Happy New Year 2015
“Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress.” – Charles Kettering
Happy New Year 2015 to all our valued readers and ELT Professionals! NELTA ELT Forum has also torn one more leaf of its calendar and is pleased to share some ideas and progress in the form of the professional thoughts, reflections and images. These thoughts, reflections and images based on the classroom experiences and informed choices made by the ELT professionals in different contextual limitation will not only offer ideas for the improvement but inspires for further and everlasting dedication among the professionals. The ideas are simple enough to adopt and capture the realities of our typical teaching contexts and offer some successful attempts executed to overcome.
Laxmi Prasad Ojha in his entry Thrown away in the crowd: Reflection on my first teaching job, a reflective note, has tried to portray how helplessly he was thrown in the crowd of the students when he joined teaching career and tried to recollect the ways he accumulated hope and success in teaching profession. This reflective note not only shares the typical challenges a novice teacher faces in the very beginning of the profession but also shares how s/he can overcome them accumulating the confidence to further teaching as a profession. This also provides an opportunity to the experienced teachers and school managers how the situation can be managed better for greater efficiency and sound professional environment.
Sagun Shrestha in his entry Digital Stories: Different Taste in Language Classrooms has shared his classroom experiences of using digital technology in language class with the step-wise procedure to engage the learners further. This is not only an example of doing things differently but also source of motivation and information for the ELT practitioners struggling to try something different to add value in their language class. This has provided an operative and effective model of using digital technology in language teaching without having a sophisticated digital lab.
In the entry Do Teachers Learn or Teach?, Ramesh Ghimire has recollected his experience of a professional gathering and explored the interrelation between teaching and learning process. He has not only explored the interrelation between adult learning and child learning but also tried to explore the major areas of learning a pedagogue will be interested in for efficient professional practices. He further explores the opportunities that provide such learning.
Rajani Maharjan in her descriptive note Learning with Fun has emphasized the need and importance for creating learner friendly environment to educate, engage and entertain the learners. She has also shared some of the tips to make learning more fun and effective by maintaining variety and creating opportunity for the learners to express themselves. It also highlights the need of trust and friendly behavior of a teacher to gain mutual respect and increased sense of responsibility and confidence among the learners.
Ashok Sapkota in his entry Gaps and its Measures in Translation Studies has shared another dimension of inter language relation. Though he directly shares the gaps and its measures in translation process, it significantly contributes to the teacher knowledge regarding the challenges in translation process along with the successful attempt executed to capture such complications.
Here is the list of contents included in this issue with hyperlinks to access each of them:
We would like to thank all the contributors for their contributions. From our valued readers, we also expect comments and suggestions to improve the blogzine further and for making NELTA ELT Forum more effective way for professional development.
Janak Raj Pant
Thrown away in the crowd: Reflection on my first teaching job
Laxmi Prasad Ojha
Every teacher goes through some sort of difficulty at the beginning of his/her career. I was no exception. Although I still face numerous challenges in my class, the nature of problem has changed a lot. In this paper, drawing on my own experience of joining teaching as a career, I have recollected the struggle I had made in the beginning of my career assuming that many teachers around the world (or at least around the country) go through similar experiences. This is a story of how I felt nervous and helpless in the classroom in the beginning of my career as a teacher and how I gradually overcame those problems.
I started my teaching career when I had just appeared my B. Ed. final year examinations waiting for the results. I was not really in a mood to start a job yet but one of the teachers at my college told me that a well-known private school in town was looking for an English language teacher. He explained that they would welcome a fresh candidate with sound academic background. Having secured good marks and position throughout my student life, I thought I should give it a try. I contacted the principal of the school and after a couple of meetings with him, was offered to join the school as an English language teacher.
As the beginning teachers are typically less familiar with subject matter, teaching strategies, and teaching contexts and lack an adequate ways to plan and execute them (Richards and Farrell, 2010), they need a lot of support and cooperation from the institution and the coworkers. Continue reading →
Digital Stories: Different Taste in Language Classrooms
Sagun Shrestha (email@example.com)*
Technology, the term, adhered to most of the fields these days is uttered often by instructors thinking of blending it to their classrooms one way or the other. Simply put, it is English instructors who plan to bring it, maybe, to arouse interest of their students and to effectively engage them in their teaching learning activities. Something new attracts all and sundry, and for the students who are always inquisitive, technology has proven to be the best vehicle do motivate them and ease in their learning. Shyamlee (2012) states, ‘The new era assigns new challenges and duties on the modern teacher. The tradition of English teaching has been drastically changed with the remarkable entry of technology. Technology provides so many options as making teaching interesting and also making teaching more productive in terms of improvements. Technology is one of the most significant drivers of both social and linguistic change.’
Reflecting my own experience, in GEMS, one of the private schools of Nepal where I worked as an English faculty, I used some online resources like www.nicenet.org for virtual classes, www.wordpress.com for class blog, www.zunal.com for project work, www.rubistar4teachers.com for making rubrics. While working on these tools, needless to say, my students were overwhelmingly curious to handle those online tools and to develop content in and/or through them. So did I as I was learning its specific details and in the meantime researching their effective use in the English classroom. I didn’t take the students in the computer lab nor did I bother doing it in the classes. I simply asked them to do operate them at home and yes, I would instruct them each Friday what they could do next. Continue reading →
Do Teachers Learn or Teach?
Ramesh Prasad Ghimire*
I was highly impressed by one idea of my respected guru, Professor Dr. Jai Raj Awasti when I was attending the Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association (NELTA) conference in Kathmandu some years back. I was a master’s level student at University Campus, Kirtipur at that time. He was making a plenary presentation and the topic of his discussion was the same: Do teachers learn or teach? When I attended his session, and came out from the conference venue, my mind started germinating the germs about his major question and other sub-questions that the major question gave birth to such as ‘yes if teachers do both of the things: teaching and learning, how do they learn?’ What are the different ways that teachers adopt for their learning? What are the things that the teachers are supposed to learn? Which come first teaching or learning in teachers’ life? Why do they learn something? Is there any fundamental difference between the way students learn and the teachers learn? Do all the teachers keep the channel of their learning open once they complete their university education? Can teaching function as a powerful tool for teachers’ own learning? What happens if the teachers do not learn and only teach and teach? and many more. When I started my career as a teaching assistant at the same University and started teaching the course entitled ‘English Language Teacher Development’, I got some insights into the nature of teacher learning. In this short article, I will try to answer some of the above questions related to teacher learning.
There is no any doubt with the fact that teachers not only teach, they also learn something. Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary (8th edition) defines the term teacher as ‘a person whose job is teaching especially in a school’. In a laymen’s sense too, teacher means a person who teaches the students. But we should not forget the fact that a teacher should put him/herself on the side of the students. Defining teacher development Underhill (1988) says, “Keeping myself on the same side of learning fence as my students.” Continue reading →
Learning with Fun
In context of Nepal teaching learning activities have been matter of stress and conflict between learners and teachers. Teaching and learning of the subjects that are considered difficult among students such as English, Science, Mathematics are frequently reported to be more painful. This has led different incidents violence in academic institutions. Though, there is increasing concern of the pedagogues and other stakeholders including different stakeholders of the education, this has not been sufficient in order to change the existing trend of the academic practices. In this context, this paper reflects the rays of hope for those who are struggling hard to initiate learner friendly teaching.
Most of the time academic practices in Nepal have made an impression on school children of a punishment given for a serious crime- the crime of being innocent and helpless child/learner. That must be the reason once it has been said that if adults are to make losers it is the child. It has been like a punishment given by the jailers who indeed are teachers. Books have been like stones, bags are porters’ load to be carried, and students have always been bounded in schools as prisoners in cell. Students sitting on the same seat for the whole day from ten to four and 45 minutes long lectures followed by one another the regular business, with a short break in between around mid-day. Learning has always been matter of tedious and memorization regardless of its implication and connection in real life. It is not uncommon that most of the students love not to attend such lesson, they make a celebration when a teacher is absent. Teachers’ absence is the most pleasing moment for the students.
There is a huge gap between the teachers and students, teaching and learning, curriculum and achievement, students and schools. Many students are de-motivated to go to school; they found learning boring and monotonous, at school level the dropout rate is very high, average success rate of the students is university examination has remained below fifty. Continue reading →