All posts by balramadhikari

A Professional Journey of Exploration, Experience and Expression

Bal Ram Adhikari*

This paper recounts my professional journey as a university teacher that I started nearly one and a half decade ago. In this narrative account, by exploration I mean textual exploration, experience stands for direct contact with language, working in and through language, and expression has to do with communicating ideas through writing.

Underlying assumptions:  i) learning ceases with over-repetition; exploration gives continuity and safeguards against fossilization; ii) language has to enter into and move through the experiential zone; iii) expression is vital for communication; communication failure leads to professional alienation.

First two years and repetition of sickness

When I started teaching at the university, the entry requirement I possessed was the Masters degree. It was the only professional competence I possessed to teach Masters course. I had some level of confidence because I was going to teach the same course I had studied. The campus where I started my university career was like my home. However, I did not have extensive reading and writing experience apart from coursework, particularly the Masters thesis. My knowledge in the subject was limited. I was confined to the given course, but the subject I thought, for example, Translation Studies demanded interdisciplinary readings in Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, contemporary critical theories like post-structuralism. Apart from reading across these different subject courses, the courses also required me to have experience of translation.

When I recall those early days, particularly the first two years or so, I was a course-teller rather than a teacher. Gradually, I felt more comfortable with the course content, since I had repeated the same course. Also, I felt more secure in the class. However, the lack of job satisfaction led to the devoid of academic charm. I was suffering from what Nietzsche has called “repetition sickness” (Myerson, 2001).

My key professional responsibility

What lies at the heart of my profession is teaching the prescribed courses to prospective English teachers. That is, my first and foremost duty is to stand in front of the class and deliver lectures to the students in the classroom. Other professional responsibilities include supervising researchers, training teachers, designing courses, compiling and editing course materials. Again, all these revolve around the key responsibility i.e. teaching.

Classroom teaching has limited reaching

After some years when I started attending the conferences and visiting the academic forums and creative writing workshops, I began to realize that classroom teaching has limited reaching. I was alienated from the broader academic community. It often struck me that only by confining myself to classroom activities, I might not be able to expand my professional presence beyond university premises. Only by teaching one cannot grow professionally. This feeling would often strike me.

I often asked myself:

  • To what extent can I call myself a professional teacher?
  • Do I only teach or do I also READ?
  • Do I only teach and read or do I also WRITE?
  • Do I only teach, read and write or do I also SHARE?
  • Do I only teach, read, write and share or do I also CARE the emerging writers?

These questions were in fact inspired by Penny Ur’s (1991) notion of professionalism. The questions like these urged me to set on the journey of exploration, experience and expression by means of reading, writing and translating documents.

Desire for expanding my professional presence

I prefer not to limit myself to the reading and writing within my profession. I love plunging into the open space of reading and writing beyond the given profession so that I can traverse neighbouring disciplines, and bring back insights and information to expand and strengthen my profession. I have sensed that it has helped me expand my core identity as an English teacher. Apart from a teacher, now I can also call myself a writer and translator. Translation and creative writing have connected me to the broader audience.

Reading for exploration and experience

Reading is a process of exploring texts as well as information. I normally explore three zones of texts. I often begin with the core zone i.e. the texts prescribed in the course. It’s vital for my professional survival and success of my students in the examinations. However, reading the course texts is not enough. Then, I explore additional texts related to the core zone. I call them the texts from the peripheral zone. I need to deepen and widen my reading experience. To this end, I site the prescribed topic or text in the neighbouring disciplines like linguistics, literature, philosophy, and also refer students to such disciplines to broaden their understanding. Whenever I have time, I choose one of the areas and take to independent reading. I call this the texts from the outer zone. Let me give an example, poststructuralism and translation, a topic from the course. The course requires me to deal with the topic from the linguistic perspective only. Apart from linguistics, I move to peripheral texts that shed light on the topic from the literary and philosophical perspectives. Later I suggest students to carry out an independent study of poststructuralism when they have time.  Thus, as an advanced academic reader, I encourage my students to move to the outer zone from the core.

This exploration helps the reader experience the content and language from different disciplinary perspectives, with varying degrees of intensity. Moreover, it is the process of reading across the disciplines. With such exploration, we become the members of broader academic and creative communities. However, there is a risk involved in such a reading. The reader should not forget to return home i.e. his/her own discipline, say ELT in our case. The only aim of reading beyond the home profession is to enrich one’s professionalism in terms of language and content, not just to become a textual wanderlust.

Writing for exploration, experience and expression

I realized, very late though, that writing is equally intensive and hard to reading, but it is also a source of self-satisfaction. This exploration needs more physical and mental preparedness, more commitment and more motivation than reading. While writing this article, I am exploring my inner and outer worlds simultaneously. Writing requires me to explore my own consciousness by reflecting on professionally who I am, what I am doing, what my expectations are, what my students expect from me, and how I can contribute to my professional community. In a similar vein, I need to explore relevant information available in the textual world to such questions. Writing is the combination of information that I collect from various sources.

Writing is an event. It is the event that engages the writer in language, in content and in context. For example, I, while writing this article, am experiencing English directly. I am not just thinking about English but thinking in and doing through English. I am face-to-face with its components ranging from spelling at the lowest level to discourse at the highest.

I always find myself in crisis while writing because every time I am unsure of spelling. I look for suitable words, proper structures, natural flow in the texture, effective rhetorical devices, relevant information and striking insights. Moreover, by writing I am linked with my students beyond the classroom. It has extended my presence beyond the classroom and multiplied the number of my audience. It has also helped me become a producer of knowledge rather than a mere consumer.

Translation for exploration, experience and expression  

Translation has been instrumental in shaping and expanding my profession in terms of language, content and my identity. My early inclination to translation was due to my desire to improve my English. Later this inclination morphed into a life-long passion and profession. When I start translating a piece of work, I find my English inadequate. So, I need to search English dictionaries for better words, suitable expressions, natural sentence constructions and effective rhetorical devices. It has compelled me to be a tenacious language learner. Moreover, supplementary reading is a must in translation. In order to translate a Nepali book in English, I need to read peripheral English books. For example, when translating Yasodhara, a poetic play in Nepali by Sharada Subba, I had to explore several books and even movies in Buddhism. That led me to the path to Buddhist literature. Old Path White Clouds is one of them. Apart from being helpful in translation, insights from reading of the books like this have broadened my understanding about life and my relationship with students. This book has changed my attitude to teaching as service rather than merely a means of livelihood.

Moreover, while translating, I am engaged in the double helix of reading and writing. My reading is directed to writing. I need to read the text in the deepest possible level and (re)write it in the most accurate way. In both the cases, I am in intimate contact with language. Drawing on my experience, I agree with Sujeet Mukherjee’s (1981) revelation – Reading for translation is the highest form of reading. This acute process of reading has given me a means of expression. I have been expressing myself through translation for many years by now. I believe that I can contribute to the disciple by translating and writing about translation.

Benefits I have reaped from this triune journey

I have reaped a lot of benefits from this triune journey. Some of them are as follows:

  • Contribution to university courses: Selecting texts for such courses as Interdisciplinary Readings is next to impossible without wide reading. With this, I have been able to contribute to university reading courses, particularly in the text selection from literature, philosophy and critical theories.
  • Exposure to language and content across disciplines: I find myself shuttling back and forth across different reading zones. It gives me a sense that I am studying about language, content and its style. This makes my reading interesting and exciting. I can directly experience English used in other disciplines. Such reading exposes me to a variety of language and content. It has helped me guide students, earn their trust. This has improved my English and given me content to contemplate, to teach and to write.
  • Safeguard against professional lethargy: Constant reading, writing and translating has freed me from professional lethargy.
  • Knowledge contributor: My role as a teacher is not only the consumer of knowledge but also the producer of knowledge.
  • Sharing beyond the classroom. I have been able to share my ideas beyond the classroom by means of print and electronic media.
  • Self-humility: Finally, the journey has taught me self-humility i.e. I don’t know but I try to know.


Mukherjee. S (1981). Translation as discovery. India: Allied Publishers.

Myerson, G (2001). Nietzsche’s thus spake Zarathustra. UK: Hodder & Stoughton.

Ur. P (1991). A course in language teaching.  Cambridge: CUP.


*Mr Adhikari is a lecturer of English Education at Tribhuvan University. Moreover, He is also a translator, editor, poet, and essayist. You can follow him on Twitter @balaramadhika14/bal ram adhikari

Sharing, Caring and Daring in Mentoring

Bal Ram Adhikari Editor, ELT Choutari

I am a teacher educator and a literary translator by profession. My teaching profession took its roots two decades ago when I was first appointed as a primary teacher in the government-aided school in a remote part of Gorkha. I joined this profession before I was ‘professional’. I was qualified to teach simply becauseI had an academic certificate of Intermediate Proficiency Level in English Education and I could teach or say ‘tell’ my students what was written in the English textbook. I have not strayed from this profession ever since my first appointment.  However, my changing of institutions has been rather unpredictable and whimsical.

During this professional life I ever wished  to be intimately closer to ‘someone’ more experienced, more supportive, more understanding under whose guidance I could learn the science of teaching, feel its art in the actual classroom, and who I could turn to whenever I needed counseling on my profession. However, that ‘someone’ never turned up in my teaching career save the university teachers who observed and supervised my lessons during peer teaching, school teaching and campus teaching during the practicum. That was Okay, I call it ‘just Okay’, since the purpose was to fulfill the requirement of examinations; the process was too mechanical; the feedback for further improvement was too ritualistic. I could have grown differently in the field had I got ‘that someone’[1]. I sense that many of the pre-service teachers who I have been teaching are also longing for ‘that someone’.

‘That someone’ who I have missed in my professional life is dubbed a mentor.The me-like person who wishes to learn under ‘that more experienced one’ in the field is dubbed a mentee. The process whereby the mentor supports the mentee to grow in the field is mentoring.  I come up with certain reasons when I ponder over why I longed for mentoring and why I mentor my students these days. In my observation, this is a widespread longing in Nepal.

Why mentoring? Continue reading Sharing, Caring and Daring in Mentoring


Welcome to August Issue of Choutari


Change is natural and inevitable. Change is necessary to cope with challenges, to embrace new opportunities, and to take any project to new heights.

In order to build on our success in more than a half decade, we have updated our network’s name, moving our blog to a new site within a domain of our own. Nelta Choutari is now ELT Choutari and its site is As an informal, independent group of bloggers and facilitators, we continue to pursue the same goals of enhancing professional development in ELT, while we explore new avenues and make greater impact on the community.

What we had so far was a basic WordPress blog; with this site, we have the full range of functionalities that we can use as needed.

Some facts about our journey so far seem worth sharing with our readers and well-wishers. Over the half a decade, we have been positively overwhelmed by the wonderful engagement of 180,557 visits with around 500 posts and over 1100 comments as of July 31, 2014. We wanted to grow and promote such an engagement with a standard site.

Secondly, when we launched the blog in 2009, we gave it the name NeltaChoutari simply because the group was started by members of the organization NELTA and the group wanted to create an informal space similar to the public square in the countryside. This space belonged to the community, and it was characterized by freedom of expression, informal organization, lack of external supervision, welcoming acceptance of active contributors and understanding when any core member wanted to step aside, spirit of volunteerism, and a passion to give back to the community. However, as time went on, the informal group became bigger in scope and impact and more popular than we initially expected, and some confusion began about what the name meant: is it an official blog of NELTA (which it is not), or is it somehow an alternative space (it’s not that either), why is it not part of the NELTA if it bears such a name?Recently, after NELTA office launched its official blog (Nelta ELT Forum) we wanted to emphasize that Choutari is open, informal, and independent – while acknowledging the forum’s official status and a lack thereof with ours. We believe that informal and open spaces add tremendous value to any professional community. We don’t think that one is better than another, but we do think that an informal space adds a unique set of value.

Choutari continues to be dedicated to discuss, discover and deliver ELT related issues in particular and education in general–with even more energy and commitment. We encourage you to continue to contribute and benefit from the vibrant professional community on this platform.

Welcome to our new site—ELT CHOUTARI!

Here is the list of articles included for August Issue, especially focused on diversity in ELT:

  1. Diversity in English Language Classroom, by Balram Adhikari
  2. Diversity and Broader Goals of ELT, by Shyam Sharma
  3. Talking about Creative Consciousness in Teachers, Jeevan Karki
  4. Teacher Training: One of the Best Ways of Self-development, by Parista Rai
  5. Building a Community: What We Value: Reblog by Praveen, Umes & Uttam
  6. Choutari Writing Workshop #2: Photoblog, by Choutari Team

Finally, please update your bookmark and please share it among your social network. Please explore the pages from the top menu bar, and as usual, please like, share, and leave comments.

Happy Reading!

Balram Adhikari

Editor for August Issue
(with Editorial Team)

Diversity in English Language Classroom


Diversity implies the state of being diverse in forms. It is the state in which multiformity exists because of co-existence of multiple, yet interconnected forms of the phenomenon.  Diversity is a reality in the English language classroom, particularly in the contexts like ours, where the classroom houses teachers and learners both from diverse linguistic, cultural, geographical, economic, and social backgrounds. Second language learning and teaching theories regard diversity as the reality of the classroom. Without delving into theories and research works that abound the field of teaching English as a foreign or second language, I would  like to  present different dimensions of diversity, most of which I have noticed in my own classroom.   I interpret diversity along the dimensions of language and culture, and cognition and creation of students.  

I teach a large class.  The classroom where I teach the master’s level course English Grammar for Teachers is cramped with the students. The number of students often exceeds ninety.  These are the prospective English teachers specializing in English education.  The size of the class has a lot to do with diversity. The larger the class it is more likely to be diverse in terms of learner differences, their educational backgrounds, geographical, cultural, linguistic experiences, and their expectations from teaching.   Continue reading Diversity in English Language Classroom

Welcome to NeltaChoutari: November 2013


An unreflecting mind is a poor roof.

                                                    –  The Dhammapada

Experience, Experiment and Interaction for Creativity in ELT

Creativity in ELT is an elusive concept with multiple interpretations. It has been one of the most verbalized and sought for but least realized and materialized concepts in the ELT context like ours. The reasons can be many. Some are i) the fallacy that creative writers are born not made ii) the practice of imitation and repetition deeply rooted in our mainstream education iii) the unreflective culture i.e. do and forget” iv) the culture that unduly gives priority to security in the examination achievement, which obviously discourages the experiment in teaching and learning, and v) the education culture that feeds itself into borrowed metropolitan experiences devaluing our own context-generated experiences.

English language teaching can never be appropriate, context-responsive and context-sensitive unless we integrate elements of creativity and ‘criticality’ into our teaching learning practice in all dimensions. Creativity needs not only insights but also experiences.  Experiences need to be experimented in different forms which call for interaction amongst ELT practitioners. Interaction needs space.  The conventional space for creation and interaction that we have been relying on is the print media. The conventional space available in the print media is both limited and limiting. An alternative as well as a complement to the conventional space can be cyberspace, the focal point of this issue.

Creativity calls for action and critical reflection. Most importantly, components of creativity and criticality should be valued from the lower level itself. Creativity is not something that erupts out of blue once our students reach a certain level. By nature children are creative and critical as De Bono (1972) remarks “a child enjoys thinking. He enjoys the use of his mind just as he enjoys the use of this body as he slides down a helter-skelter or bounces on a trampoline”.  De Bono further notes that “children solve problems effortlessly. Their ideas may often be impractical, but they produce them with fluency, a zest and irrepressible imagination”. Let us capitalize on their flight of imagination, agility, insights to usher their everyday learning of English in the productive land of creativity.

Creativity should be incorporated in major pedagogical dimensions: i) English language teacher education; creativity in the English classroom begins from teachers themselves, ii) Resources; teaching-learning resources should give ample space for learners’ critical perspectives and creative expression, iii) Assessment; assessment of learners’ achievement should be creativity-driven, not fear-driven.

I quoted from the Dhammapada, “the unreflective mind is a poor roof”. Critical and creative teachers not only act but also reflect on their actions. At the same time, they encourage their students to do the same. The teachers who do not reflect on what they did, why they did, what they did, how it went, and what its impact was on their students’ learning, are like a poor roof. Such teachers cannot collect insights and knowledge from their experiences, no matter how many years they teach. In this regard, Jeevan Karki, an English teacher from GEMS, takes us to the self-initiated experiment in his English classroom. He reflects on how he acted relentlessly to explore creative treasure deep buried in the young minds and to unleash it. Since the human mind is ruthlessly pragmatic, i.e. purpose-driven, the students should be made clear why they are writing and with whom they are communicating their ideas. For this the writer offers an option of publishing their works in the class magazine, school magazine, local and national dailies, and the best alternative to all the print media that he offers is a webzine.  Most of us dream of novelty in our teaching and of creativity in our students’ performance. But we often work individually. Prerequisite conditions for the materialization of these individual dreams are collaboration and communication, self-motivation for bringing about a change, passion for professional change, and compassion for our students.  Advocating for and experimenting with the inductive approach to creative writing, Jeevan’s approach is exploratory, interactive and authentic.

Sagun Shrestha, a budding creative writer both in Nepali and English, shows how we can exploit cyberspace to help our “students learn more, create more and communicate more effectively” (Richardson, 2009). It’s important that we teachers understand why creativity is so important for our students. The takeaway from Sagun’s writing is that creativity is an action verb not an abstract noun.  First those who preach it should engage themselves in the action. The teachers should be able to tap into the Internet for “creating relevant, interactive learning experiences in the classroom” (ibid.).

Kamlesh, a young teacher from the Terai belt, reflects on how he learned two different tongues in his school and how his mother tongue Bajjika served as the zone of contact with the both. He raises a crucial issue to be taken on board by teachers of young learners in the multilingual classroom. The issue is the strategic choice of a language other than English. The judicious use of mother tongue is permissible is what was accepted by Richards and Rodgers. However, when the teacher uses a particular language other than English in the multilingual classroom, the question is– Whose mother tongue is he using? His or his Students’? I often had the similar experience while teaching in one of the schools in Kathmandu where the majority of the students spoke Newari as their first language, not Nepali. Whenever I had to explain something difficult in ‘the mother tongue’, or translate into, obviously I would go for Nepali, my mother tongue, not the tongue of the majority of the classroom.

Khem Raj Joshi, a teacher educator from the Central Department of English Education, deals with one of the modes of interaction between teacher and students in the form of feedback. It has an appeal to those who are nurturing young minds. Dealt mostly from the theoretical vantage, the teachers of young learners have to be very careful, especially while providing them with negative evidence. However, his use of ‘deviant forms’, native-speaker versus non-native speakers’ needs further critical observation.

The last entry for November issue is a resourceful link, which is very useful for teachers of young learners. It offers free downloadable and printable resources/activities for teaching English to young learners.

Here is a list of the blog posts included in this issue, hyper-linked for navigating them:

  1. In the Mission of Young Creative Minds, by Jeevan Karki
  2. Exploring Creativity in Young Learners, by Sagun Shrestha
  3. My Experience of Learning English: A Reflective Account, by Kamlesh Raut
  4. Feedback and Language Learners, by Khem Raj Joshi
  5. Resource of the Monthby Choutari editors

Now I have three requests to make (1) Please share what you read and like. (2) Please leave comments to encourage writers and (3) Please join the conversation by writing new entries for future issues of Choutari.

Finally, I’d like to thank all contributors, my friend Sajan Kumar with whom I have been sharing my ideas and getting insightful feedback, and also Praveen for his relentless technical support.

Happy Dipawali, Chhath and New Dhayan Vintuna

Bal Ram Adhikari


November Issue, NELTA Choutari


De Bono, E. (1972). Children solve problems. UK: Pegnuin Education.

Osho (2013). The Dhammapada: the way of Buddha. Kathmandu: Osho Tapoban Publication.

Richards, J.C & Rodgers, T. S. (2002). Approaches and methods in language teaching. Cambridge: CUP.

Richardson, W. (2009). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classroom. California: Corwin Press.

In the Mission of Grooming Young Creative Minds

*Jeevan Karki,

Hello Sir!!!!! 

am (I’m) missing u a lot especially when the english periods go no quite monotonous. anwy (anyway) am f9 (fine) n doing gud. hope u r also f9 n u know wt(what) sir i started writing poem frm grade 10 n till date i hav completed 50 poems. shocking na!!!! n sir i would really lik to thank u as u inspired me to write the poems. eventhough that time we didn’t use to write bt (but) with the passage of tim i also got the knowledge abt why u were so eager regarding student’s creativity. all the credit goes to u. thank u so much sir!

really missing u sir!


I received this mail on July 20, 2012. The sender by now is obvious. She is one of the students I taught in grade eight, two years before the date mentioned above. I used to teach her both English language and literature. In the parents-teachers meeting, the parents often used to complain (and still do) about their children not being creative and just cramming overnight for exams. Most of the time, we teachers keep the issue of creativity aside by telling them it is the matter of innate quality, hard work of students and support of guardians. Blah, blah, blah. However, the kind of activities we do in the classroom and the sort of home assignment we assign also have something to do with students’ creativity. Soon after the parents-teachers meeting, a three-week winter vacation was going to kick off. As a vacation work, this time I thought of assigning a bit different work rather than telling them ‘do exercises from page number this to that’. I gave them some reading work and creative writing. As for the second one, they were supposed to come up with some kind of free writing such as poems, stories, songs, travelogues, essays, diary writing (memorable days), etc. First, they looked puzzled, for they were not used to this kind of assignment. So I gave them guidelines to write and also declared that best writings would be sent for newspapers in order to encourage them. The vacation was over. However, I was not very hopeful that everybody would bring their assignment. To my surprise, everybody brought some writing. Some even brought two writings. I went through them in my free time and found most of them original and creative. Now I was in trouble. As I promised, the writings had to be sent to the newspapers but there were too many. Then I decided to publish a class magazine and shared the idea. Then, I divided the responsibility, making sure that everybody is involved. They worked with their group members in their free time in school and at home without disturbing their regular studies. After a month, each class had their own mesmerizing wall magazine. The parents were pleased to see the outcome in the final parents- teachers meeting and the school administration also took the effort positively and published that news in the school news bulletin too. It could also be one of the reasons that I got a promotion the next session. However, I did not wish to continue working there because I got a better opportunity in another institution.

In the next institution too, I pondered some better ideas of developing creativity of these young minds through free writing. In place of a wall magazine I was thinking of other reliable and long- lasting alternative, which could also include young students from other schools. However, the session was towards the edge without materializing any concrete idea. There was one creative colleague, who belonged to computer faculty, Mr. Krishna Subedi. He is also a web designer and developer. I talked to him and finally we decided to do something on the Web. Then we launched a website or webzine on May 2012. We named it

We started this small venture for giving young creative minds an open creative platform with the motto “encouraging and energizing the young creative”. Initially, only two of us used to work. Mr Subedi looked after technical aspects while I devoted myself to the content area. We started with the creative writings of the students of our schools. Later, the visitors multiplied and we started receiving the writing from other institutions too. We kept modifying and beautifying the site but because of the overflow of the visitors only we two could not handle it. So we developed a team of thirteen members, including an advisor. It was after two months of the inception of the webzine, I received the above mail from Sakshi.

The mission of creative writing has kept me in touch with so many old students, including Sakshi. There is a boy named Samyam Shrestha, who published few stories in the webzine (he had published not a single story anywhere). His stories are mostly read and liked by the visitors. He mailed me around six months back and said that he wanted to publish a story collection. He is an eleventh grader now. There is another girl named Reeti KC from the same level. She is very good in poetry and has published many poems in the webzine and also in the national newspapers. She mailed me recently stating she has made up her mind for publishing a poem collection and asked me to edit it. It shows that something is going on. Something is happening. The webzine has been grooming these young minds and providing them with an interactive platform. This is also a part of language teaching; language teaching through creative writing.

How to accommodate creative writing in the language class?

It is a frequently asked question by language teachers. They say that they have to complete the syllabus, focus on exams and all students expect good grades. Therefore, there is no time for creative writing. Please do accept that I also have the same problem like yours. We are the birds of the same feathers. Despite all these things, it is possible to accommodate creative writing in the language class.

The first and basic thing is to be self-conscious about our students’ creative writing. When we assign them any writing, we have to make sure there is an adequate space for creativity. Whatever students do and write, we can give it a creative flavor. I call this process an inductive approach to creative writing. Here the teacher gives students the usual class assignment or home assignment, but it is given consciously having space for imagination, logic and noble ideas. Then when students submit the assignment, the teacher has to check the writing through the lenses of creativity. As per the feedback, the teacher can point out the area where the juice of creativity and elements of imagination, logic and noble ideas can be incorporated. Also, they should be asked to re-write so that their writing is publishable somewhere. Let’s take an example, how we can change letter writing into a creative activity.

Suppose, I am teaching students of the lower secondary level to write a letter to their brother or sister who is addicted to social networking sites. The letter can include some constructive suggestions to minimize the habit of always hanging on the sites and also the ideas of using social networking sites for educational purposes. If the letter includes these things, it will be an informative article for many people and hence it is publishable as a creative writing. However, the ideas need to be practical and the language needs refining. Here comes the role of a teacher. There should be discussion and brainstorming before assigning such an activity. After they write, the teacher can ask students to read each other’s writings and offer feedback. Similarly, he or she can also form a group of more-able students as the editors of the class. In the first phase, they can help the teacher to sort out the writing then the teacher can go through them. This will develop a habit of learning in collaboration, a sense of responsibility and togetherness in the language class, which after all will minimize the teacher’s burden.

Similarly, if I am teaching letter writing to students of secondary level, it is not necessary I always teach them to write letter to their fathers for asking pocket money and so on. I can also teach them writing letter to Prime Minister regarding how to stop corruption in the country.  It will be a highly creative writing and publishable in the newspapers, webzines and other magazines. The same technique can be applied to other types of writing like paragraph writing, essay writing and so on. To the same token, in a bit long break, we can give students the writing tasks which are creative by nature like poems, stories, essays, travelogues, songs, book/film reviews and so on. In my case, in the vacation like term break, Dashain-Tihar vacation, winter vacation, I assign them to read novels or story books and write their own reviews (applicable especially for the secondary level). In this way our students do creative writing without being much conscious that they are doing it. That is why I call it the inductive approach to creative writing. Without telling anything like, “Okay class, today we are going to do CREATIVE WRITING…!” we can engage our students in creative writing activities. However, the continuity of this process depends on teachers’ readiness and reward. As per the first one, as you are reading this article, it is sufficient that you are ready for students’ creative writing and now it is the second one to think of. It is very important that students be rewarded for their creative work, and the most valuable reward for them is publishing their work in magazines or webzines.

Why webzine?

I said that the publication of students’ creative writing is the best award and it is true. There is a girl in my class, who is very good in her study. Seeing her friend publishing articles in the newspapers and magazines, she also sent some but they never got published. She got frustrated and never tried again. Then she stopped writing completely. I came to learn about that and asked her to show her writings. I checked them, gave some feedback and asked her to rewrite. She did and it was published in the webzine. The publication of her article sparked a wave of euphoria in her and she resumed her writing. Now she often writes and publishes. There might be many hidden potential young minds not getting a suitable platform. Of course, there are newspapers and children magazines, which publish the creative writings of students but they are few and have to look all over the nation and hence cannot give space to all children. So we need to look for an alternative. In order to promote language and creative writing, we can publish school magazines giving space for all the students in school. Similarly, we can also publish the class wall magazine, which can give space to more students of a class. I tried these and found them only being confined to school and failing to be long lasting. Then I started this webzine, which has multiple advantages. Students can get their writings published instantly. It has global access and the writing can be viewed anytime from anywhere. Students can also share it with their relatives who are in another corner of the world. Similarly, another important thing is it is highly interactive. They can get instant feedback from their readers. In this forum, they can find so many like-minded young people writing, publishing, reading and commenting each others’ work. This will give students a creative and productive environment. All these things will encourage them to keep writing. However, they do not find all these facilities in the print media. In the same way, students (especially from the town area) today spend their time surfing the Internet rather than going through the printed materials. So this is also an attempt of developing a culture of doing academic activities in the World Wide Web. It is undoubtedly a great platform for developing language and creative writing among young learners.

However, it does not imply that all English language teachers need to have their own webzine. If you can have, that’s superb. If it is not possible, you can try the alternatives discussed above. In the same way, you can consider this webzine as your own and send the writings of your students to publish there or encourage them to send themselves. As being one of the content editors of the webzine, I suggest teachers that they read the writing of their students and give feedback before sending for publication. Spending some time in this webzine will help students develop their language and creativity. Besides creative writing, they also can find some useful academic and non-academic resources in this webzine. This is purely an academic and creative mission; a mission to develop language through creative writing. We are trying to teach language to our students but now let’s also try to teach the creative use of language. Let’s teach them to play with words and learn art of words. Children have a lot of energy and ‘crazy ideas’. They are highly imaginative. Let’s provide them with some scaffolding. Let’s convert their energy and ideas into creativity. can be a forum to groom young and creative minds to be a creative citizen of the globe. So let’s join our hand together in this mission.

Finally, I’d like to express my gratitude to Mr. Subedi, Kigan Khadka, a web designer and developer, and all team members: Akrin Adhikari, Jeevanpanee, KP Ghimire, Kumar Narayan Shrestha, Megh Raj Shrestha, Ranjana Khaniya, Richa Bhattarai, Sanjaya Karki and Upendra Subedi for their support and inspiration.

* Jeevan Karki teaches at Graded Medium English School (GEMS), Lalitpur. His areas of interest include creative writing, translation and documentary making. 

Exploring Creativity in Young Learners: An Analysis Within

       *Sagun Shrestha

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. Steve Jobs

Creativity is all about connecting and synthesizing. Maybe the process that takes place needs a little more of innovation. Put simply, it is a way challenging oneself by transforming and unleashing the forces and ideas within. When you do it, you think of going beyond the state of mediocrity. The pleasure comes within you and you feel your presence in pleasure. A ‘wow’ word resounds in your heart and memory.

Creativity in ELT

It is so awkward to see the practice of the same archaic methods being used in English Language Teaching in Nepal. A ‘chalk and talk method’ has been a common cliché to make criticism on present ELT situation in Nepal. The interception of modern technology is challenging our voyage to the academic world. What if we do not mingle technology with our teaching and learning and find a way-out to make them live and interesting? What if we do not change ourselves and our teaching practices to bring change in our academic world? We would be the losers? In this regard, Prof. Bhattarai speaks: ‘Doubt your beliefs and works, stop and question your practices, may be you were wrong so far, may be you can discover new unexplored areas which can open up new vistas in teaching.  Philosophies keep changing and so do teaching principles. You put a question: Is my method of teaching appropriate? Are we following appropriate curriculum, or do we need to stop and rethink over it?  All our socio-political values and norms have changed; they are changing so fast, so should not our system of education follow such changes endlessly?

This is in fact seeking and unleashing creativity within. Unless and until we become creative we cannot get, let alone imagine our students being creative. Again Prof. Bhattarai puts his words:

‘What happens if a farmer does not know about the new breed of animals or seeds and manures and continues with old practice? He will spoil everything and ruin himself. So we traders of truth should also be aware of the new brands of education on sale in the world market.’

Novelty, a paradigm shift, learner or learning centered instruction, multiplicity in methodologies are all the features that we gain in creative instruction, and needless to say these are the postmodern trends in ELT. By postmodern I mean going beyond what we have now or the modernity has brought, and seeking innovation, creativity and criticality to find the unexplored world is the postmodern trend.

Are we supposed to be stuck with a unitary method or do we need to integrate different methods to yield better instruction? The question is of multiplicity here. Multiplicity in thought, multiplicity in interpretation and multiplicity in methods and techniques. We need to mingle all from Georgi Lozanov idea of suggestopedia to communicative language teaching in all dimensions. Focusing on a single method may mean inviting a failure to a large extent. Similarly, the incorporation of modern technology demands us to bring cyber world in language instruction. Can we ever think that our language instruction can be complete without using the multimedia in our classroom in this flat world? NO! A big No! In fact, I have been learning these days how some young teachers (not in terms of age but as regards ideas) are different from  the teachers with traditional mind-set. They handle their classrooms bringing technology via blogging, virtual classes, webinars and multimedia instruction. Since they comprise audio-visual instruction, the young learners find them gripping and this is how these teachers win the young hearts through their instruction.

A giant shift in our thought or methodology is a paradigm shift: a shift from our traditional way of instruction. In these days our job is not simply to teach the students but to make them largely creative by inspiring and leading them to explore their own world so as to be professionally sound in future.

Different publications like the leading dailies of Nepal inspire our young learners for their write-ups. Once a week, they have allocated the supplements entitled ‘Classroom’ in The Kathmandu Post, ‘The School Times’ in The Himalayan Times, and ‘Kid’s Corner’ in The Republica. It is to explore their written creativity via different publications. Similarly, for other skills, elocution, extempore, a webinar can be the options. Why don’t we practice them? Why have we teachers remained detached from this sphere? How many of us have helped the children to publish their write-ups or just inspired them to write? Probably many of us have been stuck with the fixed and rigid curriculum and killed the creative power of the children. Writing needs reading, and reading can enable the students to unleash something new but we assume we are unaware of it for long. This is high time we analyzed and knew this fact to have a giant shift in our instruction.

Learner or learning-centered instruction

For so long, we advocated for the learner-centered instruction treating learner as its focal point. I personally believe that it is faulty to focus merely on learners. We maintained the teacher as a facilitator, guide, mediator and any more terms added while opting for learner-centered but in the meantime, we did not deal ‘how’ and ‘why’ aspects to a large extent which is subtly dealing with learning-centered instruction. Learning-centered means focusing on process and product both. The process leads to the product; therefore, the process has to be taken on board. How can learning be bettered? Why has it to be bettered? These have to be considered.

The learner is just a shape that gets molded as per the content that is exposed to him. It’s all learning that has a big role in him to get molded. For this the teacher too has to think more seriously with a kind of novelty. Again here comes creativity.

Creativity in instructors

George Bernard Shaw comes with these words: “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not’?” It’s sure the instructor should come the with ‘why-not?’ factor to explore much and bring newness. The ‘why’ factor makes us seek the things that they are in existence and it is simply knowing, and the ‘why-not’ factor makes us explore the things beyond knowing the things in existence. It means walking past knowing to the world of exploration.

In language teaching we can explore the new world and make our students explore much. More practically, it can be assisted with the different cyber means.

a. Online Virtual Classroom

Online virtual classrooms break away from the narrow confinement of formal classroom setting and invite both teacher and students for the discussion of the issues that is raised there. The discussion chain in the virtual classroom demands the learners to be more creative and critical which ultimately makes the learners and their writing adopt reformation.

There are so many online virtual classrooms, out of which to me the best ever I have used is Once the account is opened, we receive a class key which is to be distributed to our students. With a help of class key they enter their class and take part in conferencing. This conferencing is basically used to get a discussion thread on any issue. The instructor posts a question and the learners comment or answer the particular question. They also comment on their friends’ answers along with their feedback which demands their critical voyage. The instructor is always with them, and he comments upon students’ answers if needed. This ultimately teaches students to have a feeling of respect as they are required to make some positive remarks on their friends’ writing in a discussion thread.

Conferencing, link sharing, having a class schedule and a list of students are the features of an online virtual class. It’s effective for all the levels from teen to adult learners.

b. Blogging

A blog is an electronic platform where we can post any document that can be reached out to anyone. It is more a free and mini-website with a fixed template. Depending upon the instructor’s need, you can create either a class blog, project blog, teacher’s blog or student’s blog which are for different purposes. To me, class blog and teacher’s blog are so much useful in the field of ELT as the class blog helps us to post our issues of the entire class and similarly, the teacher’s blog supports the teachers to provide notes, slides and hand-outs to his students.

Project blogs at times, can be useful to engage learners in developing projects on some sites . It will be more like getting discussion threads as done in Nicenet but for a different purpose. We can also appoint students themselves as editors and subeditors to post their friends’ issues and ask other non-editors to make their comments., and are the best blogging sites used so far.

c. Academic Project: A webquest

Academic project can be assigned online using some tools like and which has its fixed format called webquests. They comprises introduction at the very beginning followed by tasks, process, and evaluation. Since webquest is a well-arranged set, it seems a perfect tool for assigning some project works to our  students. The rubric will help them get the right instruction that can be placed on evaluation obtaining from

d. Academic Search Engines and Social Bookmarking
Search Engines, the generic are Google, Bing, etc. but the more academic that I use for language instruction is which shows the readability of each link. We can simply share the link checking the readability level. It is shown with the symbol of color, like the deep orange is a link having a complex text whereas faint orange is a link having a simple text. Moreover, it shows the age-level too.

The social bookmarking site helps us to have a record of each link. It can be termed as our online library since we have a tag to every site, and make a stack. Even other users can have access to our bookmarking if we have made it public. The private sites cannot be browsed by others besides the owner. The best social bookmarking site is

These all are the sites that I have been using in my classroom. At times I myself feel that the classroom setting has entirely been changed due to its intervention. Now the classroom’s formal setting has been distorted and everything needs redefining and regeneration, a feature of postmodernism. A Creative voyage indeed!

*Sagun Shrestha is an English Faculty at St. Lawrence College. He is currently working in capacity of Program Assistant in English Access Microscholarship Program, Nepal implemented by NELTA in support of American Embassy.

My Experience of Learning English: A Reflective Account

*Kamlesh Raut

NELTA Birgunj

It has been more than seventeen years when I began learning English. Today when I am ready to step into the higher level of education, i.e. Master Degree in English education, I have mixed experiences of learning of English. Having chosen M. Ed. for my study, my future career of teaching English further makes me think and rethink on teaching situation. I look back and try to recall from my memory how I began learning English, how my teachers oriented me to the journey of learning English, how I went through the ups and downs in my journey of learning English and how I feel at this stage. Familiar with the paradigm shift in English language teaching in the global scenario, I try to compare the ways I was taught English in those days against the backdrop of new global trends in the field.

It is still vivid in my memory when I was admitted to a pre-primary grade popularly known as the sishu class then, now they call it playgroup in private schools. I think my learning of English almost began with learning of my mother tongue. It is because before I was put into a school my father taught me some basic things of English at home. They included English alphabet and some English words. Though formally English started from grade IV, one period per day was allocated for English and we were taught names of some objects then. Today, many government-aided schools are being converted into English medium schools. However, it was not the case then. Being a native speaker of Bajjika, I perceived both Nepali and English as new languages for me and was so curious to learn both of them. My time of learning language was divided into English and Nepali both. Sometimes, Bajjika helped me learn these languages at other times it affected my learning of these two languages badly. At home and in neighborhood, I spoke and heard Bajjika and could hear both Nepali and English only within school premises. The exposure to English and Nepali both was very limited for me. Until grade IV, my teacher taught English, i.e. letters, words, and some simple sentences such as Ram is a boy; Sita is a girl, etc. My teacher spoke each sentence with translation in Nepali but Nepali was also not so familiar to us. So he translated the sentence into Bajjika also. In grade IV, when I could see the textbook I jumped with joy. The book contained some pictures, stories and many more things. It was the first book in English I had ever seen. I had higher regard for English than any other subjects. First day of that course, our class teacher wrote some words with their pronunciation and meaning on the blackboard and we were asked to parrot them. Parroting vocabulary was almost regular. So was the case with most of the subjects. Most teachers would ask us to parrot as homework whatever they taught us. I hardly tried to understand things then. By education, I meant parroting and reproducing before teachers or in exams. The more the students parroted the contents, the more they were rewarded by teachers. Language teaching or let us say English language teaching was also like parroting. I could hardly realize ever that language is a means of communication. My teacher never talked to us in English, my friends never talked to me in English and nor did I. We mugged up English at home and school most of the time because we considered it as a hard subject. Once we were finished with mugging up the vocabulary, the teacher would select the text and would translate it into Nepali and also sometimes into Bajjika, sentence by sentence. This practice of word meaning teaching and translation continued up to grade IX.

When I reached grade X, we got a new teacher to teach English. First time in grade X, I studied basic grammar such as article, voice, narration, preposition, tag question, causative verbs, etc. Our teacher gave priority to those things which were likely to be asked in exams and omitted those which were not important for exams. The teacher would tell us “These are VVI questions for exams, so prepare them well”. “Leave those topics, they will not be asked in exams”. I can still recall those days vividly now. We studied to pass exams. All subjects, including English were taught from the examination perspective. I had to appear for practical exam of English during my SLC exam. First time in eleven years of learning English, I came to know that there are four language skills–listening, reading, speaking and writing. I could understand that all language skills are equally important. Alas! I wasted my ten years in memorizing vocabulary, their spelling, pronunciation, meaning, understanding the text, mugging up the questions and their answers and reproducing them in the exam papers. I wish my teacher had opened my eyes in those early stages of my life. I could hardly speak any good sentence in the speaking exam. Similarly, I heard things from the cassette but could hardly understand more than 30 percent.

I could understand English as a language only when I joined my Proficiency Certificate Level. On completion of school study, I joined Thakur Ram Multiple Campus, Birgunj for my higher study majoring English. I could see and understand that the teaching and learning of the college was quite different from my school. In the campus, I was taught by five university teachers but I could not be very much satisfied with their way of teaching either. Again there, many of the teachers were exam-oriented and more authoritative in nature. We were not allowed to answer the questions according to our wish. According to them, we had to supply the same answer as given in the book –all words and sentences. Even the medium of instruction was either Nepali or Bhojpuri and sometimes English. Some days later I came to know that many of them were using the same notebooks that they had prepared ten years back. Dictation was the pet technique of most teachers. This shows we had two types of teacher.

I do not claim that English language teaching and teachers are the same everywhere. However, I suppose that many of you (especially those who were taught in government aided Nepalese schools) might have faced the situation similar to mine. When I have learnt that English language teaching in the world has seen a lot of changes in theories and practices, I recall those days, the poor state of affairs of teaching English. When I see and read the changes brought in education and ELT by technology, I remember my own poor classrooms with blackboard. When I hear people speak English fluently and eloquently, I recall my teachers’ broken English and its effect upon my own learning of English. When I read others’ beautiful and powerful English, I just curse my own poor English. When I see teachers teaching English involving students in interaction and activities, I recall my own days when teacher hardly allowed us to speak anything in class. I wish I were taught English differently.

*Kamlesh Raut is a budding multilingual poet. He writes in Nepali, Bhojpuri, Maithili and English. 

Feedback and Language Learners

*Khem Raj Joshi

Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur

In this brief blog entry, I have made an attempt to highlight the significance of feedback for language learning. This article presents with the feedback from the theoretical aspects, followed by different types of feedback such as negative feedback, negation and recasts and concludes with awareness for language learning.


It is self-evident that language learning is not possible without input or evidence. In the literature on language learning, this evidence is discussed in terms of two categories: positive evidence and negative evidence. Positive evidence refers to “the input and basically comprises the set of well formed sentences to which learners are exposed” (Gass, 2003:225). In other words, well- formed sentences that provide learners with the input are called positive evidence. These sentences are made available to learners from spoken and/or written language. Such sentences provide learners with what is possible in the target language and they are also called models. But positive evidence cannot be a sufficient condition for language learning.

Learners should also be made aware of what is not possible in the target language as well. In other words, they need negative evidence in the form of feedback. Feedback comes as a result of interaction. When the learners come up with L2 output, we can see what sort of feedback they need. This interactional feedback is a very important source of knowledge for learners because it provides them with information about what further rules they need to learn. Feedback could be explicit or implicit.

Now I would like to briefly present some sorts of feedback that play an important role in L2 teaching learning process.

Negative evidence

Negative evidence is some kind of input that lets the learner know that his or her utterance is deviant and is unacceptable in the target language. It refers to “the type of information that is provided to learners concerning the incorrectness of an utterance” (Gass, 2003:225). Negative evidence can be explicit in the form of direct correction (e.g., ‘That’s not right’; No, we say……). It can also be implicit (e.g. ‘What did you say?’) in the form of indirect question. On the basis of when negative evidence is provided to the learners, it is of two types: pre-emptive (that occurs before an actual error) or reactive (that occurs after the error has been committed).


It is also a way of providing learners with feedback. When learners face communicative difficulties, they struggle to overcome them. It is the joint effort made by the interlocutors. It is defined as “those instances in conversation when participants need to interrupt the flow of the conversation in order for both parties to understand what the conversation is about” (Gass and Selinker, 2009:318). Since the teacher and the students negotiate to understand what is not understood, this is also known as conversational adjustment. In other words, learners come across several difficulties due to their limited L2 knowledge. In this case, the teacher provides them with the scaffolded help to make them understand the L2. The teacher provides them with feedback. This feedback obtained through negotiation serves a corrective function. As negotiation specially focuses on incorrect forms, it is said to serve as a catalyst for language learning, which facilitates L2 development.  Negotiation requires both attentiveness and involvement. In other words, for successful language learning, a learner should actively be involved in the negotiation process and s/he should also be attending to the incorrect forms.


A recast is another form of feedback. Mackey (1999) says that recasts are the responses to non-target non-native speaker utterances that provide a target like way of expressing the original meaning. It is the reformulation of a learner’s incorrect utterance without losing the original meaning. In other words, it is such instance in which an interlocutor rephrases an incorrect utterance with a corrected version, while maintaining the integrity of the original meaning.” (Gass, 2003:239). It is an implicit feedback. Philp (1999:92) gives an example of recast:

Non native speaker: what doctor say?

Native speaker: what is the doctor saying?

In the above example, the native speaker is correcting the non-native speaker implicitly by adding the auxiliary.

There arise some challenges while discussing the types of feedback mentioned above.  For example, if the negative evidence is provided implicitly, the learner may not understand that he or she has committed an error and the feedback is intended as a correction. When the teacher tries to correct the learner’s error implicitly by repeating his or her utterance along with correction, the learner may even think that the teacher really did not hear what was said. As a result, the correction may not be accepted and incorporated in the subsequent utterances. Here I would like to cite an example from a class I recently observed in which the teacher was trying to provide the students with feedback in the form of recast but it was not noticed by the students:

S: I used to play marbles in the past but now I use to play videogame.

T: Now you play videogame.

S: Yes, I use to play videogame.

So, in many contexts, explicit feedback is relatively more helpful to raise learners’ awareness of what they have done. Similarly, many teachers prefer to provide feedback in the form of negative evidence before an actual error is committed by the learner. This is probably due to their wish to prevent the learners from committing the possible errors. But until and unless learners take part in interaction and commit the actual errors, it cannot be a pertinent feedback. Once the learners’ output exhibits some deviant forms, the teacher comes to know what feedback is relevant in such contexts. So, in my opinion, reactive feedback could be more helpful than pre-emptive feedback.

Raising learners’ awareness

Interactional feedback certainly focuses on learners’ attention on those parts of their language that deviate from the target language norms. It helps them notice the mismatches between the correct target language forms and the forms produced by them. Schmidt (1994) argues that attention is essential to learning. He distinguishes the attention into two types: i) Noticing– It refers to the process of bringing some stimulus into focal attention. For example, when one notices the odd spelling of a new vocabulary item and ii) understanding and awareness– It refers to explicit knowledge: awareness of a rule or generalization (p.18).

Through feedback, teachers can help learners be attentive. And through this attention, the learners notice a gap between the target language forms and their own inter-language system. For this reason, language teaching methodologies earlier engaged learners in consciousness raising activities provide direct and explicit means of making learners aware of L2 forms. In other words, feedback makes learners aware of the incorrect forms they have produced. They modify their output on the basis of feedback they receive during interaction. The more learners are made aware of their unacceptable speech, the greater the opportunity  for them to make appropriate modifications. Learners’ awareness on any aspect of language (e.g. phonology, morphosyntax, lexicon) could be raised.

To conclude, I argue that second language is not simply learned from positive evidence alone. Learners should also be provided with negative evidence which provides them with information about what is not possible in the target language system. Raising the learners’ awareness on different aspects of language leads to better language teaching learning process.

*Mr. Joshi teaches at the Department of English Education, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. He is an executive member of NELTA Central Committee.


Gass, S.M. (2003). Input and interaction. In Doughty, C.J. and M. H. Long (eds). The handbook of second language acquisition. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Gass, S. M. & L. Selinker. (2009). Second language acquisition: An introductory Course. New York: Routledge.

Joshi, K. R. (2012). English Language Teacher Development. Kathmandu: Intellectual’s Book Palace.

Mackey, A. (1999). Input, interaction and second language development. Studies in second language acquisition. 21:557-581.

Philp, I. (1999). Interaction, noticing and second language acquisition: An examination of learners’ noticing of recasts in task based interaction. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Tasmania.

Schmidt, R. (1994). Implicit learning and the cognitive consciousness: of artificial grammars and SLA. In N. Ellis (ed). Implicit and explicit learning of languages. London: Academic Press.

Resource of the Month

For the November issue of Choutari, we would like to share with you a wonderful resource for teaching English to young learners of pre-primary and primary level –  The shared link, which requires no registration to access, is very useful for the teachers of young learners in under resourceful context like ours. It offers free downloadable as well as printable flash cards, worksheets, handouts to match, phonics worksheets, projects and lesson plans, ESL games and many other English learning activities for young learners. We hope you would find them more useful and more effective for your classroom.

– Eds

NeltaChoutari: February Issue, 2013


Seeking a Theory-Practice Interface in Nepalese ELT

Since its inception Nelta Choutari has been an ever-expanding dialogic platform where we ELT practitioners come together and share the problems we have faced while trying out the formally-acquired methods and techniques and our own resources as well as those we are supplied with, the pitfalls we have sensed while putting out our thought into action and the procedures we have adopted to overcome them. Put simply, in this interactive zone many have posted their critical reflections on what they have been doing in and out of the classroom in order to maximize their students’ as well as their own learning as teachers and teacher educators.  The articles and the follow-up discussions so far have helped us bring to the surface the multiple threads of teaching and learning  which are inextricably linked with global culture and  local cultures  (both national and communal) and   the prevailing general education trends at home and abroad.

Obviously, Nepalese ELT joins the changing trend of global philosophy say, postmodernism,   our national and cultural philosophy i.e. Eastern philosophy and/or our national belief systems, and the prevailing general education trends articulated in our national education system.  Therefore, Nepalese English and Nepalese ELT should be informed by, explored through, theorized and expanded from the three broader dimensions of learning and teaching in general a) the interaction between global and local philosophies and how the interaction has impacted our teaching and learning,   b) the prevailing general educational trends at home and abroad, and c) the everyday practice of teaching to learn and learning to teach.

Our philosophy shapes how we view ourselves as teachers, how we position ourselves in the dynamic space of the classroom, how we stage our agency in the overall education system, how we interpret what we teach and how we teach, how we expect our students to stage their agency, the extent to which we conform to or move away from the ‘grammar’ of language teaching informed or imposed by the ‘experts’ or mainstream ELT.  Here my use of philosophy is not something that has to be deferred to ‘full-time thinkers/theorists’ or armchair critics. It is the overall belief system, both explicitly articulated and implicitly realized, that guides and shapes our teaching /learning events and experiences.

If we fail to critically relate our classroom practice to philosophy and national education system, we will find ourselves lost in the middle. We can learn neither from the top i.e. the philosophical level nor from the bottom i.e. classroom events.  We will find ourselves doing almost the same thing, not knowing why we are doing what we are doing.  Or say, we are suffering from the ‘imitation and repetition sickness’. This is what is happening in most of the Nepalese contexts.  It prevents the practitioner from maintaining a critical distance from and performing creative roles in the teaching models brought in from outside. The pile of research works in our departments and research centers, our conformist and monologic classroom practice that has hardly changed over time, and our traditional evaluation system, show up the symptoms of this sickness.

Imitation or borrowing of the ideas and experiences is necessary, especially in the early stage when we lack our own well-articulated theoretical framework and principled-practice. To follow the law of evolution, this phase has to have a certain lifespan. In due course of time the borrowed experiences should be called into question, doubted and they should give way to the modified and nativized model. This demands garnering insights from the level of philosophy (thought) and practice (action) both.  It is my observation that some of the previous Choutari contributions/interviews have inspired us to move in this direction. I hope that the upcoming discourse will contribute to ‘diluting’ the ethno-centric hegemonic dominance in ELT and and solidifying Nepalese English and Nepalese ELT.

In this issue we have decided on the entries from the broader dimensions of changing philosophy, general education, and classroom action and reflection. The postulation is that our ELT experience, experiment, and exploration through formal/informal research, are integral to and reflection of these dimensions.

In his interview, Prof. Bhattarai explores the interface between postmodernism and education in general and ELT in particular. Initially there were nine questions given to him, each dealing with a different thread of postmodern thought and creative writing related to language pedagogy. Given the constraint of space, I have decided to include only two answers in this issue. The rest will have their space in the forthcoming issues.  The contributors, namely Shyam Sharma,  Gopal Prasad Bashyal and Renuka Dhakal shed light on different yet highly related areas of English language teaching.

With his prime focus on the value of professional conversation, Sharma, one of the architects of Choutari, highlights the prominent role that Choutari has played in the initiation and continuation of such conversations. Centered around the probing questions in ELT, his article is both reflective and refractive.  Bashyal is all reflective. He looks back in his professional journey that he made in the year 2012.  He owes his achievement to NELTA and its sharing and caring culture.   Dhakal recounts how she was taught English grammar in school and how she is trying to move away from the traditional form-focused approach to embrace the meaning-focused approaches such as Communicative Approach and Task-based Language Teaching while teaching her students at present.

This issue also contains an excerpt from a book entitled New Horizons in Education in Nepal by Prof. Tirth Raj Khaniya. The type of English and ELT we envisage to evolve in future is largely determined by the type of education that the nation has envisaged. The excerpt entitled Envisioning Future Development of Education in Nepal could be relevant to see the future of Nepalese ELT in relation to the future development of Education in Nepal as envisaged by the author.

Finally, it is the maiden issue from the new team of the Choutari editors. We are honored to get this opportunity to continue the legacy.  I would like to thank all the contributors  because of whom this issue has been possible. Thanks also go to Suresh Shrestha for his help in editing one of the drafts, Praveen for coordinating and Sajan ji for being with me in my hour of need. We are  grateful to the outgoing team of editors whose trust in our professionalism and dedication has been a source of strength and inspiration.

Bal Ram Adhikari


February Issue, Nelta Choutari

Table of Contents

Postmodern Conditions in Nepalese ELT: An Interview with Dr Govinda Raj Bhattarai

Interviewer: Bal Ram Adhikari

Professor of English, Govinda Raj Bhattarai’s career straddles English language teaching and literary writing. He has contributed to the field of Nepalese ELT as an ELT practitioner, material producer, and teacher educator.  A former NELTA president, Bhattarai is also synonymous with postmodernism in Nepali literature.  His writing has ushered in the mode of Nepali creative writing, especially Nepalese criticism, essays and fiction, what we call the post-modern era in Nepali literature. He is appreciated and also criticized for the use of subjective perspective in criticism, fusion of facts into fiction in essays, and intertexuality in fiction writing. Here we are trying to explore the dynamic space between postmodern thoughts and ELT practice in Nepal– the areas Prof. Bhattarai has been long associated with.

1 Seven years ago you co-authored an article entitled English language teachers at the crossroads highlighting the possibilities and challenges Nepalese ELT practitioners had ahead. Could you elaborate on your use of English teachers being at the crossroads from the postmodern perspective of the paradigm shift in theory and practice that we have been experiencing in all academic fields?

Bal Ram, as I am representing my nation, that is, a unique   existence made up of a particular history and geography and politics, I am aware of this time and space that is giving voice to my observation into the quantification of a very vague, say abstract, phenomenon. This phenomenon is philosophy, because your question is ultimately related to philosophy.  Therefore, I must ask your permission to allow me to use some extra bites (of space) for my words so that I can make ‘our’ position clear. Extra space because your question demands such an answer as reads like an intertext or transtext that is like a text made up of various texts, and yet no text is written there. This may demand some elaboration naturally.

In pragmatics or discourse analysis, even socio-political beliefs like one’s religion, education, social relations, or any activity one partakes every day are taken as a text. Every moment one lives contributes to a larger text.  That text draws its meaning from innumerable disciplines and natural facts. In fact the world since time immemorial has been governed by one philosophy or the other — of politics, art, literature, culture, science, religion.  In totality, say of LIFE.

Philosophy is like a package program that we require to live this life as a person or a society.  Every such philosophy is supplied by a particular TIME and SPACE.  Every linguistic, cultural or religious group,   a race or nation or any territory cultivates its own philosophy over a period of time that governs the life-cycle of the people. That package has everything for the followers’ education, their literary principles, marriage systems or death rites, interpretation of dream, role of a mother or use of painting for that matter. Sets of philosophy keep changing from time to time.   Sometimes if the ‘consumer’ communities or nations grow weaker, they are forced to ‘buy’ some new sets like modern (or foreign) goods from alien lands. And gradually, people are forced to relinquish their native or indigenous philosophy and adopt or gradually nativize the alien one (s).   A community cannot survive without a philosophy or a set of belief system. Something should occupy its mind all the time.

The Oriental world and our ancestors had their own set of philosophy. It was quite rich, almost incomparable to any in the world, but the outside world (especially the West) encouraged us to humiliate our own mother, and we were forced to adopt a new mother. It was colonization of not only land, but also of our mind and thought, and attitude towards life. This kept destroying us and different parts of the world for more than three hundred years. We were destined to be free, ultimately, but were left dented and semi-paralyzed with a master slave ‘dichotomy’ and a psychosis of ‘we can’t do, we do not deserve, we are inferior’, and worst of all, ‘we don’t have’. Their so called enlightenment rescue project had half destroyed us. Frantz Fanon, in his The Wretched of the Earth (1963 trans.)  has rightly said: Colonization is not satisfied merely with holding a people in its grip and emptying the native’s brain of all form and content. By a kind of perverted logic, it turns to the past of oppressed people, and distorts, disfigures, and destroys it.

Yes, we were perverted in this, as our native philosophy was disfigured gradually by them. And we didn’t know. Our geography was not colonized  but our minds were. Even today, we have no regrets, and feel content to witness an avalanche of irreparable loss eroding us every moment, because we are brainwashed to accept all defeats with a smile. This was the first wave of all driving us away from our own ‘civilization’. This is teaching us every moment to be like them and not us. How ridiculous!

Now I would like to touch upon the second wave in passing that tried to obliterate what was left after the first calamity. The second wave was the philosophy based on sheer materialism that was represented by Marxism. Slogans for equality and material development brought the second wave of whirlwind easily. At that moment man lost his faculty of reasoning temporarily; as a result that swept away much that was left of what human beings possessed as precious values.

The second wave also believed in colonizing crowds of mass   within their own ideological cages, and kept them warring militantly against great nothingness, devastating people in an unprecedented scale. They obliterated a permanent world (of native and indigenous philosophies) with a utopian haven of false assurances. We have seen millions of brothers and sisters being divided into classes, and prepared for unending clashes; gone for this and left in ruins and ravages. This philosophy proved a successful destroyer of native brands of philosophical packages. These are the greatest enslaving campaigns human beings underwent until the dawn of the 21st century. These two together clouded some centuries of human history. Both these waves were great homogenizing forces.

Have we ever stopped and thought of these forces? These factors deeply disturbed the human mind, especially in our part of the world.    It may take centuries to heal the scar and to repair the moral, or say spiritual, degradation.

We were the great architects of our own education, in fact we had crafted a draft for world education, but since the lock to its entrance was broken with the western key, we have become oblivious of the treasure rooms. Since then we became great followers of the western world.

As we are bereft of everything, we feel so; we possess this sort of inferiority because we do not look at our own faces, so we are following them.  Our gullibility sells at a high price, so we are used to mimicking everything.  Greek philosopher Epictetus had proclaimed: Only the educated can be free, but today we can see in our contexts the reverse seems to be the reality. I can hardly see any trace of our education system based on our values or philosophy of education.

Let me relate this to your concern of a paradigm shift. Modernism was a kind of hegemony that had its roots in the west, and was nurtured by materialism because modern science fed it, though not as sheer as that in Marxism.  In fact the west governed the world of thought, and so of philosophy and art, for about a hundred years, ending in the Second World War in the west. All our activities from writing to teaching were molded accordingly. Colonization transported them very easily. However, history shows that modernism freed the world from the ignorance and brutality of the dictatorial past, but then people wanted more options, newness and greater degrees of freedom.  In apt words, they wanted to keep progress of the world going like new inventions that can never be stopped.

It was during 1970s that this desire for progress led man to postmodern convictions. Postmodernism encouraged man to stand boldly for his freedom, and to possess an ever questioning mind to find the truth for him. Let him explore his own personal truths, let him protect his local truths and let him stand for his national truths as well and defend his beliefs. It is therefore that new disciplines like ethnic studies, women’s studies, cultural studies, diasporic studies etc are emerging today. Truth is the ultimate means to happiness and one can gain a new truth by doubting his present condition, his status, or all accepted beliefs and facts. Stuart Sim (2012) regards postmodernism as a rejection of many, if not most, of the cultural certainties on which life in the West has been structured over the past couple of centuries. He regards the Enlightenment as a western project to oppress humankind, and to force it into certain set ways of thought and action not always in its best interests. Postmodernists are invariably critical of universalizing theories as well as being anti-authoritarian in their outlook. To move from the modern to the Postmodern is to embrace skepticism about what our culture stands for and strives for.

At the same time I feel postmodernism is both a liberating as well as, and no less than, a homogenizing force. Contradictorily, it promotes ‘individual’ existence but is yoked to technology in such a way that the latter has been the tool for the promotion of the former. Therefore, postmodern features we experience are characterized by a ubiquitous phenomenon; moreover instead of being a liberating agent, it is in fact an all-homogenizing force.  A sheer hegemony, and another kind of all encompassing techno-driven colony. Postmodern premises defeated one grand narrative of dictatorship and colonialism, and at the same time this cultivated a newer variety (of colonialism) with the help of technology known as postmodern condition in Lyotard’s words. A bigger grand narrative can be seen.  Despite this, the only hope this promises us is local freedoms in different scales, though we cannot breathe without technology and we cannot revive the local power we lost. Let’s move ahead with boons and curses both on our heavy shoulders.  This is our present predicament and sits on our shoulder like a boulder on Sisyphus’ head.

For me postmodernism is nothing more than a search for freedom, freedom from all sorts of bondage, and a deep search for alternatives to the existing values and principles. It is a quest for remaking, resetting, rethinking, revisiting, reinventing– everything that matches the pace of time. It also indicates a faster pace of human progress (or decline) in a completely techno driven world.

Postmodern is a philosophy of options and alternatives, it calls for a break with the structure bound, center seeking modernism. This has had a deep influence all over the world and global forces spread it very fast. We can see traces of this in Indian literature and critical works produced as early as 1970s. Nepal was attracted much later.

I introduced the term Deconstruction as vinirmaan into Nepali for the first time in 1991. (Please refer to Kavyik Aandolanko Parichaya; Introduction to Poetic Movements published by Royal Nepal Academy).  In a span of twenty years now, we have traversed a long route and are near the centre of Nepalese philosophy of postmodernism, which stands first of all for freedom from the fear of dictatorship, because this philosophy empowers the modern man to be free. This may mean differently for the rest of the world.

Against this historical and theoretical backdrop, let me come back to your concern of ELT. Yes, this idea dawned upon me when I became aware of enormous changes being introduced in critical theories of Indian academia. I was also aware of the western publications where the new paradigm had permeated all the fields of academic and scholarly activities. New paradigm had been a buzz word, and they indicated postmodernism as a great change agent. Subsequently I had begun to see new horizons in the Nepalese contexts as well. Gangaram-ji was also aware of this so we drafted that idea and published an article titled English language teachers at the crossroads in 2005 issue of the Journal of NELTA.  However, our ideas were crudely shaped. We were a bit skeptical.

The following year, I had an opportunity to attend the 40th TESOL conference held in Tampa, Florida. It was 2006, I had participated for the first time in such a huge (truly international) conference of ELT professionals. I had never imagined that the President of NELTA would be a non-entity among some 8,000 participants (all leading figures, each leading a world of innovative ideas with the support of technology and paradigm shift). The participants represented different corners of the world.  In fact I was at a loss to see such an immense teaching ‘industry’ that had grown so vast and so fast without ‘our’ notice. It struck me not because the number was large, but because I saw Nepal’s ELT could be plotted nowhere till then. It was disseminating all traditional values based on structuralism.

By writing that article, I wanted ‘my’ language teachers to be aware of the changing world scenario, to be aware of a great paradigm shift experienced in the field of our profession, that is, language teaching. I  use the word ‘my’ as a President of NELTA because my duty was to address all the ELT professionals in the country, to tell them what changes are taking place in the philosophy of teaching and learning, so that they can cope up with the changing situation. In fact, each and every action of life is geared according to some philosophy.

Yes, my intention was to remind them of the ‘postmodern’ turn, or to tell them how things (beliefs and philosophies) have changed in the world and how these have changed our world, that is, language teaching. We spoke out clearly — philosophy of thought and perspectives have changed, teaching methods and learning techniques have changed, teaching materials have changed, we are facing a world governed by drastic changes. If we are not aware of this, our traditional, rule-governed ‘structural’ methods will surely fail us and leave us in a blind alley.

I could tell them the breaking paradigm shifts proudly because I  felt almost ‘desperate’ to see a different world of ELT professionals– the language teachers, materials producers, publishers and technology   at TESOL conference in Tampa .

A fast developing electronic culture is introducing miracles every day.  Words have now got wings, and voices can fly and visually the world is omnipresent– I saw great magical works being performed there.

I had used the word postmodern in Nepali, referring to its critical zones. But I was wary of using this in teaching industry, so we in passing mentioned the word ‘postmodern’ categorically.  Now it has become a buzzword in our academic world, this has been introduced in the syllabus and textbooks as well in research– though this has led to much frustration and confrontations. The use of postmodern may still sound an avant-garde’s effort before a dogmatic noun? However, no other word can capture the aggressive time that was (and is) molding our life at an unprecedented scale.

It has been more than two decades now that I have been using the term specifically to characterize some of our literary efforts in Nepal. But gradually, I began to feel that there is no field of knowledge or life untouched by a kind of newness. People have begun to feel the expansion of global force and its encroachment into their private world. The giant is all encompassing, and so modern life becomes impossible to survive without succumbing to it. Is it our defeat if the global world flattens us into one? There is no answer in this flat earth, in the words of Thomas Friedman in his The World is Flat (2002).

2. Postmodern thought is taken as the continuous process of suspecting, revisiting and redefining our beliefs in the nature of truth and of knowing, and the nature of reality. What can be the implication of this epistemological and ontological process of thought for teaching in general and English language teaching in particular?

You are right.  In answer to question 1 above, I have made it clear that postmodernism claimed a great shift in total philosophical standpoint.  Like any other philosophies that provided a departure from existing practices, this also brought all encompassing effects.  There is no field of knowledge or skill, the foundation of which is unaffected by this paradigm shift.

In the beginning I concentrated on the principles of writing and criticism, mostly in Nepali literature. A whole decade of my writing was confined to the introduction to and practice of postmodern criticism.  Gradually my duty expanded and my attention drew towards its total effects.  I presented    for the first time a paper entitled Postmodernism in Education in 2008. It was in Sukuna Multiple Campus of Morang. Never before had I faced such a vehement criticism in my academic career.  Some fundamentalist teachers attacked me severely and the dogmatic critics who were backed by dogmatic political beliefs were against my proposal. My points were: doubt your beliefs and works, stop and question your practices, may be you were wrong so far, may be you can discover new unexplored areas which can open up new vistas in teaching.  Philosophies keep changing and so do teaching principles. You put a question: Is my method of teaching appropriate? Are we following appropriate curriculum, or do we need to stop and rethink over it?  All our socio-political values and norms have changed; they are changing so fast, so should not our system of education follow such changes endlessly?

There is no fixed set of values and truths or our perspectives.  In my childhood days the philosophy of education was guided by a maxim (in Sanskrit). It read:

laalayet  bahabo doshaa  taadayet bahabo gunaa

tasmaat putram cha shisyam cha  laalayennatu taadayet

I learned this by rote (it was in our textbook) in grade VIII, so whenever the teacher punished us physically, I thought this is the way how teaching was prescribed in the shastras. This verse literally means: there are many defects in caressing or loving, and many benefits of beating,   therefore, every son as well as a disciple (student) should be beaten.

This philosophy remained our norm for more than three thousand years. At the dawn of the twenty first century, we are shocked to find that this moral principle excludes girl children from education, and moreover this advocates beating the boys severely. But we have realized that this principle was totally wrong, and so female education is given higher propriety. Moreover, teachers and parents are warned against child abuse, which includes beating or corporal punishment or any kind of harassment– mental or physical.  Now our educators are changed and the persons to be educated are changed, so the contents of education, methods and materials of teaching are changing in such a way that we cannot believe what the world is doing today.

We can hear the slogans for girl education, women education, inclusive education, education for the deprived like blind and deaf or prisoners and criminals.  We are correcting our mistakes of yesterday all the time, at every step of life. Our philosophies are temporary, always at a state of flux, keep changing continually.  This is only an instance.

I kept convincing people of the paradigm shift, and gradually I got more support from them, especially from Prof B N Koirala of the M Phil program supported my cause. With his support, I delivered some lectures there, likewise some guest lectures were arranged annually at KU too. In the meanwhile,   an article appeared in Shikshya Journal of Secondary Education board.  My campaign invited me to a country wide tour; I visited from Ilam to Surkhet, Jhapa to Mahendranagar. Postmodernism visited with me in the form of literary principles and writing, of thinking and teaching, and many more. I presented papers, delivered speeches; attended discussion sessions, and the new generation now became quite aware of the nature of the new truth. I wrote not less than 500 pages in a matter of a decade. Consequently, everybody started to realize that the time has changed, our values and beliefs have changed, and the very foundation of existing philosophy is shedding its old leaves.

This foundation of philosophy is called epistemology.  I need not define this concept any further. But then, since we teachers are supposed to earn our living by trading in or dealing with principles of education or teaching we need to know the very meaning of epistemology. It is no more than what we are doing, which education we are imparting, what kind of truth it contains, which truth we consider final, what its foundation is, and the question of whether the foundation is strong or shaking, or has already been demolished in other parts of the world.  This is not specific to teachers only, what happens if a farmer does not know about the new breed of animals or seeds and manures and continues with old practice? He will spoil everything and ruin himself. So we traders of truth should also be aware of the new brands of education on sale in the world market.

As a result of untiring efforts of years, our academicians saw the worth of this element and they allocated some teaching hours to the M Ed Education course.  Likewise, postmodernism has crept into almost all Masters’ level courses. In a matter of a decade we can see a different picture today. Education stands for a whole cycle of processes– from the production of learning materials to their delivery mechanism and the evaluation of outcomes. In each stage we are (and must be) just provisional, tentative, keep our decisions at a state of flux so that we remain open to anything new. This is how knowledge and education widens and broadens.

Postmodern perspectives will help our teachers realize that nothing is final, not even the best principle in practices. No truth is final, no belief and practice.   We must keep on looking for new possibilities. And technology has expedited this in an unprecedented scale.  It is like applying Derrida’s principle of gaps and absences. If you doubt you can find a new truth hidden, unexplored in the gap.  Truth comes from absences. And a final thing is never achieved, we are chasing a mirage because our physiological world also keeps changing, the pace of techno-culture has brought changes at a tremendous speed in our belief system, value system.  It is here that we also apply another postmodern term differance that Derrida coined, which stands for the perpetual difference in meaning, and the nature of truth and reality.  You try to grasp and it evades. This very principle applies to education too.

The second point is ontology, a branch of philosophy that discusses how truth is tasted, or what is it that exists? This also leads to the question of ‘existence’ or ‘being’ and its classification. This forms the content of knowledge.  This allows us insights into the nature of objects and existence and ways of measuring the same. We need to know this because we need to define air, water, mass, solid, feeling, anger, and sleep, or anything that we are supposed to teach.

Our experiences related to ontology are not final either. Therefore, knowledge system is not decisive, and we need to believe in the fast changing nature of everything including philosophy. And this applies to education. The pace of change was quite slow in the past, now it has become tremendously fast.

The whole of education system is manifested physically in curriculum, textbook, evaluation cycles, yet its soul is the content, what we teach.  We need to leave our whole education system open ended, and in a state of flux. ‘Open ended’ will be a better word so that you can add or delete or modify the particles of truth with the change in our belief.         As a result, some outdated beliefs will be deconstructed and replaced with new ones, the way a cycle of gradual decay and regeneration is unendingly active in nature. So, education system as a whole should be like belief system in eastern epistemology of revolving in chakra, that is, the cycle.

In the absence of doubting mind and skepticism, education will be devoid of creativity, innovation and regeneration. ELT is not an exception.  Every thing comes under these philosophical premises. Actual students, their teachers and those who confine themselves to the functional or performance level may not perceive its underlying level. This calls for the critical and reflective eyes to see the undercurrent.

When we come to a deeper level of philosophy, we come face to face with a problem that forces us to think about what we are doing, and to question whose philosophy is guiding us. Not only ELT, the whole of education system is based on western epistemology, or ontology for that matter, ours is completely different and fully ignored. I regret this state (of our epistemology and ontology) being ignored. The whole of our education world is misfounded on ‘their’ system or pattern.

Whatever may that be, the performance level cannot notice this. A core, national body of educationists should oversee and take diversions and decisions, which is not easy either. We don’t have a separate philosophy for language teachers. But then, I made it clear before, the postmodern turn has a deep influence over our total system of thought and function. Now the world should accept the existence of margins. Which means there is no ‘only one’ English, there are multiple varieties, each seeking their identity and recognition. Secondly, we no longer stick to a prescriptive viewpoint and accept or reject a piece of text accordingly.

Nepal is also producing its own variety which may be colored by its sound, vocabulary system, and sentence structure. Every native variety is sure to be colored by it language and color. So we must be liberal   towards this to some extent, this will be ratified by the principle of multiple centers, or decentering of a grand narrative– that we cannot produce perfect English. We are spending more than 30 percent of our budget allocated to English education. What is the use of this if we fail to reap the harvest of our investment? Innumerable factors are sure to make our variety a different one. So we speak English the way we do, read it the way we do, and write the way we can. This does not mean that we will be happy with its creolization or pidginization. My point is, let us not worry too much, let us not feel humiliated and debase ourselves.  We do learn it for functional values, which stands for communication needs of different types. Writing represents the core of Nepali variety. We should not hesitate to welcome creative writings in different genres.  We have produced a quite substantial number of books in both literary and technical English. Creative writing should be regarded as a variety of Nepalese literature. Ours has been excluded so far. And we cannot wait until we produce the English of British or American or even Australian variety. Among world varieties, Nepali will be one, though each of sub-centers will have one epicenter that will regulate our English to a large extent, not to a full extent, however. I have explained to you why we think so. We have planted this tree, and it has started bearing fruit which will help us grow globally.

I welcome firstly all translators of Nepal to come boldly ahead and play a more vibrant role in the enhancement of knowledge industry; I suggest them to use untranslatable native terms and concepts instead of losing our sense or choosing a circumlocutory path. Let the world know we do a namaste and not good morning.

I welcome secondly all writers from the Nepali Diasporas to use untranslatable Nepali terms as they are in their English texts. Don’t try to make your texts read as if they were written by a perfect British or American writer. This applies to all creative writers using English as a medium and writing about Nepal, wherever they are.

Teach English, Speak English, Why? The Importance of Conversations on Choutari

Dr  Shyam Sharma
Stony Brook University, New York

Choutari is now in the hands of a brilliant new group of NELTA scholars, and I am excited about that. The old and new teams who are working hard to make this conversation under the shade of this forum even better went through a somewhat difficult time during the month of January—it’s a story that may be worth someday, perhaps years from now, and it’s a good one—but we had a wonderful opportunity to further realize the tremendous value of promoting professional conversation in this great community. With the talent and enthusiasm of the new team, I am sure that we are going to see in the years to come great strides in the work of welcoming, encouraging, urging, prodding us to give back in the form of ideas and inspiration to our society. This work is extremely important to us as educators in a struggling nation right now and it will be, for different reasons, for generations to come.

Among the reasons we started this blog, we wanted to make our professional conversations serve as useful resource. We wanted to make our conversations open and more far reaching in space and time. And that’s what I want to write about in this reflection today.

Since I promised the editor of this month, my friend Bal Ram Adhikari, that and entry for the issue, I’ve been trying to write about something that has kept me professionally “awake” so to say since I started teaching in a primary school in Butwal, continued to ask when I taught for the next six years at the school level, and also continued to ask when I started teaching at TU and when I decided to switch from English to Writing Studies. And that something is a whole range of questions, which used to often discourage me while I taught at home: Why am I teaching what I am teaching? Does teaching grammar help students learn language? Why are we asking students to speak in English only? The teaching of literature seems to contribute to their personal development quite a bit, but how far does it contribute to their social and professional lives and the society at large? Why do we do little more than giving lecture in the name of “covering” the content of the course and helping students prepare for the exam—and what if there are better ways to achieve these goals and also make education more worthwhile? What do we mean by “English education”? When we started Choutari, I was happy because I was now able to ask questions like these within a meaningful professional conversation among hundreds of other scholars and teachers who may have similar questions, different perspectives, and better answers. In this post, I want to build on a recent conversation that took place (and at this time is still ongoing) inside the Yahoo mailing list that many of us are subscribed to. I responded briefly there, as it fit the medium, and I want to delve the issue further here, from broader educational, professional, and social perspectives. I request you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

A fellow NELTA member, Umesh Shrestha, asked in the mailing list recently whether we should require/encourage our students and ourselves to communicate in English beyond the classroom and school. This was a very thought-provoking question (and among other colleagues, Suman Laudari has responded with some great ideas on the list). Let me get into the relaxing mood of Choutari and share some thoughts—for the beauty and fresh air of early spring is returning to the hillsides and I am truly excited by the arrival of a whole group of gaunles under the shady tree.

The question of whether we, even teachers of English, should speak English everywhere, as well as ask our students to do the same is an old one. And I happen to have strong views not only about whether even our students (forget about us) must be made to speak English at all times in school (if not beyond it!) but also about whether we should use English as a medium of instruction and for what purposes, if at all.

Let me take a step back and ask a more basic question: “Why” is it that English is the increasingly dominant, increasingly popular, increasingly unquestioned medium of instruction in Nepal? Is there a straightforward “ELT” answer to this question? Does the use of English as “the” medium of instruction raise the standard of our education overall? Does it make classroom teaching and classroom learning more effective?

First, if the answer to questions like the above is more of a “no” than “yes,” then should we make it our professional lives’ priority to make the answer “yes”? Or, should we instead pause and think why the answer is “no”? That is, if using English rather than Nepali and/or other languages of instruction—at least in certain subjects, grade levels, regions, etc—does not have an “ELT” answer (which I presume it doesn’t), then why are we insisting that “English Only” must be the medium of instruction? If imposing English as the only medium of instruction does not raise the standard of our students’ education, then how have we come to embrace the delusion (sorry, but that’s what I think it largely is) that English “is” education (as in the phrase “English education”)? Is there, in the world of reality, such a thing as English education– or have we just created a feel good phrase to describe “English language education/learning” by dropping the key word in the middle?

To stay on the yes/no questions I asked above, no, there is absolutely no doubt that IF requiring only English as the medium of instruction, communication, and just plain being in school had ZERO SIDE EFFECTS, then the benefits are so many, so significant, so long term, so attractive… that we wouldn’t need to have this conversation. I’m not joking about this, but IF our students were to come out of high school speaking fluent English while ALSO writing effectively (whether that’s in English or not, please note), demonstrating critical thinking skills at par with their peers in other nations, being able to pursue and generate new ideas on their own, excelling in math and science and technology, etc, and IF the “medium” of English was a significant reason for the students’ elevated standards in all the above areas, then YES we would not have this conversation either. But that’s not the case. We know for fact—and we have been in denial for a few decades now—that the English medium that we have imposed in the name of improving the “quality” of education VISIBLY affects the effectiveness of just too many teachers’ teaching, thereby their students’ learning, the learning of math and science and social studies and economics and environmental studies and agriculture and you name it. The English medium is only justified for teaching the English language—although I have a hard time understanding why we teach it for 12-16 years and still don’t have students use the language at the proficiency level of my Christian missionary friend who has been in Nepal for eleven months—and it is in this context that we as English teachers should be having the curricular, pedagogical, and educational discussions. But where do we, English teachers, get this idea that we are entitled to tell our colleagues teaching social studies and math and physics and chemistry and their students who are solving algebra problems or playing khopi or eating samosa in the canteen that they must use English because— oh, wait, I forgot what I was about to say! English, you know, English, and like English education. Like globalized world.Opportunities.The internet. Facebook…. I can’t think anymore. Let me tell you a story.

I have a Chinese student in my “intermediate college writing” class (in the State University of New York) named Bao). During the first class meeting in a one-month long intensive writing workshop, while I was describing one of the assignments, a “rhetorical analysis” of a text that students chose, Bao raised his hand, with his face looking like he was terrified of something, “Professor, I don’t have the ‘professionalism’ to criticize the author’s writing style….” Bao’s English language “speaking” proficiency was so low that I couldn’t help thinking how many of the international students (15 out of 20, from 6 different countries, with different lengths of exposure to “native” English speaking communities) are going to pass. But Bao’s case was special: he not only struggled to express himself, as a student who had just come from a sociocultural background that doesn’t value “challenging” or even “analyzing” the ideas and expressions of established writers and scholars, he was saying that he neither could nor would like to “criticize” how a scholarly article was written. I gave a short answer and invited Bao to my office for further discussion. The first discussion started with Bao “confusing” his language proficiency with the lack of “knowledge” about what “rhetorical analysis” means, so I gave him a text (an excerpt from Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech), a sample rhetorical analysis he and I found online, and a long list of questions that broke down the assignment and served as supplement to the assignment for the class. Long story short, the rhetorical analysis that Bao wrote within the first week of class (before the class moved to another project) was in many ways better than the writing of most other students in class, including the native English speaking students (some of whom, by the way, implemented what they had already learned in high school and turned in their papers, and their papers showed little new learning).

So, it was not the “medium” but the “powerful ideas and the ways that they were so powerfully expressed” that Bao was able to recognize and describe and assess in the text—things that he was not only already somewhat capable of doing but also capable of learning much faster—than learning new expressions and syntaxes, which it seemed could on catch up rather slowly—as he imitated and echoed and adapted and ventriloquized sentence structures and phrases and worlds from the samples that he gathered from all kinds of sources—it was the ideas and how they were expressed that became the basis of Bao’s incredible one-week long learning journey. When I read Bao’s final draft, I was amazed. I questioned many of the conventional teaching wisdom that only rare situations like this can so powerfully blow up in the air, making me rethink my teaching once again.

Reading the question about how great it might be if we too were speaking English all the time, I was almost depressed to think about the state of our education—I mean about the learning part, the part where the nature and content of education matters, the part where our students are being prepared (or not) to become intellectually and professional capable of navigating (and indeed competing in) the complex, connected, global world that they live in and need to be even better prepared for.

Let’s think about the larger question of education, not just English language, for the larger purpose of teaching English is—or should be—that large framework within which what we do, the questions we ask, and the answers we seek, must make sense.

And to connect that to what I was saying about the importance of joining and promoting such conversations like this in Choutaris like this, I have the same old, humble request for you. Dear colleagues, after you read a post, or two, maybe all, please do not forget to add a line, or two, or many lines, sharing your idea, experience, feedback… as encouragement to the writers and good example for other readers.

Teaching Grammar: Exploring Past and Present Realities

Renuka Dhakal, KU

 Celce- Murcia and Hilles (1988) define language as “a type of rule-governed behavior and it is a subset of those rules which govern the configuration that the morphology and syntax of a language assume”. It is obvious that grammar is the clusters of rules which govern and which shape the language. It is well known to all that grammar is one element that gives a shape to language. In this article, I am reflecting on the strategies that I used while learning grammar in school and current pedagogical practice I adopt as an EFL teacher. It expresses my understanding of grammar teaching and learning from my school days to the present professional life as a teacher and a university student.

Teaching grammar communicatively in the EFL setting like ours is an interesting topic. I would like to reflect on it as it is associated with my academic and professional endeavor.  Learning grammar struck me from my school days. In school I couldn’t perform well in grammar in Nepali and English both. I, therefore, would hesitate to speak and write in English. Even after so many years when I as a teacher look at my students’ performance there has been little improvement in this area.

In school grammar teaching was based on rote learning: drilling and memorization. My teacher taught us grammar through the use of the deductive method. He would write a set of rules on the blackboard and we were expected to memorize all patterns at all cost. Let’s imagine how horrible it might have been! Despite being able to produce almost all grammatical rules, I was unable to produce sentences. When I compare the way we were taught with the way we are trained to teach these days, I feel that this practice of imitation, repetition and memorization has become outdated, especially in this globalized context where learning English for communication has got the top priority .

It is still fresh in my memory how puzzled and confused I was when I could not produce meaningful sentences out of the practiced structures. My teacher once asked all the students to make sentences using the present perfect tense.  I came up with a sentence like, “I have writing a letter”. It was one of the common mistakes other friends also made. Later I realized that students pick up the progressive form more quickly than the perfect form. The errors like this can also be attributed to the lack of adequate exposure, and practice and production opportunities.

The question can be raised, “Why students often have the habit of using the progressive form where the perfect is required?”  As my understanding says, the progressive form is easier to make since it implies +-ing and more flexible than the perfect form. The perfect tense involves more complex grammatical operation. I think our teaching should be informed by the most commonly committed errors like this.  Only correcting them on the surface level without reaching the root cause fails to yield any fruitful result.

I am teaching English to lower secondary students.  I have been facing the same problems on the part of my students too. Recently I spent 10 days to teach the different forms of tense and its use in sentences. I found that my students were making the errors similar to those I would make in school. They could produce correct structures but when it came to their use in speaking and writing, their sentences were replete with errors. The insights that I have got from this is that the problem lies in our traditional concept of teaching grammar, that is, teaching grammar means to have students learn the rules rather than use them in their speech and writing. If we use the same methods, problems are never solved. Teachers and students both should realize the fact that grammar is more than a set of formal rules. It is inseparable from meaning, function and context.

No doubt, there are different ways of teaching and learning grammar. Among them the communicative way can be the best one. Therefore, these days my main concern is how the communicative method can be best employed to teach and learn grammar. I find the similar concern in Master and Liu (2003) who conclude that the need to teach grammar has not really been a question for most teacher educators, how to teach grammar has been a great challenge due to the complexities of the subject matter and the difficulties in approaching it. As an English language teacher, I also feel that grammar teaching is a daunting task because I was taught grammar through traditional way but I have been studying that it should be taught through the approaches such as Communicative Approach and Task Based Approach.

In the EFL setting like ours, grammar should be taught for and through communication. As a result, learners can develop all components of communicative competence in a balanced way.   Grammar teaching should value the role of games, songs, stories and dialogs,  realia, problem-solving activities, and communicative techniques such as role-play, simulation, and strip stories and so on. While doing so, such resources and techniques provide learners with opportunities to integrate grammar with vocabulary and all language skills.



Master, P. & Liu, D.(2003). Grammar teaching in teacher education.

Murcia. And Hills, S. (1988). Techniques and resources in teaching grammar. China: oxford university press.

Striving and Deserving: Reflecting on the Year 2012

                                                                                                                       Gopal Prasad Bashyal

As I reflect on the year 2012, it turned out to be a wonderful one. It was not a giant leap, though. I think I am self-consented with my ambitions, some fulfilled, and some waiting in the lobby or some others thrown into the dust bin. Perhaps everyone enjoys such diverse currents in their life. From the point of view of my professional growth, the year could record some historical foot prints, and also brought some bitter realities of life. It generally happens to all, I guess. Then, why am I going to share them with my respected Gurus and colleagues? Certainly, I do not have any magic thrills. Yet I want to share the moments I cherished in the year.

As a NELTA activist, I began the year with some preparation for the 17th International Conference of NELTA. I planned to present a paper on “Autonomous Learning: Enabling Learners.” I am always worried about growing carelessness on the part of learners. They want some ready made junk food-type of knowledge, easy to prepare and tasty. Perhaps, guess paper writers and sellers are making their fortune in such an environment. I’m convinced with the idea that learners must take responsibility for their learning process. If they do that, they will enjoy learning more and that learning becomes more sustainable. Furthermore, if one produces something being fully engaged in it interactively, the product gives better taste. With these assumptions, I wanted to share some principles and ways of leading students towards being autonomous in their learning. The presentation was satisfactory, as the participants said. At the same time, Prof. Jai Raj Awasthi made the third volume of English Language Professionals, the journal of NELTA Palpa, public among the global ELT experts. The journal consists of different articles by local and national authors. Even the Master’s level students have started reading it for their examination and thesis writing. It is a great achievement of NELTA Palpa. Later, when General Secretary posted the Conference report, one of the photos showed me so well that it drew the attention of my five-year-old daughter. These days whenever I set out for Kathmandu she asks me if it is to NELTA.

The year 2012 brought me some other happy moments too. For example, I could present myself as a co-author of Optional English Series, grade 1 – 5 from a private publication. The series is especially for community schools, full of integrated activities. I applied for the Teaching Excellency and Achievement (TEA) program, a one-and-a-half-month course in the US, which is sponsored by the US Government. I got the information of being shortlisted for the interview when I was conducting training for teachers at Rampur RC. When I received a phone call from the US Embassy, all the teachers congratulated me and whished further success. Perhaps due to their good wishes I could answer well in the interview. There was a great storm outside that day. But the storm brought me happy news that I was selected for further competition. It was the TOIL test. Despite two Master’s degrees in English literature and education, I was much worried about the test. Mr Ganga Ram Gautam and Mr Hemanta Dahal were encouraging me to do well. I stepped at the doors of Dillibazaar and Putalisadak, Kathmandu to find the place for verbal test but they didn’t have that service. I gathered all my strength and went to the test. The behavior of the staff at Fulbright Commission helped me to cool down and I could take the four-hour test well. It was really an exciting moment. Despite all confusions and fears, I could enjoy the test and could obtain marks that allowed me for the further competition. It was a global level competition, as I was told. I was quite hopeful that my dream to visit the US would come true. Finally I received a letter from the US Embassy about my selection for the program. This is a great achievement in my life. I’m eagerly waiting for the lessons in the US.

Likewise I fought for a professional development course in MASHAV, Israel. I was selected and I confirmed that I would join the course. I regret to say that I could not enjoy this opportunity, since I couldn’t collect money for transport fare. I was really sorry for missing it. I apologized to the State of Israel and its Mission to Nepal. I realized the pain of being poor. If I had got money for the plane fare, I could have enriched my professionalism. I now feel I should earn some money so that I shouldn’t miss such an opportunity. I went to some doors stretching my hands for help, but I had to drop them down every time. This is one of flows among the ebbs and flows in my life and I cannot excuse myself for this misfortune.

It was in 2012 that I was selected as one of the trainers for ETTE + project. The British Council and NELTA are jointly working for this project in Chitwan. Mr Hemanta Dahal asked me to allocate some more time for NELTA and I dropped my ambition to be the head teacher of my school. I got five-day TOT for ETTE + organized by the British Council. It was really a wonderful time though I had already worked as Super ETTE in 2009 and 2010, and also conducted similar training in Lamjung in 2011. I learnt lots of creative techniques from Adele, Khalil, Christine and Aarish. The peer teaching and the balance between theory and practice for conducting training to teach young learners were really unforgettable. I’m eagerly waiting for the moment to work with teachers in Chitwan.

At the end of 2012, I applied for my professional journey to Dhaka for taking part in the 6th International Conference of BELTA. My proposal of presentation on teacher education has been accepted and now a team of 8 people, including myself, is preparing for the Dhaka visit scheduled the third week of January 2013.

Finally, in addition to ELT, the year 2012 was satisfactory in the areas of literature. I could write a few poems and critical comments in the Nepali language. Some of my poems in English when shared in different forums drew beautiful comments that encouraged me to write more poems in English. I want to publish an anthology of my English poems. Hopefully, it will be materialized in 2013. I conducted two workshops on creative writing. The Bachelor’s level students in Palpa produced some poems beyond my imagination – a simple guideline could help them so much. In NELTA  Nawalparasi Conference, teachers continued composing poems till evening. I came to the conclusion that everyone could write poems. A very significant program held in Palpa last year was the two-day workshop on Expanding Horizons in English facilitated by Mr Ganga Ram Gautam and Dr Barbara Law. NELTA helped with books to different eight community schools as well as Tribhuvan Campus. Similarly, one-day workshops were organized time and again, and NELTA colleagues presented their papers and conducted workshops. Those programs helped in promoting the sharing culture, developing presentation and communication skills. Because of such fruitful endeavors  NELTA is gaining momentum in the areas of ELT.




Envisioning Future Development of Education in Nepal

                                                Prof  Dr Tirth Raj Khaniya

I would like to begin […] with a statement made by Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Prize Winner, “We cannot predict the future, but we can prepare it”. To add to what he has said, it is through education, we prepare our future. Putting it another way, our future is largely dependent upon what kind of education with what vision and delivery mechanism we offer today.

It has been seven years since the 21st century began. Almost all countries widely discussed the beginning of 21st century, and several preparations were made in the name of preparing for the 21st century. Some countries started talking about the 21st century, and making preparations for it almost a decade before 2000. For them, the 21st century began long before the beginning of 2000. Perhaps, they could have thought that the more they talked about the 21st century, and got prepared for that, their efforts in the future would be more productive and contributory to the advancement of their society.

When we talk about education in the 21st century, generally the question that comes in our mind is what it is that makes the 21st century different from the 20th century in terms of education. When did it begin? What did the discussions on it entail when people talked about the 21st century? Was that merely the passing of time or the adoption of new processes of work or the development of new contents and areas of study or the change in the methods of teaching and learning or in life style of the people? One would have wondered what the world would be like in the 21st century.  What is the demarcation line between the 20th and the 21st century? Was that just the end of December 1999 and beginning of January 2000 or was there something more? One would argue that talking about the 21st century and preparing for it is a visionary way of thinking about our future. As a corollary, when we discuss educational issues in relation to the 21st century, basically, we are envisioning our future education in light of the education we have at present. In order to support the visioning, we should be prepared to evaluate our existing system of education based on the past efforts and their impacts on what we accomplished so that we could consolidate what we accomplished and continue working on improving it in line the major changes taking place in different parts of the world.

Some people associate the 21st century with time and some people with excessive use of technology and knowledge (e.g. knowledge economy).  Whatever the case, what is emerging, in fact, is that the 21st century is going to be more technology and knowledge-based than ever before. Because of this reason the world is going to be more globalized that ever before. Failing to appreciate this fact will lead us to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. In this context, the first thing that we need to consider in order for us to be able to cope with the needs of the emerging societies is how to bring about changes in education so that our youths become competent enough no matter how competitive the world becomes. We need to understand that education is changing, and the education we received and the skills and abilities we gained some years ago may not be sufficient to enable us to cope with the requirements of the changing world. Today education is not like receiving once and using it for ever. We cannot utilize the knowledge and skills we have gained through education in the past unless we update them in light of the present needs. Therefore, our education has to be examined in light of the changing context of the world.

Education deals with human beings. We should know what skills and abilities we intend to inculcate in our youths in the 21st century so as to enable them to cope with the needs of the emerging society. At the same time, we should be able to determine what our people need to acquire in order to cope with the time to come. Education binds together the past and the future of our societies. It is through education we sustain our culture, values and beliefs, and inculcate ideas in our youths. If we incorporate the contemporary skills and abilities in our system of education, we can equip our future generation with the necessary skills and abilities to cope comfortably with the emerging societies without causing much harm to our tradition.

One of the reasons for talking about the future is that we are trying to make people aware that we have experienced so many things in the past, and based on those experiences, we can anticipate what the world would look like if the present pattern of development of the world continues. We are also telling people that they should be prepared for the emerging society in a different way than they were prepared in the past. We believe that in the future the world will be more competitive than it was before, there will be more use of technology in many aspects of life than before, and there will be a growing feeling of globalization. The argument is that our people in the future will need to be more competent, more skillful, more knowledgeable, more informed, more flexible, more creative, and more responsive to what is happening around as well as in other parts of the world. It is also our feeling that we have to be prepared to cope with the new way of life with the skills and abilities necessary for the emerging society if we want not to be left far behind the mainstream of world development. One way of addressing this challenge is to bring about necessary changes in our education system which is the main source of human resource development. For that purpose we were trying to visualize the future, in my opinion, when we talked about the preparation for the 21st century. Putting it another way, talking about the 21st century is a way to play a proactive role in the preparation for the future. That is why the countries which initiated early preparations stared the 21st century long before it actually began in other countries. The reason is that doing this helps us prepare ourselves for the future. This is important in order for us to be able to face the emerging societies which are dominated by technology and knowledge.

My understanding is that science and technology have transformed this world so rapidly that our economy and democracy have also been affected by those processes. The result is that future works will require much technical competence and a great deal of flexibility. The dynamics of the society is that one set of skills already acquired which used to be adequate in the past will not be sufficient for the future. Education is becoming not only a package of learning a set of skills; rather it is becoming a process of arousing in the learners a real thirst of learning.

The way the world is becoming open for access and communication, it becomes clear that the 21st century will invite every individual irrespective of place and citizenship to come forward and compete with the rest of the world for opportunities. For that purpose, every individual is expected to develop necessary skills and intellectual ability. In addition to necessary skills, a person, therefore, is expected to be able to analyze problems and issues, examine the component parts, and reintegrate them into either a solution or into a new way of stating the problem or issue. In this way, it is necessary to develop thinking skills. An individual should be able to express and understand others’ expressions through diverse media. These skills of self-expression and hearing include writing, articulating verbal expressions, and familiarity with symbols and basic vocabularies of arts, mathematics and the sciences. These skills are necessary for an individual when the world becomes a global village. To have a meaningful life in the global village, our future generation will have to accept work as both the means of economic survival and an important source of one’s identity. Because of interaction with the rest of the world, our people will be careful with career and occupation options, not feeling bound by restrictions of race, gender, language, color, ethnicity, etc. Each individual will have to understand the fact that education is a prerequisite for becoming competitive in the adult workforce. This thinking certainly puts pressure on each country to bring about changes in the system of education by incorporating the elements of education necessary for the contemporary society. It becomes, therefore, obvious that we must make our education system competent enough to enable our future citizens to possess the skills, abilities and competence needed to cope with the emerging needs of the 21st century.

In the field of education, like many countries in this region, Nepal faces challenges in two ways: on the one hand it has not been able to make a good progress in education in the past (e.g. low pass rate, high drop out rate, low participation of girls, low rate of enrolment, under-achievement of the learning outcomes by the students, irrelevant education, no collaboration between education and service and productive sectors, etc.) despite mobilizing adequate external and internal resources, and on the other hand, now it has to use information technology in education, and upgrade the overall contents and processes of educational delivery.

Education has always been associated with social advancement, economic prosperity and employment. The relationship between education and these factors is going to be even stronger in the future. For making a system of education work better, it is necessary to have a clear picture of what we want from the system as an outcome of the process. Nepal, therefore, will have to be clear about what kind of people with what skills and abilities for what purposes are needed for its overall development. Once we make our priorities and choices clear, the system of education should be directed towards accomplishing them. This is what we need to do first. Therefore, we need to revisit our system of education in order to make it serve our present and future needs.

It has been quite some time since some changes were made in the present system of education. It is believed that it is only through education Nepal can equip its youths with necessary skills and abilities to cope with the emerging societies.

Source:  New Horizons in Education in Nepal, 2007