I was a master’s level student at Kathmandu University when one of my teachers, one day all of a sudden, said to me, “Suman Jee, do you know the difference between ‘lavatory’ and ‘laboratory’?” I was not sure about the meaning of lavatory, so I told him honestly “Sir, I do not know what lavatory is but I know what laboratory means.” To my surprise, he commented harshly that nobody would employ me as an English language teacher, and he could guarantee of it because I did not know the difference between two words having similar pronunciation. I don’t know if my colleagues listened to what he said, but I did listen to him very clearly. It hurt me as it was demeaning, and I lost my confidence for a while. Nonetheless, after the class, on the way back home, I ruminated over his comments, and thought that he could be true because as an aspiring teacher of English language, I was supposed to be ready to answer simple questions related to different aspects of English. Hence, I committed to myself I would prove him wrong, and I would do that on my own rights.
It was that commitment that initially fueled my journey on academia and professionalism. Though I could have felt satisfied and stopped on my journey of professional development many years back, when I started working as the head of department of languages at a school, I realized that I have miles to go, before I called the day off. I had already abandoned my ego and feeling of proving my teacher (or any other person for that matter) wrong. Rather, it was and has been a journey for personal satisfaction. This journey, so far, has added good stories to be told to people.
I feel satisfied of what I have been able to accomplish thus far and I credit all of this to my love; reading and writing. Never is it easy to manage time for reading and writing after arduous work at school for hours, but there is no alternative to it if you want to become a good teacher or if you want to outstand your colleagues and buddies. Indeed, there is no easy recipe or short-cut to success. Actually, success follows those who do strive tirelessly (this is very well know, isn’t it?).
To this end, this issue of NELTA ELT Forum is brought out to sparkle little rays of hope and motivation in you. This issue shares some tips for teachers on reading and writing. Although, in this issue, we wanted to stick to why and how teachers should read and write, our contributors had other interests, which we could not deny of. Hence, apart from reading and writing, we also share with you a piece on English for Specific Purpose (ESP), and a student’s reflection on attending a training session delivered by a foreign national.
Professor Patricia Reynolds, in her article ‘Deep Reading: Is Comprehension Enough???’ explains what “Deep Reading’ is and takes it further by discussing what teachers can do for effective deep reading in an EFL classroom. She discusses how an EFL teacher can ensure ‘reading like detective’ habit, and what clues should be in place for that to happen.
In the same line, the second article by C. R. Adler on Strategies to Teach Students Text Comprehension shares some handful classroom tips to ensure text comprehension. Adler shares what sets of skills teachers can teach to their students to help them make sense of what they are reading. If these skills are tried out in early classes, in EFL contexts, pupils would overcome most of their problems related to text comprehension and become independent readers.
Likewise, in the third article, Professor Curtis Kelly, discusses how EFL students’ writing skills develop through different stages, what challenges they face at each stage, and what methods of instruction teachers could follow to help students overcome those challenges. In the fourth write-up, Mr. Suman DC and Mr. Radheshyam Malla briefly present their understanding of ESP, and how it differs from general English. Then, they share about how they have tailored designed an English class to cater for the needs of Nepal Army, and what impact they have made. Finally, in the last article of this issue, Sangita Sapkota, an aspiring EFL teacher, shares her memoir of attending a teacher training by a teacher from Wales, UK.
We hope you will be able to take something to your classroom from this issue, and be motivated to read, write and teach more for your own good. Happy Reading Folks!