Why should we read? Why should we write? Why should we share? The answer to all these questions is the same: the life is too short to learn only from one’s own experience and to add some meaning to it. Therefore, if we grab the opportunity of learning from others’ experiences, we can make our life more meaningful. Reading, writing and sharing help us develop personally, professionally as well as academically by bringing creativity in thinking, clarity in thoughts, flexibility and open mindedness in considering others’ ideas and broader understanding of life in general and of our field in particular. NELTA ELT Forum was established with this aim and incessantly going ahead with the same.
This November 2014 Issue of NELTA ELT Forum has brought to readers different thought provoking ideas and issues related to policies and practices of English language teaching. In this collection of five articles, reflective deliberations have been made by the respective authors on three pressing ELT issues: teacher training, language- culture dilemma and developing critical thinking. When practically everyone is complaining about the low transfer of training in the classroom, Mr. Dinesh Kumar Thapa in his article, A Proposal for Instituting EL Teachers’ Support Mechanism in the System of Education in Nepal, has advocated for a policy intervention for establishing a robust English language teachers’ support mechanism owing to several shortcomings in the existing teacher support system. He argues that teacher development in the changing medium of instruction classrooms from Nepali into English has become a thorny issue, and claims that the quality of learning in schools will erode unless the teachers teaching in the changed linguistic context are supported and monitored well. Considering the centrality of teacher agency in any ELT reforms, he has presented strong cases and arguments to appeal to the concerned stakeholders for a close and intensive support to and monitoring of teachers, so that they can work in a more accountable way. He also claims that because of the lack of ‘sense’ of teaching in training courses, training has been a kind of ‘dread’ for trainees. Similar issue regarding curricular policy in English teacher education has been raised by Mr. Cholakanta Regmi in his article, Technology in ELT Classroom: Inevitability of Teacher Education. No one can deny the fact technology has permeated each and every sector of human life though its influence can be greater or lesser. In the field of English language teaching, the impact of technology is growing day by day. However, the teachers, the main agents for maximizing the benefits of technology in ELT class, are themselves in desperate need of support for making proper use of technology. He has urged the concerned authority to take immediate action in this regard to make ELT teachers capable of handling technology-driven English language classes.
Similarly, in the article, Culture and Language Learning, Ms. Stephanie Lerner shares reflectively her own experience of learning a foreign language as well as teaching English to students belonging to different cultures and learning English for different purposes. She claims that language and culture are ever inseparable, and therefore learning the culture embodying the language is a part and parcel of learning a language, including English language learning. According to her, both teachers and learners of any language including English are cultural explorers. She has also shared the links for the courses she prepared and her blog for those who are more interested in these areas.
Mr. Bal Ram Adhikari has highlighted the need for exploration, inquisitiveness, and reflection in his article “Don’t Say Yes Because…” Taking things for granted never leads to creativity and innovations. In this time when people are talking about schools killing creativity of students, Mr. Adhikari has urged students not to take things for granted; not to accept ideas for granted, as they are not exhaustive and have ample space for further scrutiny and, importantly, they are presented by teachers or writers. By no means is he saying that we should never accept others’ ideas; what he is suggesting is that we should take critical stand, revisit and reflect on them for transferring information to knowledge thereby being ‘knowledge-porter’ rather than ‘information porter’. Not information but knowledge helps to make informed decisions in real life situations. Adding to the importance of inquiry, Mr. Ramesh Prasad Ghimire has shared his success story of promoting trainee teachers’ confidence in using English for communication in his article, Removing the Trainees’ Hesitation in Using English during Training Sessions. He has methodically presented a thorough exploration into the interventions he made during his reflective teacher training project, and concludes that sense of self confidence, access to some very commonly used communicative expressions, non- threatening environment for using English and focus on meaning rather than accuracy create ‘win-win and no-lose’ situation resulting in successful learning of English.
Here is the list of contents included in this issue:
We would like to thank all the contributors for their efforts for making this issue worth reading. Thanks are also due to all the members of editorial team for their direct or indirect support and special thanks to Sagun sir for his technical support. We also expect critical and constructive suggestions from our valued readers for making NELTA ELT Forum even better in the days to come.
Ms. Madhu Neupane Bastola
Mr. Dinesh Kumar Thapa