“To be a teacher in the right sense is to be a learner.” Søren Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard in 19th century had realized this fact and mentioned it which remains true for ever. We all have been learning from one another. Learning is a process of living. The person who realizes it can make his/her life and profession highly comfortable. ELT Forum works for the same objective that is to create a platform for learning from one another. This ELT forum explores different realities and issues related to ELT.
We have been trying incessantly to make it more resourceful so that all and sundry can learn from each other. Besides ELT issues, we also present you the synopsis of ELT events which take place around the world. It can help you plan to participate in such ELT events in the following years. At times, we find there are some discrepancies between theories and practices. The context may overrule the theories in a way that a classroom practice may yield different result than the one that theory states. So, this forum often advocates such differences as regards context, and makes you aware of contextually suited model or asks you to reflect upon this situation.
In this month, ELT Forum focuses on the serious ELT issues and the ELT event, 49th TESOL Conference that took place in Toronto. In this issue, Amol Padwad shows the practice of distinct lesson plans planned by novice and veteran teachers, and states the need of research to be carried out in this area. Similarly, Miriam Corneli talks about some oddities of English Pronunciation in which she also shows the regularity vs. strechiness in pronunciation along with some audio files. Sagun Shrestha shares 49th TESOL Conference and English Language Expo that took place in Toronto, Canada in March this year. He has also highlighted some presentations made by Nepali delegates. Ashok Sapkota through his write-up explores the use of statistics, the types and its role in English as Foreign Language (EFL) research. Last but not least, Mee Jay A. Domingo and John Vincent A. Toribio shares the lesson plan on ‘Alternative assessment in a writing class’.
For your ease, here is the list of contents with the hyperlinks.
- Are we Orthodox About Lesson Planning? by Amol Padwad
- Oddities of English Pronunciation by Miriam Corneli
- A Way for Profession Development: TESOL 2015 by Sagun Shrestha
- Use of Statistical Tools in EFL Research by Ashok Sapkota
- Lesson Plan: Alternative Assessment in Writing Class by Mee Jay A Domingo and John Vincent
NELTA ELT Forum
Are we Orthodox About Lesson Planning?
Teachers come across formal lesson planning in at least two ways – one, when they are taught the science/ art of lesson planning in their pre-service teacher education courses, and two, when as teachers they are required to prepare formal lesson plans, usually for the inspection and approval of the head-teacher, as a part of the school routine. Formal lesson plans here refer to written and structured documents in a ‘standard’ format following certain norms, which are open to public sharing. They contrast with informal lesson plans which a teacher may prepare only mentally or by making personal sketchy notes, not conforming to external norms and primarily for personal use. One finds a variety of formats, models and strategies of formal lesson planning being used on teacher education courses and also in schools as the institutional standard. A typical lesson plan format requires details of how the teacher will introduce the lesson, what steps and procedures will be followed to teach the given point, what the teacher and the learners will do at every step, what content will be taught using what resources and what follow-up on the lesson has been planned.
Drawing on the general scenario around us we may hypothesise about the changing attitudes of teachers to formal lesson planning formats in the following way. Student teachers on teacher education courses may find lesson planning formats a valuable support for conceptualizing, planning and organizing lessons. In the initial years of teaching they may heavily rely on these formats as a means of surviving in the classroom, though they may not always work. Lacking confidence to handle unexpected developments and lacking courage to be spontaneous and experiment, they may prefer the support of ready and structured formats. After several years into the profession, as they gain in experience, confidence and independence, teachers may depend much less on ready formats and evolve personal, less structured, ways of lesson planning. However, since the school prescribes one common format for all the staff, which they have to follow, they continue to fill in lesson plan formats which may not reflect the actual planning. Thus, the gap between actual and formal lesson planning seems to widen with the increase in teacher experience and autonomy. Continue reading →
Oddities of English Pronunciation
One of the things about English that I like is its malleable or ”stretchy” quality. This can be demonstrated with rubber bands. In the standard greeting, “How are you?,” where is the accent? We can stretch the rubber band on the word ARE, which is often the emphasized syllable when someone is greeting another person after a long absence, or when happily surprised to see someone; but we can also stretch the rubber band on YOU,” which is the more “typical” way the phrase is taught.
But the second person’s response will be different! “I’m fine, thanks. How are YOU?” Here the “stretchy” quality is necessarily attached to the last word, YOU, which is emphasized to add additional information (the respondent has already answered the first speaker’s question, and now wants to elicit information from the first speaker.).
However, this seemingly randomly changeable emphasis is not easy to master for many a speaker from a ‘syllable-timed’ language such as Nepali, and the changeability may seem capricious or mysterious.
There are rules, however! And it behooves us to study them, and moreover, practice them.
Regularity vs. Stretchiness
The thing that gives English its amazing beauty is the combination of regularity (beat, rhythm) with adaptable emphasis (“stretchiness.”) Just as Chinese has a tonal system that relates to lexical meaning, English has a tonal system that refers not to lexicon but to “emoticons”: negation, emphasis, contrasting or additional information, correction, surprise, and choice. Continue reading →
A Way for Professional Development: TESOL 2015
TESOL in General
Toronto, Canada that embraces bilingualism and multiculturalism, got an opportunity to host TESOL International Conference and language expo this year which graced more than 7,000 ELT delegates from more than 120 countries. Having a freezing temperature outside that recorded minus often times, it could raise some provocative ELT issues along with new ELT trends and improved pedagogical techniques. The keynote and invited speakers sessions, more than 800 concurrent sessions, ticketed events- Pre- and Postconvention Institutes, preconvention Master’s Student and Doctoral Student Forums, the Electronic Village, the poster sessions, the Job Market Place, Tea with distinguished TESOLers and the English Language Expo were major events.
The opening keynote on ‘Teachers’ Roles in Crossing Boarders and Building Bridges’ was delivered by Sonia Nieto, Professor Emerita at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The President Keynote was on ‘Building Bridges: Journey to a Better Future for TESOL’ by the TESOL President, Yilin Sun. Similarly, another keynote was by Jim Cummins, a professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto on ‘Evidence-based TESOL: Teaching Through a Multilingual Lens’. There was also a plenary session on ‘Redefining Communicative Competence and Redesigning ELT in the 21st Century’ by Jun Liu, Lourdes Ortega and Michael Byram. Besides these, other sessions focused on diversity and global professional issues, professional growth in TESOL, research approaches, new trends: approaches, methods and techniques in ELT and public policy and advocacy of US and Canada. Overall the sessions were impressive as most of the sessions were blended with research output exploring new ELT dimensions.
Nepal in TESOL:
As an affiliate leader representing NELTA, Hemanta Raj Dahal, IPP of NELTA was present in TESOL. Moti Kala Subba Dewan, NELTA Senior Vice-president, Sarita Dewan, NELTA treasurer presented a joint paper on ‘Slam Poetry: A creative Tool for Critical Litercy Skills in EFL’. They showed how slam poetry can be a creative tool in EFL classroom allowing participants to have some experience in writing slam poetry and reflect on them. Similarly, Mr. Sagun Shrestha and Ganesh Gnawali presented their joint paper on ‘Tuning Radio: Training for Nepali Teachers’. It was a research paper exploring how English by Radio program, funded by Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy and implemented by NELTA, has reached to majority of ELT community in Nepal and what can be the further steps to fortify this program. Continue reading →
Use of Statistical Tools in EFL Research
This article explores the use of statistics, the types and its role in English as Foreign Language (EFL) research. In general, it tries to relate how the components (tools) of descriptive and inferential statistics are useful in accomplishing EFL research. It relates current approaches and practices and its role in research. Furthermore, it explores some of the statistical software’s useful in analyzing the quantitative data.
The word ‘statistics’ derives from the modern Latin term statisticum collegiums (council of state) and the Italian word statista (statesman or politician). ‘Statistics’ was used in 1584 for a person skilled in state affairs, having political knowledge, power or influence by Sir William Petty (Brown & Saunders, 2008). Statistics is a range of procedures for gathering, organizing, analyzing and presenting quantitative data. ‘Data’ is the common term used in quantitative research for facts that have been obtained and subsequently recorded and for statisticians, ‘data’ usually refers to quantitative data that are numbers. Quantitative data analysis is a research which is related to the positivistic tradition. It is useful both in small-scale and large scale investigations and research designs, such as: experimental, quasi-experimental, case studies, action research, and correlational research (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2011). Understanding statistics is essential as a part of a scientific approach for analyzing numerical data. Furthermore, Statistics helps to maximize our interpretation and use. It denotes that statistics helps us turn data into information; that is, data that have been interpreted, understood and are useful to the recipient.
Formally statistics is the systematic collection and analysis of numerical data, in order to investigate or discover relationships among phenomena so as to explain, predict and control their occurrence (Levin & Fox, 2006). The possibility of confusion lies in the selection of several statistical techniques used on quantitative data and the numerical results from statistical analysis.
The Need of Statistics
Statistics is a quantitative research tool which is used to turn data into information. This is a range of procedures for gathering, organizing, analyzing and presenting quantitative data (numbers) (Mackey & Gass, 2005). It is obvious that society cannot be run effectively on the basis of hunches or trial and error, and that in business, economics, social sciences or in education and much depends on the correct analysis of numerical information (Brown & Saunders, 2008). Decisions based on data will provide better results than those based on intuition or gut feelings. Continue reading →