Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Poet
It is indeed a pleasant feeling we are having at this end of year for we have been successful to bring out the ELT issues and concerns contributed by the ELT scholars from home and abroad regularly. As said by the 19th century American poet, Ralph Emerson, which we have begun our editorial with, two and half years back, in February, 2014, we had started this ezine voyage with an aim of creating ‘new trail’ with an obvious expectation of contributing in ELT significantly . We hadn’t known this trail then. The trail which could be unitedly joined and walked by 29,000 visitors from 108 countries so far! The trail which have been admired by many ELT scholars for its regular contribution in different platforms! The trail that devotes to reach wider audience with its diverse content!
The support we have got from our valued readers and contributors is overwhelming. We duly acknowledge all these direct and indirect support that have helped us create this new trail where we could walk together sharing our ELT insights through current discourses. This year, we could cover second language writing, academic writing, reading strategies, teaching in large classes, networking for teachers’ professional development, and conference recollection, and we equally hope that we will have more current ELT issues and research in the upcoming year. Our inspiration is our valued readers who read and comment on our posts. Our strength is our contributors who have been contributing their write-ups on current ELT trends and practices.
Our readers and contributors’ continuous encouragement intrigued us to bring out new issues persistently throughout the year. In return, we would like to offer you another sweet ELT gift that comprise one interview with one of the internationally known ELT experts and four stimulating articles, which we hope would give you extra vigor to welcome the New Year 2017 in your classroom! For this issue, we have Dr. Ema Ushioda, the expert on ‘Motivation in SLA’ from the University of Warwick who shares about her academic career, the trend of graduate research in her university and some thoughts on motivation in SLA, and teacher Education. Similarly, Mr. Madhav Kafle, a research scholar, who is currently a PhD student at The Pennsylvania State University, USA comes up with the issue of globalization, migration, and identity in his article ‘Identity in a Transnational World: Where do I Belong to?’ He discusses the new conditions created by globalization in a transnational world. In the another article, ‘Structure of Good texts and Repetitive Language Boost the Learners Creative Thinking and Scaffold their language’, focusing significance of integrating good books in the curriculum, Ms. Babita Sharma, the teacher trainer from Nepal talks about some features of good texts for children and explains how the texts can be used to scaffold children’s language skills as well as creative thinking. Ms. Miriam Corneli, Former English Language Fellow (based in Nepal & Sri Lanka) from USA, gives a lot of hints to the readers to make their English language lessons as creative as possible. Her article ‘Creativity – An Imperative for English Language Teaching’ in a form of direct address to the readers, offers a lot of resources through the web links. In the article ‘Designing a Professional Development Program at an EAP School: Drawing from a Canadian Context’, Mr. Raj Khatri, another research scholar and TESL practicum supervisor at the University of Victoria in Canada offers information on a process that he incorporated in the planning, implementing, and evaluating of the professional development program at his school.
Here is a list of the contents incorporated in this issue of the NELTA Forum and they are hyperlinked for your ease!
- An Interview with Dr. Ema Ushioda
- Identity in a Transnational World: Where do I Belong to? by Mr. Madhav Kafle
- Structure of Good texts and Repetitive Language Boost the Learners Creative Thinking and Scaffold their language by Ms. Babita Sharma
- Creativity – An Imperative for English Language Teaching by Ms. Miriam Corneli
- Designing a Professional Development Program at an EAP School: Drawing from a Canadian Context by Mr. Raj Khatri
We too have uploaded British Council professional practices series 9 and 10. This page is coordinated by our one of the editors, Laxmi Prasad Ojha.
We hope your will find this issue as captivating and resourceful as you found our previous issues. We equally expect your comments on each post as usual so that it can help our contributors/editors clarify more through the discussion that you would initiate.
Finally, we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2017!
Sagun Shrestha & Shyam B. Pandey
‘It is important to articulate your own voice in your writing.’
-Dr. Ema Ushioda
Ema Ushioda, an associate professor in the University of Warwick, Coventry, UK got her PhD from Trinity College, London. She is also a Director of Graduate Studies for PhD programme in the Center for Applied Linguistics in the same University. A prominent scholar in the field of Second Language Acquisition, Dr. Ushioda particularly explores motivational issues in language learning and intercultural engagement. Equally she works in the area of learner autonomy, and teacher education and development. Following is the interview that our one of the Forum editors of Dec-Jan issue, Mr. Sagun Shrestha had with Dr. Ushioda.
Sagun: Ema, Greetings and welcome to this Dec-Jan issue of NELTA ELT Forum, the official ezine of NELTA! We are very much pleased to have you in this issue. Could you please tell us how long have you been working in language education and how are you getting along with it?
Ema: I have been working in language education since 1982, when I graduated from university in Ireland and began teaching English in Japan. Perhaps I should explain that I am of Japanese parentage but was born and educated in Dublin. Indeed, my main claim to fame is that I am ‘probably’ the first Japanese person who was born in the Republic of Ireland. Because of my Japanese heritage combined with my upbringing in Ireland, I have always been interested in issues relating to languages, cultures, and language learning and teaching, and this interest has sustained my work throughout all my professional and academic life.
Sagun: As you are also working as a Director of Graduate Studies for the PhD courses in the University of Warwick, could you highlight the major areas of ELT/ English Education that the PhD graduates in the University of Warwick are focusing these days?
Ema: Well, the areas of ELT/English education that our PhD students focus on naturally reflect the particular areas of interest and expertise that we staff have and are happy to supervise projects in. So, for example, we have recently supervised PhD studies in the areas of English for academic purposes or specific purposes (e.g. corpus-based research; genre analysis); English language teacher education, professional development or reflective practice (e.g. action research projects); various aspects of classroom pedagogy (e.g. project-based learning, pedagogies for autonomy, code-switching in language teaching); teaching English in difficult circumstances (e.g. in large classes, poorly resourced settings, war and conflict circumstances); teaching English to young learners; or language learners’ experiences and motivations.
Sagun: How is the shift of some research issues and ELT pedagogy since you obtained your PhD in 1996? As an ELT scholar, do you see these shifts are natural and contextually appropriate?
Ema: I think this is a very big question, since a lot has changed in our field in the past twenty years! But I think you’re right, in the sense that we have seen a stronger and more sustained focus on contextually appropriate methodologies and on ecological approaches to research and practice. In relation to contextual appropriateness, of course, a major shift has been in the sheer range of educational contexts in which ELT issues are now researched, reflecting the global spread of English and its movement down the curriculum to primary education and across the curriculum in the form of CLIL (content and language integrated learning) and EMI (English as medium of instruction) pedagogies. This is something that David Graddol (in his 2006 book English Next) has characterized as a ‘new orthodoxy’ in English language education around the world, contrasting with the ‘traditional orthodoxy’ where English belonged as a ‘foreign language’ subject in the secondary school curriculum.
Sagun: You are found to have been penned many journal articles and books on motivation, learner autonomy, intercultural engagement, and teacher education and development. How did you begin this trajectory of writing in these fields and what interests you at the very beginning?
Ema: My publication career began when I finished my Masters degree in 1991 and embarked on my PhD studies, and was invited to write up my Masters dissertation (which focused on acculturation theory and linguistic fossilization) for an Occasional Paper series published by my department at Trinity College in Dublin. During my PhD research (which focused on developing a qualitative approach to researching language learning motivation), I gave a few conference presentations and then published these as papers in Teanga, a journal produced by the Irish Association for Applied Linguistics. Continue reading →
Identity in a Transnational World: Where do I Belong to?
Madhav Kafle* (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mobility has been described as one of the dominant urges of human beings. While we moved in the pre-historic times mainly for search of food and shelter, nowadays we shuttle between various places for a plethora of reasons. With advancements in travel and technology, the movement across borders—both literal and metaphorical—has intensified. What’s more, unlike in the past, today we can choose to develop and maintain particular networks or communities across the globe, irrespective of material mobility. With the compression of time and space and the possibility of forming transnational ties, the permeability of identity has increased as well. The incommensurability of identity as static and homogeneous is, therefore, becoming more obvious. The treatment of identity in Applied Linguistics, however, still tends to be dominated by traditional orientation. In this light, this paper discusses new conditions created by globalization in a transnational world. It is hoped that this will shed light in making the treatment of identity in Applied Linguistics relevant as per the changing contexts. I frame the discussion mainly in three interconnected issues: globalization, migration, and identity.
Theoretical Framing: Globalization, Migration, and Identity
Globalization. Globalization has been defined and viewed in various ways. For some scholars, globalization is “nothing new” and it has been going on, though on a certain scales, from pre-modern times. Lechner and Boli (2004), for example, opine that it has become a global cliché. Similarly, Modelski (1972) argues that globalization has been going on for millennia. He mentions the city-states of Mesopotamia six thousand years ago, and the global spread of the Islam from the 7th century to the 15th century as examples of that phenomenon. Some scholars agree that globalization is a phenomenon with beginnings well before the 15th century, but especially from the birth of the modern nation-states in Europe. For some others, spreading outwards and colonization of the world by European superpowers marked beginning of globalization. However, many argue that globalization is a recent phenomenon. Robertson (1992) noted that McLuhan’s idea of “the global village” and some general notion of global “shrinkage” entered public as well as academic consciousness fairly soon after World War II. Or, even later: the first major fuel crisis of 1973, and abandonment of the Fordist mode of production for the priority to international competitiveness (Block, 2006), for example, was when the world really went global. Globalization for those is a new or “strikingly new” phenomenon (e.g. Appadurai 1996, p.27). Appadurai defines globalization as a ‘“complex, overlapping and disjunctive order’ made up of five dimensions of cultural flows, which he calls ‘scapes”’ (Block, 2006, p. 5). Nevertheless, there seems to be a general agreement in saying globalization is a catchword for a particular historical phase(s) and even if the processes we call globalization are not new in substance, they are new in intensity, scope, and scale (Blommaert, 2010). Even though there are some skeptics who view the concept of globalization as somewhat exaggerated, or as a “faddish academic concept of the 1990s” (Coupland, 2010, p.2), widely held concept of globalization (Bauman, 1998a, 1998b; Robertson, 1995) is that the world is already globalized and is yet increasingly globalizing.
On discourses about globalization, David’s Harvey’s (1989) concept of “time-space compression” is often invoked, either explicitly or implicitly. In fact, Giddens defines globalization as “the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa” (Giddens, 1990, p. 64). Likewise, Perlmutter (1991) notes, the impact of this time-space compression has meant that the world is coming to be organized less vertically, along nation-state lines, and more horizontally, according to communities of shared interests and experiences. Continue reading →
Structure of Good texts and Repetitive Language Boost the Learners Creative Thinking and Scaffold their language
Babita Sharma Chaplain* (email@example.com )
Several studies have been done globally in the field of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) regarding the importance of the use of children’s literature across the primary curriculum. However, in the context of Nepal’s public primary schools, teachers have yet to practice using literature with the purpose of developing language skills of the students. This article gives some insights into the importance of integrating good books into their curriculum. It illustrates some features of good texts for children and explains how the texts can be used to scaffold children’s language skills as well as creative thinking.
Literature is an inseparable aspect of human lives. It brings powerful effects on people of all ages including children. Good stories can work as a powerful device to show children right direction, help them make decisions, learn to empathize and become good humans. It can change their perception and attitude towards certain things. For instance, from the story ‘The Grouchy Ladybug’ written by Eric Carle, children learn the importance of being friendly and interacting politely with others in the community. Literature equally serves as the springboard for discussions. For instance, after reading ‘The Giving Tree’ children can discuss for hours regarding human development, their behavior, selfishness and so many other issues. Thus, using literature is a natural medium of teaching children a second language, developing a love for literature in the learners and motivating them to read and grow as a ‘human’.
Good texts are generally “mentor text” (Ray, 1999; Dorfman and Cappelli, 2007; Fletcher, 2011) that can be used to teach the learners various aspects of writer’s writing process as well as crafts “such as effective repetition, predictable patterns, use of imagery or rhythm and rhyme” (Dorfman and Cappelli, 2007:4). Mentors are essential part of our lives as they always guide us to do something we are unable to do on our own; therefore, it is obvious that children who are learning language need mentors, such as good authors and their literature, which teachers can always bring “into the classroom community to serve as mentors” (Dorfman and Cappelli, 2007:2). Children learn about language when they encounter language structure and pattern that come repeatedly in the text. For instance, in the story ‘Tiki Tiki Tembo…’ the sentences like ‘he pushed the air into him and he pumped the water out of him’ are repeated every time the old man tries to save one of the boys after they drown into the well and the phrase like ‘I painted a…’ is repeated in almost every sentence of the story, ‘I’m an Artist who Painted a Blue Horse’ by Eric Carle. Similarly, Campbell (1992) gives an example of the repetition and rhyme of ‘But he was still hungry’ in the ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ and argues that children gain “an enjoyment of reading and learning about story structure and language because of the power of stories” (pp. 52). Moreover, children develop their overall knowledge about language spoken by the real people in real situation as a natural process when they are actively engaged in listening to the story over and over again, reading themselves, reading between the lines and digging deep to study author’s craft. During the interaction time, teachers can encourage the learners to think critically to make predictions about the rest of the story and they “might also try to make text-to-life connections with the children so that they are able to contextualize the story within their own view of the world” (Campbell, 1992:53). Through discussion of their response to the stories they have read, “children can make connections, interrogate their views about the world and learn about themselves in the process” (Cremin, 2009:104) and learn about their relationship with the social environment. Thus, A good piece of children’s literature is very important to assist the young writers think critically “through reading and writing” (Fisher, 1990:196) and develop their creativity. And also they learn to think critically by answering open ended questions which invite “children to discuss and explain what was going on rather than expecting them to recall or retrieve specific words from the text” (Leland, C, et.al, 2013:19). Thus, I suggest that language teachers need to consider Bloom’s Taxonomy of thinking processes that “encourage and develop thinking beyond simple recall of event (Ellison, M. (2010: 21). Continue reading →
Creativity – An Imperative for English Language Teaching
One of my favorite optical illusions has always been the “Necker Cube.” This is such a simple drawing that anyone can make it, but – as you look at the cube – you will see that the “front” face of the cube will seem to slip, or “flip,” the longer you stare at it (Dale, B. F., 2007).
This reminds me of the old Buddhist adage: “Which is it that is moving, the wind? Or the Flag? Neither: it is the Mind that moves.” As teachers, we need to learn to see things from a new perspective and think about teaching “out of the box,” even “flipping” our attitudes – and our classrooms! – to be more convivial, coherent, and conducive to learning.
This article is a bit of a dialogue with you, the reader, and not a scholarly review as such. If you don’t mind, let’s take a few moments to ask you to think about some questions, and reflect on your own experience.
- Albert Einstein is quoted as having said, “Imagination is Greater than Knowledge.” Now, let us ask an open-ended question: why did Einstein say that? What did he mean by that? Do you agree? Why? Take a moment to jot down your answers or discuss with a friend; if possible think of at least three different ideas.
- What do you suppose this cartoon (below) implies? Again, see if you can come up with at least three different explanations or ideas.
Source: Eales, S. (n. d.)
- If you were going to write a “Declaration of Creativity for English Language Teachers,” what would yours look like? You may want to jot down some ideas!
Mine looks something like this:
Whereas, English is a global language,
And whereas, English education is necessarily connecting to a larger world of knowledge and information,
And whereas, people in this world are being faced with incredible world challenges and opportunities,
And whereas, English education could and should help students deal with real-life issues of importance to individual students and the world alike,
Be it therefore resolved that, English teachers should be encouraged to learn as much about creativity as possible, and teach as creatively as possible, in order to liberate our students’ hidden talents and potential and help them connect to the world at large.
One of the basic attributes of humans is their creativity. Other animals can use language and tools, for instance, chimpanzees and other primates, dolphins, elephants, and crows; for a review of these studies, read http://escholarship.org/uc/item/3b7977qr#page-15 and
But humans by far outstrip these other animals in sheer amount of invention, technology, and in use of symbolic language, especially print and electronic media. And, I might add, using our creative imagination to devise, invent, and create everything: culture, works of art, technology, scientific inventions, entertainment, food, clothing, and shelter! Continue reading →
Designing a Professional Development Program at an EAP School: Drawing from a Canadian Context
Raj Khatri *(firstname.lastname@example.org)
Continuing professional development (CPD) is a carefully planned, continuous process that involves activities for teachers that will enhance their skills and knowledge for their professional and personal growth. This ultimately empowers teachers and leads to the development of their agency, the strengthening of their institution, and the growth of their students (Padwad & Dixit, 2011). Professional development (PD) for teachers is a lifelong process that can deepen their understanding of pedagogical knowledge and practices and help them perform their daily teaching and learning activities. The immense importance of PD has been recognized in recent years; as a result, the planning of PD activities has increased in schools, while at the same time challenging stakeholders to implement suitable PD programs (Villegas-Reimers, 2003). And as Whitehouse (2011) claims, these kinds of PD activities have recently received major attention from teachers and stakeholders in countries around the world.
The English Language Program in our college offers English for Academic Purpose (EAP) and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes for adult international and immigrant students. The Program provides two types of PD opportunities for teachers, in addition to a wide variety of workshops year-round at the teaching and learning centre. One type of PD is a school-wide workshop that takes place at the end of every semester, and the other one involves several training sessions that the EAP department organizes for teachers on topics of interest. The days for such opportunities are generally set in advance so that teachers can attend sessions that are of their interest. When our school decided to offer additional PD opportunities, I volunteered to develop our PD program. This program had to align with the PD standards that the school had in place. The PD standards at our school comprise both those related to adult education and those related to language learning. They address such matters as quality, professionalism, professional knowledge, cooperation, planning, teaching, assessing, language proficiency, and pedagogy. Additionally, we draw some of our PD standards from the document Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLBs): English as a Second Language for Adults, which is a
descriptive scale of language ability in ESL written as 12 benchmarks or reference points along a continuum from basic to advanced. The CLB standard reflects the progression of the knowledge and skills that underlie basic, intermediate and advanced ability among adult ESL learners. (Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 2012, p. v)
We are CLB-based and outcome driven, and we adhere to the theory of communicative competence, so whenever teacher training is conducted, we ensure that CLB documents are consulted. Continue reading →