“Teaching English with a Difference” (a report from Birgunj)
Choutari Ed.: Here’s a wonderful branch update, which we received late but would like to add to the Branch Special segment this month. Please share comments.
TRAINING PROGRAM ON ELT (a report from Birgunj)
Suresh Shrestha, Birgunj
Training programs are today’s most effective dais to share experiences and interpret them critically, to develop local perspectives on ELT, and to share ideas and shape and reshape our ongoing activities, thereby enriching ourselves professionally. It is a part of a chain, a link that gives connection to the next one. The next related program may come up as a reformed and more effective one, reinforced by the former one. And again it lays a platform for the newer one to be launch better. What could be considered to come out clear in this regard is that the whole universe is in motion; nothing is stationary at all. Everything is on the move, so ought to be our knowledge and experience. Such thoughts if united with the common spirit pave a straight way to the reality of the demands of several programs on a regular basis. Moreover, if it is an ELT program, no doubt, it may charm us to the global benefit through broader realizations. In the similar connection, the Training Program on ELT that was held in the premises of Thakur Ram Multiple Campus in the second week of December by the Department of English Education, TRM Campus, Birgunj and NELTA, Birgunj was naturally a significant continuance of the chain of ELT activities, giving rise to the hope of ELTism in the Terai, especially, in Birgunj. Let’s be optimistic that there will be many more such events for the foundation of a firmly established trend tending to be nationwide.
The three-day Training Program on ELT, thematically, Teaching English with a Difference, organized by the Department of English Education, TRM Campus, Birgunj and NELTA, Birgunj under the chairmanship of Mr Kedar Prasad Sah, the Chair of NELTA, Birgunj and the Head of the Department of English Education, TRM Campus, Birgunj was facilitated by Dr Barbara Law (an English Language Fellow), Professor of Applied Linguistics, University of Michigan, USA. The program comprised of nine sessions was focused on different contemporarily relevant and highly demanded topics such as-
- Teacher training for the faculties on academic reading and writing, and research skills
- Training on effective teaching of new B.Ed. and M.Ed. courses
- Teaching writing
- Making the best of your textbooks
- Developing reading habits in students
- Authentic materials adaptations for classroom use
- Exploring resources and opportunities for self professional development
About Sixty-nine participants, college students, school and college teachers and others inclined to English language and literature, attended the program with great zeal and zest. What surfaced as the ultimate charm of the program was the highly inspiring due remark by Prof Jai Raj Awasthi on the program, a message for all the ELT enthusiasts to be on the regular move for good Englishism all across the country.
Bird’s Eye View
8th, 9th and 10th December
After the inauguration of the program chaired by Mr Kedar Prasad Sah, the Chair of NELTA, Birgunj and the Head of the Department of English Education with formal rituals as scheduled, the first-day training sessions one and two were focused on the topic Using Reading as a Spring Board for Writing. The first session began with the reading of a story. Dr Law read it out for all the participants as they all moved their sights along line after line. It was not only a taste of native pronunciation and accent but also a good chance and challenge for the better listening comprehension. The participants got enough time to read the story at their own speeds. Then, they were asked several related questions to answer. What she highlighted was all the reading urgency – more and more reading for clearer and better comprehension, the most-required practice-cum-quality the students have to have for the courses of BEd and MEd. The participants did the job trying their best and could answer the questions properly. Thereafter, she got them to compose something related. Actually, it was a letter by a character to another. It was a practice for them to place themselves in place of the character and imagine how the real character felt in the story. In session two, the participants were made to go through a paragraph on My Name and explore what similar and new things they could get in regard to their own names. She talked about her own name openly and made others comfortable to talk about theirs. It was much more participant-oriented. And, her instruction was to usher what way and how freely one could move ahead, imaginatively, creatively. Almost all the participants were found to have realized the significance of good reading for better writing– an inescapable step. Apparently, it conveyed a true message that if someone would rather be an excellent diver into the pool of solid writing, they must be used to springing artistically up the springboard of untiring reading, which seems to be uncared-for even to many more teachers, much more students. Anyway, most of the participants sounded to have realized how significant reading is.
The second day began with Teaching Poetry. Dr Law typed several lines of a poem on the computer getting them projected on the wall. She recited them just for the trainees to capture how to. She explained the reality behind the lines, and added that people could interpret a poem in their own ways, but logically. After that, the participants were given two poems and guided how to recite them poetically. She interpreted it with the clear social and cultural background. In the second session, Critical Thinking was served by means of a story. It guided the participants to sort out the facts, to pick out the key point, to highlight the possibilities, and to come up with a single idea and explain why so. There arose several thoughts in the form of answers. It was an effective way of letting our own perception flow out as a critical thought.
The third session on Research Skills was so fruitful for the would-be researchers to interact on how to carry out a genuine research to understand the gravity of reading for an easy access to the duty assigned.
The third day was especially the day of exploration. The participants were guided along the lines of poems with the close analytical look at its constituents, the types of words! They were practicably encouraged and made to feel and explore out the potential poetry of poetry (, not only prose), hidden, suppressed, subdued- awaiting a way out. And, of course, most of them did dig out the quality trapped within themselves. It was a very marvelous beginning of the exploitation of the latent talent, the innate treasure people take birth with and they do not know themselves; they are just made to realize!
A few last words
In conclusion, conclusively, the three-day ELT Training facilitated by Dr Barbara Law, a well-experienced well-versed English Language Fellow, was of great value and remarkable inspiration to all the participants, irrespective of their ages and designations. What was truly for self-realization was our germinating the true unfeigned feelings of keeping on learning something more, something newer, devoting ourselves to unceasing reading, the most accessible source, observing and thinking from some different angle, i.e. critically, and creating something logically. Dr Law’s writing her name in Nepali as well as in Arabic on the second day and desire to have a Nepali name form the participants was not merely a matter of fun – many more might have taken like that – but also a psychological motivation and reinforcement for all the witnesses to realize learning as a life-long process and to carry out teaching in some different way with curiosity and making the learners curious. That was the most powerful secret of grand success and beauty of teaching – learning relation. Her candid expressions with no NO and moving around encouraging and enquiring the trainees was also a very good lesson of learner-centered teaching to the teachers present there. At last, in the program, no doubt, was something unique left for the participants to grasp, and it succeeded in relaying a subtle message of innovations in the teaching-learning fields with high flexibility along with feasibility.
Another beginning of linguistic enlightenment!
Writing skill development on the ground of reading skill, teaching poetry, Critical Thinking, Research Skills and so on
Everything, everything is on the move