“We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way.” – John Caldwell Holt
Welcome to NELTA ELT Forum, July 2017 Issue.
Probably the fastest-spreading language in the human history, over the last few centuries, English has become the world’s lingua franca. Today, English is spoken by almost one fourth of total population of the world; and, this number is only set to grow. By 2020, the British Council forecasts that two billion people will be speaking or learning English. This number is likely to grow as the English language works as a gateway or a springboard. From the time it became the language of global trade under the British Empire, and its popularity after the postwar economic growth in America, UK and Europe, English has ridden the wave of globalization, urbanization and technology. With insurmountable variations in the use and usage, adjusting with the effects of nativism and assimilation, English has now come to stand as the most viable means of expression. It is, undoubtedly, more so in the field of academics.
As a result, from a teachers’ perspective, English language learning has become ever more exciting and challenging. It is exciting because the number of opportunities and resources are more easily available compared to the past, and it is challenging because technology has made it possible for learners to access resources outside the classroom and learn the language by themselves. With the overflow of information- knowledge sharing made readily available, the lives teachers are also greatly impacted on. The overarching transmission model of professional growth is fast reversing to a downward rooted- classroom based- one. The great narratives of ‘content’ and ‘pedagogy’ are fast giving way to small narratives of the day- to- day accounts. Discussion and theorization of these ‘actual narratives’ has been made possible with the vast possibilities offered by the cloud system of networking. Micro-narratives come from people- from the teachers’ lived experiences, their reflections, mini- researches and from what they actually do together to change the lives of the learners. They are the bits and pieces of story teachers tell to each other each day- about their successes, strategies and challenges. These are the pains and pathos teaching professionals all over the world co- incidentally share in common. As the quote by famous educator John Holt in the beginning of this post also implies, we actually learn to teach by teaching, and sharing of our teaching makes our learning- to- do- teaching better . This July (2017) issue focuses on the ways teachers attempt to grow professionally so that they learn to teach in a better way, i.e. teachers’ professional development. Thanks discussion forums! Sharing of such and learning from each other has been made possible. The only requirement in this respect is for us to be mindful of those.
Hence, forum like this, which promotes sharing of teachers’ knowledge, has more relevance and pertinence in accessing culturally contextual information which can enhance our practice. With this note, we would like to welcome you to the July (2017) issue of the ELT Forum of NELTA. This issue features articles from the ground- the micro- narratives of the visions and realities, and experiences and hopes of the teachers living in the Nepalese EFL context. We have included write ups of Dr. Keshav Raj Chalise, Mr. Gyanendra Kumar Yadav , Mr. Pramod Sigdel, Mr. Chet Nath Panta Ms. Nibedita Sharma, Mr. Mahesh Adhikari and Ms. Muna Thapa, and Mr. Gokul Ghimire Sharma. Articles included here form a neat mosaic of tastes, shading light on the expanding gyre of the realm of language teaching, which ELT educators need to be mindful about. The correct path of professional growth rooted into the unique teaching context demands one’s engagement in interpretation, reflection and research. These are after all teachers’ accounts of their ‘micro- narratives’- their unique attempts to understanding the ELT world in a better way. However this journey is a never ending one- it is full of dreamy flashes, undertones and undercuts. We want a straightforward model of professional growth which can be replicable all for once, but the main route to is not so. Higher reality is deeper than our superficial know- how. Therefore teachers do not limit to a single activity: they make perspectival criticism; they critically reflect on what they themselves are doing; they delve into their own lives; they create narratives of their own; and they share and learn from others. These all are nothing other than the teachers’ desperate attempts to know their own profession in a better way and to grow professionally. Aligned with this philosophy of professional growth, this July (2017) issue has included papers ranging from critical commentary on literary texts to reflective commentary on teachers’ convention. In between come the attempts for professional development through mentoring, teacher evaluation and reflection. We believe these are the common ingredients in the Pandora- package of English language teaching professionals.
The article by Dr. Keshav Chalise, entitled “Hadaha Daha: A Mythical Surrealism in Koirala’s Modiāin, presents a commentary on the popular Nepali novel “Modiāin” by renowned litterateur B. P. Koirala through a surrealistic historical- mythical perspective. This piece testifies an attempt to understand the deeper reality of the text, and the author’s interpretation of the cultural myths ingrained in the novel. Similarly, Mr. Gyanandra Yadav in his article “Mentoring for EFL Teachers’ Professional Development” presents an overview of the context of mentoring for professional development of EFL teachers in Nepal. Beginning with the writer’s personal narrative of professional journey, the article focuses on the effect of mentoring on the professional development of teachers along with its importance in the Nepalese EFL context. Although it is still a neophyte practice in Nepal, Mr. Yadhav has attempted to establish that mentoring can be a promising paradigm for teachers’ professional development in Nepal. Similarly, Mr. Pramod Sigdel in his article “Promises of Action Research Paradigm for Teachers’ Professional Development” focuses on the need for changing the paradigm for teacher development from the so- called ‘expert- cascading’ model to ‘teacher- initiated reflective model’. Mr. Sigdel presents an evidenced advocacy that teachers are the professionals who should design and plan the activities which can facilitate and accelerate the learning opportunities for their learners. Imposing theories and philosophies in the guise of training is not transformative in essence. Likewise, the mini- study by Mr. Chet Nath Panta, Ms. Nibedita Sharma, Mr. Mahesh Adhikari and Ms. Muna Thapa entitled “Practices of In- service Teacher Evaluation in Public Schools of Nepal” critically examines the situation of in- service teacher evaluation practices in the mainstream community schools in Nepal. This study also reiteratively concludes that teachers, including English language teachers, are the key to transforming the schools for quality education. However, investment on continuous evaluation, performance appraisal and support to the teachers is a must for realizing the goals of education. Finally, Mr. Gokul Ghimire Sharma in his piece “Innovations and Co-teaching in Nepalese EFL Classroom” presents a narrative account of how teachers can create innovations in teaching employing a co-teaching methodology. This piece includes Mr. Sharma’s reflection on his involvement in the TESOL International Convention and Language Expo 2016 in Baltimore, USA.
For your ease, we have hyperlinked the articles below:
1. Hadaha Daha: A Mythical Surrealism in Koirala’s Modiāin by Dr. Keshav Chalise
2. Mentoring for EFL Teachers’ Professional Development by Mr. Gyanandra Yadav
3. Promises of Action Research Paradigm for Teachers’ Professional Development by Mr. Pramod Sigdel
4. Practices of In- service Teacher Evaluation in Public Schools of Nepal by Mr. Chet Nath Panta, Ms. Nibedita Sharma, Mr. Mahesh Adhikari and Ms. Muna Thapa
5. Innovations and Co-teaching in Nepalese EFL Classroom by Mr. Gokul Ghimire Sharma
We would like to thank all the contributors for their articles. We are hopeful that our tour with this July 2017 Issue around the concerns of teachers will find relevance in the context of upcoming ‘Guru Purnima’ (Teachers’ Day) in Nepal. We hope readers will enjoy going through this issue. Comments and suggestions to the posts are always welcome!
Dinesh Kumar Thapa