Monthly Archives: June, 2015

Welcome to the NELTA ELT Forum May-June Issue!

Editorial

The recent earthquake had an impact throughout the country. Some of the districts were more directly affected while some other indirectly. The ELT community could not be the exception. The huge damage has been devastating but the hope is still there ‘we are not crushed’. Gradually the things are getting back to normal. All the people are trying to hide their pain and continue their contribution with the motto: ‘together we can’.

The first article of this issue is by Janak Raj Pant.  In his article, he has recognized the needs for psychosocial support needs of the students in directly and indirectly affected areas and the possible activities the teachers might want to implement in their classroom. We hope this article will provide some tips and techniques for re-establishing education after an emergencies and ensure protective environment for children, who are more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Equally, we hope this will be helpful for basic ways to deal in the classroom which will be beneficial from the post disaster perspective but at the same time also be helpful from the perspective of teaching English.

Laxmi Prasad Ojha in his reflective article ‘Quality Education Through Quality Teachers: How to Bring Intelligent Individuals into the Teaching Profession?’ has accounted for the current trend popular among the students to prefer other disciplines than education as their future career and further discussed how it has affected the ‘supply’ of quality teachers to the job market. Also, the author has attempted to explore the reasons behind this apathy of the intelligent students towards teaching profession.

In his article ‘The Dynamics of Language Proficiency’, Suman Laudari has provided an account for the criteria used in defining language proficiency, measuring against those criteria followed by short description why those criteria in second language research are important with the aims ‘to tease out these nuances that are related to the dynamics of how good someone is in a particular language’ and shed light on ‘how we know whether someone is more or less proficient in a language? What evidences are used to make claims that somebody has native like proficiency or for that matter a low proficiency’.

Mabindra Regmi in Deconstructionist Analysis of Laxmi Prasad Devkota’s “The Lunatic” has presented how this ‘semi-autobiographical work of the poet resists the social injustice advocating an alternative perspective of the world around him’. In this analytical writing, the author has presented deconstructionist analysis of the poem.

In ‘English Grammar and the Views of M.Ed. Students’, Ramesh Prasad Ghimire explores the M.Ed.(Masters in Education) level students’ perception on M.Ed level Nepali English grammar and grammar syllabus. His research also investigates their knowledge of and attitude towards grammar teaching. The researcher used a set of questionnaire as a tool for data collection. The data were collected from a total of one hundred M.Ed. level students who were studying at University Campus, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, and then analyzed quantitatively as well as qualitatively. The overall findings of the survey revealed that M.Ed. level students in Nepal consider grammar as an unavoidable component of M. Ed. course. Majority of them argued in favour of explicit grammatical knowledge, and displayed positive attitude towards grammar teaching. But they are still in confusion regarding the goal of teaching grammar and level of language that needs to be emphasized during grammar instruction. Their pedagogical knowledge in relation to grammar teaching is inadequate.

Finally we expect your critical comments and feedback from our valued readers.

Happy Reading!

 

Editors

Janak Raj Pant

Sagun Shrestha

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Janak JPEG

Teaching English in Post Disaster Situation

* Janak Raj Pant

The recent earthquake has caused huge devastation in different parts of the country. The whole country has been affected; some of the places have been affected directly while some others indirectly. The students in directly and indirectly affected areas will have some kinds of psychosocial impacts ranging from normal increased sensitivity to more severe kinds of  symptoms which might require some professional assistance to overcome the trauma. In this context on the one hand it is important to acknowledge the fact that ‘re-establishing education after an emergency not only meets a fundamental right of children to education regardless of the circumstances, but also plays a critical role in normalizing the environment for children and contributes significantly to helping children overcome the psychological impact of disasters’ (Education in Emergencies: A Resource Tool Kit, UNICEF 2006). On the other hand it is ‘equally important, education provides a protective environment for children, who are more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse in the wake of emergencies or armed conflict’ (Education in Emergencies: A Resource Tool Kit, UNICEF 2006). In this context, emergency in education require continuation of the educating practices and protective environment in which it is not likely that we expect the English teachers will be able to and/or need to deliver the regular lessons. In this article, I am sharing some of the ways to deal in the classroom which will be beneficial from the post disaster perspective but at the same time also be helpful from the perspective of teaching English.

Create good opportunity to talk and be a good listener:

The first and most important thing is that you create opportunity for the students’ to talk about their feelings and reflections after the earthquake. The students might want to talk about where were they during the earthquake, where they stayed after that, who they were with, etc. As a facilitator, do not highlight the destruction but still do not supress the students’ feelings. Listen students feelings they may want to listen from you share your feelings. As an English teacher you might want to do all these things in English. Do not focus on accuracy, be more communicative.

Do some relaxation exercises:

It is important that as a teacher, care the psychosocial wellbeing of the students. If you are teaching in one of the most affected areas it is important that the students will need some time in order to come back to normal life. Their brain will be in highly sensitive state which human biology requires to cool down within certain period of time. You can do different relaxation activities among them a simple breathing activity is one. For this you need to get the students into circle. Ask them to be comfortable, take deep breath. Continue reading →

LPO

Quality Education through Quality Teachers: How to Bring Intelligent Individuals into the Teaching Profession?

*Laxmi Prasad Ojha

I was talking to a group of students in a reputed private school last month and asked them what their professional goal was. Most of them expressed their wish to be doctors, engineers and bankers. As a teacher and teacher educator myself, I was expecting some of them to mention that they wanted to be a teacher in the future. I was taken aback by their responses and started thinking why youths these days do not consider joining teaching as their career. This also reminded me of my post-SLC days when I decided to join faculty of education to be a teacher in the future. Unlike most of my friends and against my family members’ suggestion, I had chosen to pursue my higher education in a teacher education college. This did not make them happy at all as they thought that I could enter teaching profession any time in the future and, therefore, should try other disciplines like science and management. Two of my other classmates who had also got first division in the SLC examination with me chose other disciplines, as per the trend.

Most of the ‘bright’ students in Nepal these days do not consider entering teaching as their career. This has severely affected the ‘supply’ of quality teachers to the job market. If someone gets first division or higher in the SLC examination or Higher Secondary Level, s/he thinks of joining science or management. They rarely think of joining faculty of education. Even if these ‘smart’ students join this noble profession in the beginning, they are always looking for a ‘better’ job – may be one in the government offices or at least in I/NGOs with lucrative salary and facilities. In the paragraphs that follow, I have attempted to discuss the reasons behind this apathy of the intelligent students towards teaching profession?

The conceptual problem: Anyone can do it!

Teaching is not considered as a ‘profession’ in Nepalese society mainly because there is a strong belief among people that one doesn’t require anything else besides having a formal college degree to enter into this profession. If we analyze the practice adopted by schools (both government and private) in Nepal, this fact seems to be true. Most of the schools recruit the individuals in their relation or those who are ready to work in a low salary. The principals and management committee think that if a person has a bachelor’s of Masters’ degree, s/he can easily teach in their school/college. This has resulted in poor classroom activities ultimately affecting the learning outcomes of the students. Continue reading →

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The Dynamics of Language Proficiency

*Suman Laudari

Recently, I reviewed a few research studies, mostly action research, conducted by graduate students in Nepal for one of my write-ups. Most of those studies, which were intervention research, were found to have claimed (explicitly and implicitly) that their intervention was useful in improving the proficiency of learners. However, upon close inspection, it was evident that there were little or no evidence to substantiate their claims; mostly these claims were based on the facts that the learners were able to follow the rules in post-production. If simply following the rules does not clearly provide evidence for language proficiency, then what it is based on which research studies make claims about learners’ proficiency. This write up aims to tease out these nuances that are related to the dynamics of how good someone is in a particular language. It aims to shed light on how we know whether someone is more or less proficient in a language? What evidences are used to make claims that somebody has native like proficiency or for that matter a low proficiency.

Research studies in the area of second language acquisition and applied linguistics use the following three criteria to define the proficiency of their research participants. .

  • Complexity (C)
  • Accuracy (A)
  • Fluency (F)

These three factors, which is also called CAF in short, have been featured as major research variables in the area of second language acquisition and applied linguistics for almost two decades now. It is believed that these factors can capture and manifest the holistic picture of L2 proficiency very well (Housen & Kuiken 2009).

Defining CAF

Complexity, as the name suggests, is the extent to which learners can use varied, elaborated and rich language i.e. how well students can use different kinds of sentences (simple, complex and compound); different number of clauses (dependent and independent clauses), and range of vocabulary in their production. Continue reading →

Mabindra Regmi

DECONSTRUCTIONIST ANALYSIS OF LAXMI PRASAD DEVKOTA’S “THE LUNATIC”

*Mabindra Regmi

The poem “The Lunatic”, by Laxmi Prasad Devkota, a translated work by the poet himself from his Nepali poem “Pagal”, is a seminal work in the field of Nepali poetry. In this semi-autobiographical work, the poet resists the social injustice through advocating an alternative perspective of the world around him.

The central idea of the poem The Lunatic is perception, how a person views the world from a different perspective and is, in turn, delegated to the status of a lunatic. It is a literary work which contradicts the functional social structure that dictates people to believe and perceive from a set vantage which cannot differ from the practiced norm. The very beginning of the poem in contrast with the accepted binary of sensory perception;

I see sounds,

I hear sights,

I taste smells…

The poem itself is a work of deconstruction which embodies reversal of sensory perception. This is an indication of how the poet senses the world around him in non-confirmatory manner.  The very sensory perception mentioned here contradicts the assumed binary of tangible and transcendental.

The centrality or the logos has been challenged in the poem. The centrality created by the society prescribes the individual to perceive form a certain viewpoint and the poet challenges the norm by discarding the normative values and creating an independent perception which does not confirm to the established norm.

I touch not heaven but things from the underworld,things people do not believe exist,

whose shapes the world does not suspect Continue reading →

ramesh photo

English Grammar and the Views of M.Ed. Students

                                                                                                 Ramesh Prasad Ghimire*

  Abstract

This research explores  the M.Ed.(Masters in Education) level students’ perception of English grammar and grammar syllabus for M.Ed. level in Nepal. It also investigates their knowledge of and attitude towards grammar teaching. The researcher used a set of questionnaire as a tool for data collection. The data were collected from  a total of one hundred M.Ed. level students who were studying at University Campus, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, and  then analyzed  quantitatively as well as qualitatively. The overall findings of the survey revealed that M.Ed. level students in Nepal consider grammar as an unavoidable component of M. Ed. course. Majority of them argued in favour of explicit grammatical knowledge, and displayed positive attitude towards grammar teaching. But they are still in confusion regarding the goal of teaching grammar and level of language that need to be emphasized during grammar instruction. Their pedagogical knowledge in relation to grammar teaching is inadequate.

Key words: Simplification, Fluency, Restructuring, Grammar, Fossilisation,

Consciousness raising

Introduction

Grammar is one of the most controversial aspects of language teaching. Among many issues surrounding the teaching of grammar, perhaps the most controversial is whether to teach it or not. Different approaches, methods, teachers, theorists and learners have different attitudes to the role of grammar. Thornbury (1999, p. 14) says, ” In fact, no other issue has so preoccupied theorists and practitioners as the grammar debate, and the history of language teaching is essentially the history of the claims and counterclaims for and against the teaching of grammar.” The history of language teaching shows that grammar occupied the prominent position within the centuries- old tradition of language learning dominated by Latin and Greek. In the oldest method of language teaching (i.e. Grammar Translation Method) the study of language meant primarily the study of grammar . In this regard, Richards and Renandya (2002) write:

In the early part of the twentieth century, grammar formed an essential part of language instruction, so much so that other aspects of language learning were either ignored or downplayed. The argument was that if you knew the grammatical rules of the language, you would be able to use it for communication (p. 145). Continue reading →