Have Your Say!

Dear valued readers and contributors,

We feel highly privileged to celebrate the fourth anniversary of NeltaChoutari. The continued support of our valued readers and contributors along with untiring efforts of the editorial team consisting professional experts of Nepalese ELT from home and abroad is the secret behind the successful journey of Choutari. The Information Communication Technology integration into Nepalese ELT has brought revolution which was propelled by a team of six editors (Shyam Sharma, Bal Krishna Sharma, Prem Phyak, Sajan Kumar Karn, Kamal Poudel and Hem Raj Kafle) working independently and voluntarily for the publication of online magazine on the web.

As the editorial reads above, the previous team of Choutari has handed over the responsibilities to young promising leaders of Nepalese ELT to maintain the chain of change for sustainability. The new team members were nominated based on their contributions on the blogzine and their potentials to contribute the professional forum to a large extent. We wish the new team of Choutari a thriving time. May the commitments from the new team to contribute Nepalese ELT to a large extent!

It is only readers and contributors who influence the course of a magazine. Ideas are equally important. Not all ideas can be identified with one person or one faction. As we have witnessed the shift of the responsibility to the new team members after four years’ journey of Choutari, we need the power of ideas and the vision of our readers and contributors to lift the Choutari intervention out of the rut. On the special anniversary occasion, our valued readers and contributors of Choutari have expressed their views adding wonderful ideas along with the best wishes to the new team. Please read on before you post a comment adding yours. Your views and opinions are always counted on for the promotion of the webzine.

Uttam Gaulee, University of Florida, US

Choutari has provided an instant, active, and living medium for the NELTA community to virtually come together, interact and catch up. I assume few will disagree that Choutari now represents the soul of this organization. I believe there is a greater number of teachers, who quietly enjoy and benefit from this inspiring forum than is apparent. No doubt it should be expanded and promoted. However, honestly, I do not think I have any wonderful ideas to promote it though. What comes to my mind instantly is that participation should be encouraged more by acceptance and guidance rather than intimidation. Finally, of course, my best wishes to the new team!

Mandira Adhikari, Kathmandu University

I heard about NeltaChoutari in the 15th international conference which I attended for the first time but I could not understand what it is about. After I joined M. Ed. at Kathmandu University and started exploring different ELT articles on internet in order to complete my assignments during studies, I came across Choutari where I found different relevant articles. Later I also contributed the blog with my three articles as it has been helpful for my professional development. Now I regularly read the articles published here and comment on them. Similarly, I like to read the comments as well since they are helping us to write professional articles and get them published in other venues. Here I would like to suggest everyone to send the articles based on our experience to the forum to promote Choutari. They help the readers reflect on the situation and think of alternatives to improve it. Finally, my best wishes to the new team for their success and I hope we will get chance to read more significant articles of our context onwards!

Umesh Shrestha

Right now, Chautrai is the only webzine which features and promotes ideas and works of Nepali ELT experts, professionals and teachers. In a way, this is a great space for ideas, resources and innovations. However, the webzine needs to add more variety in the content, for example, a podcast or a video of interviews or workshops or conferences. That way, the focus could also include the ‘spoken’ English of Nepali English language teachers. I’m sick and tired of watching videos of foreign experts and ELT professionals on youtube. So, that’s my expectation, at least one interview a month (either in audio or a video format), or audio/video recordings of workshops/presentations, etc. Thus, the new team could have not only editors, but also few journalists or reporters. Hopefully, this idea doesn’t get discarded.

Jyoti Tiwari, Thakur Ram Multiple Campus, Birgunj

NeltaChoutari is the wonderful webzine for all the readers who are involved in teaching learning activities and also for those who are interested in ELT. It is the place where professionals can meet and exchange their ideas, views, experience, etc through this webzine. This is very helpful for those who want to share their experience and who want themselves keep updated with new teaching technique along with teaching method. What I found is that it is playing very instrumental role for improvement of Nepalese ELT and it is the matter of great happiness for all of us. It can be more effective if it covers some more space including more articles, views, interviews, experience of those who are experiencing this field and from those who are fresh or new along with encouraging new readers to read and get benefited. At last I want to express my hearty gratitude to those professionals who have contributed a lot for this wonderful webzine. Because of their effort and hard work, Choutari has reached such height. And I would like to wish ALL THE BEST and GRAND SUCCESS to new team of the webzine in coming days.  

Batuk Lal Tamang, Chair, NELTA Chitwan (Annapurna HSS Parbatipur, Chitwan)

I think NELTA Choutari is a handy companion for ELT practitioners and a valuable asset as well. I read almost all of the articles published in this website. They all are useful and helpful for the English language teachers no matter whether they are primary teachers or university professors. It has been now a small library for us, as we can retrieve the archived articles in category-wise/ theme-wise or date-wise.

Yet some we are looking some features in it. Some more themes should be included here, such as small scale research for language teaching, i.e. action research, case study, and specimen of project work for English language class. I think these topics are very much needed for the school teachers nowadays. To extend its service area, even hard copies should be published.

Finally I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the past editors who successfully accomplished their task during their tenure, and have been able to bring this online magazine in this status. And I hope the future editors will be able to make the “NELTA Choutari” better and better. I wish them a success of their working period.

Parmeshwor Baral, Prithvi Narayan Multiple Campus, Pokhara, Nepal

Since the beginning of Choutari, I am one of the regular readers of this and consulting the ideas and articles presented in different issues, I have been able to solve so many academic confrontations. In the mean time there is no doubt about the wide coverage of its audience, still I think if this is made like the webmail through yahoo like that of NELTA, it can have more coverage. 

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the previous team of editors and I would like to congratulate the newly formed editorial body. Moreover, I hope that the professionalism in ELT will enhance more in the upcoming days as well.

Now it is the time for you to post a comment adding your views like above – Please consider three things while expressing your views (1) your feeling/experience about/with Choutari (2) your wonderful ideas for its promotion (3) finally the BEST WISHES to the new team.

NeltaChoutari and Professional Development

by Ganga Gautam

Dear friends,

It’s been two years since we have the NeltaChoutari with us, a wonderful professional blog that brings us ample Khurak of diverse tastes not only from Nepal but from different parts of the world. Initially this blog began as a kind of discussion blog as Shyamji puts it on the very first issue of neltachoutari (January 2009):

“Over the course of the last few months, Bal, Prem, and I have been talking about a random but very significant set of issues via email (copying among the three of us). I am beginning to wonder if we should redirect that time and energy into something more productive, more shared, and more beneficial for a larger community. As Prem and I talked on Skype this afternoon, we should archive and share these discussions through blogging (I created this blog after our talk), through a wiki (I set up knowledgemaking.pbwiki since that email also), a discussion list (way to go), or anything better than email–email is not designed for collaboration, for Pete’s sake!”

Now, I feel that it is much more than a discussion blog. I consider this a very powerful tool of professional development. Currently I am in Boston University and I am browsing the various professional development network on the web. Comparing NeltaChoutari with other internationally known blog, I can say that NeltaChoutari has offered us no less than any professional sharing blog has offered. Yesterday, Shyamji called me and asked me if I was in a position to share my observations about the blog as its regular reader and occasional contributor. I happily agreed.

I quickly glanced the archives of NeltaChoutari  and looked at what we have shared and discussed. I found the list amazing ! The key themes that we have talked are:

a)      Critical Pedagogy

b)      Methodology of ELT

c)       Native and Non-native Issues in ELT

d)      Global and local varieties of English

e)      Bilingualism and Multi-lingualism

f)       Trends and Issues in ELT

g)      Role of and positioning of English in Nepal

h)      Language Barriers

i)        World Englishes

j)        Reforms in ELT in Nepal

k)      Classroom Humor

l)        Alternative Curriculum

m)    Teacher Training

n)      Teacher Professional Development

o)      Practice Teaching

p)      Professional Networking

q)      Classroom Dynamics

r)       Interviews with the ELT Celebrities

s)       Teachers’ Anecdote

t)       Conference Sharing

The list can go on and on. I just wanted to mention that we have shared a wide variety of topics that are the buzz terms in the ELT undercurrents. This shows that the forum has been able to offer the most updated ELT materials from home and abroad. If someone compiles the discussion (probably NELTA can think of doing it), it would produce an excellent ELT Anthology with a Glocal ELT flavour.

When I read the interview by Prof. Jai Raj Awasthi and the articles by Prof. Govinda Raj Bhattarai, Mr. Vishnu Singh Rai and Dr. Bal Mukunda  Bhandari in the last issue and several other articles from many other colleagues from Tribhuvan University and Kathmandu University, I felt that ELT in Nepal is growing as a dynamic discipline and we have been able to set the ELT parameters in Nepal along with the global advancement. I feel very proud to be a part of the recent curriculum revision project in Tribhuvan University and there were many colleagues involved in it. Prof. Awasthi has already highlighted on the new courses in his interview last month. On this occasion, I would like to quote Dr. Numa Markee, Professor of University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign  while asking him for his observations on the recently revised teacher education course of B.Ed. and M.Ed.  that he reviewed before they were finalized. He said, “Overall, I think that the quality of the curriculum you have devised is certainly comparable to that of British, American and Australian universities with which I am familiar”. This shows that we have been following the current ELT world and we also have a lot to offer to the global ELT community. Professional forum such as NeltaChoutari are the excellent platform to learn and help others learn.

Shyamji told me that we have over 9,000 views with an estimate of 500 unique readers on NeltaChoutari as of December 1. This is not a small number. When I shared this blog as a part of my presentation in one of my classes in Boston University, I received very good response from them. They said that they will ask their students to use this blog to get the resources for their research work. However, the readership is not enough. We need think of ways of getting people engaged in the professional communication and sharing. This is the most difficult and challenging part particularly in Nepal where English teachers have to be extremely busy with several assignments and obligations. Nevertheless, we need to find some time for our professional growth. At this point, I would like to make few suggestions to make NeltaChoutari a more productive forum.

a)      NeltaChoutari  not only offers the thematic discussion but it also connects us to the vast amount of ELT resources that are available online. Teacher education campuses can encourage the students to make use of those resources. Students will find them highly useful for the course work and practice teaching. There are wonderful lesson plans on the web which our student teachers can use them readily in their classes.  Similarly, the articles from these resources will complement the topics they discuss in their classes. NELTA can organize a short orientation program for the teacher educators both at the center and at the branches and give a demonstration of how best these resources can be made available for our students.  The teacher educators can also be encouraged to share their experiences through this blog and learn from their colleagues around the globe.

b)      One of the key challenges for our thesis writing Masters students  is the literature review. I remember my students having this challenge and I used to recommend them to visit to NeltaChoutari and find the relevant ELT resources for their review. There are archives of such resources which can be accessed via this network. If people really need some articles that are not freely available, there are NELTA colleagues around the world who have kindly offered their help to make them available if request is placed. So, I can see that it will be a great opportunity for our students to explore NeltaChoutari during their research. Once they are into it, I am sure they will be addicted to it.

c)       In order to engage the primary and secondary level English teachers in the discussion, we could organize a session in the NELTA conference as we did last year and share with them what this forum can offer for them. Also, NELTA Central Committee can organize a short session to orient the branch representatives on the use of this forum.

In a nutshell, what I am trying to say is that professional networking and sharing is the best way to develop ourselves and the more we share the richer we become professionally. Please do read NeltaChoutari and engage yourself in the professional discussion and I can assure you it will pay you back !!!!!

Thank you Shyamji, Balji, Premji, Kamalji and Sajanji and recently Hemji for making NeltaChoutari a special ELT forum for all of us !!!!!!!!!!

Happy reading !!!!!!!!!!!!

Ganga Ram Gautam

Hubert Humphrey Fellow – 2010/2011

Boston University, USA

President, NELTA

December  2010

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.

Background

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.

Conclusion:

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

Editorial
ELT Survey: Need Of The Country (source: http://www.gorkhapatra.org.np/detail.php?article_id=1124&cat_id=7)
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.
Use
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)

If you are an English Teacher…

IF you are a teacher,……….?

Govinda Raj Bhattarai, Ph.D.
Professor of English, Tribhuvan University

A man should first direct himself in the way he should go. Only then should he instruct others, says Lord Buddha, considering the duty of a teacher. This is an age-old dictum, yet its value has never faded away, nor will it be so even in the distant future. Actually, a teacher practices examples, he should shun away from preaching only. His character and nobility, his personality and perseverance count thousand times, valuable than his degrees and diplomas.  A teacher instills humane values in the learners, not merely does he teach the students the tricks of life, and he teaches them its mystery and beauty as well.

In modern sense, he becomes a facilitator pointing always at the ideal path—without enforcing, without coercing he should direct them, he doesn’t rule their mind, instead, wins thousand hearts.  Psychologically, he attracts the learners towards a world of harmony, patience, love, courage and achievement. See, how the words of Galileo echo until today: You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.Therefore, let our students find the unending treasure  of mystery and possibility lying within themselves, let us help them eschew away from sheer automata and mechanical repetitiveness because creativity has no repetition. The teacher will be truly a facilitator in modern sense.

All eternal messages are inscribed long ago. They echo in the ether time and again. A true teacher should listen to these words. Let us listen to Horace Mann: A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron. Let us stop and think, are we hammering on cold iron or are we stroking the budding flowers that may bear infinite color and smell and touch and feel?

If You and English Teacher

Prof. Gobinda Bhattarai, Professor of English, Tribhuvan University

Teaching is greatest of jobs on earth, a happiest moment to spend; only a luckiest person can internalize these values and thank God for appointing him or her for the noble task of being a teacher. It is the only moment when someone is face to face with innumerable souls with divergent interests and capacity, inclination, and probability. To live with these thriving souls, to talk with them and watch them grow every moment is a mystery, and a great joy.

A true teacher is a sage—performing humblest of duties on earth—of shaping innumerable souls in the mould of humanity, not in the format of an engineer, a doctor, a professor, a business person, a lawyer, or an administrator.

One should first of all learn these immortal values before being a teacher. It they fail to do so, they will justify Wilde’s saying: Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching. Are we also incapable of learning?

Of course, if we fail to understand the mystery of teaching, the glory of being a teacher and the beauty underlying it, we fail to learn, we are incapable of learning.  A true teacher should never fail to learn.

Nelta Choutari October Issue

In this issue we have an article “If you are a teacher….?” by Professor Govinda Raj Bhattarai. The article has raised some philosophical issues regarding the role of a teacher. We hope you will enjoy reading article given bellow. Please read and comment on the post below.

In addition, Sajan Karna from Birgunja has contributed an article on Englishisation in which he talks about how Nepali English way of using English is increasing and its implication in ELT. Please  read and comment on the articlebelow.

If You are a Teacher…?

IF you are a teacher,……….?

Govinda Raj Bhattarai, Ph.D.
Professor of English, Tribhuvan University

A man should first direct himself in the way he should go. Only then should he instruct others, says Lord Buddha, considering the duty of a teacher. This is an age-old dictum, yet its value has never faded away, nor will it be so even in the distant future. Actually, a teacher practices examples, he should shun away from preaching only. His character and nobility, his personality and perseverance count thousand times, valuable than his degrees and diplomas.  A teacher instills humane values in the learners, not merely does he teach the students the tricks of life, and he teaches them its mystery and beauty as well.

In modern sense, he becomes a facilitator pointing always at the ideal path—without enforcing, without coercing he should direct them, he doesn’t rule their mind, instead, wins thousand hearts.  Psychologically, he attracts the learners towards a world of harmony, patience, love, courage and achievement. See, how the words of Galileo echo until today: You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself.Therefore, let our students find the unending treasure  of mystery and possibility lying within themselves, let us help them eschew away from sheer automata and mechanical repetitiveness because creativity has no repetition. The teacher will be truly a facilitator in modern sense.

All eternal messages are inscribed long ago. They echo in the ether time and again. A true teacher should listen to these words. Let us listen to Horace Mann: A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron. Let us stop and think, are we hammering on cold iron or are we stroking the budding flowers that may bear infinite color and smell and touch and feel?

Teaching is greatest of jobs on earth, a happiest moment to spend; only a luckiest person can internalize these values and thank God for appointing him or her for the noble task of being a teacher. It is the only moment when someone is face to face with innumerable souls with divergent interests and capacity, inclination, and probability. To live with these thriving souls, to talk with them and watch them grow every moment is a mystery, and a great joy.

A true teacher is a sage—performing humblest of duties on earth—of shaping innumerable souls in the mould of humanity, not in the format of an engineer, a doctor, a professor, a business person, a lawyer, or an administrator.

One should first of all learn these immortal values before being a teacher. It they fail to do so, they will justify Wilde’s saying: Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching. Are we also incapable of learning?

Of course, if we fail to understand the mystery of teaching, the glory of being a teacher and the beauty underlying it, we fail to learn, we are incapable of learning.  A true teacher should never fail to learn.

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