It gives us immense pleasure to release the third quarterly issue (July- September 2023) of ELT Choutari. This issue is non-thematic and replicate different experiences of teaching and learning English in different contexts. This issue has covered a wide range of areas of classroom pedagogy, classroom management, students’ motivation, students centred pedagogy, teachers professional transformation and practitioners’ reflections.
We believe that documenting teachers’ teaching experiences, challenges, and successes fosters a deeper level of understanding of their pedagogical approaches. The (emerging) practitioners learn innovative teaching methodologies, adapt to new language trends and develop relevant materials effective and useful in their language classroom. We honour the practitioners’ voices, their personal expeditions, and challenges to foster a collaborative culture and supportive environment for igniting change within their academia.
In the first post, Shiva Mainaly highlights the significant impacts of Call for Papers (CFP) on the conference attendees. He shares how important it is for the responder to respond about CFP and how it backfires if it is not addressed appropriately. The author further highlights how CFPs tend to address any aspect of burgeoning issues, ranging from colonial reckoning, the rhetoric of precarity and the rise of authoritarianism to social justice, linguistic justice, power and precarity attendant to AI’s growing application in learning and teaching space.
Similarly, in the second blog post, Surendra Prasad Ghimire provides a personal account of teaching English in low-resourced rural communities and navigates some unique challenges. The author provides insight into the complexities of low-resourced classrooms and offers some ways of teaching English in a rural context.
Likewise, Sangeeta Basnet in her reflective narrative shares how psychological assets play crucial roles in language classrooms and how those problems cause deterioration in academic performance. She also suggests some ways to address parents and teachers to create a healthy environment for them to share their problems, hear their past stories, and encourage and inspire them to do better in their academics.
Tripti Chaudhary, in the fourth blog post, shares her nostalgia and believes to have a paradigm shift in teaching pedagogy since the grammar-translation method. She further discusses how the rote memorisation has been transformed into a practice-driven approach in our academia in the 21st century.
Finally, in the fifth blog post, Dammar Singh Saud reflects on his experience of teaching culturally diverse students in school and shares how he was influenced by his father’s dedication to education and selflessness. He further highlights how innovative teaching method and the use of ICT plays pivotal roles in teaching teaching-learning process.
Here is the list of blogs for you to navigate in this issue:
Finally, I would like to thank our editors and reviewers in this issue, Mohan Singh Saud, Nanibabu Ghimire, Jeevan Karki, Jnanu Raj Poudel, Sagar Poudel, Karuna Nepal, Ekraj Adhikari, Yadu Gnawali, Binod Duwadi, Puskar Chaudhary, and Dasharath Rai, for their relentless effort and contribution.
ELT Choutari is a platform for researchers, scholars, educators, and practitioners to share their perspectives, practices, and stories from classrooms and communities. If you enjoy reading the articles, please feel free to share them in and around your circle and drop your comments.
We encourage you to contribute to our next issue (October-December) and send your articles and blogs to email@example.com.
Aristotle urges us to be a master of metaphors to grasp a living reality of a thing. Following the footsteps of Aristotle, George Lakoff and M. Johnson introduce a perspective on metaphor—a perspective that takes metaphor as imaginative rationality. Admittedly, I am inspired by these two theorists. My inspiration is that I could not help using a simile to share my modest success in getting some of my responses to Call for Conference Proposals (CFP) accepted: Writing changes: remaking rhetoric in times of uncertainty organized by Corridors 2022 at Virginia Tech University, and Geographies of the Fantastic and the Quotidian organized by Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA) 2022 at University of Los Angeles California. For Corridors, I developed a paper entitled “Pedagogical Emasculation in the Wake of AI’s Growing Applications”, and for PAMLA, I submitted an abstract with the title “Backsliding New Materialism and a Resurgence of Interest in Virtue Ethics and Anthropomorphism”.
While responding to these two CFPs successfully, I came to know that responding to a CFP is almost similar to being a gentleman caller. Forgive my wild rush to John Dryden called ‘yoking heterogeneous ideas by violence’. More technically, responding to CFP and being a gentleman caller are distinctly disparate realms of activities. Just as forwarding a love/marriage proposal without paying sufficient courtship to a lady for a quite bit of time may backfire and probably end in rejection, so is answering to CFP without doing an extensive inquiry and without having background information on the topic. Any rush to reply to the CFP may backfire on the responder, often ending in outright rejection, which might weaken confidence and concentration. It is this point of commonality that pushed me to choose this figural trope. The fate of being a jilted lover is a bitter pill to swallow for any obsessed lover, in much the same way as it is for a responder to cope with the rejection of the abstract submission to CFP. With this figural gesture, I would like to reflect on my experience of responding to a host of CFPs.
We have seen many calls for proposals (CFP): CFP for conferences; CFP for book chapters and journal articles; CFP for intermezzo and review essays; CFP for web texts and digital projects; CFP for a success story and cross-border narrative; CFP for blogs and reflective writings, CFP for cases of advocacy, activism, and intervention; and to name just a few. Scholars, researchers, and instructors alike tend to respond to different CFPs they come across. Every responder to CFP deploys a nuanced approach. In spite of each scholar’s unique response style to CFP, there should be a few widely practised formularies to deal with CFP. Based on a few instances of my success in responding to CFP, I would like to craft a short account of responding to CFP.
In trying to emerge as a conference hopper, I kept exploring many other venues that organize national and international conferences such as the New Berry Library Conference (NBLC), Popular Culture Association (PCA), Modern Language Association (MLA) Pedagogical Training and Workshop, Northeast Modern Language Association (NEMLA), Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), Rhetoric Society of Europe (RSE), Rhetoric Society of America (RSA) and the list goes on. Actually, these venues release CFPs that tend to address any aspect of burgeoning issues, ranging from colonial reckoning, the rhetoric of precarity and the rise of authoritarianism to social justice, the linguistic justice, power and precarity attendant to AI’s growing application in learning and teaching space. Being well informed of all these burgeoning issues and of relevant proposals to address the issue constitute a core competency on each CFP responder’s part. Based on these two and various other successive experiences of responding to CFP, I would like to talk about some tips and strategies with which I succeeded in getting my conference proposals approved. I presented at a conference scheduled to take place at the University of Virginia Tech. Similarly, another conference proposal of mine was also accepted. In the second week of November 2022, I presented at a conference at the University of California, Los Angeles.
First, getting to the heart of an issue that takes centre stage in the CFP description is essential if we are to touch all the bases of CFP. While describing an issue/topic for CFP, the CFP issuer tends to be specific in producing an outline of the issue; at the same time, they often write, ‘the CFP moves around this topic, but not limited to…’, to allow for a somewhat flexible space to explore and probe the proposed issue.
Previously, while formulating an excellent abstract draft for a conference call, I used to take a general approach without homing in on a specific aspect of the CFP. After multiple rounds of rejection, I learned that people want to listen to specific things. Though the conference offers a smorgasbord of various potential topics, it would be in our best interest to dwell on the specificity of the issue. As soon as I shirked off this tendency to drift away from the axis of specificity, I realized that it wouldn’t be challenging to hit the target with the single most focused thrust to the specificity. To this end, it appears that any temptation toward delving deep into the topic in a manner most lithe and supple because exploring any issue by being specific is crucial to the acceptance success of a response to CFP. As to some heuristics and nuances with which the exploration of an issue would lead to a reliable unfolding of the issue, I have come to propose here: Test the efficacy of the issue in different cultural contexts, check on its limit, be aware of its fallibility, assess if its relevance is rooted in time and occasion, reflect on its impact on our normative practice and pragmatic life, and finally stretch your imaginative faculty to probe the issue under consideration with a detached mindset. The simultaneous shifts in my mindset led me to come across an acceptable topic for the CFP I was managing to respond to.
Second, though the power of forming a fresh, attention-grabbing, and shift-stimulating perspective of any responder to CFP is highly valued, the ability to introduce this perspective tactfully and without a lag matters the most. To translate this realization into action, I reflected on my expectations about how CFP evaluators take my abstract submission and what metric they would apply to assess the submitted abstract. I also pondered if their metrics and criteria remain consistent or if they apply abstract-specific metrics. I did my best to align the core thrust of my conference abstract with the CFP evaluators’ submission-specific yardstick of judgment. At the top of my talent, I aimed at ‘striking the right chord’; with the right chord being struck precisely, the net outcome is an acceptance call.
Third, the responder to CFP should not come to terms with the issue on the first go. Instead, the responder should let the proposed issue come to terms with a cumulative effort to develop a fresh perspective. For this, curious and consistent immersion in the latent and the manifest dimensions of the issue is required of those who play what Peter Elbow calls the Believing and Doubting Game. The fourth point is the assertion that with the idea of responding to CFP comes the responsibility to CFP. CFP wishes to garner a wide range of ideas, thoughts, propositions, perspectives, comments, questions, critiques, and curiosities. Most CFPs expect a concrete contribution of ideas to the platform the CFP is creating. Thus, every responder to CFP needs to internalize that to respond to CFP is to contribute something new, a fresh perspective, a nuanced approach to dealing with the proposed issue anew, a distinct approach indeed!
The fifth point that guided my approach to responding to CFPs is being aware that often CFPs asks for a fresh take on burgeoning issue/problem. Any response to CFP should look like a solution. Adopting a down-to-earth overture is a curtain-raiser to grappling with CFP head-on. The sixth tip comes in the guise of tonality. Maintaining an insistent tone serves two-pronged purposes: one is to bracket off any interference from digressive and deluding thoughts, and the other is to help the proposed perspective gain purchase. The use of an insistent tone wards off any trace of opaqueness that might arise while homing in on the target expectation of CFP. A response to CFP needs to be formed in keeping with the persistent presumption that whether others accept a proposal or not hinges on the same tone underpinning the proposal’s substratum.
The seventh clue to conveying a response to CFP is tricky. Throughout career-building in the academic field, students, scholars, and instructors respond to different types of CFP. Their responses often vary from acceptance and partial acceptance to outright rejection. In the case of outright rejection, it might be tough to bear the brunt of rejection, which might sap the spirit and entelechy one has been cultivating since the beginning of one’s academic footprint. In this condition of being in a low spirit due to sporadic rejection, one must groom oneself with a philosophical maxim, dictum, or conviction. In the wake of angst and anxiety consequent upon the rejection of any response to CFP, it would be tactful if one with the experience of rejection switches instantly from the erstwhile mental frame of lapsing into frustration and lamentation to a new mindset informed by the conviction that having been rejected means being hurled on the rose bed of renewal.
The last trick that may prove pivotal is catching a glimpse of and acting following the zeitgeist of contemporaneity that by and now diffuses across the world of CFPs. The spirit and entelechy of inclusion have penetrated every stroke of knowledge-making. Any linguistic shred and fragment are redolent of an alienating, exclusionary, and unjust practice, triggering a domino effect that ultimately spoils the inherent acceptability of the proposed perspective, no matter how full the proposal would be. All these strategic clues ultimately come down to a praxis that justice-fostering, dignity-ennobling, and identity-acknowledging rather than a collocational, standardized, and stereotypes-filled language pave the way for enriching the acceptability of proposed response to CFP.
Graduate students preparing to enter the job market are always hard-pressed to devote their whole time to completing their dissertation research. Nevertheless, they must invest more time in responding to CFPs for conferences, book reviews, review essays, success narratives, cross-border narratives, writing about their observation, and reflective writing. Since responding to the CFPs for a book chapter, journal articles, and intermezzo requires both intensive and extensive efforts, involvement, and time, it is relevant to conclude that trying to catch low-hanging fruit is an appropriate option for them. However, in no way should it not be understood as an underestimation of the potency and potentiality of graduate students inching closer to a threshold of the job market because there is quite an incredible number of graduate students who have already adorned their CVs with gems of their productive scholarship. However, speaking from a practical perspective and arguing in consideration of the pressure of time, including plenty of both teaching and administrative responsibility on the part of graduate students, there is every reason to advise that trying to catch low-hanging fruit still sounds like a lucrative and economical alternative for graduate students. In connection with this, responding to the CFPs for a conference, book review, review essay, essay on graduate student’s observation, and reflective writing such as cross-border narrative would be inviting and enticing for Ph.D. candidates on the verge of graduation who have built up a professional mindset of plunging into the job market soon.
At last, I would like to opine my thoughts on a type of stereotype that recurs in most of the announcements of CFP. On seeing sentences—such as ‘for book reviews and review essays, graduate students are encouraged and welcomed to contribute’—I felt irreparably stung by a scorpion of inferiority and of being pigeonholed. A query flashed across my mind instantly. There anyone, including me, could not but ask a question—why cannot graduate students, especially PhD candidates, respond to higher CFPs? The answer is obvious. In a general sense, responding to the higher CFPs demands time, resources and involvement. Graduate students are busy people who have a lot of work to do. I too was not an exception to this condition. Therefore, I was occasionally pained to see this sentence, but now I have mastered such a normal thought. With this unpleasant stream of thought, I would like to cut a long story short by saying that trying to catch low-hanging fruit—CFPs for conferences, book reviews, review essays, and reflective and observational writings—is a wise approach to redressing the harsh rhetoric of publish or perish. For clarity’s sake, I have presented below some pointers that could be helpful for any responder responding to a CFP:
Read and understand the CFP: It is in our best interest to go through the CFP document to understand the theme, topic, and requirements. Supportive here is the idea of paying attention to guidelines, word limits, formatting instructions, and submission deadlines.
Choose the right topic: Selecting a topic that aligns well with the theme of the conference or event is of enormous importance. Responders ought to make sure their research is relevant and innovative. Being mindful of the contributions the responder’s abstract makes is worth pondering.
Prepare an abstract: Of all the pointers pivotal to making a success of responding to CFP, crafting a compelling abstract that summarizes our paper or presentation is instrumental. So, the responder needs to clearly state the problem they are addressing, their methodological choice, and critical ideas and insights. It is good to ensure that the abstract is concise and engaging. The most crucial thing is the need to capture the attention of the reviewers.
Follow the submission guidelines: Successful responders to CFP ought to adhere to the submission guidelines provided by the organizers. They should pay close attention to formatting requirements, citation styles, and any specific file formats they may request.
Highlight your contribution: Each scholarly and institutional venue tends to judge an individual contributor to CFP in terms of their contribution. To that end, it is essential for them to clearly articulate the unique contribution of their work. The key to mastering this hurdle is to explain how it fills a gap in the existing literature, provides novel insights, or offers a fresh perspective. The responder need not dither about emphasizing their research’s significance and potential impact.
Present your qualifications: In an age in which an assertion is evaluated vis-à-vis self, highlighting our expertise, qualifications, and relevant experience in the field we are part of is of paramount importance. To buttress our credibility as responders to CFPs, providing a brief overview of our academic or professional background is imperative to establish credibility.
Proofread and edit: Before turning in our response to CFPs, it would be a cautionary measure to carefully proofread and edit our paper or abstract. If we ensure that our abstract is well-structured, free of grammatical errors, and coherent, it will be accepted. This is the principle we all need to live by. For that purpose, we can opt for feedback on our abstract from colleagues or mentors to improve the quality of our writing.
Meet the deadline: Submitting our response without crossing the specified deadline is advantageous because late submissions are typically not accepted. Hence, being proactive and active while planning our time and allowing for ample review and revision is of utmost importance.
Tailor your response: What matters most is the customization of our response to the specific requirements of the CFP. Reviewers are interested in hearing specific things; no one likes hearing general things. Thus, it is good to keep any idea of submitting generic or recycled content at bay. Tuning our response with the particular and genuine requirement is pivotal to actualizing the chance of acceptance.
Be professional and courteous: Since being soft and gracious matters a lot, it would be beneficial if they interact with the organizers and reviewers professionally and respectfully if they respond promptly to any inquiries or requests for additional information. The secret formulary to heighten our chance of having our abstract approved is one associated with living with a growth mindset and collaborative disposition throughout the process.
Garver, E. (1994). Aristotle’s rhetoric: An art of character. University of Chicago Press.
Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (2008). Metaphors we live by. University of Chicago Press.
About the Author: Shiva Mainaly is a PhD in rhetoric and composition from the University of Louisville. Currently, at North Dakota State University (NDSU), he will become a postdoctoral research fellow from August 2023. A prolific author, he has published numerous articles in prestigious journals like the Journal of International Students, Constellation, and Composition Studies.
I faced challenges in managing an effective, interactive classroom and creating learning atmosphere in my early teaching career as an assistant lecturer of English at Hetauda School of Management and Social Sciences, Nepal. Due to my overconfidence, I used to think that knowing contents of teaching was enough for effective teaching. Therefore, I prepared for the classes by focusing very well on the content of the prescribed English textbooks and allied materials. I mostly used to adopt lecture methods for teaching; therefore, students would receive very little time to interact in the class. On the other hand, students’ seating arrangement, two rows of fixed desks and benches, was designed in a way to facilitate teacher-centered and lecture-based instruction. There was a projector for displaying slides, videos, and other related digital materials in the classroom. There would be an average of fifty undergraduate students in the classroom with proper uniforms. However, the environment of the classroom until the middle of the academic session became chaotic and messy. Therefore, I had to spend a long time systematizing the classroom before beginning the lecture, and time and again I had to stop because of an unpleasant classroom environment. Despite the various attempts to manage the classroom, it remained messy and chaotic. In this narrative , I reflect on how I effectively managed such a noisy and chaotic classroom in the middle of the academic year.
In contrast to behaviour management, classroom management is a broader concept that focuses on the management of all the students in the classroom (Stevenson et al., 2020). Classroom management incorporates all the actions of the teachers in constructing the classroom environment to promote students’ academic growth and social behaviour (Velásquez et al., 2023). In addition, effective classroom management encourages the students to obtain maximum benefits from classroom activities and controls the unwanted behaviour of the students in the classroom (Bozkuş, 2021). Therefore, a well-managed classroom has wider implications as it aims to organize an orderly teaching and learning environment to enhance the learning outcomes of classroom activities and promote students’ social relations (Brophy, 1983; Marzano & Marzano, 2003; Shank et al., 2022; Wubbels, 2011). Moreover, some studies reported that managing the classroom at the beginning of the academic session made it easier for teachers to handle the class successfully during an academic session (Emmer et al., 1980; Lopez-Pelcastre, 2023). However, from the beginning of the academic session, I encountered various obstacles in managing a well-organized classroom environment. I found that the students were almost not concentrating in my class. They began making noises in the classroom including personal talks with their friends, which didn’t contribute to the learning vibes in the classroom. Some of the students developed unique ways to disturb the class, such as tapping their shoes on the floor, making a sudden unusual sound etc. Others would zone out, which indicated that they did not have motivation to attend my class.
This situation had been going on for a few months, which made me almost frustrated with the teaching profession. I also did not have personal satisfaction, and even I could not sleep very well at night. Sometimes, these noisy students would bother me even in my dreams. To get rid of this, I read several books about managing the classroom and realized that teaching profession requires numerous qualities to be successful, and having only knowledge about the content of teaching would not be adequate. Then I began pondering how to effectively manage the classroom. And I argue that noisy and chaotic classrooms can be effectively managed by understanding the students properly, reviewing our teaching methods and classroom activities, and receiving feedback from the students even in the middle of the academic session.
Why behind what
Gradually, I began exploring the reasons behind such chaotic and disturbing classrooms through formal and informal communication with the students. Some reported that they were feeling bored because of long lectures, and due to lack of classroom activities, etc. Based on what they shared and my experiences, the following were some of the possible reasons for my classroom mismanagement:
The lecture method to deliver the textbook contents made the class monotonous and didn’t give them space to share their ideas in the classroom. They received limited opportunities for questioning and arguments in the classroom.
Lack of activities to engage students was another reason as they did not receive an opportunity to construct knowledge by interacting among them. They were limited with my lectures, handouts, and prescribed textbooks.
The inability to understand and address students’ interests and passion and merely emphasizing the textbooks.
Lack of adopting student-centred teaching methods and adopting teacher-centred approaches. Students had fewer opportunities to interact with each other and had to participate in the classwork on the basis of what I instructed them. They received less opportunities for creative and constructive activities in the classroom; instead, they became passive listeners.
By exploring the actual reasons behind classroom mismanagement, I transformed the ways of teaching, focusing on student-centred teaching approaches. The following were the ways forward to overcome the problems of mismanagement in my classroom:
Establishing Friendly Relationships with Students
I established friendly relationships with the students by properly understanding them and respecting their ideas. I spent adequate time listening to their responses about their various issues within the classroom and outside the classroom, such as in the interval time, in the canteen, library, etc. Gradually, I realized that establishing better relationships with students supported my ability to receive feedback from the students and ultimately assisted in transforming the classroom into a more interactive learning space. In addition, such relationships helped the students develop a positive attitude toward each other and provided enough room for understanding. As a result, I found greater participation of students in classroom activities and a change in their attitude toward being more positive, supportive, and collaborative inside and outside the classroom. Consequently, the previous noisy and chaotic classroom disappeared instead; a more interactive, collaborative, and learning classroom appeared with the positive vibration of exploring insightful information both in me and the students. In addition, I found that such friendly relationships with the students established a solid foundation of academic excellence and transformed the students into more responsible individuals for their work. However, I found that very few of the students attempted to misuse such friendly relations by involving themselves in the debate out of context in the classroom and making various excuses about their classroom activities and home assignments.
Teaching with Fun
I transformed my ways of teaching by focusing on various approaches such as discussion, interaction, collaboration, presentation, argumentation, and so forth. I minimized my long, monotonous lecture method and focused on mini-lectures if they were required. As a result, students began participating in learning activities as I promoted group discussion, sharing, interaction, and collaboration in the classroom. I formed some groups in the classroom to have discussions on various issues related to solving the problems. From the few days’ practice, the majority of the students learned to be engaged in classroom activities and developed their power of patience by waiting their turn and respecting each other’s ideas. In addition, I blended some sort of humour into the classroom by cracking jokes and sharing some real and imaginative stories if I realized students were feeling bored. Moreover, I began to display English videos associated with ongoing classroom discussions that assisted me in creating an interesting learning environment in the classroom by boosting their English language power and providing fun for them. Teaching with fun with the support of various videos and sharing jokes and stories in the classroom helped me energize the students for learning by involving them in various classroom activities instead of making unnecessary noises. These findings, to some extent, aligned with the study of MacSuga-Gage et al. (2012), who claimed that effective teaching helped manage the classroom.
Individual Care for the Students in the Classroom
I found various kinds of students in the classroom with unique manners and ways of learning. I began to think about them, particularly focusing on how to motivate them in classroom activities. I started individually supporting the students, mainly selecting those who rarely participated in classroom activities. Instead of staying in the same place in the classroom, I visited individual students, particularly during classroom activities, which helped me understand the real problems of the students. During such visits, students asked even simple problems that they could not ask in the mass (perhaps they feared that their friends would laugh at them). Such practices assisted me in developing personal relationships with the students, which ultimately contributed to managing the classroom. As I began supporting them, they also became supportive in the classroom. They started listening to my instructions and following the procedures of the activities without disturbing the entire learning environment in the classroom. In addition, I prepared their individual portfolios, which helped me understand the students better and helped them in the classroom. Ultimately, such individual care in the classroom assisted the students to be more proactive and interactive in classroom activities, which gradually supported me in transforming the previously chaotic and noisy classroom into a more innovative and interactive space.
Establishing friendly relationships with students and teaching with fun and individual care for the students in the classroom, as discussed above helped me in creating an effective learning environment in my classroom. Pondering over the mismanagement of the classroom, receiving feedback from the students, and transforming the classroom teaching and learning process accordingly contributed to solving the problems of mismanagement in the classroom. As a result, my noisy, chaotic classroom gradually turned into innovative, interactive, collaborative classroom.
Bozkuş, K. (2021). A systematic review of studies on classroom management from 1980 to 2019. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 13(4). https://doi.org/10.26822/iejee.2021.202
Brophy, J. E. (1983). Classroom organization and management. The elementary school journal, 83(4), 265-285.
Emmer, E. T., Evertson, C. M., & Anderson, L. M. (1980). Effective classroom management at the beginning of the school year. The Elementary School Journal, 80(5), 219-231.
Lopez-Pelcastre, A. (2023). The influence of classroom management on student learning and behavior in the classroom.
MacSuga-Gage, A. S., Simonsen, B., & Briere, D. E. (2012). Effective teaching practices: Effective teaching practices that promote a positive classroom environment. Beyond Behavior, 22(1), 14-22. https://doi.org/org/10.1177/107429561202200104
Marzano, R. J., & Marzano, J. S. (2003). The key to classroom management. Educational Leadership, 61(1), 6-13.
Stevenson, N. A., VanLone, J., & Barber, B. R. (2020). A commentary on the misalignment of teacher education and the need for classroom behaviour management skills. Education Treatment of Children, 43(4), 393-404. https://doi.org/org/10.1007/s43494-020-00031-1
About the Author: Surendra Prasad Ghimire is an MPhil Scholar at Nepal Open University, Nepal, and a Lecturer of English at a QAA-certified college, Hetauda School of Management and Social Sciences, Makwanpur, Nepal.
“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.’’ ~ Lily Tomlin
As a teacher, every day I enter the class, I feel like it is my first day in my teaching career. I have been teaching for more than 13 years. My greatest inspiration is my father who served at the same private school in India for 25 years. I sense that I have inherited strong qualities from him for instance, to motivate the students, listen to them and help them with some suggestions. Back in my childhood days, I used to hear lots of stories about students’ lives and problems shared through my father and how he supported them throughout. Back then I didn’t really focus on those stories much, but now as a teacher, I am experiencing the need for motivation in my students. Along with being a great motivator for his students, my father was also strict in his principles. As time changes, the way of teaching method also changes. However, the role of a teacher as a motivator for students always remains the same. Students’ life is not only limited to their academic achievements, they are to be prepared for their lives.
One of the most significant aspects of a student’s educational experience is their academic performance, which is determined by a variety of psychological factors that might create an impact on their cognitive, emotional, and behavioural functioning. Among those psychological factors, motivation is one of the most important psychological variables that might affect student performance.
Motivation is what pushes them to participate in learning activities, finish their assignment and be prepared for their future. It is one of the psychological factors that affect students’ performance. Firstly, most of the students’ lives are full of chaos since the widespread pandemic has left many negative effects on their lives. Secondly, they are unable to set up a fixed goal for themselves and they are easily distracted by common factors. Lastly, their attention span and patience level are very low and they are hardly able to possess a determined mindset.
A real-life example of this is one of my students who had been affected in her academic performance due to a lack of motivation. Before the pandemic, she was one of the top ten students in her class. She was not only good at academics but was extremely creative. We were very satisfied and impressed with her creativity. She was a happy and lively child. During the lockdown, we weren’t able to meet physically and we were obligated to conduct the online classes. It seemed everything was going well during the online classes. However, when the physical classes resumed, I noticed a drastic change in her behaviour. I felt that it was because of the gap in which we were not able to keep in touch with students’ activities during online classes.
Last year, she was in grade 8. I was her English teacher. The charm on her face, her lively and radiant personality and her curiosity to learn new things were no longer visible on her face. I noticed but waited until the result of the first terminal examination. When I saw the result, I was stunned to see that her performance was not as good as before. The next day, I decided to have a conversation with her parents. Unfortunately, they didn’t come to school to meet me. After two days, I called her in my leisure period and had a talk with her. At first, she was reluctant to share her feelings with me. She gave me a fake smile and told me that she would try her level best in the upcoming examinations. I knew that she was hiding something from me and felt uncomfortable to share it. I reminded her about the days when she was very cheerful, ready to take part in all extracurricular activities and make us happy with her creative work on various occasions. Her eyes were filled with tears. And she wept in front of me. My intention wasn’t to hurt her but to help her. She revealed her family issues, which demotivated her to do anything related to her studies and all. Her family environment wasn’t favourable enough for her to concentrate on her studies well. Her family issues started during the pandemic. She loved to come to school every day, meet her friends and teachers. However, she wasn’t able to concentrate on her studies. I talked to her for around 30 minutes that day and asked her to go to class.
I discussed her issue with my colleagues and came up with many solutions to motivate her and to recover her own position on academics from that day on. In my class, I encouraged my students in various ways for at least five minutes before I start teaching. Furthermore, I managed to engage her in creative activities during the leisure time. She is interested in painting, journaling and crafting. I encouraged her to present some decorative articles for classroom decorations. I felt that other students might also be going through similar situations. I tried to build a strong rapport with everybody, sometimes communicated with them casually about their problems and made them feel comfortable to start conversations with me. I became a friendly figure for my students and they were comfortable sharing their concerns. Besides studies, I came to know that students’ achievement was affected by various psychological factors which provoked me to adoption of different ways to motivate my students and assist them to solve their problems for at least five minutes during my class.
After 2 months, I noticed that the previous charm and the similar curiosity that she possessed before had thread recovered. From that time to time, I talked to her and made her feel at ease and motivated her. Sometimes, I spent my classes just listening to them. I felt that being a teacher, my responsibility won’t be complete if I am unable to motivate my students and help them to overcome various obstacles in life. The girl came to her original position and she was very happy with the small efforts that I made for her. She started to show her good performance in studies and other aspects. I was very happy and felt like my small efforts helped my student to recognize her talent and to regain her academic success.
Now the girl is in Grade 9 and luckily, I am her class teacher. She is very happy to be in my section. On that day, I learnt a great lesson that a teacher’s responsibility is not just limited to teaching a class. The greatest achievement in a teacher’s life is when they are able to make a difference in their lives. I have learnt to motivate the learners from my father and am always determined to prepare for a better future. This is one of my best experiences that I will never forget in my life. Various students are often impacted by many psychological factors that affect them academically. As the teaching-learning process is a continuous process, I should continue to explore the problems of my students and the ways to help them overcome their difficulties which keeps them to achieve their best performance in academic achievement.
To conclude, I experienced myself as a motivator besides an English language teacher in my teaching career by understanding the psychological problems of my students which were invisible to me that caused deterioration in academic performance. My father’s experiences assisted me to play the role of an effective motivator. To elevate the academic performance of my students, I played the role of a motivator. To motivate my students, I analyzed the problems of my students, heard their past stories, communicated with the parents and teachers and created a favourable learning space for the students. I strongly suggest all the parents and teachers make a healthy environment for them to share their problems, hear their past stories, and always encourage and inspire them to do better in their academics. As a teacher, let’s give students something more to think about at home than just burdening them with homework.
About the Author: Sangeeta Basnet is an English Language Teacher. She has been teaching English for more than 10 years. Currently. She is serving in one of the renowned private schools in Birtamode. She holds a Master’s degree from Manipur University, India. She is a life member of NELTA and STFT. Her professional interests include teaching strategies used in ELT classes.
The article entitled ‘English Teachers’ Experiences on Learner-Centered Teaching Pedagogy’ attempts to explore the narratives of English language teachers on learner-centred teaching pedagogy. The information for this study was gathered through interviews with three English teachers teaching at the secondary level in a public school. The findings revealed that English language teachers have shifted their teaching pedagogy from the grammar-translation method to task-based language teaching pedagogy and teachers have effectively focused on the child-centered method with the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools.
I remember the days when I was a student at the secondary level. My English teacher used to teach us to translate the text from English to Nepali and used to make us memorize the text as they were. I, along with my colleagues, used to have a hard time memorizing the text and, in some contexts, we had a hard time understating the texts even though they were translated into Nepali and mother tongue. Despite the hardships in learning and understanding the text, with the same practice, I overcame the iron gate, School Leaving Certificate (SLC) with good marks. I was expecting a shift in the teaching methodology in higher education. However, my expectations were ruined as the tradition of translation was reiterated there as well. It seemed that English was never understood without translation. English was never taught in English and the same traditional method was introduced, practised, and internalized. Later as a teacher, I applied the same method for a long. I made the students memorize the text, translate it into the mother language, and so on. Due to that reason, I still feel reluctant and anxious while speaking with others in the English language. In the very beginning of teaching language, the grammar-translation method was applied rigorously but was criticized due to its limitations (Richards & Rodgers, 2010).
But, from the very day of the beginning of my classes at M.Phil., I realized the differences in the teaching-learning environment. I found out how learning is to be transferred and how teaching is to be placed. I witnessed a drastically different role from the Professors. Every time readiness of the Professor, the use of ICT in the classroom, the use of different teaching and learning materials, and the appropriate teaching approach and methods such as Communicative Language Teaching, Cooperative Language Learning, and Task-Based Language Teaching approach fascinated me to engage more in the classroom practices and transfer the skills to my classes. Henceforth, in this scenario, I feel that this is a pertinent issue to explore how do English teachers narrate their teaching approach now and then? I decided to carry out a mini-research by incorporating the narration of teachers on how language teaching pedagogy has changed from the past to the present.
In the context of the changing pedagogy, the roles of the teachers also change. English language teachers need to play various roles to dig out students’ hidden knowledge and the overall development of the students. They are supposed to play the role of facilitator, mentor, role model, information provider, resource developer, planner, assessor, etc. (Sapkota, 2017). The teachers’ roles depend on teaching pedagogy, which plays a crucial role to impact on the learning outcomes of students.
Teachers’ stories themselves can be better resources for language teaching pedagogy. Verifying this, Richards (2002) advocates that teachers’ pedagogical knowledge can be enhanced through teachers’ stories themselves. Similarly, Anam et al. (2020) claimed that teachers are different in their actions, reactions, strategies, and decisions because they have different values, beliefs, cultures, and experiences. Therefore, they are stores of knowledge and skill. With this fact, I carried out this research and tried to dig out their stories.
This research is a small-scale study of the English teacher’s experiences with learner-centred teaching pedagogy. This is qualitative research, comprising the narrative inquiry method. Qualitative research is to get a subjective response from participants; hence, semi-structured open-ended questions were employed for the interview. Purposively, I selected three English teachers of secondary level from a public school in Pokhara, who have more than 10 years of teaching experience. Then, I took consent from each participant before conducting the research. Finally, I explored the stories of the teachers and developed themes based on their narratives.
I took interviews and recorded the participants’ voices on the device. The teachers namely, Mr. Light, Mrs. Ray, and Mr. Shree (pseudo names) participated in the interview. Finally, based on the information collected from the teachers, I drew themes and findings of the study.
This section presents the discussion and results of the study under three broad themes.
Teaching Learning Pedagogy
The participants had a great memory of the grammar-translation method in their student’s life. The grammar translation method is based on learning grammar rules and vocabulary. Grammar is taught with explanation in the native language and is only later applied in the production of sentences through translation from one language to another (Rahman, 2012). In response to the question, how did you learn English, and which method did your English teacher apply in your class? Mr Shree shared,
The teacher used to teach us English, translate text from English to Nepali, and write rules and structure of grammar on the blackboard, like; s+v+obj… um, and we students would rote the rule of tenses, articles, prepositions etc., and apply it for making a sentence.
As a learning experience, Mr. Shree learned English through the GT method and grammar was the major factor in learning English. However, the participants indicated the change that they have been experiencing regarding teaching-learning pedagogy.
The participants mentioned various innovative ideas including task-based language teaching Task-based language teaching is an approach to language teaching that provides opportunities for students to engage in the authentic use of the target language through tasks. As the principal component in Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT), the task provides the main context and focus for learning, and it encourages language use similar to the way language is used outside of the classroom (Kim & Douglas, 2014). Mr. Light curiously revealed his experience,
I am using student centre activities which are very important for students because they get involved and try to give their ideas. Most often the time, I like engaging them in project work, puzzles, and information collection on related topics. They enjoy a lot with their work. Umm, I still remember that one day, I gave them writing a biography of a renowned person in the world, in that case, they searched name list of popular singers, dancers, poets, and players and wrote about them interestingly. They made me surprised because I had never heard about renowned people from different backgrounds.
As an expression, Mr. Light keeps students at the centre of learning and plays the role of advisor, mentor, and facilitator of students’ tasks. The finding re-verifies the research finding by Bhandari (2020) and also highlights that today’s teacher role has tremendously undergone various changes.
Role of ICT in Language Teaching Pedagogy
The use of contemporary technology in teaching languages has been intensely growing over the past decades worldwide (Warner 2004 as in cited Khatiwada, 2018). It has brought significant change in the teaching and learning styles of teachers and students. Every sector of our life is influenced by ICT. In the same way, English language teaching is also affected by rapid growth in the use of ICT in Nepal. The use of ICT in the classroom has changed the roles of students and teachers. In this scenario, Mr. Light eagerly offered his experience and said,
My students easily can learn the vocabulary from online sources and the exact pronunciation of words. By using Google, they create poems, write essays on different topics, and make project works from different reading materials.
The story of Mr Light revealed that the use of ICT has been found to assist students in assessing digital information efficiently and effectively since it is used by students to discover learning topics. In the same line, Moubtassime (2021) claimed that the use of ICT help them avoid the problem of pronunciation and grammar issue.
Similarly, Mrs. Ray said, “I use YouTube for teaching listening and speaking skills by relating with topic based on the syllabus”.
It means there are various online platforms where students can practice and learn the language. Lee (2000) focuses on the importance of claiming it as a key factor in enhancing the learners’ motivation for language development and linguistic proficiency. In conclusion, it is believed that the internet facilitates teachers to find new ideas, new techniques, and ways of teaching that assist in their teaching profession. Internet is helping them for creating a child-centred classroom. Hence, the use of ICT in the language classroom seemed to be very beneficial to both students and teachers.
Learning is the process of acquiring and understanding new knowledge, behaviour, skills, and values but language learning is defined as developing the ability to communicate in a second and foreign language. My participants narrated their experience in response to the question- how do you compare your students’ learning achievement and your own? Mr Light explored his experience of the past, “In our school age, learning was content-based, so we were able to say exact answers according to the expectation of the teacher.” In the same line, Izadinia (2009) asserts that years ago teachers were considered unquestioned authorities who were responsible for delivering knowledge to students, and students, in turn, were doomed to listening (p.7). But, on the other hand, in recent periods, teachers have had different experiences than their own students’ life, so, Mrs Ray shared
Students nowadays are more fast and smart than teachers, sometimes in connection with the internet, they already get information and knowledge before getting formal classes.
From the above-mentioned explanation learning achievement is relatively different when compared to past and present. The curriculum is also designed differently based on communicative skills thus students of the past seemed good at content whereas students of the present have good proficiency in the English language and they have good knowledge of ICT as well. Moreover, they can also use this tool for searching relevant learning materials.
The study has traced the major trends in English language pedagogy from the past to the present. The grammar translation method was the dominant teaching approach in the Nepalese context. Teachers utilized only textbooks as the best learning resource. They did not have access to ICT even though it could stimulate learning motivation through collaborative learning and also improve learning efficiency. The use of ICT in language teaching promotes students’ motivation and learning interest in the English language (Ghimire, 2019). Due to this reason and the demand of the situation, teachers have gradually changed their teaching pedagogy and have applied different teaching approaches for the betterment of students. The stories of participants revealed that they have applied a task-based language teaching approach which promotes students’ engagement in the classroom. It has created a comfortable language learning environment and students love to use the English language with their friends and teachers (Bhandari, 2020).
Moreover, ICT is playing a crucial role in English language teaching where the internet is the most available, flexible, practical way and a treasure of vast knowledge, teachers are utilizing it for the purpose of meaningful classrooms and developing good communication skills. Thus, in this changing pedagogy of teaching, teachers are providing a great number of learning activities as mentioned above, and opportunities for students to communicate in the target language. The internet facilitates teachers to find new ideas, new techniques, and ways of teaching that assist in their teaching profession. With this, they can create a child-centred classroom.
The study revealed that the grammar-translation method used in language teaching and learning has been shifted. It has been replaced by the task-based language teaching approach where teachers want their students to use the ICT tools and engage themselves while learning. Student-centered learning is more focused these days where they learn in their self-paced learning environment. Teachers have also been transformed from dictators to facilitators where learning is placed at the center rather than the subject matters.
Alfadley, A., Aladani, A., & Alnwaiem, A. (2020). The qualities of effective teachers in elementary government schools from the perspective of EFL elementary teachers. International Journal of English Language Teaching, ECRTD, UK. 1, 49-64.
Bhandari, L.P. (2020). A task-based language teaching approach: A current EFL approach. Australian International Academic Centre.
Ghimire, N. B. (2019). Five facets for effective English language teaching. Journal of NELTA Gandaki.
Izadinia, M. (2009). Critical pedagogy: An introduction. In P. Wachob (Ed.), Power in the classroom: critical pedagogy in the Middle East. Cambridge Scholars Publication, 7-16.
Khatiwada, K. P. (2018). Online engagement for developing writing in English: perception of teachers and learners. Kathmandu University.
Kim, M., & Douglas, S. R. (2014). Task-Based Language Teaching and English for Academic Purposes: An Investigation into Instructor Practice in Canadian Context. TESL, Canada.
Lee, K. W. (2000). Energizing the ESL/EFL Classroom through Internet activities.
Moubtssime, H. H. M. (2021). The use of ICT in learning English: A study of students in Moroccan University. SAR Journal, 4(1), 19-28
Rahman, M. (2012). Grammar translation method: An effective and feasible method in Bangladesh context. Department of English and Humanities. BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Richards, J.C. (2002). Teachers’ narrative inquiry as professional development. Cambridge University Press.
Richards, J. C. & Rodgers, T. S. (2010). Approaches and methods in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sapkota, K. P. (2017). EFL teachers’ readiness in the secondary classroom: A narrative inquiry. Kathmandu University.
About the Author: Ms Tripti Chaudhary is pursuing an M.Phil. in English language education at Kathmandu University. She has been working as a Program Coordinator in an International Non-Government Organization in Finland Nepal. She has been working in different INGOs for a decade to contribute her knowledge and skills in the education field. The areas of my interest include teacher professional development, parental education, and research in different areas.
Growing up in a middle-class family with five siblings, my formative years were shaped by the love and care of my elders, instilling in me a sense of confidence and freedom. Among them, my father emerged as the most influential figure, guiding me with his hard work and selfless values. As I reflect on my educational journey and professional life, I realize how my father’s schooling continues to resonate, impacting my academic pursuits and shaping me into an educator who seeks to inspire and transform the lives of others.
The Enduring Legacy of My Father: Inspiring Values in My Academic Journey
Growing up in a modest family in the Baitadi district, my father’s determination, love for education, and selflessness left an indelible impact on my values, beliefs, and personal growth.
Despite their humble circumstances, my father’s family recognized the transformative power of education, impressing upon him the importance of prioritizing learning for a brighter future. Embracing this wisdom, he excelled academically and obtained top honours in the Kanchanpur district, the western part of Nepal. Working part-time to support his further studies, he completed B.Ed. in mathematics from Tribhuvan University, Nepal, and devoted over 36 years to teaching secondary-level mathematics in rural areas.
My father’s life experiences taught me the value of hard work, honesty, and unwavering determination to achieve my goals. His struggles also instilled in me a sense of gratitude for the opportunities I have today. His most profound lesson, however, was selflessness, his unwavering dedication to his family and society left an indelible impression on my character. As I pursued my academic journey, my father’s influence continued to guide me. Although my circumstances were more privileged, his lessons taught me that diligence and integrity make success possible.
His teachings not only shaped me as a good person but also as an authentic individual. I am determined to pass these invaluable lessons to my future family and students. With his enduring legacy as my compass, I seek to inspire and transform lives, just as my father has done throughout his remarkable journey.
Empowerment Through Education: A Personal Academic Journey
My academic journey commenced at home, where my family played the role of my first teachers, introducing me to alphabet belts and basic numbers. Though I began my formal education in a government school like my siblings, I had the privilege of studying in private (boarding) school (first in my family). This choice garnered public attention and prestige in our village, underscoring the value of education.
During my primary education, I excelled in memorization-based learning, securing top positions in my class. However, the system of rote learning limited my true understanding of the subjects. Shifting to government education posed initial challenges due to larger and more diverse classes, but I adapted over time, benefiting from a more flexible learning environment, albeit lacking student-centred approaches.
Upon completing my SLC, I went to Nainital India for my I.Sc., however I realized that my I.Sc. didn’t align with my interests, and faced language difficulties and homesickness. My family, understanding my predicament gave me the freedom to decide my academic path, leading me back to Mahendranagar, my hometown.
Embracing my interest in English, I pursued I.A. with English as my major subject. My academic journey continued rapidly, culminating in a B.A. with a major in English from Mahendranagar. My pursuit of higher education led me to Kathmandu, where I completed my M.A. in English literature from the central department of English in Kirtipur, achieving a first division. During my master’s studies, I harboured aspirations of becoming a police officer, inspired by the bold heroes of Hindi movies. However, my passion for teaching gradually surfaced, steering me away from the police force.
In this journey, education has played a pivotal role in empowering me intellectually. It provided me with knowledge, skills, and critical thinking abilities, enabling me to navigate various academic pursuits successfully. Furthermore, education has empowered me economically by opening doors to career opportunities and professional growth, allowing me to contribute meaningfully to society.
Education also fosters social empowerment, equipping me with the ability to share knowledge, mentor others, and contribute to the transformation of education in Nepal. Through my role as an educator, I have had the privilege of training teacher educators, presenting research papers at national and international conferences, and integrating innovative teaching strategies with ICT in language classrooms.
As I reflect on my academic journey, I recognize that education has been the key to my empowerment in multiple dimensions. Not only has it enriched my personal and professional life, but it has also instilled a deep sense of responsibility to empower others through the dissemination of knowledge and a commitment to transformative education.
Empowering Teaching Through Innovative Integration of ICT
As I embarked on my teaching journey at Darchula Multiple Campus, Khalanga, Darchula, Nepal in 2009 after completing my M.A. in English Literature from Tribhuvan University, I initially questioned whether teaching would become my true passion and profession. Not having an ELT background, my first experiences in university-level ELT classes left me feeling somewhat apprehensive. However, the positive responses and appreciation from both students and colleagues ignited a newfound enjoyment in teaching, leading me to realize that teaching was indeed my passion.
To improve my teaching skills and enhance my expertise in English Language Education further, I pursued a one-year B.Ed. and M.Ed. from Tribhuvan University. Determined to stay up to date with the latest pedagogy and educational technologies, I delved into integrating ICT into my ELT classrooms. The availability of ICT infrastructure, including computer labs, laptops, projectors, multimedia smart boards, and internet facilities, provided valuable tools to enrich the teaching and learning process.
The integration of ICT, though initially challenging, proved to be a motivating force in my teaching practices. Participating in various training sessions, workshops, webinars, and conferences, and learning from online resources like YouTube videos, I gradually adapted to using ICT more effectively in language classrooms. My colleagues often sought technical support from me when incorporating educational software such as MS Teams and Zoom during the transition to online classes amidst the pandemic.
Witnessing my students’ satisfaction and a keen interest in my classes further fueled my motivation to innovate in teaching by strategically incorporating ICT. A significant incident that highlights this impact occurred on 5th July 2021 when I was allowed to conduct ICT training for my colleagues at Far Western University Darchula Multiple Campus Khalanga Darchula. The training focused on using MS Team for upcoming online classes, and it became evident that many faculty members lacked familiarity with ICT in education. Their enthusiasm to learn and improve their ICT practices was inspiring. Guiding them through the basic functionalities of MS Team, such as creating class schedules, adding students as members, conducting quizzes, and facilitating group discussions, the session proved to be both engaging and fruitful, garnering appreciative comments from the participants and the dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Despite facing challenges within the academic environment and culture, where well-performing teachers are sometimes undervalued or discriminated against based on political affiliations, I have remained steadfast in fulfilling my professional duties honestly and responsibly. The support and belief from my family, friends, and students have been instrumental in sustaining my resilience.
Through the transformative power of education and the innovative integration of ICT, my passion for teaching has flourished, empowering me intellectually and professionally. Beyond my personal growth, I aspire to be an agent of change, promoting the meaningful use of ICT in education and contributing to the advancement of the educational landscape in Nepal.
M.Phil. at Kathmandu University as a Gateway for Transformation
I decided to pursue an MPhil in English language education from Kathmandu University with the unwavering support and encouragement from my family, friends, and students. Their belief in my abilities and the significance of advancing my academic journey propelled me to seek an institution that would catalyze personal growth and transformation. In this esteemed institution, I got amazing mentors, whose mentorship equipped me with both theoretical knowledge and practical competencies, instilling in me the confidence to implement cutting-edge teaching strategies and adapt to the ever-evolving needs of my future students. Through their guidance, I deepened my understanding of English language education and acquired the necessary skills to become a proficient teacher for 21st-century learners. Engaging in teacher professional development activities, I was exposed to innovative teaching methods, educational technologies, and effective pedagogical approaches that are most relevant in today’s dynamic classroom environments.
Furthermore, the vibrant academic environment at Kathmandu University fostered a strong sense of community among fellow students. Collaborative projects, discussions, and academic events enriched my learning experience and provided me with diverse perspectives on educational practices. This supportive network of peers and colleagues further contributed to my personal and professional growth, creating a nurturing environment for exploration and intellectual development.
During my M.Phil. journey at Kathmandu University, I experienced a profound personal transformation and achieved notable professional growth. Embracing innovative teaching strategies, I contributed to the academic field through publications and disseminated knowledge to a broader audience. Additionally, my academic journey extended into teacher education and research, as I provided training and presented research papers at national and international conferences, contributing to the advancement of Nepal’s education system. This transformation has empowered me with the confidence to foster positive change and cultivate a passion for learning among future generations.
My academic journey has been a transformative experience, catalyzed by the influence of my father’s dedication to education and selflessness. From the early years of learning at home to my pursuit of higher education at Kathmandu University, I have been intellectually and professionally empowered. By integrating innovative teaching methods and ICT in the language classroom, I have witnessed heightened student engagement and satisfaction. This journey has also enabled me to contribute actively to the field through my publications and knowledge-sharing endeavours with fellow educators. Supported by the unwavering belief of my family, friends, and students, I am determined to leverage the transformative power of education, creating a positive impact on the lives of students, and fostering progress within Nepal’s education landscape as I continue to evolve as an educator and researcher.
About the Author: Dammar Singh Saud is an assistant professor at Far Western University, Nepal. He holds an M.A. in English Literature and an M.Ed. in English Language Education. Currently pursuing an MPhil in English Language Education at Kathmandu University, his research interests include ELT Pedagogy, ICT in ELT, Teacher Professional Development, and Translanguaging.
It gives us immense pleasure to release the second quarterly issue (April-June 2023) of ELT Choutari. The articles in this issue are the product of a recent Four-Week Virtual Workshop on Teachers’ Narrative Writing led by the ELT Choutari team. It aimed at empowering teachers to write reflective narratives (experiences and stories) offering them moments to pause and reflect on what they do, why and whether or not the process is serving the purposes. Choutari think this process of reading, writing and critical thinking empowers teachers professionally. Working closely with mentors, the participants produced some original and thought-provoking reflective narratives based on their rich experiences. This issue acknowledges the power of teachers’ own voices, personal journeys, triumphs, and challenges, ultimately inspiring and igniting change within the educational community. The issue presents you reflective blogs on students’ feedback and teachers’ support, story of teachers teaching in rural schools, integrated curriculum from teachers’ perspectives, and dealing with assignments.
Dasarath Rai, in his narrative highlights the shift in language teaching principles and the importance of addressing learners’ needs. The author shares his personal experiences of collecting students’ feedback to create more rewarding and meaningful learning experiences to them. He emphasizes the need for teachers to innovate and create their own methods based on the context and students’ unique requirements.
Similarly, Jham Bahadur Thapa provides a personal account of teaching English in low-resourced rural communities and navigating through some unique challenges. The author provides insight into the complexities and evolving nature of teaching English in a rural context.
Likewise, Laxmi Shrestha in her critical reflective narrative shares her mixed feelings about teaching integrated curriculum in elementary school highlighting some challenges she faced such as lack of access to the curriculum and resources, limited professional development, assessment procedures. It demonstrates how the top-down approach to curriculum development and dissemination is not working and raises questions about the process and preparation of implementing new curriculum in classrooms. The author also discusses some ways out to address it.
Additionally, Surendra Prasad Ghimire reflects on his experience of teaching large class in college and shares the challenges associated with students’ late assignments submission. The author also shares some way outs he and his students tried out to tackle this issue.
Here is the list of blogs for you to navigate in this issue:
Finally, I would like to thank our editors and reviewers in this issue, Mohan Singh Saud, Nanibabu Ghimire, Ganesh Kumar Bastola, Jeevan Karki, Sagar Poudel and Karuna Nepal for their relentless effort and contribution.
ELT Choutari is a platform for researchers, scholars, educators, and practitioners to share their perspectives, practices, and stories from classrooms and communities. If you enjoy reading the articles, please feel free to share them in and around your circle and drop your comments.
We encourage you to contribute to our next issue (July- September) and send your articles and blogs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the decades, we have witnessed a different shift in the principles and methods of language teaching. The key concern behind such a move is to appease and address the need of the learners and make them achieve the desired linguistic competency. However, the ideologies of language teaching prescribed to us so far have proven to be contextually irrelevant. According to Kumaravadivelu (2003), “classroom-oriented studies carried out in the last two decades show that teachers could not be successful in putting the methods into practice in real classroom situations.” These findings have encouraged teachers to innovate their own practices and generate theories beyond what was prescribed, and grow as independent, autonomous, and reflective practitioners.
Throughout my six-year tenure as an English teacher in a private school in Kathmandu, I have encountered numerous pivotal moments in my classroom that have served as beacons of enlightenment, guiding me toward creating my own teaching methods rather than merely adhering to prescribed principles and methods. I think principles perform perfectly for scientific experiments, however; language teaching and learning necessitate a more adaptable and fluid approach. In this regard, every language teacher becomes a reservoir of principles, possessing a comprehension of learners’ unique needs, context, and intended objectives.
My journey towards transformative teaching commenced with a fundamental shift in perspective, prioritizing the needs of my students. This shift was prompted by the realization that my own educational background had conditioned me to cater solely to the expectations of my teachers, fostering the belief that they were the absolute source of knowledge. As a result, my teaching endeavors were driven by what I knew and what I desired to impart.
Nevertheless, the awakening of my conscience compelled me to recognize the inadequacy of this approach in the capital city, where students are inundated with abundant information and varied sources of knowledge. In this regard, I realized that introspection and self-evaluation are key to cultivating insights and intuition for relearning and unlearning.
Evaluating teacher from students’ bench
Knowing students’ attitudes, beliefs, and interest is quite rewarding for a teacher. Therefore, I decided to collect students’ feedback. The rationale behind gathering their feedback was: to critically evaluate my teaching methods from students’ vantage points, make learning more engaging and students centered, and find out the flaws which unconsciously go unnoticed in the classroom.
To achieve my objectives, I told students to write their feedback on the paper. I urged them not to show their write-ups to their friends. It is because I wanted to dig out personal opinions from them.
I collected students’ opinions from three sections. I took their feedback home and read it thoroughly. I divided the feedback into two groups. Positive feedback is one pile, and constructive feedback is another. I read all the constructive feedback twice and analyzed whether they had been true to their words or not, whether they had any personal influence and any prejudice or not. Then I picked up some of the common feedback, which really required my attention. One common feedback was that “You give us some contextual knowledge but extend it to dull and boring lectures.” This is what the teacher-centered approach is, where the teacher keeps on talking, and students become just passive listeners.
No matter whether students perceive it or not. As a result, students feel bored, unenviable, and exhausted. They don’t get time to exchange their personal thoughts, feeling, and ideas with teachers and their friends. At the same time, the teacher also becomes exhausted by screaming throughout the day and trudging home disconsolately due to students’ reaction of disappointment in his or her class. It indicated that high school students want specific information from the teacher instead of rattling off all the information he or she knows. It is particularly due to their age, level, and experiences in the real world. The next feedback read, “We feel your focus on only some students. So focus equally on all the students and promote students’ participation in class” I understood that it was the voice of those students who did not get the opportunity to participate in different activities in the classroom despite their talents. As a result, they felt socially distanced and emotionally detached in my class. At the same time, it was the question of equity in learning. In this regard, Ling, Nasri, & N. M. (2019) define “equity means that students should have equal opportunities to achieve their optimal abilities without being restricted by their community background or dispositional characteristics.” In my case, equity denoted scaffolding to especially those learners who have poor linguistic performances and cannot learn at the pace of other students in my subject. The aforementioned feedback enlightened me that treating all students equally regarding content delivery and teaching language skills is unjustifiable in a heterogeneous classroom setting.
Response to students’ feedback
The students’ feedback revealed that they wanted to activate themselves mentally and physically in the classroom. They wanted to listen less and engage more in activities that could be productive, meaningful, and interesting. I pondered the best strategies and materials that could equally engage the students in learning. While doing so, I discovered that our teaching and learning activities are limited when we fully depend on textbooks. Therefore, I did not fully rely on the textbook but prepared different materials and worksheets for teaching all four language skills. For reading activities, I created worksheets that were intellectually challenging. Students had to fully comprehend the text to do the activities to develop intensive reading skills, and the activities given in the prescribed textbook were below students’ level.
Regarding speaking activities, I used-cut outs consisting of clear guidelines for speaking. I designed the materials in such a way that students had to brainstorm for two to three minutes on the topic before they spoke. The guidelines helped them to maintain coherence in speaking. This activity helped me in two ways: one exciting part was I could maximize students speaking, and another was I could engage them in a meaningful talk. I assume that speaking should not only be commotion for students, but it should be meaningful where they can share their thoughts and ideas. In the same way, I used IELTS listening text in my class, and the outcome was so exciting.
The students’ feedback helped me modify my teaching method, which was particularly practicable and fit for my context. I could equally engage the learners in learning. In another way, the students were at the center, not me.
Teaching, a collective effort
Our faculty often used to have discussions on different ideas about teaching and learning activities and professional development. Therefore, the English faculty in our school adopted some techniques. Firstly, the school allocated one weak period for faculty meetings, which were regularly held. The meeting served as a platform for teachers to engage in narrative sessions, sharing their classroom practices, techniques, methods, outcomes, and the challenges they encountered during their teaching experiences. During the meeting, we did not only share the stories but also offered suggestions to the problems. For instance, experienced teachers shared their materials, discussed lesson planning, and suggested novice teachers use positive verbal reinforcement to the unruly students in and out of the class to make them responsible in their work. By implementing this methodology, we established a supportive community of educators, as advocated by Richards and Farrell (2005), wherein mutual classroom observations and constructive feedback facilitated a teachers’ support group. In addition, we engaged in a classroom observation process where we attended our colleagues’ classes to observe their teaching methods and reciprocally invited them to our classes for feedback. We diligently recorded these valuable insights in a personal diary, allowing us to enhance our teaching skills and refine our strategies. This instructional approach aligns with the peer observation framework proposed by Richards and Farrell (2005). Through reciprocal classroom visits, we observed our colleagues’ instructional practices and invited them to observe our own. We systematically documented the feedback in a personal diary to facilitate continuous improvement. After observing one of my classes, my senior faculty head, with extensive teaching experience, provided written feedback, insights, and recommendations, which read as follows.
You have incorporated materials that went beyond the usual textbook. This approach kept the students alert and engaged. The activity was a reading-based exercise, where students delved into thought-provoking texts and answered questions that required higher levels of cognition. The challenging nature of these questions fully engrossed the students, fostering a deep understanding and critical thinking. Besides, consider the pronunciation of ‘bicycle’ and get students to paste the material in their copy after they finish activities.
Rethinking evaluation system
Despite the tireless efforts exerted by teachers and students throughout the year, the final outcomes of students have consistently sparked discourse and deliberation among students, educators, and academicians. However, the concerns related to the evaluation system often go unnoticed within our educational setting. While our education system emphasizes the importance of critical thinking and creativity, the evaluation system relies on grades, often viewed as irrational and lacking justification from students’ perspectives.
Last year, two students had not made the required grade in two subjects to qualify for the next level. The outcomes left them feeling disheartened and humiliated, leading me to ponder, does this three-hour evaluation system truly assess students’ capabilities? Does it compensate for students’ time and efforts? Probably, the answer is ‘no’. Those two students, who served as representatives from my class, are just a glimpse of the thousands of students across the country whose self-worth and sense of pride have been severely undermined by the impact of this evaluation system.
Hence, it is imperative for educationists and academicians to engage in a comprehensive evaluation of the existing assessment system, ensuring that it possesses the necessary flexibility to effectively measure students’ abilities while being practical and contextually relevant.
Souvenir at farewell
Teaching is my passion. I feel I am born for it. I know nothing can be more rewarding for teachers than the complements and their students’ achievement. Last year, some students came to me with colourful paper folded artistically. They handed it to me with excitement. My inquisitive hand unfolded the papers. As the papers unraveled before my eyes, a symphony of emotion swirled within my being. The profundity of their gratitude echoed through the chambers of my heart. Their words, like sacred verses, embraced my weary spirit.
In the beginning, your classes were boring to be honest, but as time passed by, we got to know your English class was one of the most exciting classes. You have been a really great teacher. Your teaching style is wonderful. Your experience is learnable. It has been two years of your wonderful teaching that we cherish. Your handwriting has been a favorite part. If you will not be in our section next year. You will always be remembered.
Aloni, N. (2007). Enhancing Humanity. Dordrecht: Springer.
Kumaravadivelu, B. (2003). Beyond methods: Macrostrategies for language teaching. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Ling, T., & Nasri, N. M. (2019). A systematic review: Issues on equity in education. Creative Education, 10(12), 3163.
Richards, J. C., & Farrell, T. S. C. (2005). Professional Development for Language Teachers: strategies for teacher learning. New York: Cambridge University Press.
About the Author: Dasarath Rai teaches English at Ideal Model School, Dhobighat, Lalitpur. He has accomplished Master’s Degree in English Education from Mahendra Ratna, Campus, Tahachal, Kathmandu. He is interested in teacher professional development, multiculturalism, cultural identity, and materials development in language education.
A good teacher is one of the prominent figures in society. It is believed that whatever the teacher teaches is correct and true. So, the teacher is a role model in a society whose character can be imitated by numerous people. Therefore, a teacher should always have a positive attitude and have a person of spotless character. Similarly, talking about teaching is a dynamic profession where the teacher should be very energetic and adopt new teaching strategies as per the need of the situation, demands, and level of the students. Teaching English and being an English teacher is a challenging job in this ICT era. It is one of the most complex, and sensitive tasks in the ELT context of Nepal.
Here, I have narrated my own real story of teaching experiences as an English teacher in a rural area of Nepal, including what and how I have faced the ups and downs during my ELT periods. Our society is heterogeneous. I am from the Magar community of Tanahun district where our Magar communities want their children to be in the army. Similarly, my family also wanted me to join the army. More amazingly, one of the incidents directed me to become an English teacher where I stand today.
Self-observation and reflection
After completing my Intermediate Education Level with a major in English, I initiated my teaching career being an English teacher at one of the community schools in Tanahun district in 2072 (2015). I was appointed as a private teacher and paid 2500 RS. in a month. During the winter vacation, I came home from Prithivi Narayan Campus as usual other students did. Once early in the morning, around 5:30 a.m., the head teacher who taught me in primary school came to me. I was shocked to see him at my house so early. We talked for a long time, and even after a long conversation; I couldn’t guess why he was there. Eventually, being more honey talks, he requested me to teach English in that school that has been running basic level 6- 8 grades. I was in a dilemma with my teacher’s proposal whether to teach in that school or not, as I had to continue my higher education on one side, and on another side, my parents couldn’t afford my higher education without doing any job. Finally, he suggested me to continue my further study, both teaching, and self-studying. After the selection process, I was appointed to be a lower secondary English teacher, from where I completed my primary education. I felt very nervous at my first teaching. So, I uttered the words with stammering. Now I recall how many times I stammered, ‘Don’t make noise’ It might be more than 30 times in a period. How poor my first class was. By reflecting, I think teaching years are not valued until we provide positive transformation to the students.
Being a novice teacher, I used to depend on textbooks. There was Ajanta’s dictionary in school which I frequently used to consult. It made the ELT classes more comfortable for me. I had to teach all the periods except the tiffin time. In the remote part of our school, there were only blackboards and chalk in the name of teaching materials. I rarely used instructional materials like; cardboard, cutter pictures, word card, and other local materials. I used to follow the Grammar Translation method to teach English. Later on, I employed the communicative language teaching method where the students could get ample opportunities to engage in pair work, group work, role play, simulation, and some project-based works, etc communicating in English. After that, I could teach language skills using cassettes and pictures, focusing on the students’ needs and interests as well. I was satisfied with my teaching as my students had improved their English slowly and gradually. I received very positive responses from my parents. I wish I could improve the existing ELT situations in favor of students’ dynamic learning process. Regarding that situation, I myself reflected on how I had studied English at the secondary and campus levels.
By demand of time, several approaches or methods came and collapsed and now are existed in ELT. Similarly, I have got a chance to improve my teaching assumptions and philosophies. I have participated in different ELT trainings. Especially, I’ve learned the modern post-method approach, including with critical thinking approach that highly affects the ELT field. I have learned how to deal with multi-lingual and inclusive classes. The training in which I participated made me conduct the class in a child-friendly environment. In the present day, I intelligently tackle the issues/challenges in my teaching profession. Obviously, numerous pieces of training and having a master’s degree reformed me to design, construct and apply teaching materials and lesson plans and provide feedback to needy students. When I myself started being up to date, renewing, and reflecting on the present ELT approaches, methods, and techniques my performance is being improved with students’ results in English subjects.
The successful teaching class
It was a day in the month of Magh 2075 (2019), as usual, after the assembly time, I went to class ten. Afterward, I had a well-prepared class and commenced the lesson by telling a moral story. I provided the time to guess what the topic was on that day. Then, students could easily guess the topic of the day that they were going to have. At first, I divided students into nine groups having five students in each group. After that, I instructed them clearly what they were supposed to do with the cardboard paper. Then, I distributed the cardboard paper and a sign pen writing the phrase ‘Once upon a time…. It was given to the first group to write some relevant sentences about the moral story. Then, respectively that paper was relayed to each group by adding some new sentences to develop a story. Finally, the last group was given the task of writing the title and moral of the story. Providing clear instructions, each group developed the related sentences for the productive stage of story writing. During that period, I facilitated going around the groups. I provided necessary feedback to each group’s members. I observed each group’s members actively involved in the given tasks. Actually, it was the most learnable and effective class I have ever had. From that day, what I reflected is that every ELT teacher has to teach with a good lesson plan and employ the appropriate learning strategies, activities, and techniques to obtain the learning competencies.
Issues of teaching English in rural schools
I have faced many issues and challenges during my ELT teaching in rural Nepal. First, the issue is in ELT is the English medium of instruction (EMI) in the rural area of our school. EMI creates a kind of obstruction in teaching English and other subjects in my classes. Many teachers couldn’t teach the English language. So, it created a great puzzle for the students cum other teachers. Similarly, there is a great issue of policy making and implementation in the context of ELT in Nepal. Another challenge is teacher training implementations in the classroom. The main challenges of training teachers to teach English effectively remain in place.
Though English teaching in Nepal is not a politics of knowledge, it is a useful subject for bureaucracy and profit-making incentives. The issues of ICT, internet, and computer usage in ELT and outdated teachers are prominent issues in Nepal. Therefore, the changing position or roles of teachers should be focused on digital competence in this era of globalization and technology. In this way, the issues of the mother tongue-based, and multi-lingual approaches need to be addressed properly in the ELT context of Nepal. The economic, cultural, educational, social, and family issues of the students are the prominent issues in the ELT in Nepal. The teaching methods are the issues that I faced in teaching English. Lack of internet access in the remote part of Nepal is another challenge for English language teaching in Nepal. In my remote part, there are no rich resource materials, textbooks, curriculum, and teaching materials, which makes it difficult in teaching. We do not normally see students when they engage in writing in the classroom where students might need some help from teachers. Some of us do not appreciate students’ efforts and steps towards putting what they want to show through small compositions as creative starters. Furthermore, the issues related to ELT teaching in Nepal are the lack of proper supervision, monitoring, and teacher support. I think the issues should be addressed scientifically.
Objectives of teaching English in Nepal
In my experience, the objectives, goals, and paradigms are always shifting and changing due to the demands of the times. Despite this, the goals of ELT have been changed from focusing solely on developing language skills to fostering a sense of social responsibility in students. Now the objective of teaching English is shifted into communicating, collaborating, and exchanging ideas effectively with others who speak the English language. The students should be enabled to use all four language skills creatively, critically, fluently, and accurately to solve real-life problems. Furthermore, the ELT teachers make the students respect each other’s cultures and religious festivals.
Road ahead in Nepal
I have been teaching and learning English for more than 17 years. What my experiences taught me is that the ELT system of teaching in Nepal is slowly promoting and expanding its different aspects. The curriculum based on the communicative approach is gradually shifting into interdisciplinary, multi-disciplinary, and Transdisciplinary approaches. Therefore, the objectives of teaching ELT in Nepal should address every challenge or issue related to the students, ELT teachers, and curriculum in the present world. It is the era of rapid development of ICT and the Internet. For this, ELT teachers should have sound knowledge and communication skill of digital competence. The traditional perspectives of teaching English in Nepal have been changing the rigid feeling of native speakers, and monolinguals’ gradually faced objections. Non-native English teachers promoted multilingual practices in their classes. I think the government or the concerned bodies should focus on promoting multilingualism awareness. A new kind of training structure, policy, and implementation should be emphasized. The salary, payment, and other terms of facilities need to be addressed. Education policy should be reformed. Different kinds of ELT conferences, workshops, training, counseling, etc., are required. The concept of ELT globalization must be interrelated to each ELT teacher in Nepal. The education system, including examination systems, must change into a scientific system of examination that exists meaningfully in the present world. Students should be encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning. There can be the training of teachers as well as student motivation. Similarly, ELT teaching in Nepal aims to achieve sustainable development. ELT teachers should improve the learning achievement of all students. In my opinion, what students learn in the classroom results from what a teacher makes students do in the classroom. Thus, the above-mentioned clues should be emphasized to improve the ELT in Nepal.
Being an English teacher in the Nepalese context, what I experienced is that the role of the teacher should function as a resource person to inspirer. Similarly, he/she should have a sound knowledge of current ELT pedagogy. The teachers should have self-reflective practice. The teachers need to make our students clear on how English has been used and how we should use it in the era of globalization. ELT teachers need to be action researchers in their teaching profession. The chief responsibility of an ELT teacher is to create a suitable and conducive learning environment where the children perform their tasks easily and freely; construct knowledge, and show their creativity. Thus, an ELT teacher should have all kinds of practical skills and knowledge and extend helping hands to the students to solve problems via cooperation, collaboration, and creating an effective learning environment. So, my teaching reflections guided me to be an inspirer updated ELT teacher for the betterment of my own professional development for the successful career of the students.
About the Author: Mr. Jham Bahadur Thapa is an M.Phil Scholar in English Language Education at the Graduate School of Education TU, Kritipur, Nepal. He has been teaching from basic to higher levels at different schools and colleges for a decade. His area of interest is Multilingualism, Narrative Inquiry Research, and Teacher Professional Development.
The government of Nepal introduced Integrated Curriculum in 2019 after piloting it for a year with the goal of providing knowledge of different disciplines through related subject matters. Integrated curriculum is defined as a curriculum that interlinks learning of more than one domain or learning areas (Ghimire, 2019). So, the content is thematically organized in it. Theoretically, it is regarded as one of the best forms of curriculum design. An integrated curriculum is characterized by a systematic approach to teaching professional skills, that is, personal and interpersonal skills, and product, process, and system-building skills, integrated with engineering disciplinary fundamentals (Crawley et al. 2007). However, as a teacher, I have mixed feelings while implementing it in my classroom. In this reflective blog, I will share my experiences of implementing it especially in relation to professional development, resources, and assessment process.
In Nepal, the implementation of the curriculum is hugely dependent on teachers. Unfortunately, teachers are unknown about the curriculum until they are handed over the textbooks. They get to know that the curriculum has been revised only after going through the textbooks. Many teachers think that the textbooks have been revised, but actually, it’s the curriculum that has been revised. Surprisingly, I got access to the soft copy of the integrated curriculum only after three years of application.
Curriculum dissemination and teachers’ professional development
Generally, after the change in curriculum, the concerned authority trains the teachers before implementing it. But in my context, curriculum is implemented in school first, and only a few teachers are given training after a year or two years. So, how can teachers implement the curriculum in its true sense?
Following a similar trend, after a year of curriculum implementation, two teachers from each school in Vyas Municipality, Tanahun were called to participate in the curriculum dissemination programme and I was one of them. The facilitators of four subjects showed their slides related to their areas (Mero Nepali, Mero Ganit, My English, and Hamro Serofero). Most surprisingly, the slides simply contained a copy of the curriculum and nothing else. The facilitators read, and we listened to them like obedient students. Some of the teachers asked questions but they didn’t receive satisfying responses. I think the facilitators didn’t understand the question, and the participants didn’t understand the answers. So, the two days’ training was not so effective.
The teachers returned to their schools. Neither they implemented the curriculum nor did they exchange their learnings with their colleagues. As I was also the administrator of the school, I asked one of my colleague how they were conducting teaching-learning activities in her school. Instead, she said that the teachers who took part in the dissemination programme commented they had not understood what they were told to do and were not in the position to share their learning with others.
Later, I got an opportunity to take part in training. I had filled out the form of ETC, Tanahun, which I saw on my Facebook page in August 2022 (Shrawan). According to the information, the training would be held in the first week of September (Bhadra), but I was called for the training in October (Kartik). I attended it and learned to teach according to the purpose of the integrated curriculum. I learned different techniques to teach Mero Ganit (Mathematics) while teaching My English, Mero Nepali, and Hamro Serofero (My surrounding) and; to use teachers’ guides (TG). I learned to use an evaluation form to keep records of students’ learning achievements. I learned to keep records and build a portfolio of the students. As it was a ten-days training with two days devoted for each subject area including students’ assessment. We were told how to use teacher’s guide. Frankly speaking, I had never used a teacher’s guide before. Moreover, I had rarely heard about it and never seen the teachers using and talking about it.
After the training, I hurried to reach my school and apply what I learnt. I downloaded the Teacher’s guide from www.moecdc.gov.np; however, I couldn’t find the TG of all subjects of all classes. Despite that, I found the training useful for me to teach and assess my students.
Access to resources and materials
As teaching and testing are the two sides of a coin, I had to assess my students’ listening skills in English. In their workbook, students were asked to listen to recordings and do given activities, but I was helpless because I was unknown about the recordings. I searched on CDC website but couldn’t find them. Then, I contacted the municipal education department and they told they would get back to me but never did so. I reached out the trainer, who facilitated the assessment segment in the training and explained my problem and he provided me with the contact information of a CDC officer. I called them and they asked me to contact them later and when I called later, their phone was switched off. Eventually, I couldn’t find the materials to assess listening skill of my students.
Needless to say that the teachers must be well equipped with the resources for effective teaching and learning processes but teachers in our context are struggling to access the fundamental resources. On the other hand, teachers are blamed for not imparting quality education. How can a teacher contribute to students’ education? How can a teacher provide better education without resources? It is said that teachers must be resourceful, but how?
Assessment policy and practices
The curriculum indicates that the students must be assessed regularly and provided feedback. So, I tried to collect the assessment template from one of the stationeries where I usually used to go for school related documents and materials. I couldn’t find them even after making couple of attempts and I accessed the softcopy of the curriculum and printed the assessment forms using my office computer. I started to keep records of my students progress in it. Later, the municipality called for a meeting to discuss the examination date and other issues just before the first term (quarter). They provided a booklet of assessment forms. It was frustratingly late because we were supposed to keep records of students learning achievement from the very first day.
The curriculum has talked about the formative assessment of students and workbooks are designed based on it. Students are to be assessed after completion of each theme, so that we can evaluate whether they have achieved the learning outcomes of the particular theme or not. All they have to do is assess their students and keep records in the given format and make a portfolio of each student.
Although it became easier for me, it was not the same for other teachers. When the second terminal examination was about to begin, there was a debate among the teachers whether to follow the curriculum or not for students’ assessment. Only a few teachers favored the curriculum, which envisions continuous assessment of students instead of paper-pencil test but teachers and parents are habituated to it. They don’t want to change the status quo. Instead they would want to continue with the traditional test, which is against the spirit of the curriculum. However, almost all the teachers wanted to continue with the terminal paper-pencil tests. They argued that the parents aren’t happy until their children appear in the written examination. It seemed that they were fencing themselves and making excuses due to the time-taking assessment system in a new format.
When the third quarter of last year was coming to the end, teachers were asking me about the process of assessment procedures of the students. I explained them many times what I knew but it was not possible to explain entire process over the phone. I requested them to read the curriculum and teacher’s guide. However, I don’t think they did so. Some teachers even asked me to take a photo of the assessment form and send them pictures of the record. It was surprising how a photo could help them to assess their students! Actually, the whole process is described very well in the curriculum. However, they do not access them either because they have poor digital literacy or are reluctant to implement the change in the new curriculum.
The government appoints specialists to develop the curriculum, and the specialists develop the curriculum. They might accomplish their job after designing the curriculum but curriculums are only successful once they are implemented effectively, so the concerned authority should also equally think about the implementers and implementation process. Teachers are still obliged to enter classrooms without any ideas about curriculum and instruction it envisions. They are also unlikely to be aware of the learning outcomes, pedagogy and assessment procedures in the new curriculum. Despite these problems, teachers are compelled to teach, which definitely hinder the effective implementation of the curriculum.
To summarize, the concerned authority must make sure that every teacher gets a copy of curriculum before it is implemented in classrooms. The teacher’s guide and curriculum must be available easily, like students’ textbooks. Teachers’ feedback must to collected widely before rolling out the new curriculum. Similarly, all teachers must be trained well before implementing new curriculum or policy. Mohr and Welker(2017) stated that “if curricular change is to happen, professional development ought to be a focus, and teachers’ perspectives should be central to the process.” Training after one or two years of curriculum implementation is worthless. Teachers should get chances to discuss their issues with the concerned authorities regarding their problems. Last but not least, the teachers themselves must also be active and curious to learn, so that they don’t have to always depend on others for implementing or leading change.
About the Author: Laxmi Shrestha is an M.Ed. from Aadikavi Bhanbhakta Campus, TU. She is an English teacher in a public school, Tanahun. Her interest in writing includes EMI, Second Language Acquisition, Sociolinguistics, and Language Teaching.
I joined college teaching at Matribhumi Campus, Lamjung, where a few regular students were in the classroom. I would have enough time to share ideas, listen to them, and support them. Later on, I was appointed as an assistant lecturer of English at Hetauda School of Management and Social Sciences, Makawanpur, where there would be an average of 50 students in each class. In the beginning, all the classroom activities were going smoothly on. However, gradually, I was entangled with the late submission of home assignments by some of the students, which caused me troubles in teaching and learning activities, particularly about completing the assigned course in the expected time. Thus, in this paper, by reflecting on my experience, I discuss specific causes/reasons behind the delayed submission of home assignments of English and some practical solutions to get rid of them.
Academic achievement of students and their submission of home assignments in time have been associated (Eren & Henderson, 2008; Rawson et al., 2017). Thus, the study by Kim and Seo (2015) claimed that the procrastination of home assignments indicated the low academic performance of the students. There have been various reasons for such delayed submission of home assignments. For instance, a study by Kuftyak (2022) argued that the students who had low performance in their studies, their laziness, and lack of proper time management were some of the causes of delayed submission of their home assignments. Moreover, delayed submission of home assignments would have a colossal impact affecting almost all the aspects of social and professional lives of students, particularly their academic performance. In addition, a study by Shaked and Altarac (2022) reflected feelings of frustration, anxiety, stress, damage to self-image, and receiving a lower grade were some of the consequences of delayed submission of home assignments. Despite the devastating impact of procrastinating on the home assignments, some of the students in my class delayed the submission of their home assignments. Although I tackled the problem by encouraging and motivating the students to complete the assigned work in time, the fundamental situation remained the same. Moreover, they made various excuses, such as forgetting their copies of assignments and not feeling well, just to name a few to justify their delayed submission. However, finally, I overcame gradually minimizing the ratio of late submission of assignments by adopting various strategies such as finding the real causes of problems, establishing friendly relations with the students, changing the ways of teaching, dealing individually with them, and assigning the work on their consent, thereby, here, I argue by understanding the real causes/reasons of delayed submission of home assignments and dealing accordingly with the students assist minimizing the ratio of delayed submission of home assignments instead of imposing the workload and various instructions for them. Thus, in this brief descriptive reflection, I focus on just how I made the students submit their home assignments before the deadlines by exploring the causes/reasons of the problem and adopting some strategies to get rid of the problem.
Causes of late assignment submission
I explored various causes of late submission of assignments of English which were different from student to student. However, some of the causes of late submissions of home assignments are discussed below:
Lack of clear understanding of the lesson
I found the students who did not concentrate on the classroom activities often delayed submitting their home assignments as they did not have much idea about how to solve the given problem due to a lack of clear understanding of the lesson. To solve their homework, they needed to explore their prescribed texts and other related materials which made them delayed in submitting their assignments before the deadline.
I discovered some of the students who delayed in the submission of their home assignments had a lack of managing the time in solving their assignments as they reported they often began solving their home assignments very late hour after receiving them, due to which they could not submit their assignments before the given deadline.
I found the workload of students’ home assignments was also a responsible factor in the delayed submission of their home assignments as I often used to prescribe them more work by realizing that they had to do a lot to improve their academic performance. In addition, some of the students reported that they would receive extra work in other subjects as well, due to which they would be already overloaded.
I investigated some of the students who did not submit their home assignments on time and often did not pay attention to working on home assignments instead, they enjoyed copying readymade answers from various sources, such as from their friends’ exercise copies, without really being involved in the given activities. Moreover, some did not care about the deadline of their assignments and made various excuses for their delayed submission.
Ways forward to overcome the problem
After finding some of the causes/reasons behind the problem, I adopted the following strategic procedures to solve the delayed submission of home assignments. They are as follows:
Establishing friendly relationships with students
Establishing friendly relationships with students assisted me in minimizing the delayed submission of home assignments by supporting me in a better understanding of the students and promoting the teaching and learning environment in the classroom. In doing so, I began spending more time with students outside the classroom, such as during break time, particularly focusing on the students who did not submit their home assignments on time. Gradually, I sorted out the names of the reluctant students, particularly about doing their homework, and developed their portfolios under their consent which helped me to assign a particular kind of homework for certain students and follow them before the deadline of their home assignments. As a result, the students who procrastinated in submitting their home assignments gradually improved and began to submit their home assignments a bit faster than earlier. They started sharing their problems of solving home assignments and other problems related to teaching and learning, which supported me in preparing further plans for overcoming the problem of delayed submission of home assignments.
Changing the ways of teaching
By exploring a connection between ways of teaching and the submission of home assignments, I reviewed and changed my previous ways of teaching in the classroom. I minimized the lecture method and focused on students centric teaching methods, such as class discussion and group work, just to name a few. Changing ways of teaching assisted me in solving the problem of lack of clear understanding of the lesson in the class. As a result, I found the majority of the students who delayed submitting their home assignments were actively participating in the classroom activities. I kept on following and inspiring them by highlighting their latest progress in classroom activities. Gradually, I realized the change in their classroom performance and submission of their home assignments before the deadline, which inspired me to work further to change their ways of working with assignments. Thus, changing the way of teaching assisted me to some extent in overcoming the problem of delayed submission of home assignments by promoting students to solve the problems and making them more responsible in the assigned work.
Dealing individually with students
In addition, I started dealing individually with some of the students who were still nagging about submitting the home assignments and making various excuses such as forgetting or missing their exercise copies, having an urgent piece of work at home so forth. They often would give me word that they would come the following day with the assignments; however, they never kept their promises. Then, I decided to deal individually with such students, which made it easier to explore further and understand them and to make them responsible for doing the home assignments. I initiated assigning different tasks for each such student instead of homogeneous kinds of work, which prevented imitating from each other’s copies and supported me assigning the work based on the standard of the students. The result was wonderful, as I found most of them submitted on the assigned time. Very few of them still did not submit on time. However, there was an improvement in their way of working.
Assigning on students’ consent
Finally, I developed another strategy, such as assigning home assignments on students’ consent for those who (very few of them) were still remaining back on submitting their homework on time. Thus, I asked them some questions before assigning some work to them, such as “Could you complete this work in the given time”? “Could you solve the following problem?” After finding some positive responses from such students then only I began assigning work to them. Later on, I found successful results after doing this as they improved them by following the given timeline of their home assignments and solving the problem in better ways instead of making various excuses like earlier. However, I found some students would like to receive very few home assignments compared to the other students in the class. Thus, it took me a bit more time to assign them the homework on their consent; nevertheless, I did not give up. Ultimately, I found adopting such a strategy supported me in overcoming the problem of delayed submission of English home assignments.
This article reflects some causes/reasons for delayed submission of English home assignments. It provides some practical solutions for solving the problem, such as establishing friendly relationships with students, changing the way of teaching, dealing with each student individually, and assigning the work on students’ consent. This reflective writing showed a single strategy has not been adequate for addressing the problem of delayed submission of home assignments and provides clear direction for further exploring the problem.
It gives us immense pleasure to share you that ELT Choutari is fifteen from this January. This relentless journey wouldn’t have been possible without your love, support and contribution. We are thankful to our readers, contributors, friends and critiques for everything they have rendered so far.
What a moment today! We are releasing our fifteenth anniversary issue and the first quarterly issue (January –March) of 2023. This generic issue incorporates articles on teacher identity, multilingualism, medium of instruction, and translanguaging from researchers, educators, and practitioners.
Saroj Bogati, in his article, explores the issue of teacher identity. He has conceptualized identity, including the discussion of self and identity. The article also highlights the need for critical reflection in shaping teacher identity, connecting it to popular narratives and identity discourses.
Similarly, Mandira Basnet discusses translanguaging practices in classroom. Drawing on her own experiences, she discusses challenges of a multilingual classroom. She also argues that translanguaging is one of the appropriate pedagogical practices to strengthen students learning in multilingual classes.
Moreover, Raju Yonjan makes a case on English language teachers’ challenges in multilingual classrooms. Drawing on the narrative inquiry approach, he highlights the necessity to use multiple languages to ensure their access to learning. He argues that translanguaging helps ease students’ learning by promoting interaction and collaboration.
Additionally, Laxmi Shrestha discusses the practicality of English Medium Instruction (EMI) in community schools in Nepal. She examines teachers, parents, and students’ ideological positions on EMI and classroom practices. She questions the effectiveness of the policy for quality learning and suggests the need to review the policy and practices.
Here are the list of articles for you to navigate in this issue:
Finally, I would like to thank our co-editor, Jnanu Raj Paudel for extending invaluable support throughout the process. We jointly are thankful to all our editors and reviewers, Nanibabu Ghimire, Ganesh Kumar Bastola, Mohan Singh Saud, Ashok Raj Khati, Jeevan Karki, Rajendra Joshi, Karuna Nepal, and Ekraj Koirala for their relentless effort and contribution.
ELT Choutari is a platform for researchers, scholars, educators, and practitioners to share their perspectives, practices, and stories from classrooms and communities. If you enjoy reading the articles, please feel free to share in and around your circle.
We encourage you to contribute to our issue (April-June) and send your articles and blogs to email@example.com. Drop your comments in the boxes below.
In this article, I have tried to expose the difficulties of a multilingual classroom and my practice of translanguaging to address those problems to do fair to students’ native language as equally as the target language. The classroom is the microcosm of society, providing the authentic flavor of each society’s culture, lifestyle, and way of thinking. The students are gathered from diverse backgrounds. In the classroom teacher as a facilitator must respond to every student fairly and respectfully. The translanguaging techniques may help the teacher do justice to the diverse students because translanguaging supports the varied learner to choose the language they like for the highest level of performance that they can perform in the heterogeneous class.
I have been working as a secondary-level English teacher since 2016. My school is one of the government schools, and it is situated in Golanjor -7 Khurkot Sindhuli. It’s name is Shree Jana Jyoti Secondary school, and it is one of the province model schools of sindhuli district. My school has two mediums of teaching and learning, English and Nepali, since 12 years ago. Because of the craze for the English language, my school’s pressure is very high, so each class has two sections. Section “A” is where students learn every subject except Nepali in English. In Section” B”, every subject except English is taught in Nepali. The catchment area of my school is large, and students come walking even from 4 to 5 miles far and also from Terai Region.
The linguistic background of section “B” students’ is a little bit poor. In my school, though there is no strict entrance exam for those students from outer school, they arbitrarily choose the section “B.” Most of the students are from minor ethnicity and Dalits in section “B” like Majhi, Waiba, Hayu, and Shrestha. The translanguaging technique is very effective in this section for the optimum levels of knowledge and language development because there is no mental pressure for the students to use only the target language in the classroom as they can use Nepali or their mother tongue, so they become more interactive. Similarly, in section “A, there is predominantly so-called higher ethnic groups like Chhetri, Brahmin, Devkota, Rai, Mandal etc., though the linguistic background of this section is a little bit good compared to section “B”. The translanguaging technique gives more freedom to share the highest knowledge levels and makes the classroom more engaging.
Practicing English in the EFL classroom, which is full of heterogeneous students, is very challenging because the student’s linguistic and cultural backgrounds are different. However, it directly and indirectly affects language learning for example, the students from the Madheshi community are more active in writing sessions than speaking because their first language and culture are different from the other students and teachers in the classroom. Hence, it is not easy for them to interact in the classroom. As an EFL teacher, I have to encourage my students to speak in target language as much as possible. However, most of my students are reluctant to talk because of a lack of sufficient vocabulary, problems in sentence formation, pronunciation etc. Some sample problems of the classroom are as presented as follows. At the beginning of the session, while I was encouraging my students to talk in the target language, one student stood up and said that” mam, I can’t talk in English, it is a very difficult subject. “He pronounced /talk/instead of /tak/, and sentences were also incomplete
Similarly, in most cases, while forming sentences, my students become confused in the order of words e.g., they create unusual sentences like (I never have understood her instead of, I have never understood her), (Rajan drives always to work, instead of Rajan always drives to work). They always become confused about in which position they should keep which words. The next thing is because of the cultural gap, students become so confused and ask funny questions which do not hve any sense in the classroom context; for example, while I was teaching my class ten students the chapter related to the international cultures they became surprised and confused by reading Some European country’s greeting culture and ask some silly types questions like “mam doesn’t American feel ashamed to kiss between opposite sex in the open place?” “Is it appropriate to hug the foreigners if I meet them in Thamel Kathmandu? etc.” Another last but not least exciting thing is that I Feel tired of running class to class to make my students understand the questions because the question comes only in the English language. It is challenging to them to understand the questions. In this article, I am trying to reveal the real problems of multilingual classrooms and my attempts to use translanguaging techniques to address those problems.
Translanguaging is a term used to describe the trend which supports the learner to choose the language that they like for the highest level of performance that they can perform. It motivates the learners to speak, write and translate in the language they feel comfortable to foster their learning. This concept entertains multilingualism in the EFL classroom. It helps to develop a positive attitude toward all the language skills that the learners have.
(Baker, 2011, p. 39) defined translanguaging as” the process of making meaning, shaping experiences, gaining understanding and knowledge through the use of two languages.” Similarly, (Hornberger & Link, 2012, p. 262) defined translanguaging as “the purposeful pedagogical alternation of language in spoken and written, receptive and productive mode. To be concluded, translanguaging is the process of allowing EFL learners to use any language that they like at any time. As an EFL teacher, while practicing the English language in the classroom, I have been facing the following problems.
Problems in Classroom Teaching
Psychology of Students towards Target Language
Most EFL students in public schools think English is a complicated language compared to their mother tongue. They cannot learn it, so they hesitate to interact in the classroom, switch to their mother tongue frequently while practicing the target language, and prefer to answer in their second language or mother tongue.
Problems Related to Sound
One of the significant challenges of the classroom is phonemic and phonological challenges. In the classroom, there is a lack of authentic input; in most cases, we depend on the textbook. We take textbooks as a curriculum rather than a helping book, and there is a trend to teach the subject to obtain marks rather than to learn it. So because of the lack of adequate input, students can’t pronounce most of the words correctly. Another problem is that they understand the sentences spoken by Nepalese speakers. However, it is challenging for them to understand the same sentences spoken by a native speaker. It means there is a lack of practice in pronunciation in the classroom.
On the other hand, the pronunciation of sounds in English can be challenging and confusing. The same letter can be pronounced differently in different situations. Some sounds may be silent in one instance but not another; for example, the letter “c” can be pronounced as /k/ in some words (e.g., “cat”) and as /cha/ in others (e.g., “chair”). The /k/ sound is silent in the word “knowledge”, but not in “keep.”
Linguistic and Cultural Diversity
For students whose linguistic and cultural background differs from that of the majority of students in the classroom, speaking in the classroom can be challenging. These students may not have a strong foundation in the second language and lack confidence, leading them to avoid speaking for fear of making mistakes. For example, in my classroom, students from the Terai region whose native language is Maithili and who use Nepali as a second language often remain silent, despite knowing the answers, due to their different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. During a dictation exercise, these students had difficulty understanding my pronunciation. They asked me to repeat the words and sentences multiple times. When I asked if they understood, one student, Devkant Mandal, told me that it was difficult to follow my speaking, but he could answer questions in written form. This highlights the gap between teaching and learning that can arise due to different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
Questions are only in the target language
Due to the use of monolingual assessment systems, students face difficulties comprehending the questions in the target language, leading to an inability to express their knowledge accurately.
Efforts to Solve the Problems
To overcome the problems mentioned above, I have been using the following techniques and strategies in my classroom.
Create Positive Attitude
First, I adopt a positive approach by uplifting words to shift negative attitudes towards positivity. I often tell my students that English is easier than their native language and remind them that if they can fluently speak their native language, they can also learn English. I also acknowledge and appreciate their small accomplishments, encouraging them to answer questions in the language they feel comfortable with. This approach has proven effective, as it has motivated weaker students to become more engaged in their learning and freely express their ideas in both their native and target languages.
Encourage Students to Express Ideas in the language of Their Choice
In my 10th-grade class, I teach Health, and the medium of instruction is English. At the start of the session, I solely used English to impart knowledge. I encouraged students to use English in classroom interactions. However, this resulted in a lack of student participation and creativity, making the class dull and monotonous. Later, I realized that while it is crucial to have a high level of knowledge about Health, it is not necessary to learn it in English. So, I encouraged students to interact in the language they felt comfortable with. This change made the health class more interactive and engaging, as students were no longer burdened by language and could freely share their ideas in their preferred language.
Maximization of Authentic materials
The primary goal of language learning is to communicate effectively on relevant topics. Since 2021, the curriculum for grades 4, 7, and 9 have changed, focusing on social themes, such as religion, yoga, Health, dining etiquette, etc. As an English teacher, I aim to align with the curriculum by incorporating authentic materials related to these themes into my lessons. Using real-life materials makes the learning experience practical and exciting. It helps students learn the language based on their needs and the topics being taught. For example, when it comes to cultural topics that may not have exact translations in the target language, students are free to use both their mother tongue and the target language as needed.
Reduce Overcorrection and Interruption
In most cases, I refrain from correcting my students while they are speaking and try to minimize correction in their writing. I don’t mind if they switch to their native language to feel comfortable talking and practicing, even if it is challenging.
Translanguaging is a process that allows for flexibility in language use in the EFL classroom. As target language teachers, it is our responsibility to foster an appropriate environment for language practice. We should not prohibit using the native language in the name of learning English. Instead, we should embrace and appreciate the use of the mother tongue following the context and situation.
Baker, C. (2011). Foundation of bilingual education (2nd .ed) clevedon: Multilingual matter.
Hornberger, N. & Hand Link, H. (2012 ). Translanguaging and transnational literacies in multilingual classroom: A Biliteracy lens. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism.
About the author: Mrs. Mandira Basnet is an M. Ed. in English. She teaches English to secondary-level students at Shree Jana Jyoti Secondary School, Golanjor- 7, Khurkot, Sindhuli, Nepal.
The concept of teacher identity can be taken as multifaceted and constructed in a dialectical way. It has several implications, such as teacher education, school leaders, teacher unions, or curriculum can provide a universal teacher identity in which teachers need to fit. Human beings can influence their lives and the peripheral environment where they live. Teachers experience many opportunities to change themselves and to be identified by them and by the external environment. Identity construction is a kind of narrative positioning that opens the understanding of teachers as active agents in their own life where identity formation is dynamic and changing (Davies & Harré, 2001). Our relation to the world, people, choices, and language construct and reconstruct our identity (Weedon & Rappaport, 1997). Identity is not a fixed attribute of a person. It is a relational phenomenon and is a process of interpreting oneself by the periphery and environment. There has been a growing interest and research on teacher identity construction in many parts of the world (Dolloff, 1999). Identity can be defined as a set of ideas, self-concepts, peculiarities, riddles, and concepts considered a perception or point of view (Albert & Whetten, 2004). Identity is continually emerging and becoming a dynamic and shifting process. People do not have any fixed identity. There can be varieties of identities: cultural identity, social identity, ethnic identity, and linguistic identity. Teacher identity is needed to study how teachers work, learn and develop (Beijaard et al., 2004).
Democratic and managerial professionalism are identified in shaping a teacher’s professional identity, which is transformational, reformative, context-bound, constructed, maintained, and negotiated through language and discourse (Sachs, 2001). A teacher’s professional identity is influenced by workplace conditions, language policy, curriculum, cultural differences, institutional practices, and access to professional development. All language teachers are subjects to mainstream discourses such as languages, teachers, and teaching. The narrative told by media, researchers, documents, politicians, and groups of persons are called public narratives. It makes sense of the everyday world and provides different kinds of resources for identity constructions (Holstein & Gubrium, 2000). How public and institutional members understand these narrative resources to construct identities varies from person to person and situation to situation. Educational policy, teachers’ professional development opportunities, and current educational practices create public narratives about teaching and teachers. One of the narrative resources to construct teacher identity is historically and socially constructed subject positions (Norton, 2010). Teachers’ identity relates to how a person perceives their relationship to the world and the relationship formation across time and space(Norton, 2000). Negotiating a teacher’s professional identity can be significantly influenced by contextual factors outside teachers themselves, their courses, and workplace status (Clark & Flores, 2001). Teachers’ identity is primarily affected by workplace conditions, language conditions, language policy, cultural differences and institutional practices, and so on. All language teachers are subject to mainstream discourses such as languages, teachers and teaching. Teachers’ identity is transformational, context bound, maintained and negotiated by the language, society, educational policy, and so on.
This article explores how self and other external factors construct teachers’ identities. It explores what factors are responsible for creating teachers’ professional identities.
Current Conceptualization on Teacher Identity
Teachers’ overall activity, public narratives, and what teachers know and do are a part of teachers’ identity work. They continuously perform and transform it through interaction in the classroom. Teachers’ identity is both an individual and social matter. Davies and Harré (2001) state that a subject -position prevents other ways of experiencing and understanding the world. A Norwegian research reported that teaching is a caring profession and is understood as creating and enabling an atmosphere for all children (Søreide, 2007). There is a nexus between transformative pedagogical practices and the identities of students and teachers. A research on teachers’ professional identity, Beijaard et al. (2004) reported that identity is an ongoing continuous process; therefore, identity is dynamic rather than stable and constantly evolving. It is dynamic, fluid, and shifting in nature. There is a need for dialogic interaction between teachers and students, which can help to learn new things about students and teachers themselves. Professional teacher identity is established as a separate research area in the last few decades (Beijaard et al., 2004). Social science and philosophy are useful domains for the construction of teachers’ identity research.
The approaches reflected upon evaluation procedures for assessing teachers and their development from the perspective of predefined professional development (Porter et al., 2001). There is a need for dialogic interaction between teachers and students to help students learn new things from teachers and vice versa. This process can help create their unique identities. Non-native English language teachers can’t enjoy the status and power of native English language teachers. They have to struggle to achieve such a status in the educational field. There is a problem of identity between non-native and native English language teachers. Teachers’ professional development and personal identity determine teachers’ identity(Akkerman& Meijer, 2011). A person’s identity is connected to their performance in society or how one interacts (Gee, 2001). Identity can be transformational, context-bound, negotiated, and maintained through language and discourse(Varghese et al., 2005. Critical issues must be addressed in teachers’ identity construction, namely marginalization, the status of non-native teachers, the professional status of language teaching, and teacher-student relations.
Most English language teachers around the world are non-native speakers of English. Native English language teachers have been prioritized even in the TESOL workplace, and non-native speakers can face discrimination due to accent and credibility problems (Maum, 2002). Non-native teachers of the English language are compelled to face oppression and psychological dominance by native English language teachers. They may face an identity problem. There may not be the availability of native speakers as English language teachers everywhere. Different approaches, such as neo- Vygotskian Sociocultural theory, language socialization theory, and critical pedagogy, can address identity, discourse, diversity, and local context.
The self and identity
One phenomenon of issues of determination of identity revolves around the notion of self and self-concept and its relationship to identity. Teachers’ identity depends upon self and the idea of self within an outside context. Teachers’ professional identity is defined in terms of the influences on teachers, how an individual perceives oneself, and the professional setting. Lauriala and Kukkonen (2005) stated that identity and self-concept as the same, where identity is considered concerning teachers and self-concept to students. They have used self-concept and identity as stable and dynamic simultaneously. The self is constructed within three dimensions- the actual self, and the ought self (recognized by external groups or society), and the ideal self. Looking at identity through the self and profession can help us think more clearly about identity from the point of view of teacher development. Identity through self and others seems essential, and it is necessary to consider the two together in enhancing comprehension of identity in teaching.
Kirkup (2002) revealed the link between a teacher’s personal and professional self. His position links identity and practice. Identity can be the negotiated experience of self, involves society membership, and combines different forms of membership within an identity. A teacher can be taken as an active agent in influencing the community (Alsup, 2006). Identity can be a part of the social context where the person lives. In the process of communication with others, one can self-realize the roles of others. Cooper and Olson (1996) state that historical, cultural, and psychological factors influence teacher identity construction, which is believed to have an important space in one’s lifetime. Identity has been established as a separate discipline through the discourse and practice of self and environment.
The need of critical reflection in shaping teacher identity
Reflection can be recognized as a key means by which teachers can become more able in the sense of self and deeper understanding of how self -suit into a larger context. It is one of the factors in reshaping teacher identity. Rodgers (2002) reported that reflection in teacher development has been acknowledged for some time and can be recognized as the core of effective teaching. Korthagen and Vasalos (2005) noted that core reflection is needed to enhance personal growth. It is necessary to tap into a sense of self and include reflection as a primary aspect to shape teachers’ identity. Reflection requires looking back at thoughts or practices and considering their value. It might guide a future way of looking at something. Conway (2001) reported that reflection could show the future path of thinking in teachers ‘ identity. Pennington (2002) said that teacher identity could be viewed from a different orientation. Firstly, we can look at it from social psychology, which provides perspectives on teachers’ social identity. Secondly, we can look from the perspective of teacher education literature provides perspectives on teachers’ professional identity.
The role of reflection in making sense of experience and practice is essential in teacher education. Luttenberg and Bergen (2008) reported that reflection must be broad and deep, pragmatic, ethical, and moral domains must be included in reflection, which is helpful for the identity construction of teachers. Reflection may be more or less open or closed, depending on its connection to self-reflection. The narrative self-study reflects on discursively shaped thoughts, beliefs, and knowledge to portray the construction and reconstruction of various stages in a professional career (Safari, 2018). There is a need for a shift from traditional reflection to critical sociocultural reflection because sociocultural reflection takes account of identity and related issues of individuals in a specific context. It is better to link reflection to a collaborative inquiry as a means of exploring identity.
Narrative and discourse aspects of identity
Narrative and discourse are essential aspects of constructing identity. Narrative of teachers themselves and their practice, their discourse provides a gateway to explore the element of self. Clandinin et al. (1999) focused on teachers’ stories, their self, and the power of teacher narrative to express identity within a changing professional context. Sfard and Prusak (2005) explained that identification is discursive and communicational practice. It is a collection of stories of a person and narratives about an individual. There is a link between narrative and discourse. Identity is negotiated by an individual self and the external world (Beynon, 1997). The discourses in which teachers engage contribute to shaping or constructing the teacher’s identity. The study of teacher talk can lead to the shaping and construction of identities. A teacher is a subject that influences identity development.
Teacher education needs to understand identity as a complex and multiple social and individual phenomenon. People who have no fixed identity must construct their identity through membership, context, and language use. Context and identity play crucial roles in classroom interaction and teacher work. The course room is a complex ecological site where participants interact to construct different identities. The study of teachers’ narratives, which can be called the stories of teachers, plays a significant role in exploring teachers’ thinking, culture, and behavior which are the elements of teachers’ identity. Sachs (2005) defines teachers’ professional identity as the core of the teaching profession. It provides a framework to construct their own ideas, recognizing their workplace and status in society. Teacher identity is not fixed or imposed; it is negotiated through self and sense made from experiences.
Identity is complex and changes over time, constantly evolving. Identity is discursive, social, institutional, and cultural. It has a significant role in continually emerging and becoming. Teacher identity is one of the essential aspects of teachers’ education. Teacher identity is substantial to upkeep the formation of teacher education programmes. Teachers create identities according to the context of their workplace, the environment provided by an institution, government policy, curriculum, cultural background of teachers-students, social demographics, institutional practices, and so on. English is a globally accepted lingua franca, so both native and non-native English language teachers construct and maintain an identity as language teachers according to local, cultural, and social contexts. The teacher education programme is the starting point for implanting the awareness of the need to develop an identity and an ongoing, dynamic process. It is situated within the mind, and it also exists within a social context.
Akkerman, S. F., & Meijer, P. C. (2011). A dialogical approach to conceptualizing teacher identity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(2), 308-319.
Albert, S., & Whetten, D. A. (2004). Organizational identity. Organizational identity: A reader, 89-118.
Alsup, J. (2006). Teacher identity discourses: Negotiating personal and professional spaces. Routledge.
Beijaard, D., Meijer, P. C., & Verloop, N. (2004). Reconsidering research on teachers’ professional identity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20(2), 107-128.
Beynon, C. A. (1997). Crossing over from student to teacher, negotiating an identity National Library of Canada= Bibliothèque nationale du Canada].
Clandinin, D. J., Connelly, F. M., & Bradley, J. G. (1999). Shaping a professional identity: Stories of educational practice. McGill Journal of Education, 34(2), 189.
Clark, E. R., & Flores, B. B. (2001). Who am I? The social construction of ethnic identity and self-perceptions in Latino preservice teachers. The Urban Review, 33(2), 69-86.
Conway, S. (2001). War and national identity in the mid-eighteenth-century British Isles. The English Historical Review, 116(468), 863-893.
Cooper, K., & Olson, M. R. (1996). The multiple ‘I’s’ of teacher identity. Changing research and practice: Teachers’ professionalism, identities and knowledge, 78-89.
Davies, B., & Harré, R. (2001). Positioning: The discursive production of selves. Discourse theory and practice: A reader, 20, 261.
Dolloff, L. A. (1999). Imagining ourselves as teachers: The development of teacher identity in music teacher education. Music Education Research, 1(2), 191-208.
Gee, J. P. (2001). Reading as situated language: A sociocognitive perspective. Journal of adolescent & adult Literacy, 44(8), 714-725.
Holstein, J. A., & Gubrium, J. F. (2000). The self we live by: Narrative identity in a postmodern world.
Kirkup, G. (2002). Identity, community and distributed learning. Distributed learning: Social and cultural approaches to practice, 182-195.
Korthagen, F., & Vasalos, A. (2005). Levels in reflection: Core reflection as a means to enhance professional growth. Teachers and teaching, 11(1), 47-71.
Lauriala, A., & Kukkonen, M. (2005). Teacher and student identities as situated cognitions. Connecting policy and practice: Challenges for teaching and learning in schools and universities, 199-208.
Luttenberg, J., & Bergen, T. (2008). Teacher reflection: the development of a typology. Teachers and teaching, 14(5-6), 543-566.
Maum, R. (2002). Nonnative-English-Speaking Teachers in the English Teaching Profession. ERIC Digest.
Norton, B. (2000). Identity and language learning: Gender, ethnicity and educational change. Editorial Dunken.
Norton, B. (2010). Language and identity. Sociolinguistics and language education, 23(3), 349-369.
Pennington, M. C. (2002). Teacher identity in TESOL. Advances and Current Trends in Language Teacher Identity Research, 5, 16.
Porter, A. C., Youngs, P., & Odden, A. (2001). Advances in teacher assessments and their uses. Handbook of research on teaching, 4, 259-297.
Rodgers, C. (2002). Defining reflection: Another look at John Dewey and reflective thinking. Teachers college record, 104(4), 842-866.
Sachs, J. (2001). Teacher professional identity: Competing discourses, competing outcomes. Journal of education policy, 16(2), 149-161.
Sachs, J. (2005). Teacher education and the development of professional identity: Learning to be a teacher. In Connecting policy and practice: Challenges for teaching and learning in schools and universities (pp. 5-21). Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.
Safari, P. (2018). A critical reflection on (re) construction of my identity as an English language learner and English teacher. Professional Development in Education, 44(5), 704-720.
Sfard, A., & Prusak, A. (2005). Telling identities: In search of an analytic tool for investigating learning as a culturally shaped activity. Educational researcher, 34(4), 14-22.
Søreide, G. E. (2007, 2007/03/01). The public face of teacher identity—narrative construction of teacher identity in public policy documents. Journal of education policy, 22(2), 129-146. https://doi.org/10.1080/02680930601158893
Varghese, M., Morgan, B., Johnston, B., & Johnson, K. A. (2005). Theorizing language teacher identity: Three perspectives and beyond. Journal of language, Identity, and Education, 4(1), 21-44.
Weedon, W. H., & Rappaport, C. M. (1997). A general method for FDTD modeling of wave propagation in arbitrary frequency-dispersive media. IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, 45(3), 401-410.
About the author: Mr. Saroj Bogati is an M.Phil. in English Language Education. He is a lecturer and Head of the Faculty of Education at Nuwakot Adarsha Multiple Campus, Battar, Nuwakot.
Nepal is a multilingual, multicultural, and multi-ethnic country where different people dwell with their own identities in terms of culture, tradition, and language in society. As per the data of 2068, there are 126 ethnic groups and 123 languages. Multilingualism refers to the condition in which more than two languages are used in the same setting for similar purposes. (Poudel, 2010). This research aimed to explore the challenges and problems faced by English language teachers in multilingual classrooms. The study further aimed to discover some pedagogical approaches they employ to tackle the challenges. Research questions for the paper were; What are the challenges and the problems faced by English language teachers in multilingual classrooms? How do English language teachers express their experiences implementing pedagogical approaches to tackle challenges and issues faced in a multilingual classroom? I have followed Narrative inquiry as my research design. The data collection tools are interviews and observation. I have thematized the data. The study found that students feel comfortable learning via a language exchange. Translanguaging is an appropriate pedagogy for teaching English language in a multilingual classroom.
Keywords: Multilingualism, Multilingual, Pedagogies, Medium of instruction, Translanguage
Nepal is a multilingual, multicultural, and multi-ethnic country where different people dwell with their own identities in terms of culture, tradition, and language in society. As per the data of 2068, there are 126 ethnic groups and 123 languages. Every person has their language and culture. (Chand, 2020) stated, “our community is mixed up with people from these diverse cultures.” So are in the classroom. In addition, multilingualism includes people with competencies in several languages or places where many languages are used. It is useful to bring the Council of Europe’s concept of multilingualism as the characteristics of a place – city, society, nation-state, where many languages are spoken, and plurilingualism as the attribute of an individual who has a ‘plurilingual repertoire’ of language competences (Council of Europe 2007 cited in King, 2018).
Furthermore, King (2018) stated was the fact that multilingualism can be seen in a geographical area, large or small, of more than one ‘variety of language,’ i.e., the mode of speaking of a social group, whether it is formally recognised as a language or not; in such an area individuals may be monolingual, speaking only their variety. In Sindhuli, the majority of people are indigenous, according to the 2011 census. According to the National Data Profile (2011), 48% people in Sindhuli speak Nepali language, 26 % citizens speak Tamang language which is nearly the half of the speaker of Nepali language. Similarly, there is also a number of people from Magar community dwell in the different geographical areas in Sindhuli district. We can probably say that we can behold pupils from different cultures and lingual backdrops even in the classrooms.
Statement of the problem
Multilingualism refers to the condition in which more than two languages are used in the same setting for similar purposes. (Poudel, 2010). As Poudel said in his definition, I used more than one language in the classroom for similar purposes. When I was teaching in the school, I found multiple backgrounds students whom I had to deal with different mindsets in the classroom. I found various problems, such as writing, reading, speaking, and listening. There is a problem with language aspects, too, like pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar.
Furthermore, students can’t understand only one language. The experience that I have in the use of other languages rather than English has motivated them to learn. In this regard, Atkinson (1987) states that the theory that the students’ mother tongue shouldn’t be completely ignored in the English classes, ever since the use of mother tongue (L1) can be very effective in terms of the amount of time spent explaining.
But we teachers are bound by the language policy of the government. Can we be successful in producing students with proficiency in English? Does Using a foreign language in an unfamiliar subject help to figure out the problem? Similarly, Nepal is bound by diverse languages and cultures. How do English Language teachers struggle to overcome the multilingual classroom? Will they find the perfect strategy to penetrate the various phenomena of the classrooms?
Objectives of the study
This research aimed to explore the challenges and problems faced by English language teachers in multilingual classrooms. The study further aimed to discover some pedagogical approaches they employ to tackle the challenges.
The research questions for the study were;
What are the challenges and problems English language teachers face in multilingual classrooms?
How do English language teachers express their experiences implementing pedagogical approaches to tackle challenges and problems faced in multilingual classrooms?
Medium of instruction (MoI) policy in Nepal
Language issue, among others, was one of the major agendas in the policy reform discourses. The policies focused on promoting the monolingualism of Nepali. Indigenous communities resisted the existing monolingual policy and demanded for a ‘mother tongue’ education (Phyak & Ojha, 2019). For example, Nepal National Education Planning Commission (NNEPC) (1956), called Wood Commission, was the first commission in Nepal for policy recommendations, led to the assimilation, restriction, destruction, possession, and perpetuation of one language Nepali in the education system of Nepal (Awasthi, 2004). Ninth and Tenth Plan, National Education Commission (1990) showed the willingness to promote non-Nepali languages as a medium of instruction in non-Nepali speaking schools. It encouraged the children from multilingual communities to learn the local language and recommended priority to the candidates who knew the children’s mother tongue while recruiting teachers (Awasthi, 2004; cited in Rai, 2021). High-Level National Education Commission (1998) again focused on promoting mother tongue-based education in Nepal. After considering the suggestions and recommendations, the Education Act (1971) was amended in 2002, ensuring mother tongue-based education.
Translanguaging as pedagogies
Translanguaging as pedagogy refers to the various methods in which bilingual learners and teachers become employ to get involved in “complex and fluid discursive practices to make meaning of teaching and learning, to communicate and appropriate subject knowledge, and to develop academic practices” (García & Wei 2014, p. 112). There are two types of translanguaging: teacher-directed translanguaging and learners-directed translanguaging (Lewis et al., 2012). The former refers to pedagogical translanguaging (Cenoz, 2017) or official translanguaging (Williams, 2012) that uses planned and structured teaching strategies to build on multilingual learners’ diverse linguistic practices flexibly (García & Li Wei, 2014). This approach can facilitate learners to understand complex academic texts and content and the target language learning and develop new linguistic practices.
García and Wei (2014) suggests the translanguaging pedagogy that can help teachers to accomplish their teaching goals; to differentiate and adapt instruction to meet the needs of diverse students in the bilingual/multilingual classroom (e.g., through translation); To build background knowledge in order to help students to make meaning of the lesson content (e.g., through collaborative dialogue, collaborative grouping, reading multilingual texts, and multilingual listening/visual resources); to deepen understandings, extend new knowledge, and develop critical thinking and socio-political engagement (e.g., through multilingual writing, and inner speech); to enable cross-linguistic transfer and metalinguistic awareness to help students to fulfil their communicative needs (e.g., through vocabulary learning, and comparing multilingual texts); To build cross-linguistic flexibility in order to help students to use language practices competently (e.g., through interchanging languages and media, and translanguaging in writing and speaking classes); to engage students through identity investment and positionality (e.g., through multilingual writing) and to examine linguistic disparity and disrupt existing linguistic hierarchies and social structures (e.g., through project learning, thematic units, and research) (García & Wei, 2014, pp. 120-121).
The learner-directed translanguaging takes place ‘when learners self-regulate their learning by using linguistic practices and meaning-making resources that are not explicitly included in the classroom or lesson’ (García et al., 2011). Within the classroom, learners use learner-directed translanguaging for metafunctions such as negotiating for understanding among each other, co-constructing the meaning within themselves and between self and others and exhibiting knowledge (García et al., 2011).
García and Wei (2014) further propose translanguaging strategies for monolingual and bilingual education. They are in three categories (ibid., pp. 121-122): The teacher should pay attention to meaning-meaning by teacher-directed translanguaging and learners-directed translanguaging. The teacher should employ and create classroom resources for translanguaging based on the multilingual and multimodal texts’ availability and production (e.g., textbooks, references resources), technology (e.g., computers, Ipads), and multilingual/multimodal classroom landscapes (e.g., visual texts, technology-enhanced media, multilingual word walls, and sentence starters). And the teacher should create the curriculum and classroom structures for translanguaging based on learner grouping in the home language, project- and task-based learning, research tasks, thematic curriculum units, and language-inquiry tasks.
Major challenges in multilingual classrooms
Dhakal (2015) states two challenges in the multilingual classroom setting and parents’ preference to teach their children a language with broader application. Firstly, parents don’t want education in their language as it doesn’t cover the wider area. Secondly, the local language is confined to the local communities. They feel that learning the local language limits the children only to their communities (Annamalai, 2003, p. 126). Rai et al. (2011, p. 33) also noted that the parents doubt whether MLE schools will sustain. They further state, “The most crucial challenge is that parents, teachers, children, and other stakeholders are still resistant and suspicious about the sustainability and effectiveness of the policy” (ibid). It is commonly claimed that all participants of MLE- planners and policymakers, educationists, community leaders, and almost all community members want their children to be taught in English (Phyak 2012, p. 42). Parents’ concepts, community leaaders, members, and even other educationists’ beliefs can be the significant challenges of multilingual classrooms.
Dahal (2020) researched “Teacher experience on using mother tongue in second language classroom: a narrative inquiry.” The study’s objective was to explore teachers’ opinions on using MT in terms of teaching grammar and vocabulary, classroom management, content delivery, and student motivation in secondary English language classrooms. It also found the role of MT in the second language classroom based on teacher experience. It suggested pedagogical recommendations based on the findings. She selected four English teachers and conducted typical semi or unstructured interviews. The result of the study indicated that MT is best for explaining the meanings of abstract nouns and can help teach grammar items. It also found that most classroom activities include learning new vocabulary items and studying grammatical rules. Likewise, Mother Tongue (MT) can be best used in ELT classrooms for pedagogical management. And particularly, it helped to develop rapport with the students.
Likewise, Sherpa (2016) has conducted research entitled “The Use of MT in Teaching English at Primary Level.” The study’s objective was to determine the role of using MT for teaching English and the advantage and disadvantage of using MT in a classroom. She selected 20 parents and 20 primary teachers from Taplejung district. The two sets of questionnaires were used as a tool, and the research finding showed that primary teachers mainly use the first language for cultural translation and to break the monotonous of the students.
Next, Madrinan (2014) conducted a research study involving kindergarten students of an English immersion program in the first year in Colombia to investigate whether the use of MT increases comprehension and facilitates the second language acquisition process. In her action research, she designed the lesson plane – using only English as the language of instruction, and both Spanish and English, respectively. The result revealed that the students did better involving the latter patterns, especially for transferring concepts from l1 to the target language.
Moreover, Ghimire (2016) carried out research entitled “Use of l1 Facilitation in Developing English Vocabulary” in the Gorkha District to find out learners’ progress in vocabulary with the use of the first language. It was experimental research. He collected data from 40 secondary students with purposive non-random sampling. He used test items (pre and post) as a research tool. His works’ findings revealed that using the first language in a classroom greatly helped students learn target language vocabulary.
Methods of the study
Interpretive research paradigm
A paradigm is a prototype and plays the role of assistant to describe the purpose of an investigation. Guba and Lincoln (1994, p. 105) point out that a basic system or worldview that guides the investigator, not only in choices of method but in ontologically and epistemologically fundamental ways. Moreover, the paradigms we build in our minds have a powerful effect as they create the lens through which we see the world (Covey, 1989). As my study aims to explore the challenges of teaching English language in a multilingual classroom, I was bonded with an interpretive paradigm. It believes in the inseparability of understanding from interpretation. I choose interpretivism as my research paradigm for this study because it attempts to bring the views of realism, naturalism, and humanism approaches that believe in reality, not imaginary. Furthermore, it helps me to understand my participants’ experience and the actual situation in the field.
Narrative inquiry combines storytelling and research by using stories as research data or as a tool for data analysis or presentation of findings. It narrates the lived experiences of participants as a story. There are two terms in Narrative inquiry: “analysis of narrative” and “narrative analysis.” According to Polkinghorne (1995), analysis of narrative refers to the research in which stories are used as data, while narrative analysis refers to a study in which storytelling is used as a means of analysing data and presenting findings. I choose the analysis of narrative because it allows me to collect the stories from the participants and interpret them for meaning-making. So, I used analysis of narrative under the narrative inquiry.
Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world. Storytelling is the way to sprinkle ideas that are inside you and be able to reach near the truth, knowing the reality of the phenomena. Bruner (1990) argues that it is through telling ourselves stories about ourselves and others that we understand who we are, who they are, and the relationship between us. Clendenin et al. (2006) equate teachers’ ‘‘personal practical knowledge’’ (p. 7) to the stories teachers live, tell, re-live, and re-tell. In contrast, stories of teachers are shifting stories that others hold or expect of teachers. In my studies, I aim to explore the challenges and problems faced by English language teachers in multilingual classrooms. The study further aims to find some pedagogical approaches they employ to tackle the challenges. Human experiences happen in a sequence that we call a story, and they emerge with the collaboration between researchers and participants. (Clendenin and Connelly, 2000).
Sampling procedure and research participants
The study explored the challenges of teaching English to basic-level students in multilingual classrooms. I used purposive sampling to select participants to collect reliable and detailed information on their experiences for this study. Furthermore, this study was based on a qualitative design that followed narrative inquiry. The total participant of this research were two basic-level English language teachers.
Data collection and story generation
The only tool for data collection of the study is an in-depth interview that included some guideline questions in an open structure to obtain lived experiences of English language teachers. An in-depth interview helped me to acquire detailed information on the lived experience of the participants (Johnson & Rowlands, 2012). I met the two participants who were from basic-level community schools. I collected their lived experiences through the open-ended questions (interview) I had made. And I narrated it to make meaning.
Meaning making process
Clendenin and Murphy (2007) opined that meaning-making is a process of understanding lives as they unfold temporally, as specific events within a particular individual’s life. This study followed the narrative inquiry that brings lived experiences of the individual from the floor for a meaning-making purpose which I found essential for my paper. After I interviewed, I kept them in a table for coding, categorizing, and thematizing. I used words or phrases from the informants’ language as codes. Coding helped me organize and group into categories of similar characters and patterns (Saldana, 2016).
Similarly, I categorized them after coding their lived experiences based on commonalities and distinctions. Then, I thematized it concerning English language teaching in a multilingual classroom. I related them to the existing theory and literature to make the study more authentic. Based on the themes, I transcribed, coded, categorized, and analysed the themes to make meaning.
Findings of the study
Difficulties in the multilingual classroom
There can be many difficulties in a multilingual classrooms. In this regard, one of my participants, Samiksha says; in my area, most of them are Magar, and some of them are sunuwar, bhujel and dalit. They don’t seem to motivated toward English language. Motivation in teaching and learning activities is the overall driving force within students that raises, ensures continuity, and provides direction for learning activities so that students’ learning objectives are expected to be achieved (Handayani et al., 2020) Samiksha further shared,
They don’t have a strong underpinning in English language they do not have the environment for reading it at home. They don’t understand even a single word. They can’t even write properly in the notebooks. The classroom is totally teacher-centred. The teacher have to explain the readings in Nepali and their mother tongue sometimes, which makes my class delay in proceeding the lesson further. In this regard my next participant Krishna shared;
Students have to perform many activities at home instead of reading books and doing homework. They have to cut grass, cook food, and sometimes have bring firewood from the near jungle. A few students complete homework. According to one of my students, they have very little room for doing and reading the lesson. He said, “haamile school maa jati padhyo lagvag tetinai ho, sir”.
Trans-language to comprehend contents
In multilingual classroom contexts, using mother tongues permits students to understand the concepts of teaching by utilizing their existing linguistic knowledge (Cummins, 2006). When she shared her teaching experience, she said, “one of my students told me, Miss, hamro English subject ni Magar basa maa vaako vaye haamlai yo ni aauthyo hola hai?”. Similarly, Krishna said, “It is challenging to make them understand via the English. I have to teach most of them in Nepali. I also ask some of them what we call it in your Magar language. They became shy in front of me. But later, after making it easy, they used to say.
The local education policy forces teachers to teach English in English. But it seemed insignificant in the multilingual classroom. According to Samiksha and Krishna, they had to teach English in Nepali as given below; Samiksha who was teaching in Class 5, tought the word meaning in this way.
Similarly, she teaches sentences also in the say as she teaches word meanings in Nepali. She has to translate every English sentence into Nepali.
Jhuma lives on a hillock. she translated it in Nepali, “Jhuma dada maa baschha.” She did translate other sentences of the story “Jhuma”
The situation with Krishna was also the same. He entered the class, and took attendance, and a few students were absent the students who were absent the day before were called in front and asked why they were absent. They stayed quiet, and he advised them to be regular. He said, “Take out your books and turn page no. 36. Sabaile book nikala. chhatis page number paltau.”
After that, Krishna told the students to read the lesson “Some festivals of Nepal” and picked up some new words in the notebook. Before teaching the lesson, Krishna told the meaning of all the words in Nepali. We knew from him that he always used to do that.
Decorated (de-co-re-tid) –Sajaaunu
Commemorate (com-me-mo-re-ta) –Samjhanu
Deceased (di-sis-ed) – Mareko
Exchanging (ya-chen-jing) – Satasatat
Combination (com-bi-ne-san) –Samyojan
Observed (ab-ser-v-d) – Hernu
At first, Krishna told the students to read the text after him. Students did it accordingly. They didn’t seem to read correctly the text as their teachers did. After finishing that, he started to translate those all into Nepali. For example;
Lhosar combines two words; Lho means year, and sar means new. Lhosar is one of the most popular festivals of Nepal, celebrated by different communities on different days. Tamu Lhosar is celebrated amongst the Gurung community, whereas the Tamang celebrates Sonam Lhosar.
When I observed his class, the class found teacher-centered. He translated every word to the students in Nepali and pronounced the works in chunks for their easiness. I found that students were quiet in his class. He later freed the students to ask the question in Nepali. The students in the second desk were whispering to each other, requesting to ask the meaning of the word “community”. One of them stood up and asked, “Sir, caamunity vaneku k ho?” He said, “Samudaye” in Nepali. Furthermore, he gave an example, “jasto kunai yeuta jaati ko vid athaba basti hunx ni teslai samudaye vaninx. Samajik bisayemaa padheko hola ni hoina?” Such a quiet class seemed interactive now when they were permitted to speak both Nepali and Magar languages.
Talks in Multilingual Classroom
“Pedagogy must evolve to make education more experiential, holistic, integrated, inquiry-driven, discovery-oriented, learner-centered, discussion-based, flexible, enjoyable” (NEP,2020). She used Nepali and Magar language in the classroom interaction. She once read the text in English, and then used Nepali and Magar to interact in the classroom. for example;
Teacher: Ese jafre (do this)
Student: ‘hillock’ eski English sang hidele? (What is it written, sir?)
Teacher: sabdau artha ‘dada’ ho lai aale (the meaning of the word is dada.)
Many researchers have found that the classroom must be interactive and student-centered. Whenever she asked the question in English, they all remained quiet. They didn’t even utter a single word. Krishna’s condition was also the same. There was no interaction if he spoke English for a long time in the classroom. For example;
Teacher: What is this? Say in English
Student: he stayed quiet.
Teacher: ese Nepali aang hi aale (Can you tell it in Nepali?)
Student: sir chake garo chhana (I feel quite difficult, sir.)
Teacher: Magar aang? (in Magar language)
Student: rewa (Crab)
However, the class seemed interactive when they were allowed to speak in their comfort languages. Both seemed good enough to engage the students via Nepali and Magar. Such practices are translanguaging pedagogy (García and Kleyn, 2016; Probyn, 2015).
It can be concluded that teacher has faced various difficulties while teaching English language to basic-level students in a multilingual classroom in Nepal. Teachers must teach in different languages to make them understand the content. Like Samiksha and Krishna, teachers have to teach English via Nepali or Magar, sometimes in the ELT multilingual classroom as a medium of instruction. In this regard, the pedagogies and perspectives of the teachers in this paper imply that any policies, be it EMI or English language teaching, that impose a monolingual approach lead to silence. It creates barriers to epistemic access (e.g., content knowledge) and meaningful participation in teaching-learning activities (see Makalela, 2022). Translanguaging is not just for teaching English and practices. However, it is also about building critical and ideological awareness to challenge hegemonic language policy in multilingual classrooms (Davis & Phyak, 2016).
Multiple languages must be allowed in the classroom to enable students to interact freely and wholeheartedly. Finally, this study found that there should be a plethora of space for multiple languages in the classroom to ease the students, which doesn’t only help them interact and collaborate in the classroom. It also helps to protect their language, culture, and identity.
Constitution of Nepal (2015). Kathmandu: Government of Nepal
Dhakal, D. N. (2015). Multilingual Education in Nepal: Retrospect and prospects. Education and Development. Vol. 26, 78-92.
Interim Constitution of Nepal (2007). Kathmandu: Government of Nepal.
Forrester, J. R. (2020). A Qualitative Narrative Inquiry Study of Perceptions Versus Practices
Regarding English Language Learner Instruction in Three Midwestern School Districts. Faculty of the Graduate School at Evangel University.
King, L. (2018). The Impact of Multilingualism on Global Education and Language Learning | UCLES 2018.
Ismaili, M. (2015). Teaching English in a multilingual setting. GlobELT: An International Conference on Teaching and Learning English as an Additional Language, Antalya – Turkey. Social and Behavioral Sciences 199 (2015) 189 – 195. www.sciencedirect.com
Patil, Z. N. (2008). Re-thinking the objectives of teaching English in Asia. Asian EFL Journal, 10(4), 227-240.
Poudel, P. P. (2010). Teaching English in Multilingual Classrooms of Higher Education: The Present Scenario. Journal of NELTA. Vol. 15 No. 1-2 December 2010
Rai, V. S., Rai, M., Phyak, P. & Rai, N. (2011). Multilingual education in Nepal: Hearsay and reality. Kathmandu, Nepal: UNESCO.
Regmi, D. R. (2069 B.S.). Multilingual Education Policy in Nepal: Policy and Practice. Tribhuvan University Special Bulletin. pp. 136-149.
About the author: Mr. Raju Yonjan is an English teacher at Shree Kalikadevi Basic School, Phikkal Rural Municipality, Sindhuli. He is pursuing a Master’s degree in English Language Education at Kathmandu University.
The paper entitled “English as a medium of instruction in public schools of Nepal: practical consideration” aims to explore the teachers’ perceptions regarding EMI in community schools and to find out the practicality of EMI in Community schools of Nepal. The interview was used as a tool for data collection, five teachers teaching in public schools where English was used as the medium of instruction were selected purposively. It was found that practically public schools are shifting to the English medium though it was challenging to apply. It was the demand of parents and students as well as the time. Public schools were found using EMI to create better job opportunities for the students, parents’ requests, to increase the number of students in the school, and because of the government policy practically.
Background of the study
The teachers appointed 15/20 years before are still in service and are compelled to teach in English medium classes in public schools. It is not an easy task for them because they were not taught in English at their time. It becomes difficult for them to make the student understand the content because they cannot understand it correctly. EMI is not a difficulty for aged teachers, but it’s becoming a problem the newly appointed teachers too. It’s in the sense that every subject except Nepali is being taught in English medium. While teaching social studies, typical Nepali words like gundruk, dhido, dhiki, janto, chhatri etc., are romanized. I think it is straightforward for them to understand the terms in the Nepali language.
Nepal is a developing country, and education in remote areas is very pitiful. The children are not getting education facilities in their own mother tongue for many reasons like lack of teachers, textbooks, difficulty getting to school and so on. In such circumstances teaching in English medium is a complicated job.
Nepal is a multilingual country. Many ethnic groups have their mother tongue and acquire their native language as their first language. There are still such people who don’t know the Nepali language. For example, in the Magar community, only the Magar language is spoken, and they are unaware of the Nepali language. In addition, the government has also declared that children have the right to get education in their mother tongue up to the primary level. On the other hand, English medium education is prioritized by the government and contemporary society.
Consequently, the planning and policy of the country, the necessity of the society, and teacher conditions do not match, and the quality of education is declining daily in our country. The plan makers do not observe the actual context of the country. They only make the plan by targeting the area where they stay, i.e., the city. In all this, the students are suffering. It means the nation is at a loss because it will lack human resources and cannot step towards development with no good human resources.
EMI is one of the burning issues in the teaching field of Nepal. The constitution has declared the right to education in the children’s mother tongue. Instead, the children are forced to take instruction in the English Language directly and indirectly. The hegemony of the English Language indirectly forces parents to admit their children to the school where English is used as a medium of instruction.
I am also a parent. I sent my daughter to a Montessori school (private school), and I used to teach in a government school simultaneously. When I compared both schools’ delivery, I did not find vast differences between them. Instead, I found a more experienced teacher in my community school. So I decided to take my child to the same school where I was teaching. I took suggestions from some of my friends, who suggested I shouldn’t take my child to the community school to make a base in English. But I believe that a child should learn the subject matter properly and they can learn the language through different means like TV, Internet.
Some teachers believe that the student must be taught the content and that the language doesn’t matter. In contrast, the school administration is forcing teachers to teach in English. Even parents are also conscious of the English medium. They think fluency in English means their children are talented in their studies, but knowing English is not talent in the subject area. So I found EMI as an issue in the educational field. Some believe EMI is a better way of teaching. On the other hand, some favor focusing on subject matter rather than language. So I want to explore different teachers’ views on whether English should be used as a medium of instruction or concentrate on the content.
The objective of the study was to explore the teachers’ perceptions and practices of EMI in community schools.
English as a Medium of Instruction
English is the most widely spoken language in the world. It greatly influences the education system of most countries in the world. It is taught as the subject and used as the medium of instruction to teach other issues too. English Medium Instruction (EMI) refers to teaching academic subjects in English in non-Anglophone countries ( Macaro & et al. 2016). It is believed that if the subject matter is taught in English, it helps improve the children’s language because of the greater exposure. EMI is a model of teaching in which non-English subjects are taught through the medium of English (Poudel, 2021). Teachers use the English Language to elaborate the content. EMI is the regular practice in private schools. Community schools also follow this trend because of the parents’ attraction to the English Language.
English Language in school for teaching purposes is preferred because it may develop the listening and speaking skills of the students.EMI might help the students to increase their vocabulary power too. Tran et al. (2021) stated that students’ knowledge of technical terms was believed to be improved most through EMI by both lecturers and students.
Nepal is a multilingual country. More than 129 languages are spoken in Nepal. The government has declared that every child has the right to get education in their mother tongue up to the primary level. Contrary to this, children are forced to learn in English, a non-native Language for Nepalese learners. Regarding the instruction medium, Nepal’s constitution (2015) declared that Nepali or English, or both languages, can be used in the classroom.
Challenges of EMI
Teaching learning itself is a challenging job. Many learners feel difficult to understand the subject matter because of the language used to teach them in the class. Children from most ethnic groups learn Nepali as their second language. So, they may feel uneasy about learning using the English language as the medium of instruction. The class can be less interactive and silent. There may be a communication gap between teachers and students because of the language problem. EMI is not only a problem for the learner; it may also be difficult for the teachers. Bista (2011) views that educational institutions may not have language learning labs, the computers and internet use may be limited. Enough audio and visual aids may not be in the class, and textbooks and resources materials may be challenging. Teachers teaching may not have sufficient knowledge of the English language, which may lead the children to a misconception of the English language. Khatri (n. d.), English as a medium of instruction like students’ weak exposure to the English language, mother tongue interference in the classroom, poor competence of students in English, lack of support and encouragement from the parents and society, and no motivating environment for the teachers and schools are not resourceful and well facilitated.
Popularity of EMI
English is a powerful language in the world. It is the dominant language. Learning the English Language is a kind of indirect compulsion for the learner. Tang (n.d.) stated that language improvement is essential for EMI implementation. People without English are partly literate because English is mandatory in every sector. For example, one should know English to use an ATM, English is necessary to use email internet and get a job abroad, and fluent English speaking skills, which is equally essential in tourism. No sector is untouched by the English Language. Parents are keenly interested in teaching English to their children in Nepal for a secure future for their children.
The English language is used as the language of teaching and learning too. English is taught as a compulsory subject from pre-primary to university level in Nepal. The requirement to be a primary teacher in Nepal was SLC passed, who still teach in schools. In government schools, only one English subject used taught in the contemporary period. Public school teachers who are unfamiliar with English languages are compelled to teach in English. We believe that the more practice, the more perfection. It means that to make EMI effective, the learners and the teachers must use the English Language as much as possible.
In contrast, it is not practical because of many factors such as the influence of mother tongue, affective filter, lack of English-speaking environment, etc. Khatri mentioned in his research that there is no encouraging environment in the schools for practicing EMI-supported instructional activities in the regular pedagogy. Furthermore, he explained that according to the participant of his study, there is no English-speaking environment around their school premises.
Bista (2011) researched Teaching English as a Foreign/Second Language in Nepal: Past and Present. The main objective of the research was to review the history of English language teaching English as a second or foreign language in schools and colleges in Nepal. The author used secondary sources to complete his study as it was library-based. He concluded that the educators were using traditional lectured and grammar-translation methods, which is continuing. Furthermore, he explored that English language teaching is challenging because of the lack of physical and technical facilities.
Khatri (n. d.) studied the topic of Teachers’ Attitudes toward English as a Medium of Instruction. The research objective was to explore the teachers’ attitude towards using EMI in public schools and the challenges they faced in adopting EMI. The research was conducted using the mixed method. The results of the study revealed that public school teachers were aware of the basic concept of the notion of English as a medium of instruction. They were found positive in implementing EMI in conducting their daily teaching and learning activities.
Tang (n. d.) accomplished his research on the Challenges and Importance of Teaching English as a Medium of Instruction at Thailand International College. The core objective of the study was to explore the challenges of teaching English as a medium of instruction (EMI) and its essential impact on Thailand International College. A qualitative method was employed, utilizing an interview protocol as a research instrument. The outcome discovered four categories of challenges: linguistic, cultural, structural, and identity-related (institutional) challenges and four essential aspects of EMI implementation, namely, the importance of language improvement, subject matter learning, career prospects, and internationalization strategy.
Dearden (2014) researched ‘English as a medium of instruction – a growing global phenomenon.’ This study was designed to determine the size, shape, and future trends of EMI worldwide. She reported her research findings within five main points: the growth of EMI as a global phenomenon on EMI, official policies and statements on EMI, different national perspectives on EMI, public opinion on EMI, and teaching and learning through EMI. The main conclusions of the study were general trend is towards the rapid expansion of EMI provision; there is official governmental banking for EMI but with some interesting exceptions and so on.
Methods of the study
I used qualitative research design in this research, using both primary and secondary data sources. My study population was the teachers who were teaching other subjects rather than English. Five teachers were purposively selected from five public schools of Vyas Municipality, Tanahun where the English language was used as a Medium of Instruction (EMI). I took interviews with the teachers to collect data.
Data analysis and interpretation
This section is mainly concerned with analyzing and interpreting the information from the interview and observation with the different participants. Participants’ views are discussed and interpreted, developing different subthemes.
Teachers’ perceptions toward EMI in community schools
The teachers’ perceptions of using EMI in public schools are discussed and interpreted, developing the following themes based on their perceptions.
Use of the English language inside classroom
Many community schools have adopted English as the medium of instruction for many reasons. The teachers are compelled to teach in English whether they are competent. People say that, though the English Language is used to teach in the community schools, the result is unsatisfactory. Students’ performance in community schools is not good compared to private schools. So to understand the reality, I asked my participants about using English inside the classroom.
I asked my participant whether the teachers use only English Language inside the classroom. In this regard, my first participant Mr. Jagat said that Teachers use the English Language to teach but use the Nepali Language to explain the text because most students may not understand the subject matter in the English Language.In the same way, another participant, Mrs. Mamata, stated that I translate the content into Nepali to make it easier for the students. I could read their face though they don’t ask me to explain in Nepali. Regarding this question, my third participant Mrs. Sita shared her view. The teacher has to use both languages i.e., English and Nepali, to make the students clear about the content. Students are not able to understand the subject matter only in English.
Here my participants’ ideas are similar to Shah’s (2019) views that teaching in English seems a formality and a way of attracting students to schools. After analyzing the opinions of my participants, I understood that the community schools are using English only for formality. English language used as the medium of instruction is not practical because the students cannot understand the content in the English language. As a result, teachers use both English and Nepali Language in the classroom.
English medium for further study
After completing the secondary level, the students must choose a specific subject for their studies. Science and other technical subjects are being taught in English. The materials are also available in English. So the students must know the English Language. If they feel easy to use the English language, they will do better in technical subjects. Otherwise, they have to choose other subjects instead of being interest in studying such subjects. Here, my fourth participant, Mr. Dinesh, stated: English language is helpful to those students who are interested in a technical subjects. It helps the students to secure a good positions. Similarly the next participant, Mrs. Sita, claimed that English is essential for students to go abroad for higher study. It is impossible to go to the UK, the USA, and Australia for higher studies without the knowledge of the higher studies.
The English language has its influence in every sector. Likewise, education sector has also been dominated by the English Language. The English language is one of the main criteria to be fulfilled by students who want to study technical subjects. Furthermore, it is compulsory to acquire good scores on English language tests like TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, etc. to get admission to college and university abroad. Bista (2011) has claimed that, not only high school graduates but also college graduates prefer improving their level of English to pursue either higher study abroad or to start a job in foreign setting. It is a fact that the English Language helps students in their further study because at a higher level. However, students are reading in Nepali Medium taking Nepali as their major subject, they have to face the questions of compulsory subjects in English medium in board examinations. In this case, EMI at the school level may be helpful to them to understand the English Language somehow.
Strategy to increase students number
The parents’ attraction to teach their children English Language leads them toward boarding school. So the number of students in a community schools is decreasing daily. Many children are sent to the private English schools by buses. Those schools are far from from their homes, and they have to pay expensive fees but the community schools are searching students. The reason might be the community schools do not focus on English as medium of instruction earlier. However, nowadays, most community schools are also using books printed in English language and teach using English as medium of instruction. So, the number of students are being increased in public schools as well. While I asked teachers, they stated that the community schools have no other option to increase students. In this case, my first participant Mr. Jagat shared that;
The community schools do not have enough required human resources to teach in the English medium, but the teachers are compelled to teach in English medium because the school administration has made the strategy. The administration believes that if they teach in English, the parents would send their children to the community school.
In the same way, my next participant Dinesh said Before the implementation of EMI, we had a very low number of students. But when we started to use books in English medium of private publication, the number of students increased gradually When the same question asked to another participant Mrs. Sita, she stated: Previously, most of the students from her locality were sent to private schools. It was because private schools used to provide education in English. So our school management committee, PTA, and the school administration also decided to apply EMI in our school to increase the number of students.
The answers of the different teachers on the same query advocated that the community school must implement the English medium to increase the number of students in school. Bista (2011) claimed that the trend of sending children to English medium schools and or colleges have begun as an English mania today in Nepal. The majority of parents like to send their children to English-speaking schools. The decreasing number of students is a major problem in community school in the present day. The leading cause of this problem is quality education. The parents believe that the school where English is taught provides quality education. So they sent their children to private school. That’s why the community school has to choose EMI to attract the parents’ attention towards community school and increase number of students.
Teachers’ practice in EMI
The teachers are the main character to apply the policies of education in a real field. So, I observed few classes of public schools taking consent from the the suthorities and the teachers where English medium was used as classroom instruction. Mainly, I observed the classes other than English, where English was used as medium of instruction to find the practicality of the EMI in public schools.
Use of translation method for teaching
I went to Shree Janamaitri Secondary School of Vyas Municipality (name changed), a renowned school in Nepal. I entered into class seven, section D. The students stood up and greeted me. The teacher was teaching the subject matter of social studies as it is written in the book and was trying to explain it in English. She noticed that the students were not clear about the topic, so, she described in Nepali language. When the teacher asked the questions in English, most of the students feel easy to answer in Nepali except for some. The teacher asked the meaning of the word vaccination then the students replied, ‘Khop Launi’. Likewise, they responded in Nepali that the word Avoid means ‘Rokne,’ settlement, Basobas Garne. The teacher herself used the word’ DhamiJhakri’ because the exact English word to replace the word is not available in the English language.
Similarly, I visited the second school, Shree Janajagriti Secondary School (name changed). The school was in the countryside. The school was also practicing the EMI. I observed class six where a teacher was dealing with social studies. Students greeted me in English and responded. They had the books written in English language. The teacher was reading the book and translating the lines in Nepali to make the students clear about the content. The teacher asked the questions in English, but the students replied in Nepali. It seems that they understand the English language, but feel easy using the Nepali Language while responding.
The third school I visited was Shiddhivinayak Secondary School (name changed). The class I observed was class 9, and the teacher was teaching Mathematics. The topic was construction. The teacher was trying to make the students clear about constructing rectangles. I found that the book was written using English language but the teacher was using the Nepali Language to explain the matter. The students were also asking questions in Nepali, and the teacher was answering them in the Nepali Language too.
Less interaction using English
I visited a couple of schools to observe the practicality of the English Language. When I entered the first school for class observation, it was quarter to ten, and the students gathered on the ground for the Morning Prayer. I waited for a while, and found that the language to perform the assembly was Nepali, not English. One of the teachers asked me in Nepali,’ KATI KAMLE AAUNU BHAYO?’ I thought that the English language was being spoken only in the classroom. After completing the assembly, the teacher was previously informed about my observation schedule that I was observing her class for the data collection of my research. We together entered the classroom, they greeted us, saying, “GOOD MORNING TWACHERS” we responded together. When the class moved further, I found the passive students listeners. They did not take part in the conversations with teachers. They only listen to the teachers talk. When the teachers explained in English, they stayed passive but by the time the teacher translated in Nepali the students’ voices came out. The teacher also asked most of the time Yes/No questions only in English, and the students always answered with one word, ‘Yes.’
Likewise, I visited the second school as per my schedule to collect data. It was the fourth period. It was about half past twelve. The teacher was teaching math in class 8. The topic was set. The problems in the book were given in English, and the teacher read it as it was written in the book. While the teacher used the English language the class was almost silent. On the other hand, when the teacher started to describe the problems in the Nepali language, the class became noisy. I meant to say that the students began to take part in the discussion.
The present condition of the students and the teachers in community schools regarding the English language is not commanding. I found teachers’s using mother tongue in the classroom because of two reasons; one the students did not understand the content in English completely and the next the teachers were less competent in English.
This study was conducted by collecting data in public schools of Vyas municipality of Tanahun district. The collected data shows that the public schools also have adopted the EMI policy. Some of the reasons for adopting EMI are to attract students, and to provide quality education. Public schools are forced to implement this policy without any prerequisites as we know, there is only one English subject in a secondary school but all subjects except Nepali are forced to teach using English language no matter how competent teacher is in English language. All the teachers may not have studied English as major subject, in that condition even teacher may lose confidences to speak in English in the fear of committing mistake or error. In this situation, who will teach health and population, social studies, and other subjects through the English as medium of instruction? It has been an issue in public schools now ad days.
The concerned authority does not seem sensible for the effective practice of EMI. The schools do not have basic resource materials. As we all know that all four skills of language must be developed then only learners could use and understand the language better. To develop all the skills, they need exposure. Without materials and exposure, learners cannot acquire these skills. It is difficult for the teachers also to make the content clear unless the students understand the language. The policy and the implementation do not match. So, the learning outcomes of the students are not satisfactory in public schools though the English is used as medium of instruction. So, as we live in multilingual country, we need to respect all the languages. Together with the English language, international language we need to promote and preserve our languages as well. All the students should enjoy their schooling, for that we need to use either English or Nepali language in balance taking consideration of students’ level, their knowledge and necessity of the courses and the context of learning for better outcome.
Bista, K. (2011). Teaching English as a foreign/second language in Nepal: past and present. English for specific purposes world. Issue 32 vol.11, 2011. Retrieved from https://e-journal.usd.ac.id/index.php/LLT/article/view/2571
Education Act 2028, 9th amendment
Irahim. J. (2001). The Implementation of EMI (English Medium Instruction) in
Indonesian Universities: Its Opportunities, its Threats, its Problems, and its Possible Solutions*. Presented at the 49th International TEFLIN Conference in Bali , November 6-8, 2001. Retrieved from https://media.neliti.com/media/ publications/143443-EN-the-implementation-of-emi-english-medium.pdf.
Khatri. K. K. (2019). Teachers’ Attitudes Towards English as Medium of Instruction. Journal of NELTA Gandaki (JoNG), II, 43-54. ISSN 2676-1041 (Print). Retrieved from https://www.nepjol.info/index.php/jong/article/view/26602.
Macaro, E., Akincioglu ,M.& Dearden ,J.(2016). English Medium Instruction in Universities: A Collaborative Experiment in Turkey. Studies in English Language Teaching ISSN 2372-9740 (Print) ISSN 2329-311X (Online) Vol. 4, No. 1, 2016. Retrieved from Studies in English Language Teaching (scholink.org).
Poudel, P. (2021). Using English as a medium of instruction: challenges and opportunities of multilingual classrooms in Nepal. Prithvi journal of research and innovation. Retrieved from http://ejournals.pncampus.edu.np/ ejournals/pjri/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/4_PJRI-01121-engedu-43-56-1.pdf.
Shah, B. B. (2019). English as a means of instruction: necessity or obligation in community school of Nepal. Retrieved from https://www.collegenp.com /article/english-as-a-medium-of-instruction;-necessity-or-obligation-in-the-community-schools-of-nepal.
Tang, K.N. (n.d.). Challenges and Importance of Teaching English as a Medium of Instruction in Thailand International College (pp 99-118). English as an International Language, Vol. 15, Issue2.
Tran. T.H.T. & et.al. (2021). Perceived Impact of EMI on Students’ Language
Proficiency in Vietnamese Tertiary EFL Contexts. IAFOR Journal of Education: LanguageLearning in Education. Retrieved from https:// files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1303125.pdf .
Uchihara, T. & Harada, T. (2018). Roles of Vocabulary Knowledge for Success in
English- Medium Instruction: Self-Perceptions and Academic Outcomes of Japanese Undergraduates. TESOL Quarterly. Retrieved from https:// onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/tesq.453
About Author: Laxmi Shrestha is an M.Ed. from Aadikavi Bhanbhakta Campus, TU. She is an English teacher in a public school in Tanahun. Her interest in research includes EMI, Second Language Acquisition, Sociolinguistics, and Language Teaching.
It is our great pleasure to release the fourth quarterly issue (October-December) of 2022 as language planning and policy issue.
Language planning and policy is the widely discussed and researched discipline of applied linguistics. Decisions and plans about languages made at the highest level by the government can be termed as language planning and policy. McGroarty (1997) claimed “the combination of official decisions and prevailing public practices related to language education and use” (p.1). Language planning is not static but rather embedded in the changing social context. It is inevitable for any government in the present world because it is associated with the notion of language development in a country.
Nepal is a multilingual country because different cultural groups speak different languages. While administrators consider multiple languages of students as a challenge and try to avoid them using dominant language/s, researchers and scholars on the other hand consider home languages of students as a rich resource and urge to use them in teaching learning. In order to explore more on this policy practice tension and contribute some in the ongoing discourse, we are presenting you this special issue on ‘language planning and policy’. In this issue, we have incorporated an interview and four articles related to language planning and policy in Nepal from researchers, scholars, educators and practitioners to bring multiple perspectives on the issue.
In the exclusive interview, Prem Prasad Paudel has argued that Nepali parents and stakeholders have a false belief that education in English is of better quality and higher status. He dives deep into the motivations, impacts of EMI and offers some future directions to policy/practices/research direction in it.
Mohan Singh Saud in his article explored the EMI practices of some public schools in Nepal. He asserts the need of mother tongue-based education, especially up to basic level (1-5) education for preserving the linguistic human rights of children.
Similarly, Tek Mani Karki has discussed some examination practices in EMI policy adopted by community schools in Nepal through his qualitative study. Students struggles to comprehend test items in English questions the students’ accessibility to content learning in classroom and performance in assessment. He has also discussed washback effects of such assessment practices.
Moreover, Basanta Kandel has critically reflected on the mismatches in educational language policy and practices in schools in rural Nepal by adopting the critical ethnography research design. He argues that the local government’s educational language policy and practices in the schools seem inconsistent, with spaced conflicts amid monolingual, bilingual, and multilingual educational policies and procedures.
Additionally, Dinesh Panthee has discussed the processes and practices of language in education policy in the local governments of Nepal and argues of having inconsistency between policies and procedures of language in education policy in local governments of Nepal. He brings up the administrative and managerial inability/ignorance to implement local language policy in schools.
For your ease of access, below is the list of hyperlinked articles:
Finally, I would like to thank our co-editor, Ekraj Koirala, for extending invaluable support throughout the entire process. We jointly are thankful to all our editors and reviewers, Ganesh Kumar Bastola, Mohan Singh Saud, Ashok Raj Khati, Jeevan Karki, Sagar Poudel, Jnanu Raj Poudel, Karna Rana and Rajendra Joshi for their relentless effort and contribution.
ELT Choutari is a platform for researchers, scholars, educators and practitioners to share their perspectives, practices and stories from classrooms and communities. We encourage you to contribute to our anniversary issue (Jan- March) and send your articles and blogs at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you enjoy reading the interview, articles and reflective stories, please feel free to share in and around your circle, and of course, drop your comments in the boxes below.
McGroarty, M. (1997). Language policy in the USA: National values, social loyalties,
pragmatic pressures. In W. Eggington & H.Wren (eds.), Language policy: Dominant English, pluralist challenges. John Benjamins.
Prem Prasad Poudel is a recent PhD graduate from The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (2021/22). He is an Assistant Professor at Mahendra Ratna Campus, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. He has experiences teaching at higher education in Nepal and Hong Kong, and has been continuously engaged in research with national and international teams on the issues of privatization in education, educational outsourcing, whole-child development, postgraduate students’ aspirations and well-being, medium of instruction policies, educational equality, and equity. He studied language policies, planning and the associated sociological issues during his PhD, and explored issues like language and social justice especially in the bi/multilingual social spaces nationally and internationally. Recently, he has been diving deeply into these issues to understand language and education issues from a socio-historical perspective.
Choutari editor, Nanibabu Ghimire has initiated a conversation with Dr. Poudel on language in education policies and practices, mother tongue education, English medium instruction (EMI) and its multiple facets. Enjoy this exclusive interview at Choutari.
Q: What do you think about the practices of medium of instruction (MOI) in school education in Nepal?
Starting from 1990s, we have seen significant developments in making language policies including MOI more people centric. The current constitution of Nepal allows the schools to use Nepali, English or the other languages of the nation as a medium of instruction in schools, up to the secondary level. Despite this policy, schools are aggressively (and sometimes blindly) shifting towards English medium instruction (EMI). The consequences of such shifts are adverse, especially for a multilingual and multicultural context. For instance, in Nepal’s case, even Nepali, the national language, has been displaced in many contexts from schools and has only been taught as a subject, and its (and several other languages) role as the MOI has been displaced by English. Hence, the practice of MOI in Nepal’s schools is highly English dominated. We have recently explored this issue from decolonial perspective and have published a paper, especially the colonial power of English in school and the efforts for the decolonization of it in school education in Nepal, which can be accessed here.
Q: Why are people attracted to English medium instruction (EMI) in school education in Nepal?
Good question. There is a craze toward adopting EMI in all levels of school education. This case is more serious in the early childhood education (the so called Montessori education). Several factors have driven this trend. First, EMI is our history, as it emerged along with the beginning of formal education in Nepal, which set a false belief that education in English is of better quality and of higher status. Second, the globalization and neoliberal marketization projected English as the language of opportunities, a key to cross-border employment opportunities and social mobility. The third factor is our social psychology. For example, in our case, perhaps similar to many non-native English-speaking countries, an ideology deeply rooted in Nepali society is that English is the language of prestige and higher social values such as being standard, educated or elite— an indicator of being an elite. This belief of projecting English as a high-valued language implies that languages other than English deserve less value and prestige. The main problem here lies in the superior-inferior labelling assigned to English and other non-English languages. This has affected our language choice in media, trade, education, family language practices and our lives in the public. For instance, if you walk around our marketplaces, most signboards are written in English at the top (perhaps in larger fonts) followed by Nepali (or none). This practice is intended to expand business and establish English as one of the commodities salable in the market. You know this is a form of hierarchization of languages in public places. It’s seemingly simple but has long-term implications for language policies.
Q: Despite having policy to provide basic education in learners’ mother tongue, people want to educate their children in English medium schools. How do you perceive this trend?
You’re right. There are legislative and educational policy provisions about using learners’ mother tongues or the most familiar language as a medium in schooling, which is good from a linguistic human rights perspective. However, people these days are attracted by the utilitarian values attached to languages. Some simple questions people have in their minds are, “What do I get by learning in my mother tongue? What are the benefits?” In my perspective, people today look for ‘socio-economic’ benefits out of learning in and learning of a language. This is a force coming in as a product of the neoliberal market that gives people a choice but simultaneously projects the economic gains or the material and social capital attached with learning a particular language as essential elements of an individual’s life. So, the growing trend of parents uncritically preferring to educate their children in EMI is unfortunate for contexts like ours, where children are taught the contents in the English language since the beginning of formal schooling.
Q: Meanwhile, language-minoritized parents are found to be motivated in teaching their children in EMI instead of their home language. What can be the reasons behind this?
I think the concerns should not be about majority or minority language speaking communities, rather, it should be about what structural conditions led these communities with less power to choose the dominant languages such as English for educating their children. In non-native English-speaking contexts beyond our national context as well, no matter the demographic strength of communities, they are driven by ‘English fever’. For example, in South Korea, as Choi (2022) pointed out, despite the deliberate efforts made by the governments, English continues to be the language of social prestige and quality education. Look at the Nepali native-speaking communities here in our context. People are more concerned about access to English, thinking access to English will widen their global space. The communities are abandoning or at least minimizing the use of their native languages in education. For them, it is not about whether their children learn English but the widening inequalities caused by English. Several researches in Nepal (e.g., Poudel & Choi, 2021; Phyak, 2016, 2021; Sah, 2022) have demonstrated it. While I was in the field for my doctoral study, I remember two EMI schools; one private and the other public. However, both students and parents of the public school were projecting the private school in the vicinity as of better quality. They thought that the English in these two EMI schools was unequal. They were anxious about the future life chances of their children due to the unequal exposure to English. Isn’t it interesting? So, what I mean is, people are not worried about the coercive impact of English on their ethnic/indigenous languages, rather, they are concerned about the consequences that their children might experience due to not getting exposed to zero or unequal English education. The main driving factor is their false assumption that ‘if you have English, you have everything, and if you don’t, you miss everything’, which is so unfortunate.
Q:So, does EMI improve the students’ English as parents/stakeholders think?
Schools today are intentionally or forcefully shifting their medium to English. To my knowledge, extensive research evidence to claim that the practice of EMI improves students’ English is still missing, especially from the Nepali context. However, there are mixed arguments regarding the benefits and side effects of EMI. For instance, since the 1990s, critical linguists have been questioning the inequalities in schooling posed by aggressive and unplanned adoption of EMI for children whose home language is other than English. At the same time, there are claims at the grassroots level that if EMI is appropriately implemented, extensive exposure to English may improve students’ proficiency in English. However, I would say no evidence claims that teaching English as a subject does not improve their proficiency. I think, we need more research evidence to answer your question in terms of Yes or No.
Q: How can we convince the people to teach their children in the home language (mother tongue) as mentioned in our policy documents? Or is that impractical? If yes, how?
Again, I would say that we should not think about convincing. This ‘ideology of convincing’ sounds more like a hegemonic idea, and it creates an impression of a ‘ruler-ruled’ relationship, which is impossible in an ideal democratic society. The most important thing we need to consider now is ‘what structural conditions enable the use of children’s home languages in education vis a vis English?’ Regarding policy, yes, there are relatively favourable policy conditions at the macro level, but the support systems for such policies to be implemented well are not sufficient and also are not owned by the parents, who are the key influencers in school policies. Unless we counter or challenge the prevailing ‘deficit ideologies’ concerning minority languages, we cannot realise the agenda of mother tongue education. To do so, I think one of the essential steps to be taken is enhancing the social and functional values of minority languages.
Q: Why is there a gap between MOI policy and practice in basic education in Nepal? How can this gap be eliminated?
As I also mentioned previously, the main problem is about ownership of the well-intended policies at the grassroots level. For instance, several reports of the Language Commission of Nepal have also highlighted that parental ownership concerning the use of local/indigenous languages is negligible, which invisibly forced the schools to adopt the dominant language the community gives priority to. This shows that there are instances of resistance (albeit invisible) from the bottom up, and the top-down policies have not been able to find their way. Consequently, we have missed a good policy action and positive response to the policy at the implementational level. Unless we address the factors that create this condition for policy-practice gaps, and establish causal relationships between policies and policy outcomes, such as the impact of the implementation of MOI, we will have hard times in bridging the policy-practice gaps.
Q:How do you perceive the current research practices of MOI in the global and local context? What would you suggest to researchers in language policy and planning moving forward?
Starting from the 1990s, language policy research gravely took a critical gaze, raising issues of inequalities and inequities caused by language policies of several nations. I remember one of the monumental works in language policy is J. W. Tollefson’s book, published in 1991. He raised critical concerns about challenging the structures that promote monoglossic ideologies in policy making. Since then, there are significant advancements in researching language policies such as MOI, for instances the works of Tollefson and Tsui (2004), Liddicoat and Baldauf (2008), to name some. The research trend in MOI has moved towards exploring sociological issues such as MOI and social classes, MOI and social hierarchies, inequalities, elitism, and commodification of language(s) (Block, 2021; Heller, 2010; Menken & Garcia, 2010). I am very happy to see that such issues in Nepal’s case are also increasingly explored by several applied linguists and critical scholars like Dr. Lava Deo Awasthi, Dr. R. A. Giri, Dr. Prem Phyak, Dr. Pramod Kumar Sah and several other emerging scholars including you. I cannot name every work of everyone of the language policy scholars here in this short interview, but I know that emerging scholars are exploring several socially embedded issues in language policy such as MOI. The critical scholars have also questioned the threats generated by English on the very existence of other languages in their respective community contexts at the global level. Another important development in our case is that universities (e.g., Far Western University) have developed very specific courses on language policy and policy research in M. Phil and PhD programs. I am sure that such developments will expand our context-specific research on language policy and associated concerns.
One of the critical concerns we need to explore is the intersectionality of language policies (e.g., MOI) with broader historical, structural, cultural and economic conditions of the society. We have initiated a discourse in this direction through a publication (see Poudel & Choi, 2022- entitled “Discourses shaping the language-in-education policy and foreign language education in Nepal: An intersectional perspective). I would suggest future language policy researchers direct their research on identifying the relationship of the forces such as nationalism, neoliberal marketization and ethnicity and their impact on language policy decisions and implementation. It would also be interesting to see (even question) the roles of national and international organizations (e.g., The World Bank, OECD, EU etc.) promoting the neoliberal agenda that aims to homogenize the world while also advocating for diversity and equity. Future research could also explore the ways of enhancing community participation and engagement in establishing an equitable society by promoting the local languages and cultures so that the local epistemologies can be preserved and used in uplifting the lives of people who are living under conditions of the feeling of inferiority, minoritization and hatred. To be frank, we need to engage in critical dialogues at all levels of governance to realize the agenda of multilingualism.
As you have come to this point, you might have thoughts, feelings, and views about Dr. Poudel’s opinions and the issues raised here, so we invite you to drop your comments and questions below to advance the discourse.
Schools can today participate in committing linguistic genocide through their choice of the medium of formal education – and they do. (Skutnabb-Kangas, 2010, p. 212)
The above quotation by Skutnabb-Kangas (2010) ought to be self-evident. The situation in some public schools in Nepal is that they are running after English medium instruction. In Nepal, the official language is Nepali and English is taken as a foreign language. It shows that the language of instruction in schools should be Nepali as it is the formal language in Nepal. Yet English as a medium of instruction policy has been adopted by some schools especially in urban areas believing that English medium brings so-called quality. Are they bringing quality in education or committing linguistic genocide as Skutnabb-Kangas says?
The medium of instruction (MOI) policy has been a controversial issue in the context of Nepal. Nepal has adopted a neoliberal policy regarding the MOI. CDC (2019) states that the MOI at the Basic Level (Grades 1-8) will be either mother tongue or Nepali. NCF states that social studies and Nepali should not be taught in English; however, other subjects can be taught in English at the Basic Level (p. 36) at the secondary level (Grades 9-12), the MOI will be Nepali or English. The government policy mentions that children can get education in their mother tongue since it is their right; or Nepali can be the MOI as it is the lingua franca of Nepal. Neglecting the linguistic human rights (Skutnabb-Kangas, 2006) of the children to get education in their language, there has been a shift to English Medium Instruction (EMI) in some public schools in Nepal. Is it justifiable to do so or are the public schools violating the language rights of the school children? This is a debatable question to be discussed in public discourses. Considering this issue, this paper discusses whether EMI is for quality education or the destruction of minority languages in Nepal.
It is agreed that students learn better when they understand what the teacher is saying (Brock-Utne, 2010; Klaus, 2001), and this is possible only through the learners’ mother tongues. If the children are provided education in other languages, they often remain silent or become puzzled. Let me relate this issue to the experience of one of my colleagues. When my colleague (Tamang as the mother tongue) was admitted to school, he didn’t understand anything that the teachers said or taught. There was another Tamang student who also knew the Nepali language. Then he used to ask what the teachers said. This example clarifies that students learn better in their language only. What we infer from this event is that we are destroying the knowledge of the students. Learning is for the knowledge of the subject matter. It does not mean that we can get better knowledge in English only. If this was true, Chinese, Korean and Japanese learners would be the weakest ones in the world, but it is not so. These countries are far forward in science and technology including education. Therefore, adopting EMI and compelling the learners to get education is destroying their clear-cut knowledge in content areas.
Another argument is that indigenous languages are destroyed through the adoption of EMI policy in schools. Languages get protected, survived, and promoted through their use, especially in education. Skutnabb-Kangas (2010) argues that schools can kill languages that had survived for centuries when their speakers were not exposed to formal education. This is what happened through the adoption of the EMI policy in the public schools of Nepal. Nepal is a multilingual, multicultural and multiracial country with 131 indigenous languages spoken by 125 ethnic groups (Language Commission, 2020). Since there has been a growing trend of using EMI in public schools in Nepal, learners’ mother tongues are endangered. Once when I was in the field collecting data for my research work, one Rana student (Rana language is one of the indigenous languages of Nepal) who was studying in a public school in Kailali district where EMI was implemented said, “I don’t want to learn and speak my mother tongue. If there is no use of my language in school and in the market, then why should I use it? Only my parents speak it but I use Nepali to talk to them at home.” This shows that the use of EMI is one of the causes that obstruct students to use local or other indigenous languages at home. In my neighborhood, one family belonging to the Newar community. Both the father and the mother are educated and job holders. Their children study in a private English medium school. I have never heard them speaking the Newari language even with their children. When I asked, “Why don’t you use the Newari language at home with your children?” The father replied, “Sir, what’s the use of using our language if it has no value in society? So we want our children to learn only Nepali and English.” Thus, there is linguistic genocide (Skutnabb-Kangas, 2000) or the policy that encourages language shifts in multilingual societies. EMI in education is playing a crucial role in this case. Skutnabb-Kangas (2001) argues that linguistic human rights are necessary for maintaining linguistic and cultural diversity on earth. Only the use of mother tongues in education can support the maintenance of linguistic diversity, thereby preserving and promoting indigenous languages.
English is taken as a killer language (Gutiérrez Estrada, & Schecter, 2018; Khaled, 2020; Schrijver, 2013). If so, how can EMI policy in education remain its exception? Although English is a global lingua franca, it is an agent of making other languages disappear because of people’s attraction towards the use of English in education, media, public spheres, tourism, and other sectors.
I argue after Brock-Utne (2010) that English in education is the language of destruction rather than instruction in two senses. First, the use of EMI in education is destroying and limiting the knowledge of education in the learners since they do not get a clear-cut concept of the subject matter in English. Second, the use of EMI in education is destroying the learners’ mother tongues.
I conclude my argument that the only way to preserve and protect the indigenous languages thereby imparting crystal clear knowledge to the learners about the subject matters is through the use of mother tongue-based education especially up to basic level (1-8) education. It is believed that the more languages the learners know; the more cognitive development they have. Following this assumption, I propose that some subjects related to local knowledge can be taught in the learners’ mother tongues, the subjects of national importance can be in Nepali, and the subjects like Maths, Science, and Computers can be taught in English. It is the responsibility of the nation to protect the indigenous languages of the country. The linguistic and cultural diversity of a country is the property and identity. Therefore, the linguistic human rights of children must be preserved. We can never imagine this through the use of EMI in education.
Brock-Utne, B. (2010). English as the language of instruction or destruction–how do teachers and students in Tanzania cope? In Language of instruction in Tanzania and South Africa-Highlights from a project (pp. 77-98). Brill.
Gutiérrez Estrada, M. R., & Schecter, S. R. (2018). English as a” Killer Language”? Multilingual Education in an Indigenous Primary Classroom in Northwestern Mexico. Journal of Educational Issues, 4(1), 122-147.
Khaled, D. Y. A. (2020). English as a killer language: South Africa as a Case Study. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 3(3), 72-79.
Klaus, D. (2001). The use of indigenous languages in Early Basic Education in Papua New Guinea: A model for elsewhere? Paper presented the Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society held in Washington DC. March 17, 2001.
Language Commission (2020). Annual Report (5th). Language Commission.
CDC, (2019). National level curriculum framework for school education in Nepal. Sanothimi: Curriculum Development Center, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Government of Nepal.
Schrijver, P. (2013). Languages Competing for Speakers: English as a Killer Language. In Language Contact and the Origins of the Germanic Languages (pp. 20-22). Routledge.
Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (2000). Linguistic genocide in education – or worldwide diversity and human rights? Routledge.
Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (2001). The globalisation of (educational) language rights. International Review of Education, 47(3), 201-219.
Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (2006). Language policy and linguistic human rights. An introduction to language policy: Theory and method, 273-291.
Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (2010). Language rights. Handbook of pragmatic highlights. Society and Language Use, 7, 212-232.
Mohan Singh Saud is an Associate Professor of English Language Education, ELT trainer, book writer, poet, editor, and researcher from Nepal. He is the visiting faculty at Chandigarh University, Panjab, India. His areas of interests in research include grammar teaching, teachers’ professional development, medium of instruction, English medium instruction (EMI), mother tongue-based medium of instruction, teaching English as an international language, English language teachers’ training and education, linguistic diversity, and globalisation.
[To cite this: Saud. M.S., (2022, October 15). Is English in Education a Medium of Instruction or Destruction? [blog post]. Retrieved from https://eltchoutari.com/2022/10/is-english-in-education-a-medium-of-instruction-or-destruction/]
The use of English as a medium of instruction (EMI) in schools has become a growing issue in the context of Nepal. This paper explores some examination practices in the EMI policy adopted community school (EMI school) in Nepal. Considering an EMI school as a case, I have collected qualitative data using multiple methods such as observation, interview, and informal interaction concerning the issue, and analyzed and interpreted the data thematically. The students need explanations of every question in the Nepali language before they write the answers. The negative washback seems to be extended to the examination hall. The examination practices employed in the EMI school raise a serious question about the way they learn the content using EMI.
Due to globalization, the use of EMI at school and university levels has become a contemporary and emerging issue in the global context and so is the case in the context of Nepal. Several studies from home and abroad show that the stakeholders of schools and colleges are shifting the medium of instruction (MOI) used in the schools and colleges to English, especially in the countries where the native languages being used are other than English, like Nepal. For this reason, the EMI issue has been a fresh area to study for researchers and academicians.
A number of studies (e.g., Baral, 2015; Bhatta, 2020; Brown, 2018; Ghimire, 2019; Gim, 2020; Joshi, 2019; J. Karki, 2018; Khanal, 2020; Khati, 2016; Ojha, 2018; Paudel, 2021; Phyak, 2013, 2018; Poudel, 2019; Ranabhat, Chiluwal, & Thompson, 2018; Sah, 2022; Sharma, 2018; Weinberg, 2013, to name a few) have been conducted concentrating on the EMI/MOI issues in Nepalese context. These studies especially focus on the assumptions, teachers’ identity, ideology, agencies, opportunities, challenges, possibilities, policies, and practices of EMI/MOI issues in general; however, less attention is paid to the examination practices in particular. So, in this paper, I endeavor to explore the examination practices employed by the EMI school selecting a secondary community-based school in a rural area of Bagmati Province, Nepal as a case.
Methods of the Study
This study employs the “case study” (Stake, 2008; Yin, 2016) research design selecting an EMI school as a “case” and the “examination practice” of the school as a phenomenon of the study. Multiple methods (i.e., nonparticipant overt observation of examination activities, interviews with three teachers teaching in Grades four and five, and informal interaction with two students of Grades four and five) were used for information collection. The data were transcribed and translated into English and interpreted categorizing them into themes.
Results and Discussion
The information was interpreted categorizing them into two themes: dependent on the teachers, and the existence of negative washback effect. They are discussed with supporting details below.
Dependent on Teachers
The students participated for the examinations in the hall seemed to be dependent on the teachers for writing the answers. The students started writing the answers to the questions only after the subject teachers’ explanations of the questions with the clues to write the answers. The students seek clarification of the instruction of each question written in English for understanding in Nepali language used in the paper. They wanted the meaning of the particular question, and meaning and spelling of the words, from which the students got the clues for writing the answers to the objective questions particularly. Regarding this, I have mentioned two short pieces of discourse held during the examinations of Class 5, Science and Class 4 Social Studies respectively in the hall.
Examination discourse # 1
S1: Miss, esko question sarnu parchha? (Miss, should we copy the question? [in the answer paper]?)
T: timiharule question sarnu pardaina answer-answer matra lekha (No, write only the answers).
S2: Miss, jo duiko (a) ke bhaneko ho bhanidinuna (Miss, please, tell me what Question 2 (a) means).
T: pani dherai chiso bhayo bhane ice banchha ,thik ki bethik? (Water can be converted into ice on cooling, true of false?)
S2: e… (um. . .)
S3: Miss, question no 3 ko (a) ko meaning bandiununa (Miss, please, tell me the meaning of Question 3 (a)).
T: J-u-p-i-t-r [spelling the letter] jupiter, jupiter bhaneko grahako naam ho thaahaa chhaina? (Jupiter is a planet, don’t you know?)
S4: Miss, aath  number ko (a) ko bhandinuna (Miss, please, what is meant by Question 8 (a)).
T: What are amphibians? Amphibians ke lai bhaninchha?
S4: amphibians ko meaning ke hunchha, miss? (what is the maning of amphibians?)
T: jamin ra paani dubai thaaumaa basne janawaar ho ni asti nai class maa padheko hoina? (amphibians live both on land and water, don’t you know?)
Examination discourse # 2
S1: Sir, “maaghi”ko meaning ke ho? (Sir, what is the meaning of “maaghi”?)
T1: “maaghi” bhaneko parbako naam ho (“maaghi” is a name of a festival)
S2: Maam, “gaura” bhaneko ke ho? (Maam, what is the meaning of “gaura”?)
T2: “gaura”bhaneko euta chaad ho (“gaura” is a festival).
S3: Miss, “mother” ko spelling bhandinununa (Miss, please, tell me the spelling of “mother”)
T2: lu hera tyeti pani najaaneko? “m-o-t-h-e-r” hoina? (Oh! You don’t even know the spelling of m-o-t-h-e-r mother?)
S4: Miss, yo (C) number ko ke bhaneko? (Miss, please, tell me what question C means?)
T2: “alcohol ko prayogale ke asar garchha” bhaneko ho? (It means-what are the effects of consuming alcohol?)
Note: The expressions written in italic are the Nepali words used by the participants and in the square brackets are my explanation.
During an interview, concerning the use of Nepali language, a teacher, Tarun expressed that they often used it “due to the low level of students’ knowledge in English”. He added “you saw in the examination hall, they could not write anything unless we [teachers] explained each question in Nepali”. The interesting point is that no single English sentence was used in the conversation though the EMI policy is adopted in the school.
There can be many reasons for behind the use of Nepali language in the discourse. One reason can be the teachers’ low proficiency in English which is similar to some studies in the past (e.g., British Council, 2013; LaPrairie, 2014; Mohamed, 2013; Sah & Li, 2020) and they feel difficulty in teaching and making the students comprehend in English. The other can be the students cannot understand due to their low level of English language knowledge (Wirawan, 2020). Whatever the reason may be, the students fully depend on the teachers for the use of Nepali language to understand the questions and solve the problems. The shreds of evidence in the discourses held in the examination hall and with the teacher imply that there is enough space for suspicion of accomplishing the learning outcomes set in the curriculum with the use of EMI.
Extended Negative Washback
The “negative washback” refers to the undesirable effect of the test on teaching and learning activities (Alderson & Wall, 1993; Chan, 2018; Cheng & Curtis, 2004) that precedes and prepares for the assessment. The negative washback seems to have been extended to and reflected in the examination practices in the EMI school. That is to say, the teaching-learning activities were performed keeping the testing system in mind, and during the examination, the problems to be solved in the examination hall were frequently signaled referring back to the classrooms activities as a clue to the examinees to solve the problems.
Once in the examination hall, Lila, a teacher, responded to a question made by an examinee “Didn’t I ask you to read the same answer some days ago in the class while practicing for the exam?” She added, “Do it in the same way” in a reminding tone. This expression signaled the extension of negative washback effect to the examination. Moreover, in the examination hall, it was seen that the answer to one of the subjective questions of many students was written exactly the same way in terms of its content, length, and structure.
With reference to this issue, one student expressed, “our teachers provided the questions and their answers just before the examination started” and she added that the students “memorized the answers for writing in the examinations” while I informally interacted with her. In line with the same view, another student, showing the evidence in his book, put his remark that “the teachers ticked the questions to be asked in the exam when the examination schedule was published” he further stated that they read the same answers to prepare for the exams. They both agreed that they normally get help from the teachers to solve the questions in the examination hall.
Teachers even agreed with the statements shared by the students. In an interview, a teacher, Jina, remarked that she normally selects “some possible questions with their answers to be asked in the examinations” and asks the students to memorize the answers. Relating to the issue, a Social Studies teacher, Lila stated, “I pick out some questions from the important chapters and repeat them many times for the examinations”. She further added “the students feel difficult to write the answers unless we provide them with the answer clues.” Her statements reflect the extension of negative washback to the examination practices. The pieces of evidence mentioned reveal that replicating the questions, which were practiced and asked the students to memorize earlier in the classes for the examination purposes, and helping the students to solve the questions in the examination, in other term, extension of negative washback effect, appeared to be a common strategy prepared and applied by the teachers in the EMI adopted school.
The extension of negative washback effect to the examination practices in the EMI school may not be favorable for learning because they may well miss the mark to reflect the “learning principles or the course objectives to which they are supposedly related” (Cheng & Curtis, 2004, p. 9), they oppose to “learning through exploration or discovery” (Tania & Phyak, 2022, p. 141), and they do not match the examination policy (T. M. Karki, 2020) prepared by the concerned authorities. Supporting the issue, Manocha (2022) views that it may not be a good strategy because it does not allow the students to use their “prior knowledge of language” and discourages them to share their “stories and experiences related to the text”, as a result people may question in the effective implementation of EMI policy from the teaching and learning perspectives.
In this study, I have explored the examination practices employed by the EMI-adopted community-based school. The students seem to be reliant on the subject teachers and their Nepali explanations of instruction mentioned in English and each problem appeared in the English-medium question paper. The extension of the negative washback effect to the examination hall was observed in the study. Although this study is limited to a single but discontinuously upgraded EMI policy-adopted school located in a rural area of Nepal selected for the case study, it provides information that can be true to the other EMI school more or less in a similar context. For more wide-ranging, trustworthy, and extensively applicable outcomes, similar but larger-sized studies in the future are recommended.
Alderson, J. C., & Wall, D. (1993). Does washback exist? Applied Linguistics, 14(2), 115-129. doi: 10.1093/applin/14.2.115
Baral, L. (2015). Expansion and growth of English as a language of instruction in Nepal’s school education: Towards pre-conflict reproduction or post-conflict transformation (Master’s thesis). The Arctic University of Norway. Tromsø, Norway.
Bhatta, C. (2020). Assumptions and practices of English as a medium of instruction in community schools of Nepal (Master’s thesis). Tribhuvan University, Department of English Education, Kirtipur. Retrieved from https://elibrary.tucl.edu.np/handle/123456789/9864
British Council. (2013). Can English medium education work in Pakistan? Lessons from Punjab. Retrieved from https://www.britishcouncil.pk/sites/default/files/can_english_medium_education_work_in_pakistan_-_british_council_2013.pdf
Brown, R. (2018). English and its role in education: Subject or medium of instruction? In D. Hayes (Ed.), English language teaching in Nepal: Research, reflection and practice (pp. 13-34). Kathmandu: British Council.
Chan, K. L. R. (2018). Washback in English pronunciation in Hong Kong: Hong Kong English or British English. Motivation, identity and autonomy in foreign language education, 27-40.
Cheng, L., & Curtis, A. (2004). Washback or backwash: A review of the impact of testing on teaching and learning. In L. Cheng, Y. Watanabe, & A. Curtis (Eds.), Washback in language testing: Research contexts and methods (pp. 3-18). Mahwah: Taylor & Francis.
Ghimire, N. B. (2019). Teachers’ indentity in English medium community school in Nepal: A narrative inquiry (A mini research report). Tribhuvan University, Office of the Dean Faculty of Education, Kirtipur, Kathmandu.
Gim, S. J. (2020). Nepali teacher identity and English medium education: The impact of the shift to English as the medium of instruction at Nepali public schools on teacher identity (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database. (UMI No. 28257970)
Joshi, B. R. (2019). Use of English as a medium of instruction in Nepalease context (Mini research). Office of the Dean, Faculty of education, Tribhuvan University. Kathmandu.
Karki, J. (2018). Is English medium instruction working? A case study of Nepalese community schools in Mt. Everest region. In D. Hayes (Ed.), English language teaching in Nepal: Research, reflection and practice (pp. 201-218). Kathmandu: British Council.
Karki, T. M. (2020). A Study of practical examinations: Provision and practices. Tribhuvan University Journal, 35(1), 97-110. doi: 10.3126/tuj.v35i1.35874
Khanal, G. P. (2020). English-medium schooling in the context of Nepal: A critical review. Siddhartha Journal of Academics, 2, 22-31.
Khati, A. R. (2016). English as a medium of instruction: My experience from a Nepali hinterland. Journal of NELTA, 21(1-2), 23-30.
LaPrairie, M. (2014). A case study of English-medium education in Bhutan (Doctor in education). Institute of Education, University of London. Retrieved from https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10021621
Manocha, S. (2022). Participation of Saora children in MLE and MLE plus schools in Odisha, India: Lessons learned and lessons to learn. In L. Adinolfi, U. Bhattacharya, & P. Phyak (Eds.), Multilingual education in South Asia: At the intersection of policy and practice (pp. 149-171). London: Routledge.
Mohamed, N. (2013). The challenge of medium of instruction: A view from Maldivian schools. Current Issues in Language Planning, 14(1), 185-203. doi: 10.1080/14664208.2013.789557
Ojha, L. P. (2018). Shifting the medium of instruction to English in community schools: Policies, practices and challenges in Nepal. In D. Hayes (Ed.), English language teaching in Nepal: Research, reflection and practice (pp. 187-200). Kathmandu: British Council.
Paudel, P. (2021). Using English as a medium of instruction: Challenges and opportunities of multilingual classrooms in Nepal. Prithvi Journal of Research and Innovation, 43-56. doi: 10.3126/pjri.v3i1.37434
Phyak, P. (2013). Language ideologies and local languages as the medium-of-instruction policy: A critical ethnography of a multilingual school in Nepal. Current Issues in Language Planning, 14(1), 127-143.
Phyak, P. (2018). Translanguaging as a pedagogical resource in English language teaching: A response to unplanned language education policies in Nepal. In K. Kuchah & F. Shamim (Eds.), International perspectives on teaching English in difficult circumstances: Contexts, challenges and possibilities (pp. 49-70). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Poudel, P. P. (2019). The medium of instruction policy in Nepal: Towards critical engagement on the ideological and pedagogical debate. Journal of Language and Education, 5(3), 102-110. doi: 10.17323/jle.2019.8995
Ranabhat, M. B., Chiluwal, S. B., & Thompson, R. (2018). The spread of English as a medium of instruction in Nepal’s community schools. In D. Hayes (Ed.), English Language Teaching in Nepal: Research, reflection and practice (pp. 81-106). Kathmandu: British Council.
Sah, P. K. (2022). English as a medium of instruction, social stratification and symbolic violence in Nepali schools: Untold stories of Madhesi children. In L. Adinolfi, U. Bhattacharya, & P. Phyak (Eds.), Multilingual education in South Asia: At the intersection of policy and practice (pp. 50-68). doi:10.4324/9781003158660-4
Sah, P. K., & Li, G. (2020). Translanguaging or unequal languaging? Unfolding the plurilingual discourse of English medium instruction policy in Nepal’s public schools. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 25(6), 1-20. doi: 10.1080/13670050.2020.1849011
Sharma, S. (2018). Translanguaging in hiding: English-only instruction and literacy education in Nepal. In X. You (Ed.), Transnational writing education: Theory, history, and practice (pp. 79-94). Thousand Oaks: CRC Press Book.
Stake, R. E. (2008). Qualitative case studies. In Strategies of qualitative inquiry (3rd ed., pp. 119-149). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Tania, R., & Phyak, P. (2022). Medium of instruction, outcome-based education, and language education policy in Bangladesh. In L. Adinolfi, U. Bhattacharya, & P. Phyak (Eds.), Multilingual education in South Asia: At the intersection of policy and practice (pp. 132-148). London: Routledge.
Weinberg, M. (2013). Revisiting history in language policy: The case of medium of instruction in Nepal. Working Papers in Educational Linguistics, 28(1), 61-80. Retrieved from www.gse.upenn.edu/wpel
Wirawan, F. (2020). A Study on the teaching media used by the English teacher at SMP Muhammadiyah 2 Malang. Jurnal Ilmiah Profesi Pendidikan, 5(2), 89-95. doi: 10.29303/jipp.v5i2.115
Yin, R. K. (2016). Qualitative research from start to finish (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Publications.
Tek Mani Karki is a Lecturer at Tribhuvan University, Department of English Education, Mahendra Ratna Campus, Tahachal, Kathmandu. Currently, he is pursuing his Ph.D. degree entitled “English as a Medium of Instruction in Community Schools of Nepal: Policies and Practices”. His areas of interest in research are language education policy and teacher professional development.
[To cite this: Karki. T. M., (2022, October 15). Examination Practices in English as a Medium of Instruction School [blog post]. Retrieved from https://eltchoutari.com/2022/10/examination-practices-in-english-as-a-medium-of-instruction-school/]