Welcome to the February-2011 Issue of NELTA Choutari.
The articles in this issue provide practical ideas on how we can teach English creatively in the classroom. Although the idea of creativity is not prescriptive, we believe that these articles help to generate more innovative ways of teaching English.
It is needless to reiterate the importance of creativity in teaching English. It has been accepted that creativity drives teachers towards professional growth. It also helps them generate knowledge through experimentation and discovery. The most important point is that it enhances critical thinking ability of both teachers and students by constantly engaging them in doing something unusual and observing whether or not that works in teaching-learning process.
Barthold Georg Niebuhr has once said “it is better to create than to be learned, creating is the true essence of life.” This quotation indicates that if we want to see our ‘self’ as a professional teacher in the ELT community of practice, we should not only believe in what we learned from books and other sources but we should adapt those knowledge in our own context which help to bring some changes in everyday teaching. Taking everything as a granted may not lend a hand to become a teacher who has his/her own idiosyncratic specialties from which students learn alot. The whole essence of our professional life depends on how much we can create, aspire to create and share our creation with other colleagues.
Andrew Wright, a famous ELT book writer, a story teller and a teacher trainer, has provided very useful classroom activities to teach grammar creatively. For details please click here. Mabindra Regmi presents the findings of his action research on creative writing with the students. The activities given in the article are useful for teachers. Please click here to read the details. Similarly, Suresh Shrestha has discussed how humours can be used in the classroom while teaching English. The examples included in his article may be helpful to create joyful environment for learning English in the classroom. Please click here to read his article. These three articles have emphasized that English can be taught in an usual ways as well which not only encourage students to use English in the classroom but also provide an abundant opportunity to create something through interaction.
Although two other articles are of different nature, they bring very crucial messages. Mukunda Giri’s article discusses changing paradigm of teaching and learning process. He argues that traditional role of a teacher as an instructor or a dictator or a lecturer has become obsolete. Now teachers have to facilitate students by creating such an atmosphere where students interact. You can read his article by clicking here. Madhav Timilsina’s article not directly related to ELT. However, it discusses broader issues of language education and applied linguistics. He brings some important agendas on how minority languages like Pahari are losing their existence from the community. To read this wonderful article in detail please click here.
Articles in this issue
1. Andrew Wright – Creativity in teaching English
2. Mabindra Regmi – Teaching creative writing by describing sensory perceptions
3. Suresh Shrestha – Creative humour: laughter to learning
4. Mukunda Kumar Giri – Teachers as a facilitator
5. Madhav Prasad Timalsina – Causes and consequences of the loss of Native language among Paharis at Khopasi:Sociocultural and Linguistic perspectives
We expect more innovative ideas from t teachers of English. And sharing of those ideas in this forum will be a tremendous support to the teachers and the whole ELT family.
Thank you so much for reading past issues and accepting this issue of choutari.
Editor, February – 2011 Issue
5 thoughts on “February-2011 Issue”
Creativity, though ages old it is, is still felt to be as young as a curious child with lots of questions to shower over whoever comes across it and stays longer with it. And, as we are close to its warmth, we realize ourselves to be younger than the YOUNG CHILD and feel like following it with many more curiosities to scatter around. A kind of innocence in the company with some sort of ignorance takes birth within us to produce some cries, make something, to create something that may sound unusual, yet searching for some usual recognition. So is the feeling of mine about CREATIVITY! Yes, undoubtedly, CREATING IS THE TRUE ESSENCE OF LIFE; and learning is simply to structure the foundation of our TO-BE-SELF-CREATED building block, I suppose. We are free to have our own linguistic building of creativity stand as inspired by our creative teachers. But, what about some university-recognized authorities to approve the designs of our buildings or to suggest better shapes or reshaping them innovative? We do accept that creative teaching introduces practical ideas to make learning vigorous; we do adopt it to make language teaching and learning more fruitful! It has turned to be informally part and parcel of language teaching. And, what about its formal ground?
What about making an effort in a body to make CREATIVITY the FIFTH SKILL of language? What about making it prescriptive for the ELT enthusiasts to be linguistically and literarily more dynamic? What about introducing it to BEd course in resonance with Critical Thinking? If it happens to happen so, we could be hopeful that English will no longer be limited to a mere subject or paper to pass, but will prove to be essential part of Nepalese life style!
BEST OF ACT!
Creativity,without any doubt, is an integral part of human life. Human beings stand distinct from other species due to their creativity. Although creativity manifests in numerous activities of human life, its subtlest and most complex pattern manifests in language use. Most of the celebrated writers, poets and philosophers have used language creatively in the process of creating their masterpieces. Their rhetorics charms readers. With the advent of Information Technology, especially of Internet, creative use of language has become more sought after and perhaps it has got new meaning. Hence the need for creativity in the teaching of English.
I appreciate Mr. Shyam Shrestha’s view that creativity should be taught as the fifth language skill to boost the creative potentials of young learners. Young minds are most creative (as is evident from the fact that they learn anything surprisingly quickly) and if they get opportunities to use their creative potentials, they can become successful professionals in their lives.
But English teachers have a big part to play on all this and, I believe, without getting training from experts nothing but very little can be expected from them. Hence, the greatest undertaking rests on NELTA to conduct training program for English teachers far across the country.
I wonder if little bit of digression is allowed here in Nelta Choutari but it wouldn’t be a wrong idea to bring into discussion what I’m really puzzled about. We say we are in the postmodern era. What does that exactly mean? How are the concepts postmodernism, poststructuralism, deconstructivism, decentering, and localisation interrelated? How can in the age of globalisation decentering be possible? Is there any self contradiction in postmodernism itself? Does postmodernism have any political reference? How does postmodernism interact with varied cultures (most of which are traditional in form) across the world? How does it manifest in different domains such as philosophy, anthropology, political texture, literature, etc. How has it influenced human life and thinking in general? Could anybody share their ideas and information with me in Nelta Choutari?
This is–or rather these are–great questions. As you probably read it, Professor Bhattarai addressed this issue in a November 2010 post (http://wp.me/pzdAC-fd). One of your questions that caught my attention is this: Does postmodernism have any political reference? I think yes. Any theory, discourse, or philosophy comes out of particular socio-political contexts and conditions. Postmodernist thinking about society/culture was largely the result of social changes in western societies, especially the United States. The implications and applications of postmodernist thinking have been explored from different local contexts and perspectives around the world, as your other question indicates. So I think that we should distinguish between “postmodernism” as a concept that originally defined certain socio-political conditions of western societies (and may therefore be largely inapplicable to other unique sociopolitical contexts around the world) and “postmodern” as something that we want to define within those different sociopolitical contexts. So, for instance, as teachers in a vastly different sociopolitical and cultural context than Euro-American ones, we cannot and should not try to answer the question “what is postmodern ELT?” in general, that is without reference to what postmodern condition means in our own context. Otherwise, it will be like someone in a small village of Jumla talking about business practices in that village by using conceptual and practical frameworks of business practices in Kathmandu. If there are no ATMs in Jumla yet at the time, then it would be silly to talk about 24 hour access to cash. The material, sociocultural, geopolitical, and many other conditions are different in different societies, and should be taken into consideration. Please read Professor Bhattarai’s post and share your thoughts there.
Thank you Sharma sir for directing me to Prof. Dr. Govinda Raj Bhattarai’s article on postmodernism. His article has really cast light upon various concerning issues of postmodernism and my understanding of postmodernism has deepened after reading the article. More importantly, it has set me into thinking, intensifying my devouring hunger for this most illusive philosophy. That is why new questions are arising in my mind- maybe some absurd ones. No doubt, I have benefited from your article too. I would like to give you a bundle of thanks for your generous help and I expect even more of it in the days to come.