For the first time, I have ever attended an international conference recently. I was not just a participant but I was one of the rapporteurs in the 20th International Conference organized by Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association (NELTA) in Kathmandu from 17th to 19th February 2015. The conference covered wide range of issues about various aspects of English Language Teaching (ELT) among ELT professionals, practitioners, researchers, experts and scholars. It proved to be a change agent to promote better ELT scenario in the country. In this blog entry, I make an attempt to share with you about the conference from personal and rapporteur’s view.
It was my first experience and perhaps in the ELT history of Nepal that over 800 participants including teachers, professors, researchers, trainers, and other freelance professionals from 16 different countries including UK, USA, Bangladesh, India, China, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, UAE, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, and Nepal presented, participated and made discussions on different issues of ELT.
Prof. David Hayes, Graduate Program Director and Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Linguistics, Brock University, Canada and Prof. Elka Todeva, a language educator with a doctorate in English in Applied Linguistics, who now works as a professor at the SIT Graduate Institute in the USA, were the keynote speakers of the conference. Both of them have highlighted on the conference theme. The theme of the conference this year was “The Quest for Quality ELT: Riding the Waves and Creating the Landscapes”.
In addition to the keynote speeches, there were 10 plenary sessions, 2 panel discussions, 161 concurrent and 18 Interactive Language Fair sessions.
Day One (Feb. 17, 2015)
I attended a few other panel discussions and concurrent sessions other than the plenary sessions on the first day. The two concurrent sessions that I attended, as one of the rapporteurs, were from India and Bangladesh. Uma Maheshwari Chimirala, one of the ELT professionals from India presented a paper on impact of anticipation and peer assessment on oral task performance who discussed ‘anticipation’ as a teaching strategy to design ‘anticipatory’ tasks to maximize learner investment, noticing and learning opportunities in the ESL classroom.
In the second session, Md. Eftekhar Uddin, an associate professor in the department of English Language and Literature in International Islamic University Chittagong, Bangladesh, made a discussion on ‘Developing Postgraduate ELT Students’ Research Skills through Blended learning Approach’. He presented a detail course module for developing research competence of MA ELT students in a private university in Bangladesh. The module was based on blended learning approach using tech tools like Schoology, Padlet and PowerPoint.
Day Two (Feb. 18, 2015)
The second day of the conference on February 18, 2015 began with the plenary talks by key note speakers Prof. David Hayes, and Prof. Elka Todeva and Prof. Dr. Abhi Subedi.
Key speaker Hayes facilitated a plenary talk on Teaching Learning and Context: What We can learn about Innovation and Quality in ELT from Studying the Lives and Careers of English Language Teachers. In another plenary talk was on Tapping into the Good Learners in All of Us. Likewise, Dr. Subedi facilitated a plenary talk on ‘Is Writing Colourless Green Ideas Sleeping Furiously Together?
Following the plenary talks on the second day, I attended three concurrent sessions. The first concurrent session was of Catherine Owens and Robert Burges from Thailand, who jointly presented a paper on “Blended Learning: Building Critical Awareness and Autonomy”. Secondly, Humaira Cheguft Chowdhary from Bangladesh made a discussion on “Using Pictures to Enhance Appropriate Uses of English Descriptive Words”. In the third con-current session, Ganesh Kumar Khanal from Nepal presented a paper on ‘Addressing Multiple Intelligence in EFL Classroom’.
The second day concluded with two plenary sessions by Z. N. Patil on ‘Enriching Linguistics and Communicative Competence through Literature’ and Ganga Gautam and Zakia Sarwar on ‘Learners Autonomy in Large Class through Innovative Project Based Learning’.
3rd Day (February 19, 2015)
The third day of the conference began with three plenary talks and followed by concurrent sessions. Sanjeev Upreti from Mimic Man to Global Citizen: Interpreting EFL from post-colonial and post-modern Perspective”. The next plenary talk was by Laxman Gnawali on ‘Not Just Action: Blend Activities with Conten’. The last plenary talk facilitated by Balkrishna Sharma was on ‘Whose Waves and For What Qualities: Nonwestern Philosophies for Professional Development in ELT’.
I participated in four concurrent sessions facilitated by the presenters from Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Asmaul Husna from Bangladesh presented the paper on ‘Movies for the English Class’ while Akhilesh Kumar Sharma from India on ‘L2 Teaching learning Process: Students Preference’. Likewise, Thirth Karki from Nepal presented on ‘Short Stories in EFL Classes’. Last but not the least, Praveen Kumar Yadav facilitated a session on ‘New Media Technology for English Language Teaching and Learning: What and How.
To conclude, the three-day conference was a huge success. NELTA president Hemant Raj Dahal’s closing remarks wrapped up the conference. I must say everyone who are directly or indirectly related to ELT field, they must join this forum. As one of the rapporteurs, I felt myself confident and proud to be a member of this largest ELT forum of Nepal.