Reflection by a first time attender of the conference

-Ushakiran Wagle

In the 16th international conference held on 18th, 19th and 20th February 2011 at DAV sushil Kediya Vishwa Bharati higher secondary school Jawalakhel Lalitpur, I was assigned as a rapporteur in room number ‘G’. from the very first day of conference. The first presenter in room number “G” was Nirmala Gupta from India and was going to present on the topic “including 21st century skills in teaching English in primary class but she was not in contact with us so the room was empty.

Presenter Sajan Kumar Karn was ready to present his paper about deconstructivism. He started his presentation with the introduction of old mantra OM BHURBHUWASWAHA. He mainly focused on the old traditions that are still being used in Nepal and to change those tradition he introduced the ideas of deconstructionism. The view of the participants toward the word deconstructionism was similar to the destruction, so he provided the meaning of deconstructionism and destruction and he proved that both of these terms are different.  The main theme of his presentation was related to three pedagogies: Pedagogy of particularity, pedagogy of practicality and pedagogy of possibility. He focused on the point that pedagogy includes curricular objectives, classroom strategies, instructional materials, and evaluation measures but also wide range of sociopolitical, historical cultural experiences that directly or indirectly influences second language learning.  He dealt about all those three pedagogies. The part where he dealt about pedagogy was the important issue of his presentation.  As I studied in the course applied linguistics these three pedagogies are introduced by Kumaravadevelu.  While our class was running at our university several times we discussed them and we came to the conclusion that these procedures are good. What I understood according to pedagogy of particularity the pedagogy must be sensitive to particular group of teachers teaching particular group of learners with a particular set of goals in particular setting. In the similar way the pedagogy of practicality includes the relation between theory and practice.  The teachers and theorist should practice what is theorized and should theorize what is being practiced. Not only the teacher we students as well should be aware of the reality that the theory which has never been practice should not be emphasized, if we really want to use and emphasize those things then it is necessary to practice. The final pedagogy introduced by Kumaravadevelu is pedagogy of  possibility and it  empowers participants and points the need to develop theories from knowledge and social practices that work with experiences  that people bring to the pedagogical setting. When he finished dealing with that pedagogy he introduced banking model. The term was quite new for me and I was quite excited to learn what it is about. To explain the definition of that term he cited the definition given by Paulo Frieri (1921-1997) and the definition was something like this : In banking  model, knowledge is a gift bestowed by those who consider themselves knowledgeable upon those whom they consider to know nothing. Then he introduced the banking model of Nepalese ELT. He focused on the exam centered system of Nepal. There are different activities which directly address the examination. According to him teaching learning in Nepal is happening without the proper management and students are being oppressed. There are no such ways where students are being motivated and are being evaluated by the teachers. What I understood by his presentation was that ELT should not be banking. The banking is similar to the evil activities.  Though his topic sounds something different the main theme of his presentation was related to nativizing ELT. He finished his presentation with slogan: If not you then who? If not now then when?

The third presenters in room ‘G’ were Harimaya Sharma and Kamal Raj Devkota. They presented collaboratively and that was collaborative. They conducted the workshop and that was related to creative writing.  The topic was “Creative writing: Burden or fun?” Normally teachers are blaming their students that they are not interested in creative writing, so they catch that particular issues and conducted the workshop to prove whether the creative writing is fun or  burden for the teachers as well as students.  That workshop was really helpful for those who never conduct the creative things in classroom because of their thinking of not having proper and enough time. They started and introduced their session from the introduction of the participants by adding adjective before their name. Participants were interested and they actively participated. They were adding the different adjectives and Kamal Raj Devkota was busy on copying the adjectives on the blackboard. When introductory part finished, they asked the participants to prepare the poem by using those adjectives written on the blackboard. When they asked participants to write the poem they explained the reason of using those activity, and the reason was the students will be introduced with two things with the help of one activity. They will be able to write a poem and they will be introduced with the adjectives. In the similar way the way of thinking also will be changed.  According to them we can ask our students to change the topic and create a number of poems in the similar pattern.  The final saying of their workshop or  the result of their workshop was we can make our student creative and we ourselves can be creative with the help of simple activity without any burden.

In the second day 19th February the first presenter was P. Nagraj and he was from India and his topic for presentation was Reciprocal teaching technique in enhancing the reading skills of engineering students in English in India. But he  told that he already  presented in a first day and he wanted to exchange the presentation with her. Instead of him Pranaya Pradip presented and her topic was  Evaluation of language learning in India. She briefly discussed the reality of Indian education from Gurukul system and she moved. She talk about the learners autonomy in India. According to her survey learners study English for four different reason like: learning for the sake of learning, learning for the sake of freedom, learning for the sake of application and learning because of fear and reverence. Most of the Indian student learns English because of fear that without English whether they will be able to compete with the world or not. As she described the all learners’ type, she immediately examined the consequences why those things are happening. The things she introduced were language acquisition becomes stagnant , in the similar way the examination system is so competitive and there are prescribed texts  to bound the students. Though the learners study by following very hard and fast rules at last the result is same and that is unemployability.  According to her research Indian students never learn to study for pleasure with inner desire; instead they learn forcefully and the result is also not satisfactory.

The second presenter of the second day was Christine Stone and she conducted the workshop.  Her workshop helped us to learn the way of teaching writing with the help of imagination. At first she asked to imagine what happen or what will the participator do if the big monster comes in front of them.  I found that was something for brain storming, but later on I came to know that, the thing that she asked to do was the main thing that she was going to introduce with us. She showed different pictures and ask the participants to describe those picture. Then she asked then to write a story. When she was conducting those activities all the participants were happy and active. In the similar way with the help of simple words written in a SVO pattern she taught to write a poem which contain beautiful rhyming pattern. She told us that the imaginative power of the small learners can be better and active than that of the elder learners. In each activity she asked the participants to discuss and work hard for a 5- 15 minute according to the nature of activities, so there was more productive work rather than the monotonous speech of the presenter.

The second last presenter of second day was Somnath Jagtap from India and his topic was analysis of primary curriculum of Maharastra. He explained about the new curriculum of Maharastra which is being introduced in public primary schools. According to him normally public schools are situated at rural area of Maharastra and there only few parents are literate and rests of others are illiterate. To maintain the balance there the curriculum introduced the local stories and poems by translating in English and with the help of illustrative pictures. He explained parents can recognize and understand the story or poem by seeing the pictures and they can explain it in local language and that will help their children to understand the things properly. The use of minimal pairs of disyllabic word is another thing which they introduced in their curriculum. According to him the curriculum should be user friendly.

The last presenter were Manbahadur khatri and Ramesh Ghimire from Nepal, they presented collaboratively and there topic was risk taking in ELT. They took the case of one girl who was known as bad girl in a class. they rose the issue that, the girl named Sapana never like that school because nobody speaks in her own language there. For her the English language was very hard and she was not able to use that language properly. According to the presenters they engaged her in many activities and made her speaking in a class without editing her. After few days they saw progress within her that she started speaking but her speaking was

A friend: “By! Today, my homework is not finish.”

Next friend: “I ta doing. I go to home yesterday and doing first miss homework.”
Sapana: “I also adda doing. I ta don’t know also.”

First friend: “Miss will bit yes?”

Sapana: “Why bitting ra? Don’t know ta we can ask hainara?”

Second friend: “Sometimes ta this miss bit so badly.”

Sapana: “bite bitun. Answer not coming ta what to do ra?”

At the same time, the girls saw me and again Sapana said with a shying laugh: “abue! Sir is looking here and suning all !heeeeeeeee!!!!!! heeeeeeeeee!.  At first the conversation produced by that girl and her friend was something which looks completely erroneous. Presenters focused on the same point. According to them, after 2- 3 years she was able to use English properly and now she can take part in any kind of speaking competition. When they knew the result of that erroneous speaking practice, they named them as risk takers of ELT. Especially sapana was risk taker for them. Because, at first she was afraid of English language, gradually she took risk and used the ‘broken’ English without taking care of the audience and at last, she was able to use English properly without any mistake. The result revealed that the risk takers; whonever take care of the errors can learn English with in very short span of time.

The last day of the conference 20th February, the first presenter of the room “g” was Paige Jackins and she was from Sri Lanka and her topic for presentation was Place based learning as an effective tool in the EFL classroom. She started her presentation with the introduction of place based learning. As a warm up activity she asked the participants to say what actually they understand when they heard the word place based. The participants provided their opinion toward the place based learning and gradually she added her ideas over there.   Actually the place based education Immerses students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences; Uses these as a foundation for the study of language arts, mathematics, social studies, science and other subjects across the curriculum; and Emphasizes learning through participation in service projects for the local school and/or community.  This is somehow related to post modern thinking of learning. Students can gain knowledge through the help of the place and environment that is situated in front of them. To make a proper use of place based learning she gave the need assessment chart and asked the participants to fill up that form. Students can learn through the help of making picture of their favorite and special place in a town and then the students can connect that town to their local culture.  her presentation make us clear that students can learn while cleaning the certain place, while dancing and while planting the trees, there are the place where they might be engaged and there is the knowledge situated within that particular place. Her presentation reveled that if we make use of place based learning strategies in EFL classroom then it will be the better and easy way of teaching.

The second presenter was Nivedita Vijay Bedadur and topic of her presentation was Innovative Ideas at work:  M learning for adult learners. She started her presentation with the problems like single teacher school,lack of sources, lesser capacity to teach English and so on. According to her normally teachers are not confident enough to teach English. She talked about the use of mobiles in English language teaching. She introduced different practical consideration of SMS. The SMS is cost effective, user friendly and can be accessed at any time and anybody can use it properly. If we use the mobile it will be helpful for the learners and teachers as well, but the problem is that the learners sometime might not use mobile in proper place which can create more problem.

The second last presenter was sagun shrestha and he introduced the new way of teaching the character of fiction. At first he introduced what fiction poem is and what are the characteristics of persona poems. As a second activity he asked the participants to write a persona poem which meets the characteristics that he introduced. He showed the different activities that were done by his own students. When the participants finished writing the persona poem he again provided them one story related to the appraisal of the King and he asked to read the story properly. When they finished reading the poem the participants were able to write the persona poem by using the certain words from the story. That was the innovative style of introducing the fictional characters.

`           The last presenter of the NELTA conference was Siddhartha Dhungana and he presented on the topic process reading and product reading.  He introduced different tips for developing the reading habit. Though we read continuously there is the bitter reality of not having proper ability to write. Whatever we should be able to write those things but actually we are not able to do so and one and only reason for that is we are not habituated to think pair and share was the main idea of his presentation. Though we are introduced about the pre reading, while reading and after reading terms, we are not aware that what should be put where? Before reading if we think for a while and if we became able to map the mind what we are going to do that will help us to read properly. After reading something if we put those things within us, the knowledge will not get opportunity to spread, so we should share the things that we learn. He demonstrated different pictures and let the participants discussed about those pictures. Those pictures contained the different reading style. The important tips that he provided was write one thing that  we learn after reading, and then discuss how the lesson that we learned or read is related to contemporary real world. In the similar way he talked about the questioning , for example if we didn’t understand anything after reading certain lesson then question yourself why you didn’t understand the things? And write one question we have about that days’ lesson and emphasize in the process of learning. With which particular process you involved in reading and why you didn’t understand that. When he finished his presentation I come to know that if we keep in a mind that we are going to read something and there is the link between the thing that I’m reading and the real world than it will be easy to comprehend the text.

For the very first time I attended the NELTA conference and I got many more thing from that. The presentation and workshop conducted by different presenters was really helpful to handle my day to day life and for my further study as well. Thank you NELTA for giving me as a Rapporteur in this Conference.

2 thoughts on “Reflection by a first time attender of the conference

  1. Dear Ushakiran Jee,

    What a nice report you have prepared ! Congrats and I would like to appreciate your endeavor to capture some presentation of the international conference recently held in Kathmandu on Feb 18 to 20, 2011.

    I really enjoyed the piece of writing. Thank for the report and this would be very beneficial and informative for those who missed the conference.

    Wish you all the best for your future career!


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