Theme: Multiliteracies and English language teaching in a multimodal classroom
Our current issue is a diverse collection of articles on ELT and education-related topics which would be of great interest for our regular readers as well as new-found ones. In the first article on visual literacy and its presence across the curriculum as well as in ELT, Bophan Khan strongly postulated that to achieve optimal functionality in today’s society requires more than the conventional three Rs. Language students are of no exception. The article discusses the history and development of visual literacy – argued to be one of the indispensable “literacies” for the 21stcentury social beings – and presents a review of a limited number of studies on visual literacy in order to understand the significance of this literacy for education in general and English language teaching.
In a related manner, Md. Jahirul Islam’s article on non-verbal communication emphasizes the key roles non-verbal communication has in the past’s and today’s communication arenas. The article discusses “pros and cons” of non-verbal communication before presenting useful teaching implications of non-verbal communication. Readers would appreciate the justified position taken by the author in attempting to promote the teaching and learning of non-verbal communication, in the author’s very own words, “NOT to the exclusion of verbal communication”.
Bhim Prasad Sapkota’s reflective article on the challenges faced by novice, newly appointed teachers in a government school like the author himself should make us pause and think of our teaching practice situated in a long-established system. The dilemmas of whether to follow the existing system even when it means doing it at the expense of one’s own teaching principles and previous professional training are highlighted, and efforts to challenge the norms with fresh ideas and creative pedagogical practice can be found in this article.
Usefully, Sufia Ferdousi brings our attention to a simple yet highly practical concept which many of us might overlook as we go about our daily teaching tasks. The article explains what balanced planning is and why we, as educators, need it. It also presents what is known as the “9-box” planning tool and its utility for ensuring effectiveness in planning, implementation, and evaluation of a variety of lessons. The flexibility of the tool means teachers can use balanced planning to achieve learning objectives as soon as a day of lessons and as long as a semester/term of classes.
As a special feature, the issue presents an interview with Professor David Nunan by our very own editor Laxmi Prasad Ojha.
The issue also includes an article from Professional Practices Series by the British Council entitled “Error Correction Codes”.
We apologise with our valued contributors and readers for we could not publish some regular issues on August to October due to some technical reasons.
Please enjoy this new issue and provide your valued comments on them as usual!
Bophan Khan and Laxmi Prasad Ojha
Non-Verbal Communication Strategies: Efficacies and Implications for Effective Verbal Communication
*Md. Jahirul Islam
Communication is an integral part of human beings’ life. It is also thesuccessful accomplishment of communication that can bring the expected output. From the dawn of civilization, there was always apersistent effort on the part of human beings to find the convenient means of communication. Two dominant ways of communication, consequentially,have becomeindispensable, namely verbal and non-verbal communication. Between the two communication modes, the former is made either orally or in a written form, whereas the latter is carried out non-verbally, that is through the body language like gesture, posture and other means such as voice, space and time. There is a notion prevalent among some communication specialists that is non-verbal communication makes the major segment of the conveyed message when compared to its counterpart – verbal communication. And this very notion has gathered momentum from an empirical investigation by Doctor Albert Mehrabian. This paper will take that notion into the consideration to study the efficacy and importance of non-verbal communication in terms its facility for effective verbal communication.
Verbal and non-verbal Communication
Beforeentering into detail, an overview of verbal and non-verbal communication and of their communication conceptsis worth exploring.First of all, verbal communication (VC)means something which is verbalized either through utterance or writing to its target audience.Since inception, it has always been thriving and developing as a unique communication system. On the contrary, according to anthropologists, it is the non-verbal communication system which is considered to be in use even hundreds of years before human beings eventuallystarted using verbal communication. Non-verbal communication was right there since primitive agewhen human beings did not have a developed linguistic system; they used to communicate with each other through some sign systems and body language. To put thatsimply, non-verbal communication entails expressions other than verbalized words, ranging from hand gestures to facial expressions to body posture (Ford, 2001).
Pros and cons of non-verbal communication (NVC)
In its very nature and mode of operation in the communication system, non-verbal communication when compared to verbal communication is more abstract and creates more challenges on the cognitive faculty of a user. Hence, it is worthwhile to have a more specific look at non-verbal communication and its different dimensions. First of all, the Kinesics which is also alternatively known as the body language encompasses one’s outlook, facial expressions, eye contact, movement, gesture and posture. Secondly, it is the Paralinguistics which is also known as the language of voice is carried through the varying usages of the vocals namely quality, volume, pace, pitch, pronunciation and pauses. Continue reading →
Professional Challenges for the Novice, Permanent English Teachers: Some Experiences from Classroom Practices
*Bhim Prasad Sapkota
This article focuses some professional challenges for recently appointed English teachers in government schools on the basis of my own classroom experience. Presenting four major classroom challenges – use of Nepali, negligence of listening and speaking skills, faulty examination system and lack of sharing cultures – I have reflected on my own experience of classroom practices. The article mainly discusses how the narrow concepts of teachers, students, parents and principal regarding several aspects of English language teaching affects novice permanent English teachers in utilizing their learnt knowledge for better teaching and their own professional development.
After a long period of time, the government of Nepal is starting to appoint new teachers by competition, which is admirable action for the qualified, energetic and young graduated students. From the thousands of competitors, only few numbers of candidates get chance to enter the classroom of government school. After entering in to the classroom, they have to implement and perform their learnt theoretical knowledge practically in the diverse field, i.e. Classroom. As permanent teachers thought, the real ground of school environment doesn’t support fully to utilize their learnt theoretical ideas regarding English language teaching and learning. While entering in to the teaching field permanently, every novice teachers as me thought they can easily lead the government school according to their theoretical ideas regarding language teaching and other its aspects like classroom management. More particularly English teachers thought about making good English environment implying new trends, methods, techniques, materials and strategies, recently emerged in the field of ELT but because of the some old rooted norms and practices like concept of seniority, traditionally habituated learners and society and static policies every novice, energetic, qualified and curious teachers compelled to assimilate them with previousold and ineffective colleagues. Because of this reason, the status of English language teaching is decreasing in the government schools.
The present scenario of ELT in Nepal, particularly in public schools is struggling between inner passions, intentions as well as desires of energetic novice English teachers to improve the ELT situation, and traditional intention of superiority on the part of old teachers to establish their own ways of teaching. Likewise, pre-established teachers are also leading the society toward their own ways which is demanding routed knowledge neglecting innovative and creative aspects of the learners. In this kind of present scenario of ELT in Nepal, fresh teachers have to cope many professional challenges which are creating a great gap between objectives and achievements. So being based on my experiences, I have explored some professional challenges faced by novice permanent English teacher while starting their teaching career with the aim of utilizing learnt theories in real field i.e., classroom.
Established Culture of Teaching English through Nepali
Except some cases, maximum use of first language in teaching second language, no doubt interfere the language learning. Harmer (2007) mentions that, “there is still a strong body of opinion which says that classroom should be an English only environment.” It means majority of the people in the ELT field are arguing the way of teaching English using English. But in Nepal, English is taught through paraphrasing, translating and giving Nepali equivalent termbecause of this, ELT situation of Nepal is being worse day by day (Shrestha, 2016). Continue reading →
A Balanced Plan of different types of Activities, Nine Box Matrix
The purpose of this article is to explore an idea that could benefit teachers in ways which are different from traditional and nontraditional classroom practice. ‘Balanced planning’ is activity-based planning that is different from that in book-based or period-based teaching. This requires understanding and practice, particularly on integrating lessons around themes, crossing the boundaries of class periods, and balancing different types of activities. The aim of this writing is to explain what balanced planning is and present a simple and innovative planning tool that is known as the 9-box matrix. It is an example of how teachers can plan a balanced combination of various types of activities – oral, material-based, print-based, etc.
What is balanced planning?
Most teachers have their own perspectives and views about teaching and planning. They think of different techniques that ensure lessons have clear aims, measurable outcomes, appropriate materials, and helpful performance with warmers, fillers and closers to learning points. But balanced planning can be described in other ways. It means teachers plan their instruction in such a way that they can make a difference in improving learning outcomes. Balanced planning reflects all areas of a teacher’s plan, for a day, a week or for longer periods.
Why is balanced planning important?
Different individuals learn in different ways. No matter what the grade level is the lesson plan should include various types of activities. Balanced planning is important in this case because it promotes student’ achievements, supports their learning and builds a solid structure. It consists of a steady source of positive emotional support and promotes development of a broad range of skills and interest that’s mental, emotional and social. Current brain research reflects the importance of an enriched environment as necessary to brain growth and development. Enriched environment allows children to be active participators, not passive observers (Diamond &Hopson, 1999, pp. 107-108). To foster enriched environment requires the right amount of careful planning. As Verton (2015) puts it:
“A great lesson may be a flop because the students are particularly tired, distracted, or frustrated. Regardless, we need to be able to switch gears and adapt the lesson accordingly. As such, I would argue that a teacher needs to plan, but be careful not to over-plan. In other words, use a lesson plan as a guide rather than a script, and allow students to drive the lesson in a way that is meaningful to them”.
Therefore, to enhance proper learning skills, teachers require a strong concept of balanced planning. Continue reading →
An Interview with Prof. David Nunan
David Nunan is a globally acclaimed linguist, former President of the TESOL International Association (1999-2000 tenure), and one of the leading textbook writes in the world. He has been involved in the teaching of graduate programs for such prestigious institutions such as Anaheim University, University of Hong Kong, Columbia University, University of Hawaii, Monterey Institute for International Studies, and many more. His ELT textbook series ‘Go For It’ is the largest selling textbook series in the world with total sales exceeding 2.5 billion books.He has written over 100 books and articles in the areas of classroom based research, curriculum development and discourse analysis. His recent books include What is This Thing Called Language? and, with Exploring Second Language Classroom Research (co-author).
NELTA ELT Forum Team is proud to have an interview of Prof. Nunan in this issue. Here is the excerpt of the interview that one of our editors had with him during 50th IATEFL International Conference at Hotel Hilton, Birmingham, UK.
Laxmi: Prof. David Nunan, it’s very nice of you to agree to give this interview for NELTA ELT Forum.
David Nunan: Pleasure!
Laxmi: How do you see the scope of English language and English language teaching in present day world?
David Nunan: It does seem to be quite a global phenomenon. It is taught all around the world. It is being taught earlier and earlier grades as well. So, that is one of the big trend I have noticed. It used to be introduced in secondary school and now they are introducing it in upper primary, and in some places in lower primary and even in kindergarten. I’ve been working inVietnam; and in some of the school districtsthey havestarted to introduce English in Kindergarten with four and five year old children. So the scope of both English language and English language teaching is growing every day.
Laxmi: Does it have any implicationfor English Language teaching profession as well?
David Nunan: It has a lot. Many of the teachers who are working with young childrendo not have specific training in teaching young children. Some of them don’t even have training in being English teachers. They may have been trained to be history teachers or teachers of mathematics and then they switched. So they don’t have training either in teaching English or in teaching young children; and I think this is a problem. It’s particularly a problem for teaching children because children have the case of developmental stages that are quite different from one year to the next. The way that you can teach a four year old is not the same as the way you teach a six year old, which is not the same the way you use to teach eight year oldand so I think that is a problem. We need to train teachers specifically to teach youngchildren and to then teach Englishtothe young children.I am talking specifically about the children at the moment butI think it is less marked with adults. By the time they are late teenagers, their cognitive development is pretty well shaped. They are not going to get that much difference.
Laxmi: As a scholar who has taught and published on diverse range of topics, areas and countries, what do you think are the challenges or issues that English language teachers face around the world these days?
David Nunan: Well, is it depends on the context. I spend most of my time working in developing world where themain challenge is lack of resources, large class sizes, and poor payscales. I see these problems all developing countries. Besides, the issue of competence in the language is a major problem as well. One of the other problems around the world is that very often people who are native speakers of English want to travel and they find that getting the job is easy but they don’t know what they’re doing in the classroom and that’s something which is holding the profession back. Continue reading →
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
– Toni Morrison
A warm welcome to the June and July issue of NELTA ELT Forum. This issue of Forum features a variety of topics ranging from academic Writing, digital storytelling to practical challenges and some ways out the issues of classroom experience by the teachers and teacher educators. We can feel, how teachers initiated practices in a community school in Nepal has helped them overcome existing problems. In addition, you can read why and how writing can be discussed in the classroom.
The first article by Dr. Tikaram Bhatta delineates essential elements of academic writing such as style, structure, audience and tone. It also outlines some problematic areas that novice writers encounter, especially in formal situations.
Secondly, Mr. Gobinda Puri has presented the existing problems of community schools in Nepal and some of the best practices initiated by teachers to solve these problems in various ways.
In our next write-up by Mr. William Wolf, an English Language Fellow in Kazakhstan, briefly discusses why teachers should teach writing to students. Then, he shares his observation regarding teaching writing in Nepalese context. Mr. Wolf, who has had experience of working closely with English language teachers in different parts of Nepal, shares how writing skills are overlooked and the reasons behind that. He then shares some hands-on ideas that teachers can use in their class to teach writing.
In our fourth article by Mr. Tirtha Karki, a teacher and teacher trainer in Eastern Nepal, explains hands-on ideas of developing creative writing ability through model-based activities. The article also shares his observation on how such activities promote the implicit learning of foreign language.
Likewise, the next article by Suman DC elucidates how digital storytelling is one of the emerging trends in the field of education. As an EFL teacher, he feels that it is one of the most engaging and integrating effective tool to develop different skills for our classrooms.
Similarly, Binod Singh Dhami, an M. Phil. scholar and TESOL trainer discusses the issues and strategies of teaching in large classes which, in some extent may help English teachers prepare their plan and materials in a innovative way.
We hope you will enjoy reading these articles and provide us with your valuable feedback. Happy reading and writing!!!