The season for networking with global ELT professionals, learning in a wider ELT community and exchanging ideas in a bigger ELT platform has just been over. We experienced TESOL, IATEFL and NELTA Conference in Baltimore, USA, Birmingham, UK and Kathmandu, Nepal respectively from March to May and we were fully occupied with the preparation to attend these great convention and conferences. Now we are back to our own practices to give best input with the updated skills that we have got from meeting great ELT scholars. Let’s enjoy the moment of cascading and dissemination of what we have learnt from these great events to our colleagues in our region.
NELTA International Conference featured Peter Medgyes from Hungary, Ruth Ban from USA and Sunaina Singh from India as the Key Speakers. Attended by 1000+ participants from home and abroad, it was held in Lalitpur, Nepal from March 07 to 09 and its theme was ‘Englishes in the Classrooms: Trends, Tensions and Teachings’. Similarly the 50th TESOL International Convention and English Language Expo was held in Baltimore, USA from April 5 to 8 that was attended by 7000+ participants around the globe. The key speakers were Aziz Abu Sarah, Andy Curtis, Jeanette Altarriba and Anne Curzan and the another consecutive equally great IATEFL conference was held in Biminghan UK from April 13 to 17 which featured David Crystal, Silvana Richardson, Diana Larsen-Freeman, Scott Thornbury and Jan Blake as the plenary speakers. Obviously, there are many conferences going on and on marking our ELT calendar; however, we are focusing on these three conferences in this issue as they have fallen during this term and we have named it as conference season.
This issue shares the highlights of NELTA, TESOL and IATEFL Conferences and convention. It is in a way a reflection of the participants and organizers. The authors share how they found being involved in and what they learnt in the conferences. We believe this brief conference account will help our valued readers plan effectively for the conferences to be attended next
In the first blog entry, Dr. Binod Luitel in his write-up on ‘ Literature, Language Teaching and 21st International Conference of NELTA: A Reflection’, shares how 21st international conference of NELTA attempted to link literature and pedagogy through panel discussion event on ‘ Nexus of Literature in ELT’. He has also linked his own experience of enjoying literature in the latter years and working to blend literature for language teaching. The second blog entry is by Sarita Dewan on ELT Clinic that was organized in NELTA international conference. She shares how this Clinic became successful attempt to explore the teachers’ challenges and be the reflective practice to get the solution to overcome those challenges. Similarly another entry was by Mandira Adhikari on ‘ A First Time Speaker in 50th IATEFL Conference’. She shares her experience as a first time speaker in 50th IATEFL Conference and further briefly mentions about plenary, forum, individual sessions and evening events which she attended during the conference. The fourth blog entry is by Laxmi Prasad Ojha on ‘Attending the International Conferences: Pages from my Diary’ in which he shares his TESOL and IATEFL experiences along with some of the sessions that he liked in these conferences. The fifth blog entry is on ‘ELT in the Himalayas: Euta Coffee Kura’ by Sagun Shrestha in which he shares how this was introduced as one of the new events in NELTA international conference. He has highlighted the panelists’ views on contextual ELT and the need of teacher education (teacher training and its regular follow-up) for teacher development. Last but not least is by Kunjarmani Gautam on ‘NELTA Social Event: The Road not Taken’. Mr. Gautam in his write-up mentions it was the noble road taken in 21st international conference of NELTA. This social event was organized basically to appreciate world literature in the
This issue is full of conference details and we hope this will be equally helpful for the readers seeking different conference flavours. For instance, those of you who will look for what some of the renowned ELT figures in the TESOL, IATEFL and NELTA conferences said, you will get their voices through these reflective write-ups and those ones who will plan to attend next year, this will be a guide for
We have hyperlinked the list of contents here for your ease:
- Literature, Language Teaching and 21stInternational Conference of NELTA: A Reflection by Dr. Binod Luitel
- Reminiscence of ELT Clinic in 21st International Conference of NELTA 2016 by Sarita Dewan
- A First Time Speaker in 50thIATEFL Conference by Mandira Adhikari
- Attending the International Conferences: Pages from my Diary by Laxmi prasad Ojha
- ELT in the Himalayas: Euta Coffee Kura by Sagun Shrestha
- NELTA Social Event: The Road not Taken by Kunjarmani Gautam
We too have uploaded British Council professional practices series 7. This page is coordinated by our one of the editors, Laxmi Prasad Ojha.
Please enjoy reading, and if you have any comments related to the particular entry please post your comment on them. If you have some suggestion to us, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We highly value your comments for forum’s
Literature, Language Teaching and 21st International Conference of NELTA: A Reflection
Dr. Binod Luitel*
My initial orientation to literature
When we were studying English at college level, I had understood literature in two different senses: (i) some informative description written in a language on any discipline, (ii) aesthetic or artistic creation (rather than ordinary communication) using language. In one way or the other, during my college days I was taught some tit-bits of literature in the second sense, while my exposure to literature in the first sense was quite a lot.
After entering into teaching profession later on, when I had to teach some short stories, I realized that literature with aesthetic value does have some importance from pedagogic perspective. In an interview, I was asked a question: ‘Literature is useful in language teaching; do you agree or disagree with this statement?’ My answer was: ‘Yes, I agree because literary form of expression has aesthetic characteristics, which can create motivation among learners towards reading the text; so the use of literature becomes instrumental in their language development ultimately.
I came to know, after the interview, that my opinion was much appreciated by the panel of experts. Then I was motivated to write an article (Luitel, 1998) – whereby I expressed my preliminary understanding regarding how short stories can be taught systematically to the students having insufficient level of command in English. As I realize now, this incidence was one of my initial concerns on language-literature interface, though in the article I did not explicitly articulate aesthetic matters related to short story; and the focus of writing was still pedagogic rather than literary. Within the dozen years thereafter, I attempted to do nothing tangible in the name of aesthetic literature or its teaching-learning (neither in terms of creation, nor in critique or even thinking of any constructive idea).
My enthusiasm towards fictitious creation
Almost after 13 years of publishing the article mentioned above, I was motivated to write a short story (Luitel, 2011), which depicts the life of a little schoolboy who lost his mother and is now living in the family as a stepchild – always scolded by the stepmother over trivial matters, and found weeping in classroom.
Another very recent production has been created within two hours, when I was not actually thinking of story but I had a list of 10 abstract words. The words were: apathy, circumstance, confiscate, emanate, implement, iridescent, proclaim, refutation, renounce, surveillance.
I did not have any specific task to do with these words but I had some free time and my mind was just ‘wandering’ aimlessly. Looking upon these words, I started thinking about how they could be taught more effectively. Continue reading →
Reminiscence of ELT Clinic in 21st International Conference of NELTA 2016
“What is ELT clinic?” was the immediate question of anyone who saw or heard the topic in the programme schedule of 21st International Conference of NELTA 2016. Actually the ideas of ELT Clinic was conceived while having coffee with Sagun Shrestha and Kunjarmani Gautam. We were talking about the practical problems teachers face in their classes and the challenges of professional development they have, and tentative solutions of them. Although, it was in a casual talk Sagun Shrestha proposed to present this as an issue in the upcoming international conference taking help from some experts, we felt the problems should be diagnosed for the solution, still not sure who would be the experts. Moreover, it was proposed to form a clinic for teaching English teachers. This was how the topic for the workshop came out. We followed the modality of the teacher training that Richard Smith and Amol Padwad delivered in Hornby Regional School 2013. We adapted and contextualized a little bit according to our needs to fit in the conference session.
We felt “Teacher development takes place when teachers, working in individuals or in group, consciously take advantage of such resources to forward their own professional learning”, as Penny Ur (1996) proposes. The workshop was designed keeping in mind the time constraint, problem identification (diagnosis) and solving (prescription) and was divided into three phases.
- Problem identification
- Sharing success stories
- Problem solving
The participants were asked to sit in groups of eight, they were from different backgrounds, regions and levels. With some context setting by the moderators, they were asked to think of one most severe or unmanageable problem they have been facing in their classroom teaching and one professional problem they have. Then, they were asked to write their problems on a piece of paper. These problems were collected after everybody had written down and handed over to the experts. The experts were Dr. Z.N Patil, the Head of Department of Training and Development, English and Foreign Languages University, India, Prof. Sirish Sahasrabuddhe, the director of two language schools teaching English and Foreign Languages to International and Indian students, India. Continue reading →
A First Time Speaker in 50th IATEFL Conference
This article provides my individual reflection as a first time speaker of 50th IATEFL Conference where I have reflected plenary sessions, forum sessions, individual sessions and evening events that I attended during the conference.
Plenary Sessions a Glance
The plenary session by David Crystal was more informative on changes in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. He presented the new vocabularies like; manspain, yippies, Rachmanism, slashkini, wasband etc. Similarly, he presented the changes in meaning of the vocabulary due to several factors as; globalization, social mobility and internet.
The plenary session on, ‘the native factor, the haves and have not’s by Silvia Richardson arouse a discussion on the impact of the native speaker bias and its dominances in the field of teaching and learning of English. She requested non-native teachers of English to be confident and not to feel nervous just because of being a ‘non-native’ teacher.
Another session on ‘ Shifting metaphors from computer input to ecological affordances’ by Diane Larsen Freeman highlighted that our learners aren’t computers and the input they take will be processed and come out as it is. Thus, there is an instrument between input and output that overlooks the meaning making nature of language use. As learners’ developmental patterns are different, learners create their own affordances. She also highlighted the implications of affordances for English language teaching and learning by providing the example of her two years old granddaughter’s way of using fork in her own way. Therefore, the idea of affordances is two-way relationships between learner and environment.
The plenary by Scott Thornbury in 1966 and all that: A critical history of ELT was a review of some major developments in the field of ELT. As a warmer, he asked us to guess ‘What happened in his life’ by providing the dates and obviously our guess was related with his personal life, which was different than he intended to present.
According to Thornbury, during the period in ELT in 1900s, native English was more focused because the cover page of the book produced at that time used to have the picture of London which means the author of the book wants to say that the book has got Native English spoken in London. Similarly, the year 1966 was significant as TESOL was founded that year and universities introduced the courses in English language teaching and the revolutionary article entitled ‘How not to interfere with language learning’ was published with the theme that language learning should be different than teaching content. In 1967, IATEFL organized its first conference in London. In 1971, there was a symposium in Switzerland where the concept, like learners shouldn’t make mistakes while learning language or student should be taught language by making as few mistakes as possible, was evolved. Continue reading →
Attending the International Conferences: Pages from my Diary
Laxmi Prasad Ojha*
Attending Conferences has always been my favorite professional development strategy. Every time I attend one, I feel more energetic and have stronger commitment for my own as well as fellow colleagues’ professional development. I got an opportunity to attend two international conferences recently. In this narrative entry, I will share my experience of attending TESOL and IATEFL conferences.
50th TESOL International Convention and English Language Expo, Baltimore, USA
I attended the 50th TESOL International Conference and English Language Expo held at Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA from 5-8 April, 2016. This was my first ever conference outside Nepal. Therefore, it was very much exciting and rewarding experience.
The first day of the conference began with a key note speech from Aziz Abu Sarah on Revolutionizing Education: Building Peace in the Divided World. He shared his experience of how education played a major role in his transformation from a radical to a peace builder, and how his educational work in Syria, Afghanistan, Israel-Palestine, and the United States has helped bridge the gap between hostile communities. He further explored how education has the power to heal conflicts, from the geopolitical stage to the classroom. On the second day, Andy Curtis, TESOL President presented in his presentation entitled Reflecting Forward, Reflecting Back: Looking in the Mirror at 50 discussed the idea of teachers as reflective practitioners using the metaphor of mirror. He recalled the growth of TESOL as a community and as an organization and shared his vision about the path it might take in the future. Continue reading →