Practice Teaching: A Reflection

“Practice/Student Teaching” in I. ED. and B. ED.: A learning experience or a meaningless ritual?

Ganga Ram Gautam

This is a narrative drawn from my experience as a teacher educator at Mahendra Ratna Campus, Tahachal, Kathmandu.


Practice teaching or student teaching is the obligatory requirement in the faculty of education under Tribhuvan University. In each level i.e. I. ED., B. ED. and M.ED. the students are required to carry out this assignment at the end of the course work. This is to give the students teachers a real classroom experience in teaching so that they can develop the required skills for their classroom teaching later after graduation. The duration is about 4 weeks for I. ED. and 6 weeks for B. ED and M. ED. In order to do this, schools and colleges located in the vicinity of the campuses are requested to provide their classes and the student teachers from the campuses are assigned to teach in them. Each student teacher has to teach at least one class a day with all the preparation and s/he is expected to practice the skills in his/her classroom that s/he learned in the courses. The internal supervisors are assigned to supervise their performance and provide them feed back and sharpen their teaching skills. The final evaluation is carried out by an external examiner at the end of the practice teaching. In addition to this teaching  the students are also expected to do some internship work in the department that includes the preparation of case study of a student and evaluation of the course materials.

As a teacher educator I wanted to see very briefly how the student teachers see this activity as a part of their course work. It is often heard that the practice teaching has now just been a ritual in Nepal and there are complaints from the concerning head teachers and respective teachers that the student teachers come to school just for formality and they do not take this practice very seriously. The teachers teaching in the campuses also say that the practice teaching has not been very useful for the student teachers as it is not being carried out as it should be. If this is true, this will have a very adverse affect not only in school teaching system but also have a negative impact in the life of the student teachers as it is mentioned by (Svincicki, 1996),  “If doctors make worst patients, teachers make the worst students”. I was just curious to find out the current state of student teaching so that the limitations/drawbacks could be found and the suggestions could be made to improve it.

In order to see this practical at a very micro level, I followed a kind of accidental sampling approach. I went to the campus in the morning and stayed in the department. Whoever the faculty members came there in order to sign their attendance I request them to be my respondents as the representatives of the faculty members. I also selected the students in the same manner in which I went to the classroom and told them what I was doing and requested the volunteers to participate in my survey. Since it was not the study for a scholarly work I must confess that I did not follow the standard research procedures in this. My purpose was just to find out how teachers and students see practice teaching and find out some of the immediate key issues related to practice teaching. I prepared a short questionnaire and requested the participants to fill in. Upon my request they did it on the spot and handed it to me immediately.

Key Findings

The Teacher trainers’ teaching experience: 5- 27 years. The students that I selected were B. ED. and M. ED. Students and all of them did their practice teaching in their previous years.  Some of the key highlights of my findings from this snap-shot study are listed below.

Preparation of the student teachers on-campus:

By preparation I mean how the student-teachers are prepared for teaching in the training classrooms in their campuses. This can be reflected in the approach of the teacher training classroom. If the teaching is more student-centred than the students have more room for practising skills where as they have very little practice if the training is lecture based or teacher centred.

Thus, while asking the trainers whether their training was student centred or teacher centred, there was no uniform answer. Among the 10 teachers only four of them (40%) said that their teaching was student-centred. While asking the same question to the students, 57% said that the class was student centred. Actually the students when they were asked to elaborate what they meant by student-centered, they had varied responses.

The method of teaching in the training classroom on-campus was predominantly the lecture for both the faculty and students.

Another question in the preparation was whether or not the student teachers practice the teaching skills in the training classroom in their campuses. While asking this question to the teachers 30% said that they did engage the their students in practice activities but 20% said that they just lectured while 50% said that they sometimes engaged the students in practice activities. Interestingly the students’ response was a bit different. Majority of the students i.e. 83% said that they did not practice the skills in the training classrooms. This clearly shows the lack of practice in the campus classrooms. One can say that the existing training situation seems to be a bit odd, as it does not involve the students in practising the skills in the training classroom.

I tried to dig out this a bit in detail and asked the students why they did not practice the skills in their training classroom and their responses recorded as follows:

  • Large classes in the campus did not allow room for practice
  • Majority of the students did not want to practice the skills in the campus
  • No appropriate environment was created in the campus. But when I asked them what they mean by appropriate environment is, they just could not answer.
  • The faculty and student teachers were not very active in doing things rather they felt comfortable to the usual lecture method
  • Carelessness and irregularity on the part of the students was also a main reason
  • Interestingly the faculty members confessed that they were not prepared enough to share the POWER in shifting their role from a teacher to facilitator could lead to an anarchy in the classroom.

Implementation of the ideas that the student teachers learned in the campus in schools

The success of training can be seen when the trainees are found using the training skills in the classroom practice. In the campus, they learn the skills in theory mainly through the lecture and discussion. I asked them how much of what they learned was actually implemented in the classroom in schools. Obviously, this was not an easy question to answer but I requested them to respond based on their experience. Majority of the faculty and students said that they transferred very little of what they learned. I also tried to find some of the reasons for not being able to transfer the training skills in the classroom. They said that most of the student-teachers did not take practice teaching seriously and there is a sheer negligence on the part of the student teachers.

Frequency of Supervision:

As mentioned earlier, the student teachers are supervised by the internal supervisors during their practice teaching. The supervision is to provide feed back to the teachers and sharpen their teaching skill. One of the objectives of teaching practices as Gower and Walter (1987) put it is, “to provide you with an opportunity to have your teaching evaluated and constructively criticised”. Thus, the frequency of supervision is very important. In this research the frequency of supervision was found very low. The internal supervisors are required to observe at least 3 classes during the practice teaching. While asking them they said that they did supervise 3 times. But while asking the student- teachers there was a different picture. Out of 35 student teachers only 10 of them (29%) agreed with the teachers’ response. Among the rest, 9 students (26%) reported that they were supervised only once and 13 of them (37%) were supervised only twice. Interestingly, 9% said that they were not internally supervised at all. Thus, the supervision system was found to be very weak.

Key issues and challenges of practice teaching:

I was anxious to identify the some of the key issues and challenges in practice teaching. The faculty members had the following observations:

  • Student teachers did not know how to prepare lesson plans: Maybe this is because they were not taught how to do it in the campus or they did not pay attention. The reason behind this was not observed in the response.
  • They had weak language proficiency (English teachers) and therefore could not teach English in schools properly.
  • The faculty members confessed that the Internal Supervisors were not honest in supervision. This shows the lack of sincerity on the part of the teachers.
  • Lack of uniformity among the internal supervisors was a major issue. They say that the supervisors did not give uniform instruction/suggestions to the student teachers which created several problems.
  • Large number of students in teacher training course was another big challenge. Due to this reason the student teachers could not practice the skills in the classrooms.
  • One supervisor had to observe many student teachers in schools located in different places and at the same time the teachers had to teach in the campus as well.
  • Student teachers did not take teaching practice seriously and they took it as a formality and they had a tendency of giving undue pressure to the teachers for giving more marks in their external supervision.
  • On campus teaching (micro-teaching) was not effective as this was also considered by the teachers as a formality.
  • Courses were not taught practically in the campus and the students did not practise the skills in the training situation.
  • Very little or no incentives for the internal supervisors which was also a major contributing factor for the frequency of supervision.
  • Halo effect in the evaluation was also mentioned. The students felt that obtaining marks in teaching practice is a mercy of the internal and external supervisors.

The students brought the following issues and challenges in the forefront:

  • Teaching practice had been used not as a learning experience but as a formality
  • The ideas they learn in the training classrooms were fantastic which are not implementational  in the real classrooms
  • Many students said that the internal supervisors did not supervise properly; they just sat in the class and disappeared after few minutes without giving any comments or feedback.
  • The internal supervisors just criticised what went wrong; they rarely encouraged how the students could build on their strengths.
  • School head-teachers/teachers did not treat the student teachers as they were practising teachers but they behaved them as if they came to schools just to pass their time.
  • Campus teaching was more of theoretical not practical.
  • Lack of enough incentives to the internal supervisors was also mentioned by the students.
  • The schools used the student teachers as the extra teachers and asked them to teach any class which is vacant.
  • Lack of good co-ordination between the schools and campuses made it difficult to handle the situation easily.
  • Schools were not very much co-operative to the student teachers.
  • Lack of classroom management skills in student teachers was yet another issue. Students said that they were not taught in the campus courses.
  • Fixed sitting arrangement in the class did not allow the movements in the class. Thus the teaching did not become student centred.
  • They also accepted that there was a great deal of carelessness among the student teachers.
  • Another serious problem they pointed out was that the Internal supervisors were biased.

Some suggestions for improvement:

Teachers’ Responses:

  • Rigorous training should be given to the student teachers in lesson plan preparation before they go to schools.
  • Uniform lesson plan formats be designed subject-wise and it should be practised well beforehand.
  • Internal supervisors should sincerely and honestly observe the assigned student teachers.
  • Remuneration of the internal supervisor should be reasonable and should be timely paid.
  • Orientation of the internal supervisors should be organised before the practice teaching and proper monitoring of the internal supervision has to be done.
  • Each internal supervisor should be assigned maximum 5 student teachers, if possible all in the same school.
  • Practical courses are to be taught practically.
  • Orientation to the school head-teachers and subject teachers should be held.
  • Refresher training/seminar on practice teaching for the internal supervisors should be organised.
  • Good leadership is ensured to handle this practice teaching business.
  • The campus teacher training should be made student centred as much as possible.

Students’ Responses:

  • Some financial support should be provided for student teachers for materials preparation.
  • Internal supervision has to be made more frequent and it should be made very effective.
  • Full class should be observed and enough feedback should be given to the student teachers by the internal supervisors.
  • Incentives should be made attractive for the internal supervisors.
  • On campus teaching practices should be made meaningful.
  • The government should provide teaching materials to schools so that the teachers in the respective schools also use them in the class so as not to make teaching practice artificial.
  • Demonstration teaching by the trainers could give the student teachers enough idea of how classes are to be carried out.
  • Language improvement course for the English student teachers to improve their own English.
  • Everyone should take this as a serious matter and everyone should sincerely do what they are supposed to do.
  • The evaluation should be done with jointly by internal supervisor and external examiner.
  • Systematic planning has to be made before sending the student teachers to the schools.
  • Harmonious relation between the campus and schools should be established; through orientation to the head teachers and respective teachers.
  • Course in the campus have to be taught practically.
  • Halo effect has to be avoided.
  • Student teachers have to be creative enough in the schools.


My intention is NOT to put the gloomy picture of the practice teaching but to see it as it is observed by its key stakeholders and draw some implications in our teacher training system. I would like to request the readers to have their thoughts in this issue so that we can initiate some reform in this important area of teacher training. My  purpose is to make teaching practice MEANINGFUL and a RICH LEARNING EXPERIENCE.

Continue reading »

Future of our nation is in Students’ Quality Circle*

Lekhnath Sharma Pathak

Secretary, QUEST-Nepal & Lecturer, Central Department of Linguistics, Tribhuvan University

This might sound just like any other academic kind of statement that is overstated, or like the clichéd claim that ‘children are the future of our nation,’ which actually means nothing at all. But Students’ Quality Circle has the power to translate this dream into reality. The whole philosophy of this approach is rooted in concrete here-and-now kind of pragmatism rather than abstract idealistic speculations. SQC movement has a vision of producing citizens who are SMART and GOOD. Smartness implies competitiveness and excelling over others whereas goodness implies serving others. Practitioners of SQC know of all this. But for someone new to this movement, it might be worth telling how it works.

Like minded students of a particular class in a school form a group, what we call circle. The term ‘circle’ is important. In linearity there is somebody ahead and someone behind the one who is ahead. In circularity, there is no first and last. Everyone is equal. The first lesson students learn (without being explicitly taught, of course) is that everyone is equal. The lesson of respect to human rights and equity begins from here.

The circle sits down together to identify problems of and on their own. This is done by using the technique of brainstorming. Be it whether the teacher is too strict, or the seniors bully juniors, or the school premise is dirty, or there is no one to guide with homework at home, or the parents’ quarrel or TV as a nuisance to study are all problems that irk  students at home or in the school. This is an easy way to start, as anyone can talk about the problems around oneself. Ironically, this does not work with adults. What adults learn is to hide their own problems rather than share in a group. Children are yet to fall into this trap. So it’s useful to teach them early that it’s a good thing to talk about your own problem. It’s important that children take up only that problem which they can solve on their own initiative and which is under their control, not the one which is beyond their control to intervene and solve.

It’s not easy to solve all the problems which have been identified and listed. So the problems have to be narrowed down. The problems are voted and the one which gets highest votes becomes the common problem of the entire group. This is democracy at work. They learn the way of building a consensus and working at a common problem unanimously. This is exactly what adults strive at in many circumstances but end up in strife.

Now it’s time to get things done. Solve the problem, that is. The students get down to identify the causes which have led to the problem. The causes may be within their control to check or outside their control. All the causes are identified and root causes targeted – the causes when removed will minimize or reduce the problem. This is done by using brainstorming, survey, research and is presented using Ishikawa or cause-and-effect diagram.

In the next stage they think of the countermeasures which will reduce or remove the problem. Again the research cycles of brainstorming, incubating the ideas, more research begins till they come out with and exhaust the possibilities available. And set down to implement the countermeasures. This may be done by undertaking different activities like raising the awareness about the problem and intervening on their own. The process does not stop at merely implementing the solutions or countermeasure to the problems. It starts another cycle of cross checking as how much the problem has been minimized as a result of implementing the countermeasures. This completes the cycle of problem solving.

One cycle ends finally, with making a presentation of the entire activity in 15 minutes. The presentation is done using complete illustration of the work done. The presentation highlights also the tangible and intangible benefits children got out of the whole enterprise. Besides having solved the problem they undertook to solve, the benefits include the spirit of team work developed, learning to respect others’ views and listening to others, taking initiative, becoming responsible, learning about lateral and creative thinking, developing communicative skills, learning the basics of research and scientific way of problem solving, leadership skills, confidence building, public speaking and overall developing of an all rounded personality. All these and many more life skills develop naturally. That the problem gets solved is merely a by-product of this whole process, the end-product is the evolution of a child into a complete human being.

If we can get SQC done in all the schools of Nepal in each and every corner of the country, it won’t take us long to have a generation of citizens who will be equipped to take up any problem of the country and society on their own and solve them in such a way that it won’t recur again. Once this movement succeeds in schools, this will go up to colleges and universities and finally to different spheres of professions. So instead of merely Students’ Quality Circles, we will be able talk about Youths’ Quality Circles, Women’s Quality Circles, Politicians’ Quality Circles, Teachers’ Quality Circles, Doctors’ Quality Circles, Engineers’ Quality Circles or Managers’ Quality Circles. Likewise Quality Circles in all the spheres’ of our activities.

And it’s not impossible to it make happen. In Nepal, this movement is led by Prof. Dinesh Chapagain who has a committed team under QUEST-Nepal and which organizes Students’ Quality Circle Convention every year which we celebrated last year in Galaxy Public School on November 26-27 and this Year in 2010 we are bracing up to organize 13th International Convention in Nepal from November 1-3 . SQC spirit is also reflected in the working spirit of QUEST-Nepal in collaborating as a team with likeminded organizations like PABSON, NPABSON, NJS, FNCCI, NQPCN and NELTA. We are also looking forward to work together with other organizations and institutions who are working in the areas related to children and education. SQC needs to become a national reality if we think of creating a real New Nepal.

Teacher Anecdote – Lekhnath Sharma Pathak

When the table turns on you

I was teaching English to the BBA first year students of Tribhuvan University in a private college in Kathmandu. As part of their assessment, I had given them a short presentation task. The textbook had some texts against the watching of television as how it destroys family and reading culture and creative thinking and all that stuff. After having discussed those texts I asked my students to make a two-minute individual presentation on either supporting the watching of television, or opposing it or balancing both the view points.

Many of the students made very good presentations and I was evaluating their performance on the spot and giving them their grades. When the student presentation session finished one very smart boy, Lobsang, raised his hand from his seat and challenged me, “Ok sir, now let’s hear from you, how do you fare yourself on the same kind of presentation. Let’s see a good example of presentation from you now.” My God! I was caught unawares at the middle of it. This was something which had never happened to me before. My students had never dared or challenged me. I thought for a while, as how to deal with this unexpected situation. A teacher in our situation is an absolute authority in the class. I could easily dismiss the challenge saying, “It’s your test, not mine. So just shut up.” But I didn’t do that and didn’t feel like doing that as well. I thought of the repercussion it will have, if I did that. It would be letting the students down, not respecting their voice. Giving a message “I don’t give a damn about you”. And since I am in the teaching profession out of choice, not out of any compulsion and I always hold my students above anything else, even above the authority of the college, I couldn’t dismiss the voice that had come from among them. So I thought for a while and decided to comply what they had said. And in a couple of seconds, I thought of how to do it, in my mind. I decided that I will take a balanced view about TV watching. Within a minute, I had taken my stand and then I smiled, with the whole class smiling with me but they smiling for a different reason and me for a different reason. And I said, “Ok, I am game. I will do it for you. You count the time and warn me ten seconds before as I had done with you. The same rules apply to me. I will take a balanced view of TV watching.” The class was quite excited. The whole class was my judge now. And I had to prove myself before them. It was totally a different test from whatever I had faced so far. I took a deep breath. And quickly organized my talk in my mind. I began by the days of radio, how you could listen and imagine the event yourself, which could have been better than shown, how when you watch a TV you can’t use your imagination as the visuals control your thought, how TV creates a falsified world and manipulates your thoughts and perception but at the same time had somebody taken the entire film of how Neil Armstrong landed on the moon and came back, how Hillary and Norgay reached the top of the Mt. Everest our knowledge would have become richer, if we had no access to the live telecast of important national and international events we wouldn’t know how things actually happen. So there are equal pros and cons of watching TV and we need to use our discretion. By the time, I was about to finish my talk I saw a student at the back writing a big 10 on an A4 paper and lifting it with his both hands above his head and pointing it to me. When I had finished I got a good applause. And Lobsang was very impressed and he said, “I could never think of the points you touched within those two minutes.” I felt very happy, obviously. And the class was never the same again. I had gained their respect and confidence.

Class control

An Interesting Teaching Anecdote

Lekh Nath Sharma Pathak

This happened when I was teaching at Buddha Bhanu Saraswati College in Shillong, India, a college initiated and established by Nepali Community there. I was teaching a class of over 200 students in what was then called Pre-University level. When I finished taking attendance and was about to start the topic, the class was booming with murmur. 200 students whispering and murmuring produces noise sufficient to make teaching impossible. So, I thought of a way to get the class quiet so that they would listen to me and I could start the class. I knew that if I simply announced, “Now, class, keep quiet so that I can start teaching,” it would not work. I had to do something more effective. For a while, I paced back and forth on the ‘stage’ – a raised platform for the teachers so that the students could see the teacher. The whole class was watching me doing this. Then, I suddenly turned to the students and yelled like a military commander, “Stop!” with the index finger pointed up in the air. And the next thing I said, quietly, was, “Just look at the tip of this finger” and the whole class went silent and really looked at the tip of the index finger. They found this quite amusing and some of them were about to smile and say something, but I intervened: “Now don’t speak anything and listen.” And the class quickly came under control and the rest of the hour went on smoothly, with the students talking when they were expected to do so.

ELT Survey- Need of the Country, by Sajan Karn

ELT Survey: Need Of The Country (source:
Sajan Kumar Karn
English Lan guage Teaching (ELT) began in  Nepal in 1854 when the then prime minister, Jung Bahadur Rana, opened a school in Kathmandu, popularly known as Durbar High school. Since then, the English language has been taught and learnt as a foreign language in the schools and colleges of Nepal. In the olden days, it was used for an extremely specific purpose, i.e., for academic purposes.
When we scrutinise the current status of the English language and its teaching, we find that little attempt has been made to document its present state of affairs. The use of English has extended by leaps and bounds. English language institutes, English medium schools and colleges are mushrooming. Some 50 regular publications, including dailies, weeklies and magazines, are regularly published in English. A large numbers of books, journals and periodicals are produced in English. Nepali literature – stories, essays and poems have been translated into English for wider readership.
Cyber culture has fascinated the younger generation immensely and, therefore, the use of English has considerably gone up. What’s more, in the Nepali society, speaking in English adds to one’s status. All these have ultimately led to a craze among Nepalis to learn and speak English.
Nevertheless, English language teaching in Nepal does not seem to have drawn the needed attention of the authorities concerned, in particular, and the government, in general. The government has not formulated any policies yet for its use and promotion. Of late, English teaching has started from grade One, and today it is a matter of heated controversy among the politicians as to whether to start teaching English from grade One or from grade Four as in the past. The decisions that have been made so far lack study and research.
In 1984, a survey of English language teaching was carried out in Nepal. The report clearly pointed out the lack of required proficiency among the English language teachers. Several other studies indicated the low standard of English teaching in Nepal. Only about 50 per cent of English teachers of Nepal are trained. We can not expect better results from the remaining 50 per cent untrained teachers.
Until recently, English was taught as a foreign language. Nevertheless, its enormous demand and use have made it a second language. Today, English is not only a subject taught in the academic institutions but is also a medium of instruction, means of communication between students and teachers, and the language of trainings, seminars and conferences. English medium schools have treated their territory as ‘English speaking zones’. This has transformed the role of every teacher to be an English teacher first. A considerable number of interviews on TV take place in English. FM radio stations beam a good number of programmes in English.
Recently, some presentations (by V. S. Rai at the 11th international conference in Nepal) and articles claim that a different variety of English is developing in Nepal. The Nepali variety of English, or Nenglish, shows not only remarkable disparity from the native dialects like British, American varieties but also from the Indian English, comically known as Hinglish (as it is influenced immensely by the Hindi language).As a matter of fact, English spoken in Nepal has considerably changed over the years. It has been observed that the way Nepalis speak English differs from the way other nationals speak, not only in terms of vocabulary but also structure and meaning and pronunciation.
Loktantra (a political system devoid of a monarch) is preferred to democracy as democracy was used to refer to prajatantra which included a monarch. Dot pen is used for biro and copy is used for exercise book. Likewise, ‘no’ is used as a filler and ‘isn’t it?’ is a multipurpose tag for Nepalis.  However, it is unfortunate that neither the constitutions in the past nor the newly inked interim statute make any mention of English, which has taken space in most of the Nepalis’ hearts. A New Nepal is in the making. May my pen awaken the constitution makers!
The role of the English language in a New Nepal can hardly be exaggerated as this can stand as an icon of unity and national harmony since all other languages have been alleged to belong to specific communities. English can be an instrument to strengthen loktantra and promote human rights. As the nation is undergoing a transitional stage, everything is in a state of flux. This is the time for the nation to ponder over a language policy, in general, and ELT strategy, in particular.
ELT survey
Whenever our lips utter the word ‘English’, NELTA (Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association) instinctively follows. English and NELTA have become so inseparable that it is impossible to think of one in the absence of another. Today NELTA has developed into a big umbrella that can accommodate one and all English language teachers from primary to university levels. Recently, NELTA has proposed for an ELT survey to bring to the fore the present situation of ELT in Nepal. This is a venture taken by NELTA to help the nation formulate scientific policies for the English language and its teaching. The initiative will contribute to finding out the standard of English language teaching in Nepal.
It will also explicitly sketch an outline of the variety of English emerging in Nepal and will guide ELT in the days to come. On behalf of NELTA, I urge the stakeholders of ELT in Nepal – concerned authorities like the Ministry of Education and British Council Nepal, to join hands with NELTA in its undertaking of the ELT survey.
(Karn is an English teacher educator at Thakur Ram Multiple Campus, Birgunj)

English as a Bonus

Englishization is a bonus

By Sajan Kumar Karn, NELTA Birgunj

Do you agree that ‘Englishization is a boon in Nepal? What makes you think so? Do the following rationales speak your heart and mind? If not, why? Feel free to comment. The platform is yours.

What is Englishization?
The English language in Nepal is said to have two faces i.e. Englishization of the Nepalese languages and nativization of English. Minimally, the term Englishization can be interpreted as the influence exercised by the English language upon non-English languages such as Nepali, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Newar, Limbu etc. The adoption and adaptation of English words and phrases in Nepalese literary writings (true to say, in all sorts of writing) and daily conversation is perceived rampantly which has led to the increasing hybridization of languages (English+Nepali, English+Maithili, English+Bhojpuri etc.). Likewise, the other close manifestation of English is its nativization. Nativization of English has already been sprouting by leaps and bounds in Nepal. Many papers have been presented and articles have been written to argue that a distinct variety English is budding in Nepal. Englishization and nativization have become global phenomena today, however. Hinglish, Singlish, Anglish, Menglish, Philippine English, Nenglish etc. are some of the instances of Nativized Englishes used in different parts of the world. This interfulence (Englishization and nativization) of English and Nepalese languages is observed at all levels -phonological, grammatical and semantic and at both the modes–speech and writing, which is not the concern of this article, however. The rest of this article uses the term Englishization to refer to both-Englishization and nativization since both seem to have similar effect ultimately(for many) and also in order to be economical. Many people have argued that the interfluence caused by Englishization does not only confine to the language (speech or writing) of the speaker, rather it escalates gradually and weighs upon her lifestyle, education, culture, identity, and virtually on her entire personality in such a way that she virtually becomes Englishized (Westernised or Americanised) goodbyeing her own original identity and culture. However, Englishization has become an inevitable global phenomenon and world’s numerous languages have been hybridized and there is little evidence that people have utterly been denativized. Adoption (Owning English and giving it a native perfume) and adaptation (use of English words and phrases in different way) are speeding so massively today that it can hardly be impeded in near future. Whereas some nations embraced English because of colonization in the past, others have acknowledged it owing to its instrumental value and still others seem to have owned and nurtured it unintentionally. Whatever may be the reason in the wake of Englishization, the issue has stimulated heated controversies amongst intellectuals. Whereas some have labeled Englishization as neo-colonization, others have taken it as a productive indicator for the prosperity of the country and people.

Let us observe the following expressions collected from new generation Nepalese speeches on different occasions:

a. Yo mahina ko salary kahile dine hola-malai kasto khancho parisakyo?The equivalent for salary-talab is almost non-existent in new generation Nepali speech.
b. Nepal ma ta kehi system nai chaina bhanya? Who uses parnali?
c. NELTA le every year international conference organize garchaa.
Out of seven words, how many are Nepali?
d. British council charity organization ho.
e. Final exam ko lagi ramro preparation gara.
f. TU ta aba certificate distribution centre banisakyo.
g. Sthapit sir ko way of teaching nikai down –to- earth thiyo.
h. Look! ma creative writer banna chahanchu tara family circumstance le diraheko chaina.
i. Aajako weather kati sunny chha
j. Langauge institute gaeko, tuition fee ta ekdum high –pay garnai nasakne.

These are only some instances of the Englishized Nepali. English words have become so overriding in the mother tongue expressions(above) that equivalent mother tongue words are gradually disappearing form young generation conversation, which has become a matter of concern for many of us.

Let us now observe some Nepalised English:
a. Sunil looked at the speaker and namested him……(Rai, 2008: New Generation English)
b. My daughter reads in Nursery.
c. Gita Miss is so strict but Bina Miss is good.
d. Heartly welcome to Tribhuvan University.
e. Ram is very proudy.
f. One ladies teacher asked my name and went away.
g. Thousands of people sacrificed for Loktantra in Nepal.
h. Ram sir did not teach us today, Shyam sir engaged his class, instead.
i. Could you give me your dot pen please?
j. Loadshedding is killing us.

It would be very interesting to calculate the percent o f Nepali in (so-called) Nepali expressions and that of English in (so called) English expressions. This makes me often ask myself (and everyone I believe): what language do we speak? The noticeable thing in the above example sentences is that Englishization and Nepalization have occurred not because of obligation but because of will. Even if Nepali possesses the words, English equivalents are used and even if English has the words, equivalent Nepali words are used but intentionally. Is it because the speakers want to appear elegant, intelligent, and erudite? Or English is so much used that it has become extremely common to use pidginized language across the world? Should we let it go? If yes, why? If not, why? This article seeks to find the answers to these questions.

Should Englishization be promoted?

The following could be the reasons why Englishization should be promoted in Nepal.

God’s endowment
The almighty has gifted Nepalese with a flair for using so many languages and if they use English, the most extensively used language in the universe; they commit no sin. A Slovakian proverb highlights the importance of learning a new language in these words “With each newly learnt language, you acquire a new soul”. Similarly, a French proverb adds: “A man who knows two languages is worth two men”. Knowing and using English, we enrich ourselves with English arts, culture and trades, and we also add a new personality (Crystal, 2000:44).

English linguistic imperialism ends with nativization
Philipson (2007:47.) defines English linguistic imperialism as “the dominance of English asserted and maintained by the establishment and continuous reconstitution of structural and cultural inequalities between English and other languages”. Nevertheless, linguistic imperialism as advocated by Phllipson (2007) ends with the owning of English. A lot of people such as Gandhi (1927) protested against the intoxication, denationalization and mental slavery induced by English in the past. Nevertheless, when the matter of nativization of the English language comes to the fore, linguistic and cultural imperialism seems to fade away gradually. The only need is to shape the English language in accordance with our own culture and soil. Further, with the new Englishes growing around the world, the ideology must end and English should rather be treated as a means of empowerment.

English fetches success
Englishization and prosperity are interlinked. Larsen- Freeman (2007) says ‘English is the key to successes’. Everyone wants success in life. If it is English which fetches success, what wrong is there in adopting and adapting it? Further she maintains “English is regarded as gateway to wealth for national economies, organizations and individuals”.

English is a killer language?
Many have said that English is a killer language and therefore promotion of it infers the loss of linguistic diversity of a country, which, however, has proved wrong. Graddol (2006) maintains “English is not the main reason for global language loss. The impact of English is mainly on the status of other national languages”. In other words, spread of English is not the direct cause of language endangerment. English in fact had its effects on national (major languages) not on regional and minority languages. In many countries, it is the national language, such as Nepali that threatens local languages, not English.

Colonization has proved advantageous
Although people criticize the European colonization in the past, the countries that were colonized are also found to have been luckier to those which were not. This is because in many cases, the victim countries could exploit English speaking colonial heritage and which connected them to global economy, for instance, India (Graddol, 2006). We have heard many Nepalese lamenting that it would have been better for Nepal, had it been colonized. However, it does not conclude that we expect any form of colonization in the future but it only suggests that English proved better for them.

English widens our horizons
Use of English internationalizes us. Our horizon of knowledge does not remain localized rather our potentiality and prospects get widened. The world is narrowing down into a global village and therefore, it is only English that links Nepalese to the non-Nepali communities. At the time when the concept of world citizen is in vogue, narrowing down ourselves would be nothing but chauvinism.

Nepal can house one more
A home to enormous linguistic diversity, the greater Himalayan region’s lap does not fall short to house one more language (English). The country which has accommodated 123 languages can accommodate one more. Continuing with English, we do not subtract from our repertoires.

English is the treasure
English is the treasure of knowledge available in the world. Avoiding English, we will only put ourselves at semi-darkness. More than half of the world books are written in English. About a third of world newspapers are published in English. Do not we want to read and obtain information and pleasure out of them?

One more but new identity
Who says: using English we lose our own identity and culture? We rather add to us one more language, one additional culture and thus one extra but new identity. Further, learning English does not mean forgetting our own culture and language. There is little evidence that core values of Nepalese have been changed owing to influence of English. Therefore, there is no question of Englishized ( Westernised or Americanised) identity of Nepalese students or people. The growth of nativized Englishes does not pose the problem of identity crisis, rather has facilitated the speakers to signal identity through English.

English is our appendage
English is no longer the exclusive possession of any English speaking countries like the UK, the USA or Australia or Canada; instead it has become our own asset today. We also know very well that non-native speakers of English have already outnumbered the native speakers. Today, we are at the juncture from where we can not imagine Nepal without English. Our observation should be, “we need English and we need more English, our forthcoming generations need even more English to survive at both national and international spheres”.

Do not pluck the bud
You can not preserve and promote one language suppressing or killing others. Therefore, our efforts should be geared towards how English can be owned. English is budding in Nepal and it should be reared carefully to meet our linguistic needs.

Summing up
Whereas some are of the opinion that English is the need of the nation: others have strongly criticized the Englishization. They have every right to use sharp words to criticize English such as hegemony, linguistic colonization, linguistic and cultural imperialism and so forth , but they should not close the eyes to the reality that English has become the flesh and blood of academia and deprived of which the educational world would feel underprivileged. The use of Englishized Nepali or Nepalese languages should neither surprise and nor worry us as it is something like a universal phenomenon today. Purity in languages is hard to find at post-modern era. Also, the invasion is mutual i.e. not only Nepali and other Nepalese languages have been invaded by English but English has ever adopted inclusive attitude towards loan words. As Crystal(2004:27) puts “English is a vacuum-cleaner of a language, readily sucking in words from whichever languages it meets-well over 350 of them in the history of British English”. Further, since English is in the process of becoming our own language, it is futile to protest against the alienation that can be induced by English. Upon scrutiny, Englishization can prove advantageous if planned cautiously to meet national linguistic and cultural needs. New English in Nepal can serve the function of expressing national identity if Nepalese cultural heritage is added to it. Further, the role of the new English language in the New Nepal can hardly exaggerated as this can stand as the icon of unity and national harmony since all other languages have been alleged to belong to specific communities. English can be a fair instrument to strengthen loktantra and promote human rights.

Crystal, D. 2000. Language Death. Cambridge: CUP.
Crystal, D. 2004. The Language Revolution. Cambridge: Polity

Press Ltd.
Graddol, D.2006. English Next. London: The British Council.
Larsen-Freeman, D. 2007. Teaching and Learning English: From Ideology to Empowerment. In
Journal of NELTA. Kathmandu: NELTA.
Philipson, R. 2007. Linguistic Imperialism. New Delhi: OUP.
Rai, V.S. 2006. English, Hinglish and Nenglish. In Journal of NELTA. Kathmandu: NELTA.

Nelta’s History

Birth of NELTA

NELTA was born in the British Council Nepal in 1992 when its first meeting was held in the British Council Office. I remember the day when Mr. David Pottinger, then Assistant Director of the British Council wrote the minutes of the first meeting on a plain sheet of paper and all the members who attended the meeting promised to keep this association away from all the organisational ills including politics and favouritism. It was, thus, established as a non-government, non-political, non-profit making, professional association with the aims of improving ELT situation. The need to improve the teaching and learning of the English language, thereby keeping abreast of new development in ELT, lay the foundation of NELTA. The other members present in the meeting were Mr. Jai Raj Awasthi (currently the professor of English Education), Dr. Tirth Raj Khaniya (currently the professor of English Education), Mr. Ram Ashish Giri, Mr. Ratna Bahadur Bajracharya, Principal of Anandhakuti Vidyapith, Mrs. Meera Shrestha and myself. The meeting assigned Mr. Awasthi to draft NELTA constitution and an committee was formed. This is the first milestone that NELTA set in its journey.

The justifications to its birth were many. To recall some of them are listed below:

  • The mjority of English teachers in Nepal were untrained and no EFL qualifications were/are required to become an English teacher. Thus, some kind of initiation to familiarise them with the ELT pedagogy was a must.
  • All the teachers’ associations that exist in Nepal were affiliated to political parties and functioning as trade unions. But NELTA was established exclusively for professional development of English language teachers.
  • Teachers could hardly participate in the professional development activities during that time because of lack of professional organizations.
  • The ever-increasing demand of English grew higher and higher due to the expansion of business and tourism sectors with the restoration of democracy in the country.
  • The Ministry of Education was in the verge of revising the ELT syllabus in school level. The shift from Structural teaching to Communicative teaching demanded massive teacher training orientation which the government could not do alone.

(Mr. Gautam, one of the founding members of NELTA, is now its Senior Vice-President. If you would like to read the full article published in NELTA journal, please click here. Note that the dates and details in this article are not current, but the article is relevant and interesting from a historical point of view.)

1 19 20 21