell phones until the age of 14 (Weller, 2018), they may miss an integral part of education. Those who argue for restricting electronic gadgets for young children may either be guided by traditional philosophical rigidity or unknown about the opportunities created by the gadgets

In conclusion, young children can learn, entertain and grow as digital citizens engaging themselves with electronic gadgets and tools. They may have few health hazards, learning difficulties, and psychological problems, if such gadgets are used excessively. Following the philosophical rigidity, young children should not be restricted from using gadgets at home because they can be supportive for the development of children with cognitive, emotional, and social learning.

References

Arshi. (2015, May 6). 4 Harmful effects of mobile phones on children. MomJunction. https://www.momjunction.com/articles/harmful-effects-of-mobile-phones-on-kids_00352662/

Government of Nepal. (2019). Digital_Nepal_framework (p. 110). Government of Nepal, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. https://nepalindata.com/media/resources/items/15/bEN_Digital_Nepal_Framework_V7.2March2019.pdf

Hamidah, N., & Purnamasari, U. D. (2018). Childhood in a digital generation: Using gadgets for cognitive, emotional and social depelopment.6.

Hamilton, J. (2007). Electronic devices in schools. Greenhaven Publishing LLC.

O’Keeffe, G. S., & Pearson, K. C. (2011). The impact of social media on children, adolescents, and families. 127, 7. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/127/4/800.full.pdf

Rowan, C. (2014). 10 reasons why handheld devices should be banned for children under the age of 12. Huffington post. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/10-reasons-why-handheld-devices-should-be-banned_b_4899218

Shuler, C. (2009). Pockets of potential: Using mobile technologies to promote children’s learning. HAL Archives-Ouverties. https://hal.archives- oeuvres.fr/search/index/q/*/structId_i/191568/

Sigman, D. A. (2013). The impact of screen media on children: A eurovision for parliament. 17.

Sundus, M. (2017). The impact of using gadgets on children. Journal of depression and anxiety, 07(01). https://doi.org/10.4172/2167-1044.1000296

Weller, C. (2018). Bill Gates is surprisingly strict about his kids tech use. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/how-bill-gates-limits-tech-use-for-his-kids-2018-1

References

Mr. Puri is a lecturer of English at Janta Multiple Campus, Itahari, Sunsari. He is an alumnus instructor at United States-English Access Micro scholarship Program, Nepal and the Mentor at Action Research Mentoring Scheme (ARMS), British Council. Mr. Puri also serves as a teacher trainer. His area of interests includes teacher education, teacher research, critical thinking, ICT and English as a foreign language. He has presented papers at IATEFL-UK, TESOL-USA JALT-Japan and NELTA International Conferences, and published articles in ELT journals. He is an executive member of NELTA Province 1. Currently, he is pursuing his M.Phil. in English Education at Nepal Open University.