Silence after any of our experience means silencing everything. Writing, and thus the habit of eagerly documenting what one has experienced and sharing with other colleagues is a key part in our continuous professional growth and development. Reflection is something all teachers are doing throughout their lives. In teaching career, own self-reflection, peer-reflection, along with participants’ or learners’ reflection as nip for thought work as meditation that also gives complete freedom for a clearer picture.
Ganga Ram Gautam in Teaching of English in the US: What can we learn from there? shares the expertise that he gained as a full-time graduate student at Boston University, USA with Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program. He also encourages other teachers to apply such insights in their professional life through this reflective writing, also being an important self-assessment tool for teachers.
From the descriptions of A Day in the life of an EFL Teacher Educator by Laxman Gnawali, other teachers can empathize on what he enjoyed in a course along with the activities that readers benefit from his reflection. The classroom activities plus contents generated in one of his classes outline the participant friendly approach of managing a class which will inspire other teachers to use with similar activities. Such reflective work brings humility in us giving power to expose ourselves better. It enables readers to be self-critical about the learning and is helpful in transforming both– the teacher and students.
Eak Prasad Duwadi in his paper Feasibility of ICT in ELT Classes in Nepal shares how the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has slowly been taking space at schools and colleges in Nepal. He claims how important it is for teachers to live with technology to further garner students’ thinking and problem-solving aptitudes at optimum level in this crucial time (21st century) in the world of technology.
Priyanka Pandey in her entry The Use of Mentoring in Developing Teachers mentions how mentoring has gained attention in Nepalese educational enterprises. When applied this strategy in our education system, novice teachers get opportunity to overcome problems such as anxiety, fear, frustration, confusion, and loss of hope which generally appear during the beginning of teaching career. Claiming that the practice of mentoring helps to empower the lifelong and continuous development of teachers to develop their teaching profession, she also foresees positive, effective, and fruitful transformation in the mentee which will directly benefit our education system.
In his reflective conversation, Prof. Govinda Raj Bhattarai starts his talk with the present situation of English language teaching in Nepal. Elaborating the discussion further, he talks about major challenges in delivering quality English language programmes in Nepalese context. Moreover, he shares how NELTA has crossed national bounties becoming a truly international organization in shaping the course of English teaching in Nepal. More importantly, he wants to encourage teachers towards more reading – reading of natural authentic writings, classics and prize winning books. He proposes teachers to divert their mind from language focused exercises to the eternal production that is bestowed with literary works. It is only through reading, one can develop linguistic skills to the highest level. The real world of creation in literary works has to be experienced by English language trainers, teachers and even students as they see, feel and experience. He suggests all teachers to develop a habit of reading good literature and encourage the same to their students so that they learn the language as a whole.
Here is the list of contents included in this issue with hyperlinks for our readers’ ease:
We would like to thank all the contributors for their papers. We also expect comments on the articles and suggestions to improve the blogzine from our valued readers for making NELTA ELT Forum even better in the days to come.
Kashi Raj Pandey
Laxmi Prasad Ojha
Teaching of English in the US: What can we learn from there?
Ganga Ram Gautam
I graduated from Galkot Secondary School in 1984 and went to Butwal Multiple campus for my Proficiency Certificate level education. Then I went to the University campus, Kirtipur and I completed B.Ed. and M.Ed. from there. After the completion of my Master’s degree, I got an offer to teach English at MahendraRatna Campus, Tahachal. In 1995, I went to the UK to do an M.A. in English Language Teaching (ELT) from Lancaster University. Since I came back, I have been teaching at the same campus. In the year 2010, I was accepted into the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program and I completed the fellowship as a full-time graduate student at Boston University (BU), USA.
The Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program was established by the U.S. Congress in 1978 in honor of the late Senator and Vice President. In the spirit of a world leader concerned with fostering international cooperation, the objective of the program is twofold: to permit mid-career professionals from developing nations to gain expertise in their fields as they have evolved in the United States; and to allow U.S. citizens in the business, government, and academic communities to profit from the knowledge and perspectives of professional counterparts in other countries and to establish lasting ties with them.
The Humphrey fellowship year was a rich professional experience for me. Expansion of professional network, meeting like-minded people, visit to the professional organizations such as TESOL, sharing information about my professional work, presentation about Nepal and her diversities and attending conferences in the field of education and English as a Foreign/Second Language were some of my key priorities. I also attended some courses in the School of Education at Boston University and observed the English language classes at the Center of English Language Orientation Program (CELOP), BU. Continue reading →
A Day in the Life of an EFL Teacher Educator
Dr. Laxman Gnawali
It was the second lesson on the EFL teaching methodology course for the M Ed in ELT Spring batch. In the first lesson, participants either shared or adopted a metaphor for a language classroom (Ha, 2014). They compared the language classroom to a range of things: a bus, a family, a gardener, a stage, a farm and so on. The discussion on the metaphor somehow led to the idea that learners differ in several ways; we didn’t discuss what the differences were. We promised we would explore them in the second lesson. It was a thinking task for me as well as for the participants.
In the second lesson, I decided to use brainstorming as a technique to gather ideas on learner differences from the participants. Brainstorming would allow everyone to share their original ideas, and, it also would allow me to think on my feet. I would be able to think of a new idea as I listened to what the participants were sharing and add on to the discussion.
The Fish Bowl activity (Fish Bowl, 2014) is what I find best for brainstorming. It is not only useful as a way to get participants to share their ideas but also to demonstrate how they can use the same technique in their classrooms. So as usual, I set the participants in two concentric circles: six in the inner and the rest twelve in the outer circle. I gave them instructions how they would work. The participants in the inner circle would speak briefly discussing how the learners differed . Once each one had a chance, they could add to what they said or respond to others’ opinions. Continue reading →
Feasibility of ICT in ELT Classes in Nepal
Eak Prasad Duwadi
There has been no time like this in the world history of technology. Although most people travel to work in a modern mean of transportation, how technology has transformed the world is still unconcealed. Even in remote areas in Nepal, almost each family own more than one mobile phone sets now.
Both teachers and students interact with each other via internet, and use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has slowly been taking rapidity at schools and colleges even in Nepal. However, because of some limitations like load-shedding, poor infrastructures at institutions and lack of trainings to the teachers, the fruits of ICT are not given fully to the learners. Then, how can it be best utilized in Nepal? In his book A brief history of the future: the origins of the Internet, Naughton (Crystal, 2004) comments:
The Internet is one of the most remarkable things human beings have ever made. In terms of its impact on society, it ranks with print, the railways, the telegraph, the automobile, electric power and television. Some would equate it with print and television, the two earlier technologies which most transformed the communications environment in which people live. Yet it is potentially more powerful than both because it harnesses the intellectual leverage which print gave to mankind without being hobbled by the one-to-many nature of broadcast television with a clear and common vision. (p. vii)
This was impossible at the turn of the 19th century. Time has taken giant strides by now. These days Internet has allured everyone. Almost all sectors have been improved largely, and education is no exception– ICT has annexed this sector since last decade (new millennium).
ICT becomes part and parcel of education plans, ensuring its implementation. It also enables education stakeholders to examine opportunities for ICT in education (UNESCO, 2004). Godwyn (2000) states: Continue reading →
The Use of Mentoring in Developing Teachers
The system of mentorship has become burning issues in ELT, especially in teacher development programs. Mentoring plays viable role to transform novice teachers into experienced ones with skills, knowledge, confidence, and competence. Straus, Chatur & Taylor (2009) claim that “mentorship has been recognized as a catalyst for career, success and mentoring relationship have been cited as important in career selection, advancement and productivity” (p.135). It is true that novice teachers get lots of opportunity to learn from a mentor who helps enormously in their career development. Although it is not formally practiced in every schools of Nepal, I have experienced such support in the beginning of my teaching career which transformed my perception.
Practice of Mentoring in Nepal
In recent, years, mentoring has gained attention and popularity as a powerful tool to enhance the profession and careers in every organization. Mentoring helps to empower the lifelong and continuous development of teachers to develop their teaching profession. It is true that practicing mentoring helps to transform teachers; it is a key to transform educational institutions as well. It is perceived as an effective staff development approach for novice teachers. Thus, most of the schools in the country have been strongly adopting this approach in order to improve teaching/ learning activities. Kafle (2008) mentions, “these days mentor is applicable in schools to teacher and students and it has been applying in different countries as an approach of teaching”.
Although, the term mentoring has been popular over the last decades but in the context of Nepal, we have not been able to apply this approach in effective way. It means that we still have not realized the importance of mentoring system which is one of the weakest parts of our education system. Kafle (2008) also states, “Over the last two decades, mentoring has been popular especially in teacher development in America, Europe, and Australia”. It helps teachers to transform themselves if they get facility of having mentor in their teaching career but unfortunately it has been ignored in our education system. Continue reading →
A Conversation with Prof. Govinda Raj Bhattarai
Professor Govinda Raj Bhattarai (1953) who earned his PhD from the University of Hyderabad does not need any introduction in Nepalese academia and literary field. Associated with the Department of English Education, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Prof. Bhattarai has penned a number of literary books – fictions, non fictions and poetry. To his credit there are about two dozen creative works including translated and edited ones. A prolific bilingual creative writer, Dr Bhattarai has travelled widely and presented papers in a number of seminars. In Nepal he is known popularly as a postmodern critic/thinker as well. Besides, he has contributed immensely to the growth of ELT by preparing materials for more than three decades. Moreover, he has also been instrumental in the preparation of textbooks suitable for the Nepali contexts ranging from schools to university level courses.
Prof. Bhattarai was the President of NELTA for two terms between 2005 to 2009. Based on our recent conversation, here is a short excerpt of his view about the situation of English language teaching in Nepal.
Laxmi: How do you evaluate the present situation of English language teaching in Nepal?
Prof. Bhattarai: This question does not have a single and unanimous answer because there are various schooling systems and accordingly the textbooks, teaching traditions, teachers’ perception and the parents’ outlooks also vary and these different points, as a whole, decide the type of teaching situation in Nepal or wherever may it be. But then, the major trend of mainstream teaching tradition has taken a great turn today. This can be recorded as a paradigm shift and is supported and accelerated by the application of advanced technology and the application of cyber culture. We can call this globalization process. Continue reading →