Theme of This Issue: Teaching English in Difficult Circumstances
Teaching is never easy in any part of the world but it is more challenging in developing countries like Nepal. Most of the classes in developing countries are overcrowded and under resourced. These difficult situations badly affect the delivery of quality education to the students.
But there is a change in the way large and under resourced classes were perceived in the past. Large classes are not taken as burden for teachers anymore; there are voices that they can also be the resources in many ways if utilized properly. If the teachers can be creative and trained properly, the situation can improve a lot. For this, the teachers have to work a bit extra hard and try to adopt the contextual and functional approaches of classroom teaching.
In this issue we have focused on the theme ‘Teaching English in Difficult Circumstances’ and have included an interview, three articles and a started a new regular column ‘Teacher’s Confession’.
The first entry is an interview with Dr. Richard Smith, an Associate Professor at University of Warwick, UK. In his interview related to Teaching in Difficult Circumstances, Dr. Smith has shared his ideas about the factors that make our classrooms difficult and ways to deal with issues in this type of classes. Dr. Smith argues that ideas developed in comfortable western language school type settings aren’t necessarily appropriate in classes of 45 or more senior high school pupils in developing countries where the classes are crowded. He further mentions that teachers are always the victims of other people’s ‘good ideas’ and policies. He has also shared some wonderful websites for reference for those interested in issues related to teaching in difficult circumstances.
Jagadish Paudel in his article ‘Is There Any Way to Handle Large Classes?’ explains his experience of meeting teachers teaching in large classes throughout the country. He further explains challenges faced by teachers in large classes and the ways to overcome those difficulties.
In his article entitled ‘Using Learner Autonomy Approach in Large and Low Resource ELT Classroom’, Bishnu Kumar Khadka shares various ideas that can be used by the teachers to deal with low resource classrooms. He argues that teachers can engage the learners in assisting the fellow classmates and in designing the materials.
In his entry ‘Reading: Is it Justifiably done?’, Sagun Shrestha explains how teaching and testing of reading is one-dimensional in Nepal. He further explores how other reading strategies that are supposed to be covered while testing reading are overlooked often. Mr Shrestha urges the teachers to evaluate their course and help learners gain higher order skills as well rather than just focusing on skimming and scanning.
We have initiated a regular column named- ‘Teacher’s Confession’ from this issue. Mr Umes Shrestha has taken the lead to coordinate this column and he will be collecting the stories and voices of teachers from various contexts as they can motivate other teachers to strive for better in their professional life. In her confession, Ushakiran Wagle has shared he struggle and success as an English language learner and later as teacher. She has explained the efforts she made to improve her English language proficiency while she was a graduate student. Her story can be motivating for many of us as learners of English as second/foreign language.
Here is a list of contents included in this issue with hyperlinks for our readers’ ease:
We hope this edition of NELTA ELT Forum is resourceful and insightful for our readers. Please write your observations and reflections on the issues raised by the articles as comments.
Also send us your articles on any area related to English language teaching for future issues.
Laxmi Prasad Ojha
Editor, July 2015 issue