Nelta Conference Hetauda Phase – A short report

Narayan Prasad Tiwari

hetauda

The 19th International Conference of NELTA (Phase II) began on March 3, 2014 in Hetauda.

One of the key speakers, Prof Stephen Stoynoff (US) presented on the theme: Language Assessment and the path to Crystal Mountain. Using the metaphor of a trek through the Himalayan Mountains, the speaker considered the paradigm shift that has occurred in language assessment over the past few decades and its implications for EFL teachers. He emphasized psychometric and socio-cultural perspectives on assessment. Prof. Stoynoff further presented “Classroom based Language Assessment: Improving the Design and Use of Teacher Developed Assessments” during plenary session. He reviewed key trends in language assessment and their complications for teacher constructed assessments of second language ability.

Prof. Keith Morrow (UK) presented on “What does ‘authentic’ assessment mean? How do we do it?” His talked about genuineness and authenticity while focusing on assessment, testing observation, self assessment and individual growth over time. His plenary session proceeded with awareness and activity in ELT. The primary focus was on learners and teachers who need to strengthen awareness and what they could learn from it.

Prof. Z.N. Patil (India) mainly focused on assessment as an integral part of ELT through story telling techniques. He stressed on day to day assessment in teaching by citing some relevant examples of poems and dramas. In the presentation “Enriching Linguistic, Communicative and Pragmatic Competence through Literature”, he presented audio- visual text and interacted with the participants and gave specific procedures to be adopted in classroom activities.

Mr. Brenden Mcsharry (British Council) presented on “21st Century Learning Skills and Assessment: the Implication for Nepal” stressing on thinking skills, working skills, working tools and living skills. Besides, he focused on 21st century themes like global citizenship, human rights, intercultural awareness, equality and diverse, healthy living and peace studies.

Laxman Gnawali and his team of Kathmandu University presented “Pechha Kuchha Fun Show” to all the participants that ultimately focused on insightful learning with innovative ideas.

Apart from the key presenters, there were around thirty presentations from different ELT practitioners from nation and abroad as well for two days. Around 450 English teachers actively took participation in different concurrent session according to their field of interest.

narayan

Narayan Prasad Tiwari
NELTA
Hetauda branch

Nepalese Youth Icon Rana’s Love for Change: Teach Children Free of Charge

Apar Poudel

Amid the forest and alluring natural beauty, there stands Maya Universe Academy, a child-friendly school for the children from the poor and marginalized community in Tanahun District of Nepal. It is a model school which offers the children with international standard education free of charge.  A youth icon Manjil Rana, who envisions establishing such schools over the country based on experiential learning, has started from his own village.

Let’s watch the video on YouTube, where Rana shares how he started his project of founding Maya Universe Academy.

Rana in his early twenties started his dream project Maya Universe Academy, a free school, in his village in Udhin Dhunga of Tanahu District two years ago. Now he has scaled up the project establishing two more schools as its branches in the remote villages of Syanja and Makwanpur districts too.

Before he started this school, Rana completed his high school from St Xavier’s School in Kathmandu and then University education in India and the United States of America. In the present context of the youths flying abroad for foreign employment and studies, Rana stands as the symbol, who models the youths to inspire to take a welfare initiative and initiate the campaign for a common cause in their community that can make a difference in the Nepalese society.

The curriculum of the Academy meets the international standards. It is practical and based on experiential learning. The effectiveness of the curriculum is reflected in day-to-day life of the kids as they use not only Nepali but also English for communication.

Rana’s initiative has received support from many helping hands and volunteers. It runs with the minimum fund collected from the volunteers from abroad. In addition, the guardians’ voluntary service, and school’s own agriculture and farming have also contributed to covering the expenses.

As a part of community development service, foreign volunteers from different nations are cooperating with the school management by teaching the children. Every month the Academy arranges some volunteers and cooperates with the local teachers for effective teaching-learning.

An American volunteer Aayean says, “I am highly inspired by the school and having great time here. I believe that students are having fun in learning practically and these are the precious days for me too.”

The Academy has its own rules and regulations that have shaped its uniqueness. The best part of the school is reflected in the students’ uniform i.e. Nepali daura and surwal with dhaka cap for boys and skirt and cholo for girls. It can be one of the indications that our children can learn English without losing their cultural roots.

As mentioned earlier, the students do not have to pay any fees for their study. Instead, their guardians should volunteer in the activities of the Academy. It can be farming and construction or even preparing breakfast and lunch for the teachers and staff. The Academy has raised the hope among the guardians. They are happy to have such an ideal school in their community.

“It’s a joy to have such a school in our village. I feel lucky to see my kids learning English happily.” says a guardian Machindar Dulal. Another guardian Mahendra Adhikari shares his views, “School is really a gift for the people of the poor community, who are marginalized and deprived of quality education”.

The support from the local community has added new enthusiasm to the Academy. The regular meetings and gatherings work out and entrust the responsibilities of guardians for the welfare of the school.

Apart from the educational initiative, the school has also initiated in social transformation through various activities. As a part of social initiative it has been working for the production, promotion and marketing of local products. Rana has come up with the idea of promoting local products along with their production and marketing. For example, he has cooperated with the guardians in producing the orange jam in the village and to sell it in the cities. For this initiation he has trained a team with the skill of producing jam. This has really inspired the locals, who were unaware of such potential of the markets and products.

He is determined to translate his vision into reality. However, he sees people’s mindset and lack of communication among themselves as a major challenge. He feels that passion is the driving force we youths should carry and move ahead that surely leads to success. He has  a dream of educating the kids from rural parts of Nepal so that they can explore and compete for the global opportunities. Obviously it is English that gives them competence and confidence to embark on the journey from the local to global.

This school is an exemplary one for other schools in Nepal, especially the private ones which increase their fees year by year to provide education to the children in the name of English. Besides, it establishes a friendly relationship among the students-teachers through good communication and interaction.

It’s an inspiring step that can surely bring about change in the education system of Nepal along with social development.  Only the thing is that the society should be positive and supportive to help the visionaries put their thought into action. Rana argues that his initiation can bring about change in the education system of Nepal within 20 years. As a promising and aspiring youth, he believes that the schools like this should be set up throughout the nation.

If you want to learn more about the school, click on http://www.mayauniverseacademy.org/

 Mr. Poudel is the manager at Radio Bani Network in Kathmandu and teaching English to higher secondary and bachelor’s level students.

NELTA Lalitpur holds district conference


Dinesh Thapa

NELTA Lalitpur organised a district conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) amidst a grand gathering of ELT practioners on Dec 29 and 30, 2012 at Kitini College Godawary, Lalitpur. There were about 180 participants including guests and presenters in the program. The theme of the conference was ‘Promoting English in Local Context’.

The program was presided over by Mr. Nabin Mahat, president of NELTA Lalitpur while Senior Vice President of NELTA Ms. Meera Shrestha was the chief guest of the inauguration ceremony. They jointly inaugurated the conference by kindling a candle. Former President of NELTA Centre Mr. Ganga Ram Gautam, Kitini College Chief Mr. Narayan Prasad Banskota, PABSON Lalitpur Chair Mr. Nawaraj Mahat, DEO NELTA Focal Person Mr. Damodar Timalsina, Mr. Rameshwor Lamichhane from District Education Office, Associate Editor of Shikshak Monthly Sudarshan Ghimire, President of Science Teachers’ Association Nepal and Resource Person Mr. Babuhari Marasini and other guests were present in the ceremony.

Following the inauguration, Ms. Shrestha delivered a key speech on the conference theme. Similarly, Immediate Senior Vice President of NELTA Centre and Associate Professor of Kathmandu University Mr. Laxman Gnawali facilitated a plenary session on ‘English Teachers’ Dilemma’. Similarly, Mrs. Madhu Neupane, executive member of NELTA Centre facilitated a plenary on ‘Teaching English as an International Language’. Another interesting plenary ‘Handwriting and Creative Arts in the English language Class’ was hosted by Mr. Bamdev Yogi, Creative Arts expert. Teachers from Lalitpur and across, ETAs and former ETAs were chiefly the ones to give their presentations. The presentations facilitated in the two-day program were focused on classroom issues of ELT and hence they were much relevant and useful to the participants.

The most unique feature of the conference had a panel discussion on the beat of community schools converting their Medium of Instruction (MoI) into English. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Dinesh Thapa with the panelists as Mr. Mohan Bhurtel expert from TITI Nepal, Mr. Deepak Maharjan of PABSON Lalitpur, Mr. Thakur Prasad Upadhaya, one of the principals changing the MoI, Mr. Ashok Sharma and Mr. Ashok Raj Khati from NELTA.

The gathering in bulk was converted into the AGM in the last session of the second day. Following a discussion on the existing committee’s reports, a new executive committee of 11 members was formed. The newly formed committee consists of Mr. Dinesh Sanjel as Chair, Mr. Bharat Babu Khanal as Vice- chair, Mr. Gokul Sharma as Secretary, Mr. Dinesh Thapa as Assistant Secretary and Mr. Hari Kafle as Treasurer. The presenters, participants, sponsors and volunteers were recognized duly with vote of thanks, certificates and tokens of love. The program ended with the immediate past committee handing over the responsibility to the newly formed committee. The new committee held their first meeting and an interview with the team was broadcast live by local radio station Jana Aawaj FM for 30 minutes. Let’s not forget that it is the third district conference NELTA Lalitpur has organized. It was, indeed, a grand successful, wonderful and historical event of NELTA Lalitpur.

Branch Highlights: Tanahun, Kaski and Makwanpur

Dear Choutari Readers,

In an attempt to provide you glimpse of the great things ELT that take place across the country, we invited brief reflective reports from our colleagues in NELTA branches. This time we have quick snapshots. Ideally, we want reports in the form of “blog” entries so that readers find them quick and interesting to read. We ask that our contributors take some time to learn and write blog entries as reflective pieces, whatever the content and subject may be. So, if you would like to share about professional development activities in your branch with the community via Choutari, please look at the guidelines for writing more substantive and reflective pieces on this page. And please see this example.

Editors

 TANAHUN, KASKI AND MAKWANPUR

Training: ‘Teaching Poems and Creative Writing’ organized by NELTA

Facilitated by Motikala Subba Dewan, Sarita Dewan, and Mr. Batuk Lal Tamang, this training involved the participants in writing their own brief creative work on the spot and then discussing how to teach creative work in the ELT classroom. More than 50 teachers participated in the event.

 

KASKI BRANCH

Training: Basic Level Teacher Training

Organized by PABSON Lamjung and Athrai Publication, this training was facilitated by Khim Lal Adhikari. The theme of the training was Child-friendly Pedagogy, Child-centred method and How to teach English. Fifty five English teachers from different schools participated in the training.

 Teachers Training on Teaching English Website

With the assistance of the British Council, Kaski branch organized a two day Teachers’ training focused on the Teaching English Website 8th & 9th Sep., 2011. Altogether 60 life members of NELTA, Pokhara from different campus, school and academic institution took part in the training. The training mainly focuses how to get the teaching materials from website on line so that the teaching learning activities will be more effective. Smreety Dewan and Asim Kharel from British Council facilitated the training.

Support in PABSON Spelling Contest

PABSON Kaski organized an English Spelling contest for Lower secondary Level from 10 to 12 August, 2011 in Pokhara. The programme was coordinated by Karna Gurung and assisted by other members. 198 students from 66 different PABSON schools participated in the contest.

Need-based Teacher Training by D.E.O.

NELTA, Pokhara worked together with the District Education Office, Kaski to prepare the Teacher Professional Development (TPD)  training manual as well as the training packages for all the levels beginning, intermediate and secondary levels. Min B. Gurung, NELTA chair and Khim Lal Adhikari including other ELT teachers and school supervisors prepared the training manual at the end of the academic session 2067.

MAKWANPUR BRANCH

Training: English Language Teaching: Breaking its Boundaries

This one-day conference was attended by about 200 members. It was facilitated by scholars like Kamal Poudel, Sajan Karn, and Ekadeve Adhihari.

NELTA Makwanpur Committee 2011-2013: (From left: Mr. Surya Pd. Ghimire, Mr. Ganesh Pd. Humagain, Mr. Kishor Parajuli, Mr. Shyam Pd. Dahal, Ms. Srijana Paudel, Mr. Dadhiram Chapagain, Mr. Thakur Ram Bhandari, Mr. Sangam Chaulagain, Mr. Rajeshwar Thakur, Mr. Mohan Waiwa and Ms. Reena Acharya)

Three Day Training on ELT

A three-day training on ELT for primary level English teachers was conducted by Makwanpur and was attended by 35 teachers from PABSON affiliated schools. This training was facilitated by scholars like Kashiraj Pandey from NELTA Center.

NELTA Branch Formation in Rautahat

As a member of NELTA, nothing could be more satisfying to me than to see a brand new branch coming into existence. On December 10, 2011, the Rautahat branch of NELTA was formally established amidst a programme held in Gaur, the district’s headquarters. Following the inauguration of NELTA Rautahat branch, a training (focusing on “Emerging Trends in ELT”) was led by Mr. Sajan Kumar Karn, executive member of NELTA Central Committee; the programme was actively participated by general and executive members of the new branch, as well as general members, members of the advisory committee, and guests. There were altogether 50 participants in the programme.

Inauguration Ceremony

The inauguration ceremony started with the singing of national anthem by students from International Bal Academy and lighting of 5 candles (representing each letter of N-E-L-T-A) by various dignitaries. Distinguished guest and facilitator Mr. Karn presented the “organizational profile” of NELTA with its history, mission, vision and goals, NELTA branches across the country, its various programmes and activities organized at branch levels and central level, collaboration and partnership with different national and international agencies. He also shared the branch-by-laws and requested all the participants of the programme to get associated with NELTA for the professional development.

The ad-hoc committee of NELTA Rautahat, which was chosen unanimously, was then announced (please see list below).

The inauguration programme concluded with best wishes from the Guest of Honour Yogendra Prasad Yadav.  NELTA Rautahat constitutes 31 members of NELTA including 20 life members, 7 annual members and 4 life members who are already members at NELTA Birgunj from Rautahat.

Training Programme

With the aim of encouraging ELT aspirants to change, the training programme on “Emerging Trends in ELT” was organized following inauguration ceremony. Mr. Karn facilitated the training that was participated by 50 participants including English language teachers and students, campus principals and section officer of DEO Rautahat. He discussed paradigm shifts and the cause behind the emerging trends in ELT Today, thereby motivating the participants to adopt and adapt different changes taking place in ELT.

Some of those trends include learner autonomy, globalization and ELT, methodology and pedagogy, English versus Nenglish, digital ELT, and updating ELT practice. Mr. Karn urged the participants to grow more digitally in order to survive and succeed in the networked academic world.
Affiliate to a professional associationHe further made an appeal to update themselves convincing them stating that academic qualifications once acquired are not enough forever. He concluded the training suggesting the following different ways of updating oneself professionally:

  • Read journal
  • Write articles
  • Carry out action research
  • Participate in trainings, conference, literary talks, lectures, workshops, seminars and panel discussions
  • Share ideas and problems with colleagues
  • Utilize web resources

Mr. Karn invited the participants to join the upcoming 17th International Conference and National Conference of NELTA to be held in February, 18-20, 2012 (3 Days) in Kathmandu and 22-23 February, 2012 (2 Days) in Chitwan respectively. He also requested them to visit   www.neltachutari.wordpress.com  www.nelta.org.np and www.neltabranches.pbwork.com. Finally, the participants shared their experiences and reflections, before they were given certificates of attendance. To conclude the day’s programme, Mr. Anil Kumar Nidhi, chair of NELTA Rautahat extended his gratitude to NELTA Central Office, all the participants and those who contributed in the formation of NELTA Branch in Rautahat district. The programme was conducted by Praveen Kumar Yadav, member of NELTA Birgunj.

Newly formed executive committee:

Members: Mr. Anil Kumar Nidhi as chair, Mr. Mukesh Prasad Patel as vice-chair, Mr. Sachindra Yadav and Mr. Upendra Raj Kafle as secretary and vice-secretary, Mrs. Anita Shrivastava as treasurer and executive members Mr. Dipendra Thakur, Mr. Jamun Yadav, Mr. Dharmendra Kumar Singh, Mr. Ram Kripal Yadav, Mr. Rakesh Sharma and Mr. Devendra Sah.

Advisors: Mr. Chandeshwor Raut, Mr. Asha Ram Sah, Mr. Ramanand Yadav, Mr. Chandrika Das and Mr. Devendra Yadav.

The Power of Professional Learning Networks

Shyam Sharma

Your “social” network is probably represented fairly well with who is on your Facebook “friends” list and how you engage with those people. But what does your professional learning network look like? In fact, what is a professional learning network?

In this entry, I share with you a powerful concept called the “professional learning network” (PLN) and share a few specific tips on how to develop–or become more conscious and deliberate about–a professional learning network in order to enhance your professional development as teachers and scholars, and what is more important, also help others in your professional community develop professionally by sharing your knowledge with them.

The concept of PLN originated from Personal Learning “Environment” (PLE), which referred to the situation and mechanism that a learner develops and uses for setting learning goals, managing learning process, and assessing outcome. With the advent of information technologies, it evolved into Personal Learning “Network” (PLN). More recently, many educators and other professionals have adapted the idea into “professional” learning network (also PLN; here’s some description and here’s some history).

With the advent of powerful networking technologies, professionals as well as learners are now able to access vast amounts and variety of information, aggregate and organize that information, prioritize what to read and/or respond to and how, with which community to share what and how much, and so on. As an example, here is an image in which I attempt to visually describe my own personal/professional learning network (you can click to see a larger image or right-click to download the file). I am still unsure how to integrate many other things that are not in the image and how to better organize an relate what are there, but trying to visually represent my PLN really helped me to think about my professional goals, management of time and energy, and so on. I call mine personal and/or professional because my roles as a learner and a professional overlap quite significantly.

Having introduced the concept, let me now share a few suggestions about how we can develop our professional learning network (both for ourselves as individuals AND in order to benefit one another).

1. Subscribe to blogs in your areas of interest. This means asking the blog to send you an email alert when a new entry is posted. Except with blogs (like those of news outlets) that may publish too many entries, blogs don’t usually flood your inbox. I guarantee that this blog will only sent you a few emails and only once a month, and I reassure you of that in order to (yes) suggest that you can go ahead and subscribe now.

2. Follow professionals on Twitter. Twitter, as many of us know, is a microblogging site where people share very brief (140 characters max) messages–breaking news, teaching tips, pithy comments, humor, hyperlinks, and whatnot–with their network. Compared to blogs, these are short and therefore good for mobile devices, as well as busy/mobile people. Compared to the full experience of social networking on Facebook (including its silliness, narcissism, distracting pictures and videos, and worst of all, too many “friends” ranging from the principal of our childhood school to maila kakaki saliko jwainko bhatijaki soltini to NELTA colleagues around the world to what-the-heck-when-did-I-add-this-guy kind of people)–okay, compared to Facebook, microblogging allows you to “follow” professionals in your field(s) of interest and let people “follow” you… and I don’t think maila kaka will follow your ELT Twitter feeds and hashtags, unless he happens to be an ELT person, which would be great.

3. Use Social Bookmarking. How often do you find yourself sending a link to an interesting article or educational video to a colleague, or two… well, post it on NELTA’s Yahoo Mail and flood the inboxes of 500 (?) people? You don’t have to share resources on the web like that. Just save your bookmarks in applications like Diigo or Delicious (install extensions on your browser) and people can see what you have “saved for later” and you can see theirs. That “theirs” could be people you know or it could be the whole social bookmarking community who have used “tags” to describe their findings on the web. (Here’s a fun video intro to  social bookmarking.)

4. Sign Up on Listservs and/or Mailing Lists. You probably are on NELTA’s Yahoo mailing list, which will send you a copy of all mails any member sends to the list. While it’s no longer the most efficient mode of conversation (though it is a still a good means for organizations to update its members), being on mailing lists is very important to stay updated. Listservs are more advanced forms of mailing lists.

5. Remember to Use Plain Old Personal, Human Contact. Motivated professionals as well as learners communicate with their colleagues and peers with both the intention of socializing and the intent of learning. Attending training events and workshops, conferences and seminars, and just asking questions or sharing ideas with colleagues are all extremely important aspects of persona/professional learning network. It is on top of this basic network that we want to take, as much as the resources allow us, that we take the human network into the web and extend it to people you may not be able to meet in person, add the affordances of synchronous and asynchronous exchange of ideas, conveniently store and retrieve information, and use the technology to help you aggregate and organize information for you.

There are many benefits of PLNs. First, it not only increases access to information and ideas that are relevant to us, it also allows us to organize that information. Second, the accessing/aggregating and organizing of information is mostly done by the invisible hands of technology, saving us huge amounts of time. Third, even when we are not using too advanced technologies, the very process of identifying our learning network and planning and organizing it makes us more efficient learners and professionals. Fourth, the network takes us from the isolation of our roles as “masters” of our classrooms where students do not engage with us as an equal into an open society where we can talk to our own learning peers. Fifth, we get the opportunity to learn by sharing our own knowledge  with others (and most of us learn by teaching!), and because we share that knowledge and experience with like-minded people, we also get useful response in return. (Here’s an interesting representation of the benefits of PLN).

Before I paint any rosy picture, let me add an important caveat about PLN that we, as members of a smaller, younger professional community, need to keep in mind. For us, it is not enough to sit there and try to access and organize knowledge and experience shared by others; very often, there are simply not enough sources or people for you to gather the information from. We must create and share new knowledge with one another. By contrast, if you think about teachers in Europe or America, because of the number of teachers and scholars in those societies who have access to the web, the resources that they need, the amount of time they have been on the web, etc, individual teachers there can access cache of information even without giving as much back. In our case, if we want our professional learning network to be rich in local/relevant and really useful information, we must contribute to our own new pool of knowledge, as well as utilize what is available from teachers/scholars from other societies. Let us use a specific example. If you have read the humorous examples of broken English shared by Parmeshwar Baral in this issue, no one else but Nepali English teachers can explain and help us understand/tackle these error patterns. So, we need to share our knowledge with others, as well as learn from them, if we want to make our PLNs useful.

Using the comment function, please share with other readers of this blog any general or specific ideas about your own PLN. Let us use this forum to exchange ideas among as many of us as possible, rather than use it to passively read the ideas of a few of us. Thank you in advance for your time.

Branch Highlight: A Complete Report on ELT Programme

Eka Dev Adhikari

The newly formed executive body of NELTA Chitwan wanted to extend its activities in the wider level covering both public and private schools in Chitwan. The initiation of this programme was taken right after the formation of the body. NELTA Chitwan was schocked to notice a rift between NELTA and PABSON that had been developing in the past few years in Chitwan. NELTA Chitwan was also charged of treating the private schools with partiality. The PABSON Chitwan even had the misconception that NELTA Chitwan was centering its activities only for the public schools. In order to defend against the charge, NELTA Chitwan vowed to conduct the programmes in the future impartially for both the private and public schools.
Another benefit of conducting such programmes for NELTA was that we anticipated to disseminate the news about the international conference among the secondary level teachers of the district so as to unite the supporting hands together to make the upcoming conference a grand success. So, with this aim, the NELTA started lobbying with the PABSON delegates and decided to conduct a programme for private schools. For a wider coverage and inclusion of teachers from different parts of the district, NELTA decided to conduct the training in three phases. Phase I for the teachers in the central Chitwan, Phase II for the teachers of Eastern Chitwan and Phase III for the teachers in Western Chitwan. For this NELTA Chitwan decided to conduct a survey on the needs of the teachers. The survey resulted in a programme for the secondary level with the sessions mentioned herewith. A package compilation committee was formed that was led by district chair Batuklal Tamang. The other members of the package compilation committee were Mr. Minraj Bastakoti, Mr. Khemlal Pahari, Mr Dilip Sharma, Mr. Manoj Kshetri and Eka Dev Adhikari. The package was produced with the following training sessions in them.
• Teaching Poetry at Secondary Level by Mr. Batuklal Tamang (addressing the need of the Poetry to be taught the poetry in Compulsory English)
• Teaching Literature at Secondary Level by Mr. Minraj Bastakoti (addressing the need of teaching Optional English at Grade 8, 9 and 10)
• Integrating Skills teaching at Secondary Level jointly by Mr. Manoj Kshetri and Mr. Khemlal Pahari (addressing the need of integrating four skills of language together, if possible, in a language classroom)
• Teaching Grammar at Secondary Level by Mr. Dilip Sharma (addressing the need of teaching grammar in grade 8, 9 and 10)
• Teaching writing at Secondary level by Mr. Eka Dev Adhikari (addressing the need of teaching writing with special focus on Essay writing, story writing and news story writing)
• Correcting Learners: Correction Technique at Secondary Level by Mr. Minraj Bastakoti. (addressing the need and time management of assessing the student tasks in an ongoing language classroom)
The first phase of the programme (A Two Day ELT Programme: Phase I) was organized at Bharatpur English Schools Society (BESS) Office Bharatpur dated Shrawan 6 and 7 2068 (22 and 23 July 2011). As anticipated, the participants of the programme were the secondary level teachers of central Chitwan covering private schools (PABSON schools). The teachers had already mentioned their expectations in their survey form, so it was easier for us to go on with the package compilation as well as programme co-ordination. The sessions were planned to be taken as below:
Day 1: Session One: Teaching Poetry at Secondary Level by Mr. Batuklal Tamang
Day 1: Session Two: Teaching Literature at Secondary Level by Mr. Dilaraj Pathak
Day 1: Session Three: Integrating Skills teaching at Secondary Level jointly by Mr. Manoj Kshetri and Mr. Khemlal Pahari.
Day 2: Session One: Teaching Grammar at Secondary Level by Mr. Dilip Sharma
Day 2: Session Two: Teaching writing at Secondary level by Mr. Eka Dev Adhikari
Day 2: Session Three: Correcting Learners: Correction Technique at Secondary Level by Mr. Minraj Bastakoti.
The programme was duly conducted for two days. About 35 of the English teachers from the PABSON schools in central Chitwan attended the training and in the closing ceremony the participants felt and expressed their views that the sessions were aptly addressing the demand they had mentioned in the demand collection sheet filled by them. The participants also felt that since the sessions were derived by improvising the actual teaching rather than theoretical doctrines, they found the programmes really applicable in the classroom. They also said that they found the programmes to be really useful to carry out the lessons learnt from the training sessions directly into their classroom situation.
The closing ceremony was honoured with the presence of District Education Officer as Chief guest and other distinguished guests. The chief guest congratulated NELTA for initiating the short term refresher training courses for private schools. He also promised to support NELTA Chitwan and its ensuing 17th International Conference phase II in every possible way. He even promised to take NELTA in confidence in order to develop further training programmes for different level in the future. PABSON Chair, Mr. Shree Prasad Dhungana expressed that this programme has filled the rift between NELTA and PABSON that was supposed to have been built in the past few years. As the chair of PABSON Chitwan, he also promised to support NELTA and its ensuing international conference in every possible ways. Finally NELTA Chair closed the ceremony by promising to carry out such programmes in the near future in other parts of the districts as well and support with every possible way to improve and enhance the ELT situation of the district in the days to come.
The second phase of the programme (A Two Day ELT Programme: Phase II) was organized at Ekata Shisu Niketan, Ratnanagar dated Bhadra 3 and 4 2068 (21 and 22 August 2011). As the programme was cascaded to the Eastern Chitwan after its successful presentation in the central part of Chitwan. The sessions that were taken were –
• Teaching Poetry at Secondary Level (addressing the need of the Poetry to be taught the poetry in Compulsory English)
• Teaching Grammar at Secondary level (addressing the need of teaching grammar in grade 8, 9 and 10)
• Integrating Skills Teaching (addressing the need of integrating four skills of language together, if possible, in a language classroom)
• Teaching Writing at Secondary level (addressing the need of teaching writing with special focus on Essay writing)
• Dissemination of NELTA Activities in and around Chitwan and introduction to the online forums like that of NELTA Choutari, Yahoo Groups and so on.
• Correction Technique at Secondary level (addressing the need and time management of assessing the student tasks in an ongoing language classroom)
The second session of Phase I (Teaching Literature in the Secondary level addressing the need of teaching Optional English) had lost its importance as per the demand of the Eastern Chitwan. The reason was that Optional English was not in practice in Eastern Chitwan. The sessions were facilitated by the following trainers.
Day 1: Session One: Teaching Poetry at Secondary Level by Mr. Batuklal Tamang
Day 1: Session Two: Teaching Grammar at Secondary Level by Mr. Dilip Sharma
Day 2: Session One: Integrating Skills teaching at Secondary Level jointly by Mr. Manoj Kshetri and Mr. Khemlal Pahari
Day 2: Session Two: Teaching writing at Secondary level by Mr. Eka Dev Adhikari
Day 2: Session Three: Dissemination of NELTA Activities in and around Chitwan and introduction to the online forums like that of NELTA Choutari, Yahoo Groups, Teach English, etc. This was facilitated by Mr. Batuk Lal Tamang, Mr. Dilip Sharma and Eka Dev Adhikari
Day 2: Session Four: Correcting Learners: Correction Technique at Secondary Level by Mr. Minraj Bastakoti.
The programme was duly conducted for two days. A total of about 30 teachers of the Eastern Chitwan were facilitated in the training and in the closing ceremony the participants felt and expressed their views that the sessions were aptly addressing their need and they anticipated NELTA to continue such programmes in the days to come. The participants were found to be enthusiastic in working out with the lessons learnt from the sessions and expressed that they were grateful to NELTA, PABSON, SOECEBS, ECOBS and all other stakeholders of the programme.
The closing ceremony was honoured with the presence of SOECEBS Chair Mr. Balhari Devkota as Chief guest and other distinguished guests. ECOBS co-ordinator Mr. Madan Puri expressed his gratitude to NELTA for conducting such programmes for Private schools. The chief guest and the SOECEBS Chair Balhari Devkota also promised to conduct such programmes for lower secondary level and primary level as well. All the speakers also promised to support NELTA Chitwan and its ensuing 17th International Conference phase II in every possible way. Finally NELTA Chair closed the ceremony by promising to carry out such programmes in the near future in other parts of the districts and also for the other levels as well and support with every possible way to improve and enhance the ELT situation of the district in the days to come.
The third phase of the programme (A Two Day ELT Programme: Phase III) is yet to be conducted in the Western Chitwan. NELTA has taken PABSON western belt in confidence in collecting the teachers and setting the venue for the programme so that the programme can be conducted in near future.

 

(Eka Dev Adhikari working as as ELT practitioner for the last two decades. Currently he teaches at Janajagriti Higher Secondary School, Pithuwa, Chitwan. He is also The Vice Principal and English Department Head in Marigold Secondary English School, Chainpur Chitwan. He is an active NELTA activist and currently holds the position of branch secretary in Chitwan branch. He did his MA in English from TU, Central Department of English, Kirtipur and his M.Ed. In Curricullum and Evaluation From Saptagandaki Multiple Campus Bharatpur Chitwan. As an active NELTA activist, he has been presenting papers in Local, Regional and International conferences of NELTA. He has also published various articles on ELT.)

Teacher Travelogue: A Journey to ELT@I Conference in Vellore, India

 Praveen Kumar Yadav, Ram Abadhesh Ray, Ashok Kumar, Kamlesh Kumar Raut, members of NELTA Birgunj

Our trip to Vellore* was not an easy one, with no train tickets available at one point, the train we somehow got to board being late, and so on. But once we reached the venue, we had a great time. We were able to attend nine of the 147 concurrent sessions, which ran in 19 rooms where eight papers were presented during 2 hours (so each presenter only had about 15 minutes). During tea breaks, we were able to meet participants from India and other countries and shared what NELTA is doing for the professional development of English teachers in Nepal. When we informed them about the forthcoming international conference to be held in February, 2012, many teachers said they’d like to come and  participate in our conference in Nepal. We shared our email addresses and went back to more sessions. We then attended the plenary sessions which consisted of two facilitations on ‘Materials Design: From the back of an Envelope to Full-fledged Unit’ by Prof. Numa Markee and ‘Teacher Power’ by Raja Govindasamy from India.

Prof. Markee argued that as Prabhu (1987) demonstrated in the ground breaking Banglore project that was implemented in Southern India from 1979 to 1984, good materials design is fundamentally grounded in classroom experimentation by teachers. Prof. Markee illustrated this position by showing how a task based module he had presented at the 16th International conference of NELTA recently held in Kathmandu, started out life in 1990 as a demonstration lesson of task based language teaching for teachers in training at the University of Illinois originally, the hospital drawing task shown here consisted of a hastily drawn pictures and a few scribbled notes on the back of an envelope. Over time, he had the opportunity to refine these ideas into “real” materials as he repeated this demonstrated many times. In addition, he was able over time to incorporate various improvements based on evidence from video recordings of some of the early demonstration lessons. Prof. Markee concluded his talk by suggesting ways in Indian Teachers of English can adopt these ideas to their teaching situations.

The plenary session had another presentation ‘Teacher Power’ by Raja Govindasamy from India. Teacher power simply means the influence of teacher exerts on students by virtue of his/her commitment and competence. Such a quality ensures leadership status to the teacher. Then a teacher enjoys power in five ways as appropriated from J. R. B. French and B. Raven’s book, The Bases of Social Power (1959). The first power is legitimate power by virtue of designation on the basis of qualification. The second is reward power which enables the teacher to assess and appreciate student performance. The third is coercive power which empowers the teachers to nudge and pressurize the students to move away from ignorance, indifference and inhibition to interest, intelligence and improvement. The fourth is expert power, the most imp0rtant power by which the teacher establishes his/her stature as a mastermind/specialist. The fifth is referent power, a sequel to the fourth, which means that the teacher is referred to as a role model for the students to emulate his/her. The powers make a teacher a mentor.

A reflection of our trip to Vellore wouldn’t be complete if we don’t mention the typical south Indian food that was provided by the conference organizers. Almost all the food items contained coconut in them!

After lunch, we attended the special lecture given via online technology by Mrs. Claire Bradin Siskin, director of Excelsior University, USA, in the Anna Auditorium Hall which is equipped with advanced technology. The sound at the hall was so clear that it looked as if the presenter was behind the curtain. At the end, through text message and microphone/voice chat, questions were asked to her and she answered them. It was an innovative and creative presentation we have ever attended. In the same hall, three authors Mrs. Usha Jesudasan, Dr. K. Srilata from IIT Madras and Mrs. Subhasree Krishnaswamy jointly presented their paper on creative writing. They started with how creative writing begins, continued with how creativity can be promoted, and ended with encouragement to write creatively.

After a valedictory session and speeches by various dignitaries, prizes were given for the school toppers in English for Standard X and XII. Prizes were also distributed for three Best Paper Presenters of the Conference. The programme concluded with the vote of thanks by the Director of the School of Languages, VIT, Dr. C. Annadurai.

The Conference was indeed a confluence which brought together over eight hundred delegates. The ‘connection’ the meeting has given to, many hoped, would be long lasting.

When compared to NELTA conference, the gathering was not as much as we had in our 16th international conference. The number of presenters was more in comparison of NELTA Conference, but ELT@I had fewer delegates from foreign countries. About 90 percent from India.  We also learned that ELT@I organizes more national conferences than the international ones, and that may be something that we need to start doing in Nepal. If we hold more national conferences around the country, more teachers would get the opportunity to attend them.  Among the finer details, 15 minutes only was allotted for one presentation during concurrent sessions, which seemed too short to us was that rapporteurs were highly active: they introduced the presenters at the beginning and they summed up the key messages of the presentation at the end.

Our journey to Vellore was very fruitful because we learnt a lot of things related to English language teaching in India. We got the opportunity to compare the conference with ours and learn new things from their, we saw new ways of presenting papers, and we heard about new perspectives in ELT. Our visit strengthened the relationship between NELTA and ELT@I. And we had a good interaction with the secretary of ELT@I who said that ELT@I is looking forward to collaborating with NELTA in coming days.

 

Acknowledgments 

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Consulate General of India (CGI) Birgunj for providing the opportunity and supporting us to attend the conference. We could not have been able to take part in the mega event of India without support of Chairperson Hemant Raj Dahal of NELTA Central and Kedar Prasad Sah and Sajan Kumar Karn of NELTA Birgunj.

—–

* This was the Sixth International and Forty-Second  ELT@I Conference, held in Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) University, Vellore. It was organized by the English Language Teachers’ Association of India (ELT@I).

Letter to the NELTA President

By Praveen Yadav

Dear President of NELTA,

I would like to congratulate you for being elected as a new president of NELTA unanimously. I wish you all the best as you shoulder immense responsibilities of the biggest organization of English language learners, teachers, ELT practitioners, methodologists, textbooks/materials writers, teacher trainers, etc. I believe you would put your efforts in making the dream of our advisors Prof. Dr. JR Awasthi, Prof. Dr. GR Bhattarai and Prof. Dr. Abhi Subedi come true during your tenure.

There is a very common quotation by our grandparents in our rural areas of Terai that to buy an elephant is expensive but to keep the elephant is more expensive. Likewise, it is difficult to get elected as president but to shoulder the responsibilities of NELTA as president till the term is more difficult. I hope you would shoulder the responsibilities honestly, efficiently and diligently. You have developed leadership and it is now up to you how you would lead 19 executive members, more than 1630 life members and 29 branches across the country.

All the members of NELTA across the country wanted you to chair NELTA with a lot of aspiration and expectation. I hope you would respect their aspiration and expectation and act accordingly to fulfill them.

We should not forget JR Awasthi guru’s quote, “WE ARE NELTA.” I believe this is the spirit of the organization. We should not also forget “UNITY IS STRENGTH.” Here unity means the unity of our branches. Our branches from Mechi to Mahakali and from the Mountains to Terai are the strength of NELTA. I hope you would maintain and develop mutual relationship and close coordination between NELTA central and NELTA branches. This is only possible when you visit the branches time and again and help organize different sorts of trainings, workshops, seminars, meetings, conferences and the like in the branches. Besides, representatives from respective branches could be invited in the meetings of NELTA central and circulate the minutes through yahoo mail groups or NELTA Choutari. This will make the organization transparent among all those associated with this. This is the mantra that will help us increase our new members and new branches.

Dear President, let’s develop a learning and positive organization culture in NELTA. You’d better to apply team approach, participatory decision-making practices, financial transparency and accountability and timeliness with a high quality of performance for the welfare of the organization. Participatory decision making, team building, appreciative inquiry, learning and doing, coordination & networking and collaboration with concerning stakeholders are the approaches that can make our NELTA alive and unique.

As you are the one member of last executive committee, you are familiar with its shortcomings. The then committee has already done a tremendous work, but it might have been still trying to coordinate with our branches and advisors of NELTA at the desired level. However, we are very optimistic to see minimizing the drawbacks in the past during the tenure of the newly elected Executive committee. I hope the new executive committee will bridge the gap between the central and its branches and strengthen organizational relationship.

NELTA, no doubt, explores the opportunities for English language fellows in Nepal. You are kindly advised to coordinate with all the branches while recommending our members for those opportunities. This will be an added value in your leadership in three years of your tenure.

We are well-acquainted with the fact that collaboration is a must for NELTA to explore and mobilize its resources across the country to promote the teaching and learning of English language in Nepal sustainably. NELTA has been collaborating with British Council, American Embassy, Ministry of Education, Room to Read, and SNV-Nepal.  At present AIN (Association of International NGOs in Nepal) comprises more than 80 INGOs have been working on a wide-range of issues and sectors to contribute to development efforts in Nepal. Dear President, we hope you would be able to collaborate with these organizations in the days to come during your tenure since ELT is also a kind of development and it can also be used to promote human rights.

English language in a New Nepal can stand as an icon of unity and national harmony since all other languages have been supposed to belong to specific communities. English can be an instrument to strengthen loktantra and promote human rights. To make the government of Nepal realize the facts, NELTA can play a crucial role as the nation is undergoing a transitional stage and everything is in a state of flux.  Then the government would ponder over a language policy, in general, and ELT strategy, in particular.

We hope you would learn from the mistakes of the predecessors and be able to put your efforts in minimizing them. You have the moment and the opportunity to put NELTA on the right course to achieve the mission, vision, goals and objectives of NELTA.

Wish you all the executive members of NELTA all the best for your successful tenure!

Yours Truly,

Praveen Kumar Yadav

Rautahat

NELTA Birgunj Branch

BRANCH SPECIAL, January 2011

Namaste!

We dedicate this issue to the colleagues from NELTA branches across the country, with special thanks to colleagues from Birgunj, Gorkha, Palpa, and Surkhet. There is no doubt that our readers will be glad and grateful to you if you can continue to publish news updates about training or other professional development events, success stories of individual teachers or schools that take new initiatives in ELT, personal anecdotes, annual summaries of ELT activities in your branch… anything you can share with the rest of the NELTA community and readers around the world. To repeat what we said in the main editorial, our vision is to make this a professional discussion forum where teachers at the grassroots level ARE the ELT scholars and researchers. We don’t need to remind any fellow teacher that the best types of ELT resources are pedagogical solutions that evolve from problems overcome by individual teachers, classroom/action research, teaching tips shared among teachers who are in similar material and institutional situations, and reflections and theorizing done by teacher-scholars in the geo-political contexts of Nepal and the local settings around the country. Simpy, this forum is yours, and you should contribute what you know, what you have, what you are interested in. The discussions of scholars at the center or in different types of professional academic settings around the world are also important, but those postings and discussions will also become more meaningful if they are based on the situations, challenges, innovations that you face at the classroom and local levels.

Here is a special set of materials from NELTA branches from across Nepal. Enjoy the local flavor and promote the conversation!

  1. NELTA Palpa Conference Vibrated the Teachers in the Area (an article by Gopal Bashyal, NELTA Palpa)
  2. NELTA = Novel ELT Activities (an event update and article by Gopal Bashyal, NELTA Palpa)
  3. NELTA Surkhet in 2010 (a branch update from Surkhet, by Mukunda Giri, NELTA Surkhet)
  4. “Teaching English with a Difference” (a report from Birgunj on a recent Training Program, by Suresh Shrestha*)
  5. English Access Microscholarship Program in Nepal (an article about a new ELT initiative in NELTA branches, by Shyam Pandey)
    (also linked from main editorial)

Please remember to leave a comment to these posts and promote updates and discussions from NELTA branches across the country. Please subscribe to Choutari so you will be alerted when there is a new post.

(back to front page)

1 2