We are pleased to present a January 2018 edition of NELTA ELT Forum. In this issue, we are delighted to have contributions focused on the approaches in ELT such as differentiated instruction, using mobile phone apps and ICT. The issue also includes insights into challenges in developing students’ writing skills and the some strategies to cope with theses challenges, and the functions of discourse marker “like”, which is increasing in people’s spoken speech.
The article Differentiated instruction and English language teachers: Context on Nepal, by Dharmanand Joshi presents the findings of an interview-based investigation into English language teachers’ perceptions on differentiated instruction. It also focuses on historical development of this approach with an insight into the context of Nepal. The research looks into the way the teachers within this context tackle the challenges whilst employing differentiated instruction.
The article Integrating ICTs in English Language Teaching: Teachers’ Perception, Strategies and Challenges by Guru Prasad Poudel looks into how Nepalese ESL teachers of rural schools have used ICTs in their classrooms and what are the strategies of and challenges to integrating ICT based tools in teaching English.
Dr. Feruz Akobirov and Nargiza Vokhidova in their article, A new generation of English learners: Telegram app users, show how modern apps like telegram can be employed as a useful tool in language learning. Followed by an overview of advantages of modern social network for ELT, the article focuses on an ESP context in Uzbekistan where the students of Tourism Department of Bukhara State University in Uzbekistan are encouraged to actively engage in various activities through Mobile learning.
Sarita Dewan in her article, High expectations, low product: why is writing a scary ghost among our students? tries to answer the question by looking into her own teaching practice and research based on informal interview with 70 grade ten students of a private school. The article focuses on the challenges students face with writing and the reasons of this skill being a problematic area in ELT. In search of ways to introduce improvements she found that free writings are easy way of written self-expression.
Last but not least, Komila Tangirova, in her article Discourse marker “Like”, discusses the functions of widely used speech filler “like”. The author examines the concept of the discourse marker and provides an overview of the studies conducted in the field. Based on the data, the author analyses various meanings and positions “like” can have even within one conversation, in the speech of the same speaker.
For ease of access, the link for each article can be found below:
- Differentiated instruction and English language teachers: Context on Nepal by Dharmanand Joshi
- Integrating ICTs in English language teaching: Teachers’ perception, strategies and Challenges by Guru Prasad Paudel
- A new generation of English learners: Telegram app users by Dr. Feruz Akobirov and Nargiza Vokhidova
- High expectations, low product: why is writing a scary ghost among our students? by Sarita Dewan
- Discourse marker ‘Like’ by Komila Tangirova
We hope that the articles included in this issue may contribute to reflection and future research, and may enhance a critical perspective on various aspects related to modern approaches in ELT, developing writing skills of students and the functions of speech fillers in spoken interaction.
Komila Tangirova and Sagun Shrestha
*Dharmanand Joshi (D.N.)
This study investigates English language teachers’ perceptions on differentiated instruction and their practices along with the problems they encounter in the classroom. Based on interview as tool to collect information, it begins with the way an issue of differentiated instruction evoked me for further inquiry and acquaintance to differentiated instruction. Further, it tries to bring historical development of differentiated instruction linking it to the context of Nepal. The study proceeds to the information collection based on research objectives and research questions and in-depth analysis of collected information is presented in various sub topics.
Prem enters the class where there are 35 students. He starts teaching with lecture. Five students seem attentive in the classroom, and they are nodding their heads, which seems sign of understanding. However, rest of the students have uncomfortable sitting in the classroom. Class has become noisy because of the vagueness in teacher’s teaching and students’ fruitless sitting in the classroom. After 45 minutes, the teacher asks the questions to the students, “How many of you understood.” Only few students raised their hands with confidence, few of them raised slightly with laziness and few looked down and expressed their sign of uneasiness with gestures and postures. Teacher leaves the classroom having dilemma-tic complex. Dilemma-tic in the sense that he seems happy since few comprehended well which evoked satisfaction. On the other hand, he equally seems dissatisfied since the image of the students’ clumsy actions in the classroom triggered him to think about his way of teaching and students’ needs, interest and level as well as learning styles.
Prem is a representative of such victim. Victim in the sense that despite his zeal to become a best providing flow of content through lecture, he found gloomy faces of dissatisfaction. Equally, students got victimized. Why and how? Because, teaching is full of art and it is the highest level social understanding and operating the variety of minds, bringing interest on them and making it fruitful. Which he could not do. He has to think of differentiation in teaching focusing on differences of the students. Since the concept ‘one size fits all’ and ‘one way fits all’ doesn’t fit in present classroom. As Petras (1995) says the real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes, I believe differentiated instruction is a new eye to teach students. To cite Sandford and Reeves (2009), great teaching is for all children and differentiated instruction targets all children. It’s true in the sense that if teachers remain the part of the ‘conduits’ of the ‘banking’ education system (Freire, 2000,p.3), no teaching will bring output. To make it possible, knowledge on methodology and techniques are needed. However, I feel the gap between theory and practice is wide. There may be several reasons behind such a gap. May it be teachers’ knowledge over methodology, lack of their preparation, work load, education policy etc. For the differentiated instruction, eclectic or post method approach can work well. However, teachers seem to be the follower of blind eclectic approach as Weideman (2001) beliefs, blind eclectic attitude that teachers often adopt as a safe approach may protect them from becoming victims of the method but it may have several disadvantages since each method foci on particular type of activities. Continue reading →
*Guru Prasad Poudel
Information technologies have proven to be beneficial to language learners while learning a second or foreign language. Integrating ICTs in ELT have become both slogan and selection in both developed and developing countries. However, they do not seem to have been properly integrated for language learning in rural schools in Nepal though they have already been used for other purposes and their use is rapidly growing. This article sheds lights on how Nepalese ESL teachers of rural schools have integrated ICTs in their classes and what they view about the strategies and challenges while integrating ICT based tools in teaching English. Analysing the data collected through questionnaire and semi-structured interview, it was found that the secondary English teachers integrate ICTs in ELT by using effective strategies though they have been facing some challenges on it.
Keywords: Information and communication technologies, mobile learning, integrated language learning, rural schools
Language teaching has been extensively influenced by the innovations made in the field of science and technology. The 21st century’s academic study has been guided by the recent innovations. We can observe various changes in the forms and mode of education. The present day language pedagogy is leaning towards the integrated pedagogy with the use of ICTs. It is a form of learning that is supported by the use of highly deliberate tools. ICT integrated instruction is a way of learning in an interactive way with the excessive use of ICT (Davies, 2013, p.14). It typically includes the learning interactively with an online support and use of techno-based tools between the teachers and the learners, and the peers. Continue reading →
*Feruz Akobirov (PhD) & Nargiza Vokhidova
We live in the era of the modern technology and day by day new types of technologies emerge. One of the widely discussed technologies is Mobile learning or M-learning. This article discusses the importance of the M-learning in teaching and learning English language. It particularly focuses on mobile messaging application “Telegram”, created by Durov brothers and which is being used in many parts of the world, especially in Asia. This informative article gives an overview of the application, its positive effects and its use among the students of Tourism Department of Bukhara State University in Uzbekistan to learn English better. The article uses recent research works of some scholars about the advantages of the Telegram application. Their studies show that using social media networks in teaching language features could be very effective and promising.
What is Mobile learning? Why do we need it? Is it important for the classroom? These are the questions that we are having for last couple of years. We see some students wandering inside the Telegram, trying successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully upload their video, audio and pictures of their notebook through Telegram mobile application. Telegram is a mobile application launched in 2013 by brothers Nikolai and Pavel Durov, the founders of Russia’s largest social network VKontakte. It is a messenger app allowing the users to exchange messages, upload audio and video materials. It has a speed of WhatsApp and advanced new security measures. Some teachers enjoy receiving assignments and other classroom related tasks through the app, but some argue that not all the students submit their assignments and that the students have to be reminded over and over again. The latter type of the teachers is rare and will be the main point of our next article, but in this article, we are going to show positive sides of the mobile learning and especially the ‘Telegram’ app.
According to Wikipedia, M-learning or mobile learning is “learning across multiple contexts, through social and content interactions, using personal electronic devices.” A form of distance education, m-learners use mobile device educational technology at their time convenience. M-learning technologies include handheld computers, MP3 players, notebooks, mobile phones and tablets. M-learning focuses on the mobility of the learner, interacting with portable technologies (Trentin G. & Repetto M., 2013). Using mobile tools for creating learning aids and materials becomes an important part of informal learning. Other scholars define mobile learning as following: Two of the scholars and users of the ‘Telegram’ app for their lessons Iksan & Saufian (2017) bring about various authors’ ideas on mobile learning, such as of Nawi, Hamzah, & Rahim (2015) when the researchers state that mobile learning is a learning platform and it uses mobile communication devices such as mobile phones, iPad, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and tablets. Continue reading →
Writing is an art and requires lots of practice and patience to produce. Unless someone is prolific in writing, true communication does not take place. It is indeed an important productive skill one has to learn to express. There is a vast difference in speaking and writing but EFL students forget it and the result is frustration among them when they do not achieve good marks. I have tried to express my own assumptions as well as the finding based on a mini research with the students of class X, about challenges and advantages of teaching Writing skills.
Keywords: writing skill, motivation, exposure, lesson plans
I learned wisdom expressed in the proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”, quite a long time after I became a professional English language teacher. Not exposed to teaching methodologies during the early period of my teaching, for me teaching was following what my Gurus did in our grammar-translation classes, but I remember, I used the techniques of good teachers, e.g. using realia, making classes interactive, using picture illustrations. These are a few, which I did unknowingly, although, I did not know how to make or encourage students’ creativity or originality. My objectives would be to make my students pass the exams. Working with professionals, and training exposures and my professional development, now I realized how wrong or right my teaching techniques were.
I often realized it was very difficult for me to teach my ten graders and make them proficient because I was not a trained teacher. Moreover, not generalizing all, after decades of my teaching profession, the situation has not changed drastically, even now.
During my early teaching period, I did not know that writing is not a separate skill, rather the integrated skills of listening, speaking, reading, critical/ analytical thinking, creative writing, and editing. I often found students facing difficulty in where/what/how to start. I did not know that writing is a process to produce and needs motivation for students to write from simple to complex. I did not do pre-writing activities; rather the students were left with types of descriptive, argumentative, persuasive writing topics, like amateur swimmers in the ocean. Continue reading →
Various studies have looked into speech fillers used in Spoken English. Like is one of such speech fillers, usually termed as a “discourse marker”. However, it has other different labels in different literature. Apart from the meanings and functions that it has in Standard English, like also possesses certain characteristics limited to Spoken interaction. This article looks into the instances of its use with the support of preceding research in the area. It will discuss the multifunctionality of like and analyse its usage in the selected piece of transcription. The main focus will be placed on the meaning, function and positioning of like in the conversation.
Key words: discourse marker, like, function, spoken English, conversation
Spoken English seems to be abounding in so-called speech fillers, one of which is like. Apart from the meanings and functions that it has in Standard English, like also possesses certain characteristics limited to Spoken interaction. These features have been analysed in quite a number of studies so far (Schourup, 1985; Underhill, 1988; Meehan, 1991; Romaine & Lange, 1991; Miller & Weinert, 1995; Andersen, 1998; Dailey‐O’Cain, 2000; Fuller, 2003; Müller, 2005; Tree, 2006; Hellermann & Vergun, 2007). While considering this discourse marker from different perspectives, the researchers all seem to agree that like is a versatile speech device. Therefore, in this paper I will discuss the multifunctionality of like and analyse its usage in the selected piece of data on the basis of studies undertaken. I will focus my attention on the meaning, function and positioning of like in the conversation.
Several studies have labelled like differently depending on what aspect of it is considered. One of the first researchers who wrote more than just a short passage about it was Schourup (Müller, 2005). He calls like “evincive” that is “used to express a possible unspecified minor noneequivalence of what is said and what is meant”, in other words, a tool that helps a speaker to provide a relation between what he/she actually says and has in mind (Schourup, 1985 as cited in Miller & Weinert 2005:368 ). Andersen (1998) in his relevance-theoretic approach agrees with Schourup and terms like as a pragmatic marker that is loose in meaning. Hellermann & Vergun (2007) and Underhill (1988) distinguish like as a discourse marker focusing on salient information in speech. Continue reading →