The greatest affluence that we have in our life is our culture of sharing successes with others so that the readers can follow the paths we have traversed through, and rectify themselves if they find that they are in wrong trails. Maya Angelou states the same reality in her quote.
Be it through any form or means, once we share our stories, we find ourselves so comfortable and free from agony. While sharing the stories of triumph, there can be multiplying effects in the community we are in, sharing our hardships can aware others not to repeat the same mistakes. It is a gripping philosophy. Since we have mighty pens and innovative and creative ideas, we can express our beautiful ideas in the form of letters. This is our academic affluence.
‘LET’S WRITE’ is the point that we want to promote here for which we require good reading culture. Unless we read, ideas cannot be accumulated and generated, and as a result our writing becomes plain and verbose. Let’s walk hand in hand to produce best scholarship and writings. In this June issue, ELT professionals have come together in NELTA ELT Forum to share their works.
Kashi Raj Pandey, Suman Laudari, Sagun Shrestha, Ashok Raj Sapkota and Ramesh Prasad Ghimire, the ELT practitioners have shared their ideas on different ELT issues. Mr. Pandey, in his article, talks about reading culture which is an art in itself. Mr. Laudari explores on the issue of plagiarism and self plagiarism which we are prone to by connecting it to the local context. Mr. Shrestha pleads that cyberculture can be a cohesive tool to the ELT world, and states how it is closely connected to the postmodern ELT world. Likewise, Mr. Sapkota talks about teachers’ professional life cycle and suggests essential strategies for professional development. Lastly, Mr. Ghimire shares his ideas on multiple intelligences along with some theoretical backup and focuses on its pedagogical aspect.
This June issue is full of scholarly writings which, we are sure, will motivate you to become a better teacher, scholar and a better WRITER. We also expect these articles to instigate healthy discussion.
Visit this issue with these scholars:
Making Reading Habit an Art – Kashi Raj Pandey
My Words, My Rights: An Analysis of Self Plagiarism – Suman Laudari
Cyberculture; a Cohesive Tool to the ELT world – Sagun Shrestha
Essential Strategies For Teacher’s Professional Life Cycle – Ashok Sapkota
Multiple Intelligences: Theory and Its Pedagogical Aspect – Ramesh Prasahad Ghimire
Janak Raj Pant
Making Reading an Art !Kashi Raj Pandey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Texts are full of knowledge that makes us literate with reading. Reading books situates us in a context, in the existing body of knowledge. Through them, we can understand our world better, enrich our minds, enjoy life more fully, and understand unsolved mysteries. The habit of reading, therefore, has established an unconditional necessity in our lives. If followed in a principled way, this habit will not only develop the learners into independent readers, but also saves many teachers from tiring talks.
Talking about reading habits among children, reading is a powerful tool for engaging them in socio-cultural messages, and it should grow in them as they grow up. For children to digest it comfortably, it is better to inculcate a reading habit among them right from the tender age following toddler-hood. The purpose of this paper is to encourage learners to read on their own even outside the school settings, besides taking reading as a classroom activity in isolation.
Purpose of Reading: Is it for life or is it a lesson in isolation?
These days, the majority of students (in Nepal) are not motivated to read anything other than the prescribed textbooks because it is only the textbook that matters in exams. This high dependency on textbooks and exam results are problems to be addressed as early as possible. As teachers and examiners, for us, reducing the gap between learning and evaluation is a great challenge when testing or evaluating is understood as something to trick students. The customary blame we receive as a teacher or question setter is that we still don’t ask questions to students to test what they already (or comfortably) know, but our focus lies on what they have read (comprehensive) as part of what the teachers have taught from the textbook inside the classrooms. The myth of our exam system that revolves around asking questions from within the prescribed textbook is a big hindrance discouraging students from reading culture. Rumors like “janch ma napadheko kuroa ayo ….” and “question bahira bata aayo ….” (Trans.– We didn’t get questions in exam from the text our teacher taught or we had questions from outside the textbook etc.) are still rife and rampant criticisms around us.
When I thought the prescribed chapters of a Grade four Science book a little irrelevant to the child’s age group, I asked a naïve question to my 9 year old child in 2009 about the purpose of reading her subject books. Her reply was, “We have to read everything for two reasons; first, they are in the book and second, our teacher has asked us to read and recite this for us to prepare well for the quiz today”. She must be amazed to see me asking such a question while she shared that no one had ever asked her for such a personal response to the lessons taught in her school. Then I realized that it is worth knowing our students’ (children’s) real response and plan for the text of their liking and value of their learning.
Many texts are written to “impart effects upon the readers and arouse them for some cause” (Pandey, 2007, p. 66). As a result, the purpose of reading also differs on the basis of why someone reads something. We read in “distinctly different ways for different purposes. Sometimes we do preliminary or exploratory reading rather than whole texts thoroughly” (Davies, 2008, p. 91). People read to learn something, to survive, to gain particular information, facts and figures, and most of the time for pleasure. Reading is an interactive process that goes on between the reader and the text, resulting in comprehension with a purpose to gain information, verify existing knowledge, in order to critique writers’ ideas or writing styles, for readers’ enjoyment, or to enhance the knowledge of the language being read. We read texts at different times in different ways. Texts become a little difficult when we read for study or work while they would become easier if we chose to read them as fun. “When reading a novel, for example we may hardly be aware of the words on the page. The novel simply ‘comes to life’ in your head” (p. 92). This way, starting with the simple texts most of the time, we step further to read books with more complex concepts and procedures.
Children are curious and they get knowledge from different sources like family interaction, reading books and stories, watching television or visiting new places. Our students constantly characterize two distinct worlds: one represents the school, textbooks, classroom or the teacher and another, that of a world of home, library or other reference books of their interest. Reading, therefore, should generate interest among students that brings the gap closer between the worlds we dwell in while taking a journey within our self and the world around us.
The main reason, according to Collie and Slater (1990, p. 3) which leads a teacher to encourage students in reading books is because they “are valuable authentic material, and they are used for the cultural enrichment, language enrichment and personal involvement”. Reading, as a way of seeing, forces us to see the world clearly and deeply. Through books, readers visualize the events unfolding in them, and when a reader (child) effectively describes what s/he has just read, other people who are around, are also able to envision the action and the characters. Hence, shared habits contribute to a collective understanding.
My recent reading from “Raggedy Ann Stories”, a children’s bookby Gruelle (2011), shows the common human quest to understand the world with basic values, lifestyles, beliefs, friendship, forgiveness, self-discipline, and adventure that are not common in the United States today. Books offer culturally specific ways of thinking that can help children build a more complete knowledge of the way things work. The stories in books provide great lessons for children, teach them proper behavior, and facilitate the building of their characters. Their success in school depends greatly on their ability to read books, which in turn depends on the support we give them in becoming better readers. Children who have the chance to identify with story characters and live into them deeply while they are young may learn empathy for others in the same process.
Something substantial I wish to share
During those initial years of teaching, I came up with an idea in my school and hosted a reading workshop titled “Banking Books in our Habits”. Primarily it was demand based, as I can sense it better now, with its purpose to make the students able to read “Shree SwasthaniBratakatha” to our parents and guardians. In a broad sense, it was also to encourage children to develop their reading habit by linking it to the existing culture and practices. After that workshop, each day, we had such a forum in our school that all the children in primary level classrooms were encouraged to discuss the part of the story they usually read from SwasthaniBratakatha. For those who did not read the text, they could share anything they heard from relatives, friends and elderly people around. To make it more interesting,I allowed students to twist the subject matter and make up their own stories based on whatever they had read, experienced, or heard. This way, reading became a common habit among children so as to expand their horizon of the (mythical) world and share their knowledge through stories. Whenever children saw me reading other materials than their course books they used to come and sit beside me, and then ask what it was. I always wish Ihad lent the books to those young minds so that they could also haveread, knowing that they, with curiosity, could have read any book even faster than their teachers.
As a teacher, I do not impose students to read books but always seek good reasons to oblige them to read, which is to read and reflect, to read and share with friends, to read and assimilate, to read and prepare themselves for the classroom discussions. I have been trying to bring the course book to life with other related reading materials and make it work in my classroom.Textbooks therefore,can be used to indirectly present information, engaging the reader in creative and critical thinking.
Steps in Reading
Generally, “there are three stages recommended to make reading more realistic and interesting: Pre-reading, while-reading, and post-reading” (Davies, 2008, p. 92). Pre-reading prepares the learners for what they are going to read. This is where we do context setting;we hold a brief discussion by eliciting ideas from students on the same topic as that of the passage. This is also a warm-up activity like asking questions related to the topic,reviewing titles, section headings, and photo captions to get a sense of the structure and content of a reading selection and asking their experiences relating to the reading text etc. Grellet (2013) shares, “The students will be more ready (and find it easier) to read a passage if they have been prepared by thinking of the potential meanings and possible associations of some of the key words of the text” (P. 66). It happens by explaining the difficult and unseen vocabulary terms, giving questions, showing pictures, making them guess the events in the text, giving a brief introduction to the text, or giving clues and examples. With ample time, teachers can provide multiple opportunities for students to absorb vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure, and discourse structure as they occur in authentic contexts. While-reading is an extensive reading with the purpose of helping learners understand the textwith.Here, I explain to students the purpose of reading.While motivating the Learners towards extensive reading, Nuttall (2000) suggests to “choose short books that are easy enough to read quickly and that you will enjoy” (p. 231). Here, I take students along the passage and ask them questions from different angles. At this stage, I listen to most of the students until all students are confident with the text. At last, I read and explain the passage to the students. Post-reading looks for some connections from what the learners have read so that they can suggest meaning based on their own ideas and experiences, making reading a part of their lives. Students can learn more than what is being taught, Nuttall (2000) shares:
by linking them in context. Usually this involved assimilating the meaning gradually, after frequent encounters. In the classroom, students simply do not get enough exposure for this natural assimilation to be possible. Therefore, solution outside the classroom must be found. An extensive reading programme is the single most effective way of improving vocabulary. It is relatively easy to organize, enjoyable for the students and extremely cost effective. (p. 62).
Consequently, most of the time, I encourage students to share their own personal experiences related to the text discussed, or the change or lesson that the text (discussion) brought in them.
Hors d’oeuvre to enhance reading culture: Some insights
The best way to improve reading skills is to read frequently and to read many different types of texts in various subject areas (sciences, social sciences, arts, business, and so on). Besides books, magazines, and journals, the internet is also one of the sites for finding good resources in improving reading skills. To find stories for our children, books, newspapers, people with traditional stories, religious texts, our personal stories or the stories that the students themselves gather during their project work and the internet (http://storybird.com is an example) are some good resources where we can choose characters and context that children can easily identify with.
Books as a gift or prize
Teachers or parents can update themselves about the most popular, award winning books and recent publications and share this with their class or children, by posting details about said literature in their living room, in morning assembly or on notice boards. The habit of giving books to others as a gift also keeps us up to date. Students can celebrate their birthdays by exchanging books. Our present or gift to someone with some interesting books will convey a message to all on the importance of reading books. This will also motivate the students to read the book they get as a gift or prize and set a strong impression of mirroring the same concept throughout their life.
Library: Setting up a class library, a book corner
Libraries provide “opportunities for the students to learn about how the world works. They can view maps and photos of far-off lands and oceans, read about their country’s rich history, and begin thinking about whether they’d like to be a doctor or a businessperson or an airline pilot when they finish school. (Wood, 2006, p. 248)
Spending less time looking for the books we require, in libraries we are able to read more books at the same time whenever we need information on certain topics. The habit of using library motivates learners to read with other focused people who are down to serious reading.The library, Wood (2006) adds, brings “a world of opportunities” to our children. Even if our school cannot afford to build a library of readers, we can ask if the students “themselves are prepared to buy a different book each and build up a class library” (Davies,2008, p. 95). From this mission, learners can benefit from various books while they are in school, and they can choose one to borrow and read at home. The unavailability of suitable age or interest based books and reading texts in our homes and schools is a great challenge. To make reading easy for children to access, I propose to set up a class library. It is,Nuttall (2000) shares, “an essential part of classroom life, picked up in spare moments, referred to for information, easily available without making a special trip to the library or waiting for it to open” where a teacher “can keep a closer eye on the books, and who reads what” (p. 133).If a teacher’s aim is to make reading enjoyable, s/he can model a reading in concentration, to make use of books and newspapersavailable around the classroom,and demonstrate that s/he values reading where students “follow the example of people they respect, and above all that of their teacher” (Nuttall , 2000, p. 229). Children enjoy listening to teachers. As they are able to comprehend the existence of printed words, and picture books, it can play an important role in inculcating a reading habit in them. Reading, fortunately in this respect, is a contagious disease and this trend will be transferred to students one after another. We read more when we see other people reading. Miller (2012) reveals “the most crucial factors in effective teaching are who the teacher is and how he acts in the classroom (p. 36).” The teacher thuschannels the discussion being skeptic to it within the purpose by guiding students to the context. Grellet (2013) shares, “when confronted by a new text students should be encouraged to find out its function first” (p. 90). Students, inthis way, participate in discussion with several ideas blossoming in them.Grellet (2013) adds, “Reading is an activity involving constant guesses that are later rejected or confirmed” (p. 56).Reading books from multiple genres, consequently, influences readers for success while actively responding and reacting towards learning.
Orient children on using books and library: Weekly/bi-weekly library visits
Libraries stimulate reading among children. They have been working tirelessly to inculcate and promote reading habits in children. Therefore, we should encourage children to visit librariesregularly where they take advantage of the resources offered. Children should be told that it is their fundamental rights to get a library card, borrow books and other useful materials from the library for free. Children are happy to use their own library cards. We should also orient a librarian for help if children don’t know how to sign up for one. We can start to make children familiar with librariesby giving a folder to every child and taking them to a library as part of their routine. The folders would contain records of activities carried out by every child. Every time a child visits the library, s/he can mark an attendance register. Children have to be oriented how to use books and libraries effectively, how to care for books and libraries; the organization of library resources; types of libraries and information resources stocked; library catalogue and how to use it; library registration process and library ethics.
When they are familiar with books, students visit the library on their own even during leisure hours, hence benefit from the library and reading. In the library, children can engage themselves in various activities which include their independent reading. They will have opportunities to select books of their choice from the library collection. Moreover, every child can be given a book review sheet in which s/he can summarize the book they read each day and share with teachers, friends, or parents. The review is needed to confirm if the books were actually read and understood by them, where children narrate the stories and share what lessons they learnt from such books.
Utilize long vacation with reading books
In the case of Nepal, voluntary reading habits are not common. I envision that even the adults can make the best use of time by reading books while waiting for gasoline and in hospital queues;at a long traffic jam, or while travelling in a bus. Seeing this, children will be encouraged to use their holidayor any other free time by reading books with care and concern.
Book talk, classroom interaction
Reading is something that students can do at home, I encourage this as much as possible. As children become better readers, we can talk about what s/he is reading. When the child finishes a reading assignment, may it be a new story or adventure tale, we can discuss the main ideas, new words and concepts. We can ask and share her/his favorite section. This helps strengthen the readers’ comprehension skills and encourages students to read by themselves and share what they got from the book. Childrencan engage in reading and other creative things in libraries rather than only engaging in playful things. Hidden talents in children can be discovered and appreciated by teachers and parents. Teachers or schools, after a long vacation, can organize programs such as performing short dramas or storytelling.In the same way, parents can also find a specific time of day to sit together with family members and ask their children to talk about the book they are reading, may it be around dinner time or during morning tea.
“Story time”: Reading together with parents/teachers (as mentors)
When children regularly spend “story time” with mentors, learning to read will be as natural for them as learning to walk and talk. For our children to grow into adults who love reading and respect the value of the printed word, our involvement is essential. In the process of reading with our children, a sense of delight helps tremendously when we make an effort to create a spirit of joy and fun, adventure and wonder. It is a learning activity that develops student’s language and listening skills preparing them to be better readers. Grellet (2013) shares, “The students can be given unfinished passages and asked to propose an ending” (p. 58). It provides a wonderful time for children to spend and enjoy with their mentors – listening to their voices while looking into their eyes and suggesting their own input, the ending. However, we need to be conscious at choosing age appropriate materials that also match their interests. As guardians, we should aim to read with them as often as we can – at least once every day. When we read to more than one child, we can read alone with each childgiving them the chance to choose the book to be read. Thus, it is important that we initiate our efforts to encourage reading in the early years of our student’s life because encouraging older children and teenagers to read is a little more difficult.
The school or concerned authority and interest groups can introduce a mobile library service so that children in disadvantaged areas of the neighborhood that cannot afford books can also be reached. Within our school and classrooms, different book corners and class libraries can exchange books they have collected and share what they have been reading.
Reading, assimilation and Creation
It is important for our children to observe the efforts we put in acquiring reading abilities. If children find reading uncomfortable, we can talk about the pictures in books, newspapers, and magazines with them. Myself, most of the time, I ask our children to read to me or to tell me about what s/he has read in her/his own words. It is equally important that children observe their teachers (and “parents” or their seniors) reading on a regular basis. When a child finds us reading books, magazines, newspapers, recipes, telephone directories, and whatever other reading materials, it will reinforce the importance of reading in her/him.
I keep reading materials throughout the house to stimulate reading in me, in my spouse, and in our children. This has increased our access to books and printed materials. I believe reading can happen anywhere and help everyone to understand that reading doesn’t only happen at school. I have seen students who read outside of classroom be more successful achievers, as it seems what we read is not very important if the reading is able to occupy our interest.
Hence, after children complete their homework and reading, we can allow them to watch television as a reward. By taking these steps in our home, we encourage our children to read beyond the classroom. From reading, children gain life’s pleasures that open many doors to culture, knowledge, confidence and independence. “Reading and writing, if we develop them as a culture, brings tremendous effect in students’ creative ventures with a greater level of imaginative power in writing, thus bringing many contexts in the form of a text” (Pandey, 2011, p. 77). Better writers read more to prepare themselves for good writing, thus better readers produce more mature writing than poorer readers. For those who write book reviews, reading books and writing reviews is a kind of regular process. In their short review, children can give short summaries of books read and indicate the author, number of pages as well as main character or subject matter of the book, the creation. Relating what we read with our life events, the information we acquire from books has a tremendous influence on our perception, socialization and overall human transformation.
Collie, J. and Slater, S. (1990). Literature in the language classroom: A resource book of
ideas and activities. Cambridge: CUP.
Davies, P. (2008). Success in English teaching. Shanghai: OUP.
Grellet, F. (2013).Developing reading skills.Cambridge: CUP.
Gruelle, J. (2011). Raggedy Ann stories. Washington: United States Department of State.
Miller, P. (2012). “Ten Characteristics of a good teacher.English teaching forum. Vol. 50,No. 1.
Nuttal, C. (2000).Teaching reading skills in a foreign language. Oxford: Macmillan Heinemann.
Pandey, K. (2007). Writing power. Kathmandu: Nirantar.
Pandey, K. (2011). Journal writing: a means of transformation in teaching – learning practices. An unpublished dissertation of M. Phil. in Education. Kathmandu: Kathmandu University.
Wood, J. (2006). Leaving Microsoft to change the world. New York: Collins.
(Kashiraj Pandey, an MA in English Literature and M. Phil. in Education, is an Asst. Professor of English at Kathmandu University, Nepal. Mr. Pandey served the institution at the central committee as Training Coordinator (2009-2011), and executive member (2011-2013). Winning Australia Awards from an open competition, he is doing PhD in Teacher Education at Curtin University, Australia at present)
My Words, My Rights: An Analysis of Self Plagiarism
Suman Laudari (email@example.com)
Self-plagiarism has been the talk of the town, amongst the Academics, in Nepal after UGC announced that it has blacklisted a few researchers, citing that they had been involved in fraudulent. In reply to the announcement of UGC, the researchers said that they copied words from their previous work, and it cannot be called plagiarism. The defensive statements of researchers seem to suggest that “these are my words, and I reserve the rights to use it”.On the other hand, the UGC’s notice appeared to have been guided by the concept of plagiarism, passing off as one’s own the writing of another. However, considering the context, the definition of plagiarism seems to rule out, as they say that the words are not copied from elsewhere, but from their own work, and they are the owner of those words in both the papers. Nonetheless, it should be seriously considered whether verbatim repetition of words from previously published work is allowed. In the meantime, we should also ask whether it fits into the integrity of our academic environment and follows the internationally accepted norms. To this end, this paper is written to explore responses to these issues, and the issues beyond these.
What is it?
To begin with, verbatim repetition of words from previously published work without following the established norm is considered to be SELF-PLAGIARISM. Itis considered to be a form of plagiarism in the field of academia (Roig, 2006). Though, it differs from lifting someone else’s word/s from their work, it is equally offensive as it is copying passage/s or paragraph/s from one’s own previously published work without proper referencing (Smith, 2007). Self-plagiarism is considered misconduct because the author makes deliberate attempts to deceive the reader.
According to Office of Research Integrityn(ORI), the institution that drafts guidelines for research integrity, self-plagiarism can take place in four different forms: verbatim repetition or exact duplication of the previously published work, salami-slicing, text recycle, and copyright infringement.
Exact Duplications: Exact duplication is republishing all or substantial part of previously published work without the editor or the readers letting know that there exists an identical version of the paper (Roig, 2006;Scanlon, 2009). Roig further argues that the paper given for republishing may contain identical or near to identical words (p.17). Such verbatim repetition and publishing works may give a false impression that the issues or findings are of high importance, which will earn the researcher undue extra credentials (McCarthy, 1993). Most importantly, as it takes up the space of the platform that it appears in, it becomes an unfair treatment to other researchers/scholars because their publication is delayed or rejected due to space, which prevents new ideas.
Egregious duplications, according to Scanlon (2009) may be the result of simultaneous drafting, in which an author writes two articles for two journals and the writing publishes in both the journals, and intentional verbatim repetition. In case of simultaneous drafting, self-plagiarism occurs by chance, and it can also be argued that it may not bring any benefits directly. But, deliberate duplication occurs due to the lack of academic honesty, and research integrity (Smith, 2007). Moreover, it also shows that suchresearchers lack creativity. With this regard, ORI clearly states that intentional lapse in research integrity is very serious as it is a misconduct which runs on the contrary to the primary goal of the scientific enterprise, which is search for new knowledge in the concerned field.
Salami-slicing: Salami-slicing, on the other hand, is lifting the result section of previously published work and publishing it in many other papers (Scanlon, 2009). Though, it may seem to be less adverse than verbatim repetition, it is also misconduct because it is done without proper attribution. Secondly, it gives undue inflation to such findings, as it gives indication that different data-sets yielded identical results. In addition, from a reader’s perspective, such slicing makes reading incomprehensible as it distorts the text, and such writing may also be misleading (Scanlon, 2009, p. 59).
Copyright Infringement: Thirdly, copyright infringement means to use a large portion of texts as a quotation from a previously published work, especially from academic journals, violating the provision of ‘fair use’, which, according to ORI, is using the text for nonprofit personal use. It implies that in borrowing words from a one’s copyrighted journal articles, one has to follow the convention, i.e. proper summarizing, paraphrasing, or quoting. For example APA publication manual suggests that if an author decides to borrow more than 500 words, she/he has to gain approval from APA (Roig, 2006). Copyright infringement is identical to plagiarized work, which normally occur because the author does not attribute to the source.
Text Recycle: Lastly, text recycle is copying a section of text from previously published work when the study report being written follows identical methodology as the previous one, or has similar literature review, or discussion section (Roig, 2002). I personally feel that some of text recycle is helpful given that it helps in establishing the issues discussed in the earlier paper. But, again, to reiterate, one has to follow the convention to avoid misconduct and to avoid deceiving readers. ORI, in its guidelines to research integrity, states that there is no consensus among journal publication guidelines regarding the amount of words that can be used for recycling, but it suggests that one should not violate the rules in doing so.
How Can I avoid it?
Though there are not many scholarly articles on self-plagiarism in social sciences, two publication manuals, Medical Library Associations (MLA) and American Psychological Associations (APA) clearly state that verbatim repetition without proper referencing the previous work is not acceptable (Scanlon, 2009). Further, no scholarly journals accept works that infringes copyright provisions. Thus, the basic thing that I personally would suggest is to follow the conventions to avoid self-plagiarism. It is obvious that researchers are provided with some leeway (Scanlon 2009; Smith 2007; Roig 2006), in relation to text reusing, but it should not be taken for granted that we can do rash duplication for monetary or any other gains without properly acknowledging and attributingthe source. It should be noted that egregious duplication reflects academic dishonesty and lack of creative thinking. On the other hand, copying with proper attribution from previous works suggests that the researcher has the sense of research integrity, and is concerned about his/her ethics
Next, researchers/scholars need to develop the sense of research integrity in them so that we are abided by high ethical standards, which lessen the chances of misconduct. However, sometimes, it is likely that we may self-plagiarize if we are doing simultaneous drafting. In such cases, it is advised to inform the editors that the article has been submitted for consideration to publication in another journal too (Scanlon, 2009).
Lastly, self-plagiarism is a grey area, rather than black and white. The concerned academic institutions in the country have to come up with guidelines regarding copyright infringement in relation to self-plagiarism. But, to stress again, the best treatment of this is that every one of us who has concerns regarding academic writing have to be abided by the guidelines of research integrity.
I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.
George Bernard Shaw
McCarthy, P. (1993). The paper mill.The New Physician, 24-27.
Roig, M. (November, 2002). Recycling portions oftext from the same author/s previously publishedpapers in psychology: An exploratory study. Paperpresented at the second Office of ResearchIntegrity’s conference on Research Integrity, Bethesda,MD.
Scanlon, P.M. (2007). Song from myself: An anatomy of self-plagiarism. Plagiary: Cross-Disciplinary Studies in Plagiarism, Fabrication and Falsification, 57-66.
Roig, M. (2006). Avoiding plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and other questionable writing practices: A guide to ethical Writing. Retrieved from http://facpub.stjohns.edu/~roigm/plagiarism/Index.html
Smith, E. R. (2007). Editor’s page: Plagiarism, self-plagiarism and duplicate publication. Can J Cardiol, 23(2), 146-147.
Office of Research Integrity. Policies/Regulations. <http://ori.hhs.gov/policies. (Current version)
(Suman Laudari is a life member of NELTA and working as a Training Coordinator of NELTA. He is also a teacher of English and has been teaching almost a decade now. Currently, he is working as an adjunct faculty at Kathmandu University, School of Education, English Language Education and Ace Institute of Management, Baneshwor. His research interests are motivation in second language learning, planning and task performance, and TBLT. )
Cyberculture: A Cohesive Tool to ELT World
Sagun Shrestha (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This modern world is entirely dominated by technology as often said the 21st century is an era of science and information technology. In one sense, we can view that the entire world is encroached by technology be it the computational fields or the digital. We are unable to run even our daily chores in the absence of these means. So, it is the digital age. And ELT cannot remain untouched from it.
Techno-strata and Critical Literacy:
The impact of technology is very immense, it cannot be judged in general. Earlier, there were strata in terms of production and economy from the standpoint of Marxist philosophy, but now there exists strata in regard to access to technology as techno-poor and techno-rich, the concept of post- Marxism. Those having no or a little access to technology are techno-poor, and those having access are techno-rich. Especially, the people from third world countries fall under the first category, no matter whether they are well-educated. Obviously, the one being very closed to technology can update him with the flux of the world, he can broaden his horizon of knowledge, and can be more critical and creative thinker since he requires the skills to operate and be familiar with the emerging modern technology and analyze the pros and cons of it in his daily life. It is the critical literacy which is also required in English language teaching.
English is being an international lingua franca. The person remains isolated purely from academic world if he lacks this language. Although some languages as Chinese, Spanish and others try to replace it, it is not so easy to be so. Therefore, accepting this fact, almost all emphasize teaching and learning English even for the survival in academia. At a moment, English language teaching has also been immensely affected by science and Information Technology (IT). With the use of different innovative means and methodology, it is taught and learnt. For a time being, let’s say it is the cyberculture that has left the impact on it.
Now there is CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning) and which is also a part of cyberculture amid many others. The use of Internet, TV, recording devices, multimedia, movies, and cell phones can also make ELT the live one. Especially, in literature teaching, one has to deal with the trend that is being used on it. Literature is also a pivotal part to teach language. Since there is the use of newer and nobler trend, the instructor has to be well familiarized on it. He needs to know cyber world, if there exists its use. This is the information age and literature also gets bloomed as per the time. There comes cyberculture and the instructor is reluctant to know it on one hand, and on the other hand, he has to know the cyber world since ELT is cuddled up by the technology per se.
Cyberspace is the new medium of communications that arose through the global interconnection of computers. The term refers not only to the material infrastructure of digital communications but to the oceanic universe of information it holds as well as human beings who navigate and nourish that infrastructure. Cyberculture is the set of technologies (material and technological), practices, attitudes, modes of thought, and values that developed along with the growth of cyberspace.
The global interconnection of computers is immense now. Every place is closely linked via network; therefore, there does not remain the concept of distance as near and far, and in the same fashion, the concept of past and present also seems to be archaic. This is due to network and creation of cyberworld. There is no any area which refrains from cyberculture. ELT too use much of it to update itself with techno revolution. It can be seen in literature be it oriental or occidental which can be the means of better language teaching.
Technology in English Language Teaching and Learning
Over the last fifteen years American schools have dramatically increased spending on classroom technology to more than $5 billion annually, because there has been a widely held belief by governmental, business and educational leaders that “wiring schools, buying hardware and software, and distributing the equipment throughout will lead to abundant classroom use by teachers and students and improved teaching and learning” (Cuban et al., 2001) (http://www.marthalakecov.org/~building/strategies/technology/foltos.htm retrieved on January 24, 2011)
America’s return on this massive investment in classroom technology seems even more questionable when parents, policymakers, and educators look for evidence of the impact on student achievement. Supporters of educational technology continue to believe that technology will make a difference in academic achievement, but tend to rely on anecdotal evidence about student motivation and their development of critical thinking skills to support this belief. Recently, a growing number of researchers have published studies that provide substantial evidence that technology can play a positive role in academic achievement. Several organizations like Edutopia, the North Central Educational Lab (NCREL) and the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technology (CARET) are documenting research studies that link technology to increases in academic achievement.
Now the question arises here: can the third world countries too afford such a big amount to introduce technology in language teaching? It is the major challenge to the countries which are developing. It seems impossible since the third world countries are lagging behind even to provide basic education which go through chalk and talk kind of methodology with teacher-centered pedagogy. But does it mean that we need not be familiar with modern techno-methodology? Does it also mean that all the learners do not have access with technology? Obviously, it’s a big ‘’no’’. Even in the context of Nepal, some good schools have already got access to these technology and others are trying for them. The computers are there even in rural areas. The mobile networks are everywhere throughout Nepal. The techno revolution seems out of blue in Nepal within a short period. It clearly depicts that we are in dire need to use them in pedagogy and especially in language teaching. Provided the technology is used for language teaching and learning, certainly there will be positive effects as motivation towards learning and critical thinking to operate them.
What can be the Different Tools to Use in ELT?
It’s so common to find different tools in ELT, out of them I will be sharing here some tools that I have used practically in my ELT classes which have shown a kind of magnanimous impact as regards the motivation of the both parties viz., instructor and the learners.
a. Online Virtual Classroom
Online virtual classrooms break away the narrow confinement of formal classroom setting and invite all the members of concerned class for the discussion of the issues that is raised there. The discussion chain in virtual classroom demands the learners to be more creative and critical which ultimately makes the learner and their writing adopt reformation.
There are so many online virtual classrooms, out of which to me the best ever I have used is http://www.nicenet.org. Once the account is opened, we receive a class key which is to be distributed to our students. With a help of class key they enter their class and take part in conferencing. This conferencing is basically used to get a discussion thread on any issue. The instructor posts a question and the learners comment or answer the particular question. They also comment on their friends’ answers along with their feedback which demand their critical voyage. The instructor is always with them, and he comments upon students’ answers if needed. This ultimately teaches students to have a feeling of respect as they are required to make some positive remarks to their friends’ writing in a discussion thread.
Conferencing, link sharing, having a classs schedule and a list of students are the features of an online virtual class. It’s effective for all the levels from teen to adult learners.
A blog is an electronic platform where we can post any document that can be reached out to anyone. It’s more a free and mini-website with a fixed template. Depending upon the instructor’s need, he can create either a class blog, project blog, teacher’s blog or student’s blog which are for different purpose. To me, class blog and teacher’s blog are so much useful in the field of ELT as class blog helps us to post our issues of the entire class and similarly, teacher’s blog supports the teachers to provide notes, slides and hand-outs to his students.
Project blog at times, can be useful to assign the learners some project developing project on some sites which will be discussed later. It will be more like getting discussion thread as done in Nicenet but for the different purpose. We can also appoint themselves as editors and subeditors to post their friends’ issues and ask other non-editors comment on it. www.eblogger.com,www.wordpress.com and www.weebly.com are the best blogging sites used so far.
c. Academic Project; A webquest
Academic project can be assigned online using some tools like www.zunal.com andwww.questgarden.com which has its fixed format called webquests. They have introduction at the very beginning followed by tasks, process, and evaluation. Since webquest is a well-arranged set, it seems a perfect tool for assigning some projects to the learners. The rubric will help them get the right instruction that can be placed on evaluation obtaining fromwww.rubistar4teachers.com.
d. Academic search engines and social Book Marking
Search Engines, the generic are google, bing etc. but the more academic that I use for language instruction is www.twurdy.com which shows the readability of each link. We can simply share the link checking the readability level. It is shown with the symbol of colour, like the deep orange is a link having a complex text whereas faint orange is a link having simple text. Moreover, it shows the age level too.
Social bookmarking site helps to have a record of each link. It can be termed as our online library since we have a tag to every site, and make a stack. The moment you need, you can retrieve from any computer having internet facilities from anywhere in the world. Even our friends can reach to our bookmarking if we have made it public. The private sites cannot be browsed by others besides the owner. The best social bookmarking site is http://www.delcious .com.
These all are the sites that I have been using in my classroom. At times I myself feel that the classroom setting has entirely been changed due to its intervention. Now the classroom’s formal setting has been distorted and everything needs redefining and regeneration, a feature of postmodernism.
Cyberculture as a Postmodern Fact
Postmodernism, the buzz term in the present era, rules over every disciplines. Be it the literature or politics, be it arts or architecture, it fixes its impact on them. It seems it is like a catch-all term for just about anything. Postmodernism started life mainly as an academic category concerned with certain developments in the arts, but soon became a descriptive term for all sorts of proposed shifts and changes in contemporary society and culture. Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary (2010, 7th edition) defines it as ‘a style and movement in art, architecture, literature etc in the late 20th century that reacts with modern styles’. It is not a school of thought rather it is a set of ideas or unified intellectual movement which tries to define or explain the state of affairs in the society. Therefore, it doesn’t comprise of a single theoretician or a spokesperson. In fact, it is not easy to define postmodernism. To say the description over disillusionment or unsystematic going as postmodernism is insufficient. Since postmodernism is concerned with different fields, the obscurity over definition is customary. Anyway, in general, it is a hard strike against modernity. It is ‘the end of the history’, ‘the end of man’ and ‘the death of the real’. (Ward. G, 2009)
The end of history is the skepticism about the idea of progress. It also relates to debate about how histories are written, and to the thought that events lack unity or direction. Similarly, the death of the real is to do with postmodernism’s abandonment of the pursuit of absolute truth, and its preference for the temporary, superficial and the apparent. The end of man is an interrogation of mankind as a social and historical invention. It is connected to the idea that new technologies are moving us into a ‘post-human’ stage of development. In other words, postmodernism describe about the role of technology in modern human life which is cyberculture indeed. Therefore, since postmodernism studies the impact of digital devices in human lives i.e., cyberculture, it takes cyberculture as one of the aspects among many postmodern facts.
Different terminologies have been evolved which are closely connected with cyberculture. Postmarxism, digital culture, globalization, cultural imperialism, cyber feminism and cyber punk are the jargons which have been frequented while dealing cyberculture as a postmodern fact.
Marxists view ‘mode of production’ or ‘economy’ as a major entity to create different strata in a society. The stratification exists there viz. bourgeois and proletarian due to economy and they viewed economy as a central entity while the post-Marxists object the stratification and advocates freedom and democracy; they view nothing remains in a centre. Further, they possess the idea i.e., the strata have been shifted to ‘techno-poor’ and ‘techno-rich’ in terms of technology. It is in regard to the access of technology. Those having access are ‘techno-rich’ and without access are ‘techno-poor’.
B. Cyber Feminism
It is the term coined by critics of feminism. Seeking their space in cyberculture, Bhattarai (2006) says, ‘It is purely the novel concept in a literary theory. The analysts for the feminists’ theory are seeking their space in cyberculture by impeding into the debate prevalent over there.’
Obviously, feminists conclude females are being technically dominated. In other words, they have a little or no access with technology vis- a-vis male. Females aren’t much interested in using technical devices and even they depend upon males or others to get their actions completed which need technical supports whereas the males are technically superior. The time they allocate in using technology is extensive; it is how the newer strata are formed in terms of impact of technology in gender. Once again Bhattarai (2006) says, ‘Most of the people say, this, cyber space is the deliberate structure formed by the male-dominated mentality which affects the female participation. It is clear through the email, bulletin board system, discourses, web-designs, and the structure of computer industries that we see.’ The current study on feminism in computer technology in Asia shows despite having equal qualification to male, the females are not going forward in using technology, bearing risks and seeking the help from either offspring or husbands or others. It also shows another stratum. Now the feminists politics is entering gradually in this academic discipline i.e., literature.
C. Digital Culture
One of the buzz words in this modern era: digital culture is so prevalent since our entire culture is dominated through electronic culture. This is digital age and our culture is also the digital one. The digital technologies: cellular phone, pedger, CD ROM, I-phone, I-pod has tremendously affected our lives. These all are linked to the computer which transmits message through electronic signals in an inanimate way.
We all are moved through silicon chips-which are one of the very dangerous aspects of digital age. Nothing remains secret and confidential. We are being observed everywhere through surveillance camera no matter where we are, be it while bathing in a bathroom or in a department store. It depicts that we have lost our freedom which is the major impact of digital culture. Cyberculture in literature also regards this as a major phenomenon in its study and deals the matter.
At a moment, the identities of writer and readers have been metamorphosed. Readers do not require being script-literate. Just visual or sound-literate is enough since any information can be extracted via these means, and writers also can enjoy copy and paste sort of stuff since all the sources can be googled and obtained. It shows that archaic status of reader and writer has been entirely changed.
This is another terminology related to cyberculture. Due to the immense use of satellite, the world has turned into a small village. This is a globalization. The transportation, commerce and trade have been grown larger besides communication. Along with this, cultures have travelled very far crossing the national boundary and now transnational state is being developed which does not have any specific boundary. Now the literati should not think of only his country but also has a view as if he is a common citizen of the world.
The prime reason to get the same food, same fashion and same brand throughout the world is due to globalization. We can know the information about holy places, hotels, mega events being closed inside a room. Since there is everything global product, it threatens the local ones. We surmise, there can be a time when the local ones may not be seen as it will be entirely replaced by the global ones, the tremendous impact of globalization, the cultural imperialism indeed.
E. Cultural Imperialism
The situation indeed evolved, due to globalization is cultural imperialism. Not only in this 21st era, can even its foundation be seen in Roman period. Just the shape has been changed remaining the quality or imperialism as usual. It denotes the way the developed countries impose their values, trends, cultures to the third world countries to be followed. The values, trends and local cultures of the third world countries are being encroached and they get diminished. When global stuffs substitute local ones, all the things become common gradually. These all things and cultures would be only of developed countries. The entrance of multinational companies and the substitution of local goods and cultures by the global ones are some of the instances of cultural imperialism.
Another reason of cultural imperialism to the third world country is due to the migration of youths in search of employment, education and other facilities to the developed countries. When they return back to their own countries after their certain purposes get fulfilled, they also bring the cultures of the developed ones which become the modal for being encroached. On one hand, the activities and language used in cyber help to promote it, on the other hand, the migration of youth to the developed countries.
F. Cyber Punk
Cyber punk, the crucial concept in cyberculture is related to rock music (punk rocker which was popular in 1960 to 1980) (Bhattarai, 2006). There was its own feature; one who would sing with extreme dissatisfaction to the world having long hair, chain on the body was known as punk rocker and it was adhered to the voice of freedom from the chaotic, sorrowful and pity society. However, in literature, the cyber punk fiction has its own unique existence. It became so much popular after William Gibson published his fiction entitled ‘Neuromancer’. It is used in sci-fi genre. The then cyber punk music was regarded as the symbol for destruction, devastation, mutilation and revolution but the present day cyber punk fiction is regarded as intellectual criticism to the current society.
Cyber punk fiction analyzes the future role and qualities of human through the creation of virtual world with the assistance of computer and modern technology. People are living in non-places these days creating global village. Humans have got second life as every chatting, clothing and chewing has been virtual which have been possible due to techno-revolution.
At a moment, many sci-fi movies are seen in the market which has been tremendously affected by the cyber punk genre. Some instances: ‘Robot’, ‘Neuromancer’, ‘The Matrix’, ‘The Machine Girl’, ‘The Eagle Eye’ and many other show its radical use. In this regard, the literature, both eastern and western has been saturated entirely through cyber punk in particular and cyberculture, in general which has further impact in ELT.
It’s so weird to have a view being a language instructor that we require no modification in our methodology. Everything needs redefining and regeneration and with this timely perception, we find cyberculture as a cohesive tool to ELT world. These days, the learners are techno-native and we some of us may be, otherwise most of us are techno-immigrants, and still overlooking the techno-native generation and trying to impose our age-long practice may mean creating frustration in our teaching and learning. The frustration of both parties can be seen sooner or later; therefore it is a high time, the language instructors adopted this cohesive fact in their instruction to address the need of the present day ELT world. This is what regeneration and redefining in ELT which is a resultant effect of techno-native generation.
Bajgain, K.(2010).Shrsata ra digital Barta. Washington DC: Antarastiya Nepali Sahitya Samaj.
Bell, D.(2007).Cyberculture. 2 Park Square: Routledge.
Bell, D., Loader, B.D., Pleace, N., & Schular, D.(2004).Cyberculture: The key concepts. London: Routledge.
Bhattarai, G.R.(2005).Uttar aadhunik aina. Kathmandu: Ratna Pustak Bhandar.
Bhattarai, G.R.(2008).Uttar aadhunik bimarsha. Kathmandu: Modern Books.
Bhattarai, G.R.(2010, November 1). Post modern paradigm in Nepalese ELT. Nelta Chautari.Retrived March19, 2011, from http://neltachoutari.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/post-modern-paradigm-in-nepalese-elt/
Bonno, R.(2001).Cyberculture (Pierre, L., Trans.). USA: University of Minnoseta press. (Original work published 1997)
Foltos, L.(2002, December). Technology and academic achievement. New Horizons for Learning, Retrieved January 24, 2010, from http://www.marthalakecov.org/~building/strategies/technology/foltos.htm
Lazar, J.(1993). Literature and language teaching: A guide for teachers and trainers. Cambridge: CUP.
Lewis, G.(2009). Bringing technology into the classroom. New York: OUP.
Moran, J.(1970). Interdisciplinary. New York: Routledge.
Turnbull, J. et al. (Eds.). (2010). Oxford advanced learner’s dictionary. OUP: New York.
Ward, G.(2004).Teach yourself postmodernism. USA: Hodder Headline Ltd.
(Sagun Shrestha is the Assistant Coordinator of English Access Microscholarship Program, Nepal. He has also been teaching English at St. Lawrence college, Chabahil Kathmandu. A teacher and teacher trainer, Mr. Shrestha has co-authered ‘English Teaching Methods’ and has worked in the capacity of Editor-in-chief of ‘ The GEM’, an annual magazine of GEMS . He is particularly interested in cyberculture, researches in new trends in ELT and oriental and western Literature. )
Essential Strategies for Teacher’s Professional Life Cycle
-Ashok Sapkota (email@example.com)
Development refers to ones growth or a change which serves as a long term goal (Head and Taylor, 1997) in order to facilitate ones skills and expertise. Teacher development is a whole process for teacher production which in general is a process of becoming a best teacher that every one wishes to be in their life. It draws on the teacher inner as well as the outer knowledge as a resource for the transition for the change. Teacher development builds in the past, because reorganizing the past experiences (Mohan, 2011) at the present moment adds a brick to move ahead as a form of reflective practice and professional growth. It is a self-reflective process (Richards & Farrell, 2011) because it is through questioning old habits that help to grow oneself as an alternative ways of being and doing. This process of knowing ones growth can be called as teacher development. It is ongoing and bottom-up process (Hargreaves,1994). It is essential to build ones knowledge on several aspects which can make us a professional teacher. Teachers begin their career as a novice teacher and pass through the different stages of learning, teaching, reflecting and coming up with several hunches.
Teachers Professional Life Cycle
A professional is someone whose work involves performing a certain function with some degree of expertise (Ur, 2010). The technician, cratsman or artistian performs certain acts with skill and becomes more skillful as time goes on, through practice so does the teacher. Studies of teachers’ professional and career development have identified different phases, sequences, or stages those teachers undergo through of their careers and professional growth. Based on the ideas of Tusi (2003), Diaz-Maggioli (2004) and Burns and Richards (2009) the following six phases of teachers’ professional life cycle as: survival, stabilization, experimentation and diversification, reassessment, serenity, disengagement phase and post teaching life can taken as the teachers’ professional life cycle.
i) Survival Phase
This is the first phase in teachers’ professional development. Typically, novice teachers or beginners go through this phase where they are preoccupied with their own survival in the classroom. Teachers feel difficult, inadequate and ill prepared in this phase as the all environment becomes new for them. Some of the well documented problem in this phase is of reconciling educational ideas and realities, maintaining classroom discipline, establishing an appropriate rapport or relationship with students, playing multiple role of a teacher maintaining the environmental demand and having an adequate mastery of knowledge as well as an instructional methods. This phase can also be called as a ‘discovery phase’ where the teachers are excited by the fact that they are now a teacher with their own students. This phase can also be called as induction phase.
ii) Stabilization Phase
This is a second phase where the teachers consolidate their experience from the first phase, gain confidence in teaching and mastering teaching skills. They are more flexible in their classroom management and better be able to handle unpredictable situation. In this phase, teachers’ focus changes from ‘ self to students’. The teachers become more committed to teaching however the self-doubt still remains on the teachers.
iii) Experimentation and diversification phase
As a third phase in the teachers’ professional development, the teachers are motivated by the wish to increase their impact in the classroom and seek the new challenges. They conduct personal experiments using different instructional methods, materials and classroom management skills. Teachers in this phase are highly motivated, enthusiastic, ready to confront issues that they had existed knowledge and to take or quest on new knowledge or challenges. Hence, the teachers desire to increase their impact in the classroom or desire to change.
iv) Reassessment Phase
In course of professional development some non-linguistic factors such as age, attitude, cultural shock, motivation, anxiety, fear and so other factors are prominent which could lead the teachers to themselves to the doubt, uncertainty and frustration or even reach in the position to change their job. In some cases the other teachers, try one selves to adjust in this phase and make oneself get established in this phase. This is the reason this phase is also known as ‘stabilization phase’ and the teachers try to grow themselves with new paradigm of teaching, so also known as reassessment phase.
v) Serenity Phase
This is the stage where the teachers have more peace of mind. Teachers in this phase are less vulnerable to others’ perceptions of them. They develop a patience of listening which is one of the best skills of professional growth. Here teachers speak of ”being able to accept myself as I am and not as others would have me be’. It is marked not only by a decline in professional investment and enthusiasm but also greater confidence, more tolerance and spontaneity in the classroom. This is the stage where teacher-student relationship is found to be more distanced. This phase is followed by a conservation, which is characterized by resistance to and skepticism about innovation and change.
vi) Disengagement Phase
Near to the end of the teachers’ professional life cycle, teachers disengage themselves from commitments and allow more time for their personal engagements. Disengagement can take the form of withdrawing and investing their time and effort elsewhere, mostly in social welfare activities, engage oneself in political activities or a business. In some cases this stage can be a bitter or serene.
vii) Post-teaching Phase
After the retirement the teachers in his early days feel indifferent. They try to engage them in different sectors, such as social welfare works, community development works, working as a advisor, etc. This stage is taken as post-teaching phase.
The seven phases as explained above illustrates the feelings, engagements, activities that the teachers undertake in their life although the major component to shape their life depends upon the idea on ‘What knowledge does a good teacher need to have to become professional?’ To answer this questions the following sections deals with the
Teacher is a person who teachers different skills to learners. When we say that there is no single ‘best way’ of teaching English, that does not mean that each teacher has to start from scratch, as though there were no agreement on what counts as good teaching (Edge & Garton, 2009). It is very necessary to module oneself with the growing interest on multiple and diverse aspects of knowledge to make oneself professional. Head and Taylor (1997, p.22) opined that, ” …much of the knowledge that teachers have is acquired through experience of actually doing the job”. As Richards (2010, p. ix as in Cheng, 2013, p.100)
… teachers sometimes graduate from (teacher-education) programmes with limited experience in materials design, evaluation, adaptation, and implementation … the status of materials design is sometimes undervalued in graduate education, where it is regarded as a relatively trivial and theory-free activity.
There are number of areas that can be enlisted in second language teacher development however in this article I will be enlisting seven basic skills that are essential to make oneself professional as an English language teacher.
a. Command over the subject matter
it is an essential that the teachers need to have knowledge as a disciplinary basis of TESOL-that is, English grammar, discourse analysis, phonology, testing, second language acquisition, basic research methodology and curriculum development that define the professional base of language learning. It is expected that a teacher need to have sound knowledge and full command over his subject matter on which he is going to teach.
b. Pedagogical expertise and integration
Mastering of new areas of teaching, adding a new pedagogical practices to one’s repertoire of teaching specializations, improving ability to teach different skills to diverse group of learners of different ages and background, etc are the wish of most of the teachers. In this regard, when a teacher can access to these areas by developing new materials, new skills and reinnovation in the field of teaching which helps to make oneself professional.
We, teachers might have enough potentialities but fail to know ourselves. We fail to know ourselves, try, search, read and identify the multiple potentialities with us. It is essential to have a self-awareness as knowledge of oneself as a teacher, of one’s principles and values, strengths and weaknesses, and opportunities within challenges. It is equally essential to develop a patience of listening to others thoughts, understanding others desires, intentions, difficulties and knowledge to make oneself professional, The teachers need to have the knowledge of learners and their background so that he could implement the appropriate strategies to change himself and also to suggest an appropriate path to his students.
d. Learners Diversity and Challenges matters
Deeping understanding of learners, learning styles, learners’ problems and difficulties, ways of making content more accessible to the diverse group of learners is one of the challenges of professional development in Nepal. When we, teachers are able to understand the desires, interest on the subject matter or module the content of the desire of the students to create an enthusiasm towards it, then our teaching becomes successful. It is essential to have knowledge of learners and their background so that we can implement appropriate strategies to make them understand.
e. Being Critical, Creative and Contextual in Using Curriculum
Deepening one understands of curriculum and curriculum alternatives, use and development of instructional materials are one of the essential qualities that professional teachers need to have. It helps them to provide a road map on the contents and instruction they use in their daily teaching-learning operation. If a teacher lacks a proper knowledge of curriculum and materials, it is quite difficult to module themselves on to a professional teacher. A clinical supervision (Bailey, 2006) is necessary to develop a rapport between supervisee and supervisee which can lead us to be more critical and creative.
f. Career Advancement
A best career with the necessary professional knowledge is a dream of most of the teachers. A teacher needs to act as a successful supervisor, monitor or facilitator in order to develop professional skill.
g. Adapting Culture and Integrating Technology
Cultural adaptability is one of the basic skills (Brown, 2007) in which a teacher need to adapt them to make themselves professional. A class is a miniature of a society which consists of a diverse situation, and multiple contexts. In the same way, technology is also a fascinating tool in the present context where a teacher need to have basic skills to handling technology such as multimedia, basic presentation skills, conversing with his students in blogs, wikis, twitter, etc. Good practice is an interraction among people (Edge & Garton, 2009) in a situation, guided by teachers who use their intelligence, expertise, knowledge, skills, sensitivity, creativity and awareness to help other people to learn.
Strategies Used for Teachers Professional Development
Apart from the above teachers knowledge skills, a wide variety of methods, strategies or skills are necessary for ones professional development. There is no such magnificent road to the teacher’s professional development however the several skills can be taken into consideration for ones professional growth. Teachers personally themselves are an important aspect to bring change in them. When teacher as a learner encounter new items they need to know what they mean and how they are used in the communication (Davies & Pearse,2000). The initial quest to grow oneself need to come from the teacher than only the others strategies. Richards and Farrell (2005) lists out eleven strategies, viz. workshops, self-monitoring, teacher-support groups, keeping a teaching journal, peer observation, teaching portfolios, analytical critical incidents, case analysis, peer coaching, team teaching and action research. Sapkota (2012) found that most of the strategies listed by Richards and Farrell (2010), are used by the university teachers in a partial manner however when the teacher first develops self-monitoring practices in themselves, they begin towards learning other strategies. Likewise, Wenger (1998 as in Sapkota, 2012) focuses on the teachers’ identity with the role of community shaping ones professional growth, Richards and Farrell (2010) adopt practice teaching for novice teachers as a reflective approach to grow oneself to explore one’s teaching. A wide variety of methods and procedures are available for in-service teacher development.
Similarly, Roberts (1998, p.224 as in Sapkota, 2012) suggests that teacher can develop themselves adopting various strategies like teaching professional collaboration, innovation and research, helping others learn courses/formal situation, self-study and language learning. Apart from these strategies, the following are the major five strategies used by the teachers are the basics for their professional development, leading oneself to the professional growth as in the professional cycle described in the first section of this article.
Self-monitoring and self-obsevation are the recent concepts employed in the the currrent ELT practices and are used interchangably. They are the tool for the teachers’ professional development. “Self-monitoring or self-obsevation refers to activities in which information about one’s teaching is documented or recorded in order to review or evaluate teaching” (Richards and Farrell 2010, p.34). Similarly,Armstrong and Firth 1984: Kozil and Burns 1985 states “Self-monitoring or self-obsevation evaluation and management of one’s behaviour in order to achieve a better understanding and control over the behaviour” (as cited in Richards and Farrell, 2010, p.34). Self-monitoring is often a good starting point in planning personal professional development because it can be used to identify the the weaknesses of a person to perform a particular role. Snyder, (1974) state “Self-monitoring is about self-observation and self control to notice situational cues for socially appropriate behaviour inorder to modify ones behaviour accordingly. In other words, self-monitoring refers to the extent to which an individual looks internally for cues to appropriate behaviour in a given situation” (as cited in Bahtisen Kavak et al., 2009, p.120 as in Richards and Farell, 2010). Self-monitoring refers to the personal supervision of the onces own practice “Self-monitoring is based on the view that in order to better understand one’s own strength and weaknesses as a teacher. It is necessary to collect information about teaching behaviour and practices objectively and systematically and to use this information as a basis for making decision about whether there is anything that should be changed” (Richards and Farrell 2010, p.34).
ii) Collaborative teacher development
Collaborative teacher development (CTD) is an important tool to facilitate ones’ professional development used in the wide range of language context. Teaching is not an occupation pursued largely in isolation from one’s colleagues as egg-box profession (Johston,2009) but also a support from the peers, students and the academic environment as a whole. Collaborative learning involves different activities whether in large scale collaborative activities like teacher networks, trainings, school clusters, workshops, seminars, conferences or small scale collaborative learning activities like peer observation, peer teaching, team teaching, mentoring, informal interaction, study group, action research, etc.
Fullan (1993) as cited in Head and Taylors (1997, p. 17) expresses his view about small scale and large scale collaborative learning in this way:
Small scale collaboration involves the attitudes and the capacity to form productive mentoring and peer relationship, team building and the like; on a large scale it consists of the ability to work in organization that form cross intuitional partnership such as school district, university and school community and business alliance as well as global relationship with individual and organization from other culture.
To conclude, it does not matter whether the collaboration is small scale or large scale. The sort of collaborative engagement by teachers with learners, colleagues, researchers, curriculum developers (Nunan, 1993), administrators, parents, materials developers and so on (Johnston, 2009) represents a valuable form of professional development.
iii) Trainings, workshops, seminar and conferences
Teacher development can be succinctly described as teachers acquiring or adapting new knowledge, skills and beliefs in order to change their educational practice. The most common teacher development methods used in Nepal are transmission type models where teachers attend short term seminars or workshops (training). Sometime the seminars could also be decontextualized from their everyday practice. The assumption is that teachers will adopt or implement all ideas presented in those one of sessions. This linear and mechanistic teacher development model is generally ineffective in promoting teacher professional development. This is true if we still conduct these workshops and seminars in a traditional way, as Wallace (2001), these workshops and seminars are only the way of getting/receiving readymade knowledge and skills from the experts.
But now, the things have been changed. Regarding this, Richards and Farrell (2005) state, “In both seminars and workshops all participants are expected to contribute actively” (p.24). Similarly, Wallace (1991, p. 39) mentions, “A useful skill for tutors to master when organizing workshop and practical session is the art of making issues problematic turning teaching points sounds that they become problem or puzzle to be solved by trainees using their own ingenuity, background knowledge and work experience” (p. 39). Another genuine forum for teacher learning through collaboration is different international, national, regional and local ELT conferences where teachers get opportunities to discuss about different ups and downs found in the teaching and learning context.
iv) Professional networking
As in the Sanskrit slokas ‘Sanghe shaktih kalau yuge‘ (Gnawali, 2013) , the organizations hold the power in modern times. This slokas has a connection with the metaphor as:
Tell me and I will… Forget
Show me and I will. …Remember
Involve me and I will…Understand
Network me and I will. …Grow (and help others to grow) Solly (2004 as in Gnawali, 2013)
From these two slokas and metaphor it can be inferred that network refers to formal and informal groups of teachers set up for mutual benefits. The forms of clubs, forums or associations are general examples of networks. The networks exist in local, regional, national and international context with varying structure. They have ordinary/annual members, life members, and institutional members Such as: IATEFL UK and TESOL USA. The unique feature of teacher organizations is that they relay in voluntarism(Gnawali, ibid). The South Asian networks are ELTAI, FORTELL, SPELT, BELTA, SLELTA, ALTAA, AsiaTEFL. Teacher networks have culture of shared purpose and values; norms of continuous learning; a commitment to and sense of responsibility for the learning of all members; collaborative and collegial relationships; and opportunities for reflection, collective inquiry, and sharing personal practice (Diaz-Maggioli, 2004). The major point is indeed that teachers associations, whether micro or macro, are necessarily centrally concerned with the professional development of its members. This is the ultimate justification for their existence (Allwright, (1991 as in Gnawali, 2013).” A lonely rooster cannot bring on a new dawn: the role of a FL teachers’ association in the professional development of its associates : teachers looked their teachers’ associations primarily “to enhance their linguistic and communicative competence, to seek methodological innovations for their classes, in addition to motivation and self-esteem” (Alcantara , 2010). … authorities and teacher associations should actively seek and agree on the most effective ways to establish regular methods of communication, consultation, and coordination with one another in all aspects of education planning and policy. Particularly in regard to English language education, authorities should draw upon the expertise of … (teacher) associations, such as TESOL affiliates, in developing and implementing sound language education planning and policy (TESOL, 2007, p.1 as in Gnawali, 2013).
v) Writing for Publication
Research and ones’ experiences get disseminated through the publication and sharing. Publishing in journals and the books is inevitable if a practitioner wants to sustain in the field of academia. For this, s/he has to go through the rigorous process of research and writing along with patience. Wellington (2003 as in Burrows ,2011) believes that writing and publishing are important for improving your professional identity in academic world. It is helpful in influencing people and inform the leaders who create policy and make decisions. It will also make people more generally aware of the subject of your research. It is also a form of personal rewards where learning occurs to achieve and gain new skills, being a respected part of a community and feeling a sense of achievement (Burrows, 2011). On the other hand, it is a form of financial rewards which is helpful in increasing job opportunities and receive extra remuneration. The role of academic journals is to provide up-to-date thinking and current research in particular discipline and challenge fixed assumptions, encourage divergent thinking and develop a critical approach, exchange information, provide work which can be used for teaching and learning, showcase high quality work, offer an outlet for publication and dissemination, and act as a forum for campaigning on important issues.
Hence, writing up is more of process than an end point. Thus the file on the research should never be closed because it’s our capital, reflection, revising the analysis, a comparison for later research, a part of composite article which lead us to the professional growth and make us a professional in the respective field.
(The author is a faculty at central department in English Education, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, and Kathmandu Shiksha Campus, Kathmandu, Nepal and a former teacher trainer at British Council, executive member of NELTA central committee; member;South Asia Teachers Association, ELTECs/U.K)