An Interview with NELTA President Mr. Ganga Ram Gautam
Choutari: How does our effort for promoting professional communication relate to NELTA’s goals and how might we be able to enhance them?
Mr. Gautam: First of all, I would like to appreciate the efforts of our young colleagues Shyam, Bal, Prem and Sajan for taking initiative to begin the NELTA Choutari forum which has offered a professional platform for the NELTA members to share their ideas, arguments, views and their observations. This effort is directly related to the NELTA goals. As mentioned in the NELTA constitution, the two key objectives (among five objectives) of NELTA are: (2) To provide a forum for individuals, institutions and associations having similar goals and (3) To foster the exchange of ideas, resources, information and experience among people associated with ELT and for the last one year you have been trying to enhance the professional communication among the members through this forum. This is indeed a big achievement and we need to continue this in the future. However, the readership network of this forum is still limited and we need to discuss how we can expand the readers’ network and make sure that they read and contribute to the discussion.
C: How do you think we can increase engagement/contribution to networked discussions by NELTA members who have access?
G: This is indeed a key concern for all of us and we need to work collectively on this issue. One of the strategies could be to use the quick communication channels such as facebook/twitters etc. to publicise about this forum and motivate people to read and contribute. For example, if someone posts a quick note on the facebook that s/he read the article posted in NELTA Choutari and make a very brief comment on this on the facebook and link the site on it so that people get motivated to read and contribute. Similarly, we can also put the notice in the NELTA newsletter and make announcement in the NELTA conference. Also, we could have a brief presentation on this in the forthcoming NELTA conference. We shall be happy to have a brief webinar on this if you would like to make a short presentation on this.
C: Do you have any suggestions for conducting networked discussions in better ways so that branches and members can contribute better?
G: Friends, this has been a great challenge for us and we need to find ways to engage the branch members in the professional discussion. I think we need to find a contact person in each branch who has internet/email access and work through that person. Some branch members have already started doing so on individual basis now we need to institutionalize this in all the branches. One of the strategies to promote this could be through the regional network that we plan to establish. Birgunj has already started the regional conference and Surkhet is holding the next. Similarly, we could have other branches from different regions to initiate this kind of activities and the lead branch that organizes the regional event could work as a satellite to disseminate this information. We have proposed this modality for the next English Language Fellow (ELF) when we submitted the proposal to the US embassy. (I have attached the proposal for your reference to give you detail picture of what this is about). These regional centers can be mobilized to promote communication among the branches. Perhaps we can start this on pilot basis.
C: Do you have any practical suggestions for us to collaborate with NELTA in its efforts at increasing professional communication on and off line?
G: Some of you have been very generous to offer your time for the NELTA journal. On behalf of the NELTA committee, I would like to thank you very much for your contribution and I can see that there are a lot of places where we can work for NELTA breaking the distance barrier. Some of the things that I can talk about now are:
a) Our members include teachers, trainers, researchers and various ELT practitioners. A large number of our members are also trainee teachers who at some point carry out research in various aspects of ELT. In order to support them with the resources, can we set up a site on NELTA Web page, or Yahoogroups or NELTA Choutari or maybe in all of them where we can hyperlink the academic research sites and also upload the articles from the US for our students so that they can have access to the materials? We can also include these materials in the discussion forums.
b) We would like to put all the Master’s Thesis Titles and Ph.D. thesis titles on the NELTA web so that students can see what has been researched so far. It would be nice if you could also find the link from other universities where our students can see what kind of Master’s thesis are produced in other parts of the world.
c) As I and Shyam talked on the phone, we could assign someone from NELTA to liaise the NELTA committee and groups like NELTA Choutari or individuals who contribute to NELTA on the Web. This will make the communication much easier and quicker.
Finally, I once again thank the team that has managed NELTA Choutari very professionally and I also take this opportunity to say Happy New Year 2010.
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