Local needs and local resources in teaching English

 Asharam Shah

Janjyoti Higher Secondary School,

Chandranigahpur, Rautahat 

Indeed, teaching is a noble profession. It has been carried out variously since the earliest times. It was conducted, facilitated, administrated and accomplished by ancient Hindu Gurus like Vishwamitra, Bashistha, Dornacharya, Kripacharya. The continuation of teaching and learning activities has been spreading widely all over the world. Considering the above circumstances, I involved myself in the field of teaching at the age of 17.

I was a typical young and shameful teenager when I started teaching. I started my teaching career since I joined a private English boarding school. My hearts and emotions were filled with a great enthusiasm. There’s one thing I detest; it’s the people who make comment on getting myself transferred from one school to another. I didn’t stand still at a single school or institution for all times. It is because I wanted to improve my academic career as well as economic status smoothly. During my teaching career, I have taught in more than seven schools and gained various teaching experiences. After completing my graduation degree, I became competent and eligible to be a secondary level English Language Teacher as per the legal provision in Nepal. I filled up my forms, faced the competition through both written and spoken modes. What I found is raw fruits in my palm that I could not taste. I was depressed by the policies and controversial arguments made among school management committee and the concerned authorities of selection committee. However, I didn’t lose my patience.

Later a new inspiration blended my performance in teaching at newly established Mid Regional Police Boarding School Jingadiya, Rautahat. I wished I could teach in that new institution. I competed for the teacher and fortunately, I succeeded among other teacher colleagues. The success really made me so delightful that I could not sleep that night. I conveyed the message of my academic victory to all my friends and relatives. My happiness knew no bounds.

The most memorable teaching event that I have experienced during my teaching career is my involvement in “listening tape script designing.” We all English teachers worked together under the department of ELT. We conducted several workshops regarding ELT issues, and picked out some new trends in listening skills. This led us to design “Tape script” ourselves. For this, we followed the following procedures and conducted task.

I.        Organizing workshop

II.        Interaction/ Discussion among EL teacher

III.        Identification of ELT issues

IV.        Making hypothesis

V.        Finding out the solution.

While designing the tape script, all English language teachers had participated. They prepared the tape scripts for each class ranging from lower to higher levels. They were prepared on the basis of their curriculum, textbooks and their needs. After the rehearsal was conducted, it was recorded on tape. When this original (self prepared) cassette was played in the concerned class, the students were fully motivated and they could understand most of the utterances naturally. Later, they were examined on the paper.

This process mentioned above was the most memorable for me. It gave a good opportunity to develop cassettes and we distributed some of the cassettes to other school teachers who also used the cassettes. Not only this, we provided some roles to our students whose voices were clear and tuned with correct pronunciation. This had encouraged them as well to design the tape scripts. Small children were also encouraged to records rhymes in chorus. When the recorded tape was played and provided them feedback as well. All these activities added enthusiasm among all English language teachers. We were highly benefited to develop listening competency among students.

Pedagogical Implications

 Several government-aided-schools, private boarding schools and even institutional schools are lacking such activities, which can be followed by English teachers and personnel.

Recently I have collected the needs from teachers working in government schools regarding teaching English in Rautahat district of Nepal. The arguments of the teachers show the changing trends in ELT regarding the use of listening clips. What I found is that they do not like to hire the cassettes produced by the native speakers but they like to get the cassettes produced by Nepalese English teachers or they would like to produce the hire cassettes in collaboration with competent speakers. It is because the teachers could not understand the utterance spoken in the script. For the beginners, self prepared cassettes are very essential. Some hired cassettes can only be played until they have mastered over the listening competence. This is why, designing and preparing cassettes by the teachers themselves for teaching listening is a must.

 Recommendations

There are some recommendations to be taken into mind before producing listening cassettes for your school and children.

  • Teachers should be trained enough to handle such tasks.
  • The school administration should support the teachers financially.
  • The teachers should be creative, innovative and co-operative while carrying out the task.
  • There should be proper use of some supra-segmental features like tempo, stress and tone intonation while recording sounds.
  • Some recorded clips of sweet music, pause, rings and other catchy sounds, should be recorded along with original tape-script as background sound.
  • Correct pronunciation of the words and the sentences with specific stylistic features should be maintained.
  • For participants, male and female teachers, children and other concerned fellows can collaborate to complete the task effectively.

This can help English language teachers addressing present pedagogical issues regarding the listening competency in ELT and it can be scaled up and replicated in different school in Nepal.

2 comments

  • To teach English language in a sustainable way needs the mobilization of local resources. This article by Asharam has shown how he along with other members of the school has been successful in producing listening tapes themselves. This is a good initiative that the schools can take and they themselves can follow the strategy suggested in the recommendation.

    It is better for the schools and English teachers to replicate the same way of the production of the cassettes In the beginning. Later, once the students have got mastery over locally produced listening tapes. Then the tape scripts prepared by the native speakers should be utilized to teach listening. Mobile phone can be used to record the sound/voice of the participant teachers, students and members of the school. This is just the one where local resources can be utilized. There are other ELT practices which can be integrated using the local resources.

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