All posts by Jeevan Karki

Dear teachers, you can write and publish!

Jeevan Karki

In my past nine years of association with ELT Choutari as a reviewer and editor, I reviewed and edited hundreds of manuscripts, and communicated with dozens of teachers to encourage them to write. Based on this experience, I argue that teachers are undoubtedly the right professionals to write and publish and every teacher (including schoolteachers) can do so.

ELT Choutari generally gives space to new and first-time authors, hence it encourages teachers and teacher educators to share their experiences through writing. While exploring the potential teachers to write and publish, I have come across different types of teachers. When I approach them, initially most of them show interest, gradually some of them drop with some excuses and a few of them try, nonetheless. Interestingly those who give it a try, majority of them produce publishable write-up when they are guided through a series of writing processes.

I would like to recall a case of a particular teacher here. He is a schoolteacher of English language having rich experiences of teaching English to speakers of other languages from a variety of backgrounds. He used to show interest in writing and publishing on ELT Choutari. Once I personally approached him and discussed the possible issues and areas to write following the call for articles. He was all set to go. The next week, when I followed up, he responded that he was going to start soon. Later, when I followed up, he said he had just begun writing something and would finish by the next week. The next week was the deadline but he didn’t respond. I told him that we could give a few days more if he wished to finish but he quit stating he would contribute in a future issue.

In the next issue, with multiple follow-ups and reinforcement, he submitted a write-up on teaching vocabulary. It was a well-organised write-up in about 2000 words. However, there were two major issues with it- structure and content. Structurally, it was heavily influenced by the format of research-based journal paper as he included even an abstract section for a blog piece. Talking about the contents, he went on giving an introduction to teaching vocabulary and explaining different methods and techniques of teaching vocabulary, which was followed by a few tips of his own. When I anlyased it, the majority of the content in it was merely the reproduction of what was already available. So, where is the voice of the author? He was only explaining and summarizing other’s ideas, which is readily available on Google.

Then I realised why teachers like him are anxious about writing and publication in Nepal. Instead of narrating his own real practices and experiences of teaching vocabulary, he went on explaining and summarizing others’ ideas, which can be challenging for first-time authors for two reasons. First, the ideas of others should be well reproduced and paraphrased to avoid plagiarism. Second, such a write-up is less likely to be published because it is commonly available on the Web. If I were him, I would compose the write-up on my first-hand experiences of trying out different methods and techniques. Sometimes teachers also devise their own techniques or strategies to fit in their context. Capturing the same experiences and practices would be fantastic content to write about as it would be easier to write one’s experiences, which would have enough space for the author’s voice.

Most of the Nepali English teachers are anxious about writing and publication and consider that it is not their cup of tea. One of the major reasons behind it is the lack of a culture of reflection and journaling. They have decades of teaching experience and they even teach their students how to write a good paragraph or an essay but paradoxically, they are unable to produce reflective writing themselves. They teach different language skills using multiple methods (including some local methods), but they rarely reflect upon their practices. Like, what’s working and what’s not working? What’s going good and what’s not? Which methods or strategies should I continue and which to drop? This culture of reflection and making notes would also develop writing habits and boost their confidence. However, they are simply following the teaching-learning principles and practices of their gurus, where there was rarely any scope of reflection and writing. Therefore, the present generation of teachers must break this tradition and should start the culture of reflection and documentation, which would enable them to write and publish with ease.

What to write and what not ?

There is a popular saying, which goes, “cut the coat according to the size of your cloth.” The same is true in the case of writing too. So rather than choosing a heavy topic or summarising others’ ideas, the easy way is to write what you do, see, face, or experience in your everyday classroom. Therefore, it is better to choose the issue or topic, in which you feel comfortable to write. In the above case, for example, the teacher could have focused on the challenges he was facing while teaching vocabulary and strategies he used to overcome the challenges. Or he could also have highlighted the methods and strategies, which were the best working in his context. Similarly, he could also have critically examined the popular teaching methods and strategies and their applicability in his context.

Writing issues and topics are right in your classroom, all you need is to reflect on your own practices and classroom phenomena. Please remember that classroom is a lab from where very powerful theories and practices have been developed. Therefore, the easy way of reflection is to ask questions like below to yourself:

  1. Why am I doing what am I doing?
  2. Why am I using this method instead of another?
  3. What if I try this over that?
  4. Is this method facilitating the learning of my students? If yes, why? If no, again why?
  5. Which methods and techniques do my students enjoy and learn from the most?
  6. Why don’t my students sometimes learn the way I want them to learn? What’s wrong with my process?
How to write?

First, we should remove the illusion that all writing and publication must be research-based and formal. Please remember, publishing papers in the journals could be your goal but initially, you can start with something as simple as a reflective narrative or a blog, which don’t necessarily require any research frame or literature review. Take this blog for instance. Is there any research frame or literature review in it? No, I’m just reflecting on my experiences, and adding my voice to it. So, you can also simply write about the good practices in your classroom, challenges, or striking moments in your professional life.

The simple way to write powerful writing is to choose simple but meaningful and relevant issues from our everyday practice and narrate it in a captivating way like the way you narrate something orally to someone. Choosing the right issue and narrating in the form of a story is one of the easiest ways of writing, which any teacher can do. Voice your ideas instead of summarizing others’ ideas. If your story is engaging and relevant, readers will read and enjoy it. I also started my writing journey with narrative reflections. For instance, see HERE.

Narrative reflections and blogs are the stepping stones in one’s writing journey. Our experiences serve as content in such writing and narration works as the writing style. And there is nothing right or wrong about the narration technique. Narrating is way easier than writing some formal academic composition. Reflective narrative and blogs are informal in styles, juicy to read and yet they can raise important issues. For instance here is one by Karna Rana , another here by Alban S. Holyoke, and here is another by Yashoda Bam. Once you are confident and comfortable on writing them, then you can gradually move towards other scholarly writing and research papers.

Concluding remarks

Writing can be as easy as narrating an interesting event to our friends and family. Therefore, choosing interesting practices, challenges, striking events, or observations from your classroom and putting them in the form of a story would produce a good write-up. Moreover, reading related literature also provides ideas and confidence in writing, so read a few blogs and guidelines HERE before starting your own. Write and show it to your colleague, who cares for writing. Hear his/her feedback, review, and finalise.

Dear teachers, writing and publication on the blogs and web magazine like ETL Choutari is not as hard as you think. Therefore, before wrapping up this piece, I would like to note the following:

  • Teachers have rich experiences and issues to write about. So why not to write?
  • Reading and writing are part of the teaching profession, so, let’s make it our professional practice.
  • If teachers don’t write, how can they expect their students to write?
  • Writing helps us to better understand and to be better understood.
  • You definitely have some good practices and success stories and if you document them, others will benefit, and you will develop a writing habit.

Now looking forward to reading your reflective narrative and blogs on future issues.

[Note: since you have come up to here reading it, please share your feeling, feedback, or any question related to it in the comment box below, which will encourage the author. Thank you!]

Can be cited as: Karki, J. (2021, April 20). Dear teachers, you can write and publish. [blog post]. Retrieved from: http://eltchoutari.com/2021/04/dear-teachers-you-can-write-and-publish/

The Author: Jeevan Karki is a freelance teacher trainer, researcher, and writer. He serves as an expert in designing materials and developing training for the literacy program at Room to Read. He has authored several op-eds and blogs including some national and international journal articles. He is also an editor of ELT Choutari and the Editor-in-Chief at MercoCreation.

Welcome to the 12th Anniversary Issue of ELT Choutari 13(98)

Blogs are the stepping stones for one’s writing journey

It gives us immense pleasure to release our twelfth-anniversary issue and the first quarterly issue (January- March) of 2021.

The 12 years of academic journey to promote and enhance local scholarship has produced 12 resourceful volumes, 98 issues, and more than 600 blog posts, articles, and interviews, and more than thousands of comments, questions, and interaction from our readers. Most importantly, the literature on Choutari is increasingly being cited around the world.

Reflecting on the contributions of ELT Choutari, what stands out most to us is its contribution to groom and encourage the young, emerging, and first-time authors to publish their blogs, which is a great way of building a robust local scholarship. Looking at the issues of the past three years, it was found that ELT Choutari has published the blogs of 42.46% of such authors. In a recent survey, out of some suggestions, one respondent expressed, “encourage young writers to get involved in preparing scholarly writeups.” Looking at the publication trends on ELT Choutari, we can proudly say that ‘yes we are encouraging and grooming young writers’. And we would like to grow the quantity and quality of their write-ups in the years to come despite the fact that it is often challenging to push forward the new authors to draft their first write-up. Although it often challenging to make them write, we are confident that their rich experiences, practices, and native perspectives would definitely contribute to the scholarly conversation to advance their profession.

We believe that blogs are the first step to start the writing journey of young, emerging, and first-time authors. When I look back to my own writing journey, it goes back to my first blog published on ELT Choutari. Starting as a blogger, I gradually learned the writing and publication process, which eventually boosted my confidence to publish op-eds and research papers in national and international journals. Therefore, blogs are a great way to begin one’s writing journey as they are informal, personal, and based on the lived experiences, which are interesting to read and easier to develop than writing a research paper. The young and first-time authors on ELT Choutari have also started blogs based on their lived experiences, which are as simple as how they learned the English language, challenges and best practices of teaching, reflective narratives of preparing their thesis, or reflections on the events they attended. Therefore, if anyone wishes to write and publish but not sure what to write and how to write, we strongly suggest to start with a blog.

Writing and publishing is also a great tool for one’s professional development. Anyone wishing to write goes through a serious literature review, which definitely expands their professional horizons. Moreover, writing requires deep and critical thinking, reasoning, evaluating, and reflecting, which brings more clarity on our thoughts and professional actions. Our survey shows that the majority of our readers are teachers, who have both painful and joyful experiences and such experiences are very fertile to start their blogs and eventually contribute to their own professional development.

Presenting you the anniversary issue, we are excited to offer you the five diversified blogs and papers including one bonus blog! In the first scholarly article titled Teacher identity and the new forms of governmentality in higher education in Nepal, Raj Kumar Baral & Prem Phyak explore the crisis of teachers’ academic identity amidst the highly politicized system of university through the powerful narratives.

Similarly, Ashok Raj Khati on his post Understanding thesis writing as a socio- cultural practice in the university than a ‘ritual’ shares his scholarly perspective on the burning issue of ‘research and thesis writing’ in our university system with very engaging anecdotes and claims that graduate research should be advanced through the socio- cultural perspective rather than only treating as the cognitive activity.

On the other hand, in his research paper English teachers’ perspectives on classroom interaction: A phenomenological study, Bhim Lal Bhandari shares his findings on the practices and perspectives of English teachers on classroom interaction between teachers-to-students and students-to-students for effective language learning.

Likewise, Samita Magar on her blog, Two good practices of teaching vocabulary: reflection of a teacher presents two practical and replicable good practices of teaching vocabulary to English Language Learners (ELL) based on her action research.

Presenting you a different taste, Karuna Nepal on her blog Exploring the readers’ response and reflections shares some interesting responses and reflections of the Choutari readers based on the findings of a fresh survey, which ranges from the purposes and motivation of our readers for navigating our magazine to their expectations and feedforward.

Lastly, as an editor’s choice, we offer you a blog on Assessment for learning: 4 tips for teachers, which offers four practical ways of using assessment for learning (not only for assessment for the sake of assessment). One of the reasons behind sharing this blog is to meet the expectation of our readers wishing to blogs offering tips on teaching-learning, which was suggested to us through the survey. Hope you will enjoy it.

Here is the list of posts for your further exploration:

  1. Teacher identity and the new forms of governmentality in higher education in Nepal by Raj Kumar Baral & Prem Phyak
  2. Understanding thesis writing as a socio- cultural practice in the university than a ‘ritual’ by Ashok Raj Khati
  3. English teachers’ perspectives on classroom interaction: A phenomenological study, by Bhim Lal Bhandari
  4. Two good practices of teaching vocabulary: reflection of a teacher by Samita Magar
  5. Exploring the readers’ response and reflections by Karuna Nepal
  6. Assessment for learning: 4 tips for teachers by Chris Thorn 

While releasing this issue, we take the pleasure of welcoming and introducing Karuna Nepal (MPhil) and Sagar Poudel (MPhil) to our editorial team. Having a strong background of teaching English from schools to universities, both have published blogs, research papers, and have presented papers on conferences extensively. Likewise, they are associated with ELT Choutari as reviewers for the last one year.

Now, I would like to thank all the contributors of this issue. Likewise, I would like to offer special thanks to Karuna Nepal, the co-editor, for her rigorous support during the process of reviewing and editing the articles. Likewise, sincere thanks to Ganesh Bastola, Karna Rana, Nanibabu Ghimire, Ashok Raj Khati, Ekaraj Koirala, Sagar Paudel for reading and reviewing the blogs rigorously. In addition, Praveen Kumar Yadav deserves special thanks for giving Choutari a new theme and design.

On the occasion of our 12th anniversary, the current editorial team would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all our founding members, past editors, contributors, well-wishers and most importantly our readers.

Finally, we request you to drop your comments for the blog posts and papers you read, share them in your network, and consider writing your own blog post for our upcoming April- June issue.

Thank you!

Jeevan Karki, Lead editor of the issue

 

Exploring the readers’ response and reflections

          Karuna Nepal

Introduction

ELT Choutari, initiated in January 2009, is Nepal’s first collaborative and most-read digital ELT magazine which contributes to the ELT discourse in particular and education in general. Initiated by ELT pioneers and enthusiasts, it has been serving as a virtual forum to connect ELT professionals and engage them in critical discussion on the diversified issues of ELT. Most importantly, it has been a great platform for the young, emerging and passionate scholars to share their voices, stories, and native perspectives. In addition, it has also generated theoretical discussions, multiple perspectives on different ELT issues, and scholarly debates from the established experts from home and abroad. Likewise, it brings academics, policy-makers, teachers, and students together to supplement scholarly discourse on ELT and more. This forum has also been a huge resource bank for researchers and ELT practitioners for the last 12 years.  

In this context, with the purpose of understanding the views, preferences, and expectations of our readers, authors, and well-wishers, we conducted a digital survey. For this, a google form was used with both close-ended and open-ended questions, and data were elicited through it. 79 responses were obtained altogether. The options given for close-ended questions were mutually inclusive where a participant could choose more than one option. Among the respondents, 77.2% were teachers, 25.3% were trainers, 24.1% were research students, 21.5% were researchers and 15.2 % were graduate students. 

Analysis and discussion 

In this section, the elicited data are presented and discussed under four subsequent themes: preferred contents of the respondents, the motivation behind reading our contents, expectations of our readers, and feedback and suggestions.

Preferred contents of the respondents 

In order to explore the preferences of our readers, we asked them to choose the types of articles they prefer reading on ELT Choutari. Here, they could choose more than one option. The following pictorial representation illustrates the data in an explicit way.

Through the responses, it was revealed that three-fourth of our readers (i.e. 75.9%) preferred reading articles related to teaching tips. Since the majority of the navigators (i.e. 77.2%) were teachers, it was obvious that teaching tips are mostly sought for. Following this were the readers who liked reading research papers i.e. 59.5%. The third preference was given to scholarly ideas with a personal touch i.e. 44.3%. Similarly, 41.8% readers read ELT Choutari for reflective blogs, 31.6% read for theoretical discussion. And finally, 1.3% of the readers read interviews. So, it shows that ELT Choutari should offer articles and blogs related to teaching tips, research papers, and scholarly writing with a personal touch and reflective narrative. Moreover, interviews were also preferred by a few respondents, which was chosen under the ‘others’ options. Had there been a separate option for ‘interview’, it would have been the preference of more.  

Motivation behind reading our contents

Our second intention was to explore the motivation of the readers behind reading our contents. Thus, we inquired the respondents about the reasons for reading the articles and resources on ELT Choutari. The following diagram represents the data elicited under this heading.

The given figure reveals that most of the readers (i.e. 70.9%) have a general purpose of enriching their knowledge and updating themselves. The second reason for reading the resources on ELT Choutari is for preparing classroom lessons/topics and 53. 2% of our readers are guided by this motivation. Similarly, 32.9% of our readers are the researchers who navigate our resources for reviewing the related literature for their research. Following them are the students comprising 16.5% of the respondents who take support from this forum while preparing their assignment. Additionally, a few readers (i.e. 1.3%) read our articles to be familiar with recent perspectives.

The expectation of our readers

To explore the expectations of our readers regarding the types of content they would like to read in the future, an open-ended question was asked. In this line, it was found that the expectations of the majority of readers range from theoretical discussion to practical tips, for instance, classroom management, classroom interaction, teaching literature, reflections on classroom practices, and ELT tips. This indicates that the articles on ELT Choutari have been meeting the expectations of the majority of the readers. Besides this, there are some expectations regarding the innovative topics in the field of teaching-learning such as critical pedagogy, teaching English in a multilingual society, post-method pedagogy, eco-pedagogy, ICT in education, etc. The respondents further expected the articles to cover more research-based contents which would supplement them with the proven facts and generalizable ideas. Moreover, personal anecdotes and reflections should also be given due emphasis.

Feedback and suggestions

For obtaining feedback and suggestions for improvement, an open-ended question was asked with our readers. After analyzing their suggestions it was revealed that most of the respondents were satisfied with the contents of our magazine since they have suggested the continuation of the same. However, some of them wished for more updated content capturing the latest trends in the field and more articles based on the research. Similarly, some of the readers have suggested widening the readership so that more people would be benefitted. There are some respondents who have also suggested us to follow the standard procedures of review so as to maintain the standard of peer-reviewed journals.

Conclusion

Although the readers seem to be satisfied with the contents on ELT Choutari, there is a need to accommodate itself with the flow of the time. Valuing the suggestions from the readers, attention should be given to readers’ expectations for research-based articles, practical teaching tips, and more scholarly discussion and discourse on critical issues like multilingualism, critical pedagogy, justice in ELT, authenticity, and creativity in ELT. Similarly, it is recommended to train and orient young and emerging authors time-to-time to develop original and relevant content with excellent presentation. Moreover, it is often criticized ELT Choutari for enjoying only a limited readership despite having excellent contents and resources. Therefore, effort and attention should be oriented towards maximising our readership and impact. Finally, to generate more generalizable ideas, it is recommended to launch more surveys in the future to reach more readers.

The author: Karuna Nepal is an English faculty at Innovative Sunshine College. She also teaches at Shree Krishna Secondary School. She has completed her M.Phil. in English from Pokhara University. Her areas of interest include translation, philosophy, and literature.

[Note: since you have come up to here reading the whole piece, please share your feeling, feedback or any question related to this post in the comment box below, which will encourage the author. Thank you!]

Can be cited as:

Nepal, K. (2021, January).  Exploring the readers’ response and reflections [Blog article]. ELT CHOUTARI. Available at: http://eltchoutari.com/2021/01/exploring-the-readers-response-and-reflections/

11th Anniversary Issue of ELT Choutari: Special Coverage on Resources & Materials #Vol 12, Issue 94

Resources and materials for more engaging and comprehensible learning

Welcome to the 11th anniversary issue of ELT Choutari and the first quarterly (January- March) issue of 2020.

On the completion of its glorious 11 years and moving forward for the 12th year, the current editorial team would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all our founding members, past editors, contributors, well-wishers and most importantly you, as our reader! ELT Choutari has primarily served to promote local scholarship and a resource bank for ELT practitioners. The 11th resourceful years of Choutari has produced 11 volumes and 93 issues with hundreds of resourceful articles. Besides, we also have created a resource bank of ELT Blogs, Discussions and ELT Journals to bring the ELT resources at a single venue for our readers. Our ongoing effort of developing Choutari as a resource bank has further encouraged us to dedicate the theme of this issue on production of ELT resources and materials and their use in ELT context of Nepal to generate a focused discourse on this area.

Resources and materials add value in teaching learning as music adds value in a celebration. They are means and tools for making our teaching-learning more engaging, interesting and thus making activities more learnable and understandable to students. Actually, resources are not only for their day-to-day teaching learning but also for the professional development of teachers. Therefore, the use of resources and materials plays a tremendous role in shaping the professional skills of an English language teacher.

The essence of teaching approach or technique largely depends on the resources and materials teachers choose. Because they help teachers in offering students an amazing variety of routes for learning and discovery (Harmer, 2007). So, the classroom that uses resources and materials makes learning more meaningful by engaging learners and allowing them to learn through self-discovery. The resources and materials also support to address multiple learning styles of children through differentiated instruction. Teachers can design the diverse learning activities to address diversified classroom based on them.

The availability and access to the ELT teaching resources and materials both in physical and online formats have been huge than ever. The online resources stand out more in this era due to its menu like ready-made availability. Such resources can also be accessed through simple android phones even in the rural parts of the world. However, a teacher should be able to customise and contextualise the resources as per the need of curriculum and children.

In the context of Nepal, the production of ELT textbooks and supplementary materials is increasing. And there have been some efforts on publishing ELT journals, audio-visuals, digital magazine like ELT Choutari to contribute to the professional development of teachers. Yet, the resources and materials to address the needs of both students (in the classroom) and teachers (for professional development) are insufficient. Likewise, the quality and innovation on the available resources and materials are also far behind the standard. In this backdrop, this quarterly issue of ELT Choutari is presenting you the six blog posts and one bonus resourceful article to create a focused discourse on these issues.

The blog posts offer you good practices of teachers in using locally available resources, teachers’ reflections on using students’ feedback as a resource for shaping their teaching skills, practices of using Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) for professional development and interview with an expert on the resources and materials to the fullest. Moreover, on the occasion of our anniversary, we also present you a special package of reflections- reflections from our founders, editors, ELT experts and readers. Last but not the least, we also present you a super special resourceful article about ELT resources from TESOL blog, which unpacks many other resources once you get into it (so don’t hesitate to unfold the package).

Here you go:

  1. Reflections: Hearing from founders, editors, ELT experts and readers
  2. Quality scrutiny in materials isn’t merely a formalization process: Ganga Ram Gautam, PhD
  3. Teaching English using locally made/available materials: by Rishi Ram Paudel
  4. Open online courses for teachers’ professional development: by Bibas Thapa
  5. How to convert reading into pleasure from pressure?: by Ghanashyam Raj Kafle
  6. Collecting students’ feedback for enhancing my teaching skills: by Somy Paudyal
  7. The Best 2019 Resources for Teachers of ELs: by Judie Hayness

While releasing this issue, we take the pleasure of welcoming and introducing Mohan Singh Saud in our editorial team. Mr. Saud is a PhD candidate at Graduate School of Education, Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He has been teaching English at Kailali Multiple Campus, Dhangadhi, Nepal since 2004. He has also authored some books including school level English series and some journal articles. Currently, he is working on Grade 11 compulsory English textbook under Curriculum Development Centre, Nepal.

Before leaving, I would like to thank all the contributors to this issue. Likewise, I would like to offer special thanks to Babita Sharma Chapagain, Karna Rana, Ganesh Bastola, Praveen Kumar Yadav and Mohan Singh Saud for reading and reviewing the blogs rigorously.

Finally, you are requested to drop your comments for the blog posts you read, share anything you like in your network, and consider writing your own blog post for April- June issue.

Thank you!

Jeevan Karki,
Lead editor of the issue

Photos for Language Teaching: Part IV

It is the fourth post of its kind aiming to promote the use of photos in English language teaching learning. The photos can serve the multiple purposes in our classes such as writing (paragraph/essay writing, story writing etc.), speaking (conversation, describing photos etc.) and other kinds of group/ peer works. In this part IV, we share the photos of Choutari editor Jeevan Karki taken during his visits in different parts of the country.

Children enjoying the water © Jeevan Karki
Now it’s time for four wheeler to sail: a car stuck in rain water in Kathmandu. © Jeevan Karki
An aeroplane before flying in the Tribhuwan International airport, Kathmandu, Nepal. © Jeevan Karki
A busy worker to black top the road. © Jeevan Karki
Children playing with their locally made motorcars. © Jeevan Karki
Aim high, leap high: children in a school playing during their recess. © Jeevan Karki

Looking back and looking forward: hearing from founders and readers

On the occasion of our tenth anniversary, the Choutari editor, Jeevan Karki has collected the reflections from our founding/past editors and readers. Their reflections remind the readers the ups and downs in our journey, our contribution (contribution in education in general and ELT in particular), contents and readers perspectives on them, its sustainability, some valuable suggestions and most importantly its recognition around the world. It’s indeed very interesting to hear from them and we believe you will certainly enjoy these excerpts and know more about Choutari.   

Bal Ram Adhikari

Think about its sustainability: Bal Ram Adhikari, Former editor

Contribution of Choutari

Choutari for a decade has been a good writing zone for professionals and writing enthusiasts. It has been supporting to promote writing habits. It has been a transition point for formal writing and highly academic writing, where writers can express themselves more casually. Moreover, it has also offered a platform for researchers to share their reflections. Interestingly, it is helping to review the teacher-student dichotomy. In the past, only teachers used to teach or write and students used to study or read but now students are also writing and teachers are able to read their students through the means like ELT Choutari.

Besides, Choutari is helping to generate the content on ELT and teaching-learning and education in general. The content published on Choutarih as been used in the course of B.Ed. third year in critical reading as well.

Contents of Choutari

It’s covering the ELT practices and experiences, ideas for professional development, and discourse on contemporary issues. This writing and discourse revolve around the ELT practitioners from Education faculty mostly. Therefore, now it should also cover and include the ELT practitioners from the stream of Humanities in order to back up and view the ELT practices using critical theories.

Sustainability of Choutari

It may be high sounding but Choutari should think about collecting advertisements from the nation and regional publishers. So that the fund could be utilized for the better design of the site, to conduct writing workshops, interaction, talks and also for some full-time editors/reviewers to value their time and effort. Likewise, it can also be used for paying for well-written articles, which could enhance the quality of writings on the magazine.

Likewise, it should also establish the direct connection with the graduate and postgraduate students through teachers to encourage, guide and mentor them in writing, like the way the theatres in Kathmandu do with the students in the university/campuses.

Shyam Sharma

Choutari, the other child of our community: Shyam Sharma, founding editor

“Several of us NELTA members . . . would like to share with you a few materials related to ELT on a monthly basis,” said an email from Balkrishna Sharma, who signed the email along with Prem Phyak’s name and mine. “Our desire is to prompt some ongoing discussion on issues of interest in ELT,” he added, inviting ELT colleagues in Nepal to discuss, in NELTA’s Yahoo listserv, the texts and ideas we planned to share.

That was exactly ten years ago today. A child who was born a few months earlier just had a robust conversation with me about “social justice” as a theme that he looks for in movies that he considers worth watching.

An excerpt from Paulo Freiere’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed was one of the three items we had shared for discussion in that first “issue” of [N]ELT[A] Choutari (we were asked to stop using “NELTA,” the acronym of an organization we call our professional home, when its leadership wasn’t, for some time, driven by the positive energy that it used to be). I think that Choutari remains that free spirit, a monkey wrench in a hierarchical socio-epistemic culture.

For me, Choutari is a simple social phenomenon: an additional space born out of the need of younger educators, passed on and changed, and often almost gave up but never stopped using—just to make their voice heard as emerging, passionate scholars.

I’m sure that new generations of our language scholars will continue to use this platform, helping themselves and many more to pursue the profession.

As Bal said in his first announcement, “We wish you a pedagogically productive New Year 20[1]9!”

Choutari articles have been cited around the globe, exciting indeed: Prem Phyak,

Prem Phyak

founding editor

We had started Choutari to connect ELT professionals virtually and engage them in critical and situated discussions on multiple issues related to ELT. In the beginning, we published Choutari as a monthly blog to share NELTA activities, events and thoughts of NELTA colleagues. Mr Ganga Ram Gautam, the then President of NELTA, supported our team. I was Secretary of NELTA during that time. We received passionate support from NELTA central committee to publish Choutari. In 2012, NELTA decided to publish its own blog so we changed the name of blog NELTA Choutari as ELT Choutari. Choutari is now an independent and journal-like space where research articles, personal reflections and thoughts, workshop ideas and other ELT related discussions are published. I am happy to see the growing number of Choutari readers and feel proud that Choutari articles have contributed to expand the existing ELT knowledge by creating space for critical discussions on various issues in the field of ELT. Choutari articles have been cited by the authors from around the globe–this is very exciting indeed. For me, Choutari has become a popular name and a common space for Nepalese ELT community of practice to share personal and professional stories, research and ideas with scholars at the global level.

Netra Lal Pandey

Choutari should organize workshops and interactions: Netra Lal Pandey (from the lens of a reader) 

Earlier up to my bachelor level, I was unknown about ELT Choutari but when I came to Kathmandu for my master’s degree, I came to know about it. Since then, I’m enjoying with its contents regularly. As a reader, I found this forum as a good resource bank with fresh ideas regarding the current issues and practices of ELT. Sharing and discussing such practices and experiences have really become beneficial for ELT practitioners and beginners like me to be professionally strong. Because I can find some reflections there, some innovative practices, latest trends of ELT around the world, national and international perspectives, which would keep me abreast in my field. Choutari has brought opportunities to know about the recent trends and practices of ELT staying at home using our own smartphones and other digital devices. For example, the article by Yashoda Bam (October 2018) entitled “My Experiences of Teaching reading in Secondary Level” helps all teachers to deal with problems that they face in the course of teaching in the same level. In the same way, the interactive blog post by Ashok Raj Khatri (July 2018) entitled “Writing Practices in ELE Programs in Nepali Universities” in which the participants (lectures of different universities) have mentioned the fact that research and writing has been an integral part of the curricula in the universities but the practice is different in the universities. The striking point in this post is our degree is unable to develop our writing habits for this or that reasons.

Finally, I feel that Choutari should organize workshops and interaction programmes for the emerging ELT practitioners like us to have more ideas on framing topic and producing publishable writing, which the university degree has never taught us.

Include the videos too: Siddhartha Koirala (from the lens of a reader) 

Ekraj Koirala (Siddhartha)

Usually, I go through almost every issue of ELT Choutari since I came to know about its website. I mostly pause to read the contents like the discussion on classroom practices, the novelty in lesson delivery, and interview of different scholars on the issues like language development, aspects of language and use. I also love the articles written by new writers on language issues. I mostly prefer reading the experiences of the teachers from various corner of Nepal. I really enjoy reading them as they brought genuine issues/problems and way forward from their classroom practices. Since their experiences are based on real practices, it offers a wide range of knowledge about the challenges faced in teaching language in the schools of Nepal. Equally, I do love to read scholars’ interviews as they pass the message to the readers about the national and international perspectives of teaching-learning, professional development and so on.

To sum up, I would like to suggest the editorial team to involve a wide range of contents like teaching English/Nepali and other languages in primary grades, review of curriculum, practices of the directions and provision of the curriculum in the actual classroom teaching-learning. Equally, I love to see the editorial team starting discussion programmes among the teachers to share their experiences. Finally, it should start uploading real classroom delivery videos too.

Welcome to the Fourth Quarterly Issue of ELT Choutari: Special Coverage on Teaching Reading #Vol. 10, Issue 89

First Let’s Talk About Reading Skills Then Only the Habit

Source: Richard_Rivera

Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistics defines reading as the process of “perceiving a written text in order to understand its contents.” The written text here indicates written symbols of languages. Therefore, reading is making meaning from written symbols. Reading can be both aloud or silent. When you are reading this paragraph, perhaps you are reading silently and making the sense of what I’m trying to convey. Now, please read this statement aloud, yes please start reading aloud and feel the difference yourself. Have you read? That’s great. You read aloud so easily and subconsciously at the moment but I bet it took a great deal for your teacher to make you able to correlate each written symbol and their corresponding sounds and pronounce words accurately, which you just did without much effort and feeling that. Ok, just a moment for you to think, can we read silently without first being able to read aloud? Umm, generally not. Reading experts urge that a reader reads silently once s/he is fluent enough and to be fluent, one should have a considerable practice. And the practice comes from reading aloud. Therefore, the sub-skill of being aware of symbols and their corresponding sounds is a basic skill for reading.

In order to explain the process of reading more clearly, researchers have identified five components required for reading success. They are Phonemic awareness (sound- symbols relationship), phonics (name of the symbol and its sound), sight-word recognition, and fluency (NICHD, 2000), as well as vocabulary (Stahl & Bravo, 2010) and comprehension (Snow, 2002). Once we teach our children these five components of reading effectively, the children become independent readers and being an independent reader is the foundation for being successful in all areas of education. Check yourself now. You are reading this editorial independently because of these five components. Yes, our reading skill is based on these components and all other reading strategies we learn as we grow are also based on them. Similarly, our reading habit comes from these basic reading skills. Until and unless we children master these basic reading skills, we cannot expect a good reading habit in them. The ultimate goal of reading is to comprehend the text or grasp the meaning, which is equally important for any early grader to any university graduate.

Now as a teacher, future teacher, teacher educator or policy maker, we need to ask ourselves, in our reading lesson, do we really teach reading skills in our classes (like phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, reading fluency and comprehension)? When we remark our children do not have a reading habit, have we assessed whether they have a proper reading skill? How do we assess the reading skills of children? Mostly in written? Isn’t that somehow funny that we assess oral reading skill in written? These are some questions I leave up to you to reflect on our teaching reading practices.

Presenting you a special issue on reading skills and reading habits, we have opened up a discussion on developing reading skills- reading skills required for an early grader to the skills required for a university graduate. Moreover, we also have tried to capture some of the practices of promoting reading habits in this issue. We have covered six posts in this issue, which all are based on the experience of the authors. Some of the posts explore the challenges in developing reading skills and reading habit followed by some ways out. Likewise, other offer wonderful strategies and tips for accelerating reading skills at school level and also in research level. Moreover, some post views reading as the means of exploration and experience. Interestingly, this issue brings up the writing from three ladies and three gentlemen, gender equality, isn’t it? It is so good to see them coming up with academic discourse here at Choutari.

Read our posts to explore more about reading. Please follow the link below, read, drop your comments for the writers, share the posts among your circle and most importantly, write your experiences, reflections, best practices, challenges and so on in your profession and email us at 2eltchoutari@gmail.com. We will take your writing in the process.

Finally, wish you all a joyous, colourful and brightest Tihar and Chhat festival. Have a good time. Here is the list of the posts for this issue:

  1. Let’s Borrow Something from Nepali Language Classrooms into English Classrooms: Ekraj Koirala (Siddhartha)
  2. Some Ideas of Developing Reading Habits in Children: Babita Chapagain
  3. How to Review Literature Effectively: Sharing My Research Experiences: Karna Rana, PhD
  4. Why There is No Good Reading Habit in Our Students: An Exploration: Nabina Rokka
  5. My Experience of Teaching Reading in Higher Secondary Level: Yashoda Bam
  6. A Professional Journey of Exploration, Experience and Expression: Balram Adhikari

Catch you up in the January issue.

Before leaving, I would like to thank all the contributors to this issue. Likewise, I would like to offer special thanks to Ashok Raj Khati and Karna Rana for their rigorous reading and review of the articles.

Jeevan Karki, the Lead Editor of the Issue

Follow me at Twitter: @G1Karki

Good Writing is All About Practice and Knowing its Requirements: Dr. Hayes

Talking with an Editor on Writing and ELT

Jeevan Karki* 

British Council has recently published a book titled “English Language Teaching in Nepal: Research, Reflection and Practice” (2018). This volume is edited by Dr David Hayes. He is an associate professor at Brock University, Canada and an independent education consultant.  

This volume is a collection of 14 research papers including a majority of voices of Nepalese ELT practitioners focusing on ELT and critical analysis of the role of English in Nepal. On his remarks on its publication, Dr Lava D Awasthi, the chairperson of the Language Commission of Nepal states, “…it will serve as a resource kit for language planners, policymakers, practitioners and stakeholders.” He further adds, “…it is groundbreaking… drawing on national and international perspectives and practices, theorizing the issues generated from practical experiences and research-based empirical evidence.” On his foreword, Alison Barrett, the director, Education and society, East Asia (British Council) mentions, “…this volume will stimulate considered debate around the role and position of English within the education system in Nepal, and will enable agents of change… to make informed choices… on the quality of English language teaching, learning and assessment in Nepal…”

This book is divided into three sections. First, international perspectives (on ELT), which includes the papers of Rhona Brown, Pritivi N. Shrestha and Amol Padwad. Second, Sponsored research studies, which covers the other three papers of Min Bahadur Ranabhat and Subodh Babu Chiluwal, with Richard Thompson. Finally, the third section- Case studies includes the eight case studies of Ushakiran Wagle, Eak Prasad Duwadi, Laxmi Prasad Ojha, Jeevan Karki, Gopal Prasad Bashyal, Ashok Raj Khati, Laxman Gnawali and Vaishali Pradhan.

Karki with Dr Hayes

As the volume is out in the market, we thought of sharing the thoughts and reflection of the editor in editing the valuable volume. I managed to briefly talk with Dr. Hayes.

Jeevan: Dr. Hayes, you have recently edited a volume “English Language Teaching in Nepal: Research, Reflection and Practice”, which includes 14 chapters. Based on this valuable experience, what is your reflection on the writing of Nepalese ELT practitioners? What are the strengths in their writing and what could be done to make their writing even stronger and better?

Dr. Hayes: Nepalese practitioners are experts in their contexts and my job was just to help them to clarify their ideas and put everything together in a way which allowed them to make their contributions to the book the best that they could be. The strength in the writing generally was in bringing the Nepali school contexts to life so that readers elsewhere could see what was positive about teaching and learning English in Nepal, what the challenges were and where improvements could be made. Good writing is really all about practice and knowing the requirements of the publication you are writing for and its readership. Nepalese practitioners just need opportunities to be given- opportunities to write and to publish for both local and international audience. The more they write, and the more editors (of journals and, I hope, more books like ‘English Language Teaching in Nepal: Research, Reflection and Practice’) help them, the more proficient they will become.

Jeevan: Having gone through the research and practices in Nepalese ELT, where do you locate the ELT practices in Nepal in relation to the trends and practices in the world?

Dr Hayes: I think it’s always best to look at ELT practice in terms of how appropriate it is to the local context. However, there are clear trends which are present in Nepal just as in other countries worldwide. The most obvious of these is the expansion of English-medium education, even at the primary level. Personally, I don’t think this serves the interests of the majority of children well. International research shows that children are most successful educationally when they are taught in their first language and become literate in that language in the early years of schooling. Of course, this is a challenge for multilingual societies like Nepal but experience elsewhere shows that primary education in the first language can be achieved and, not only that, children are often more successful at learning another language such as English in later years too. The danger of English-medium education when the language is not available and regularly used in the local environment is that children often end up not learning anything very well. The work of the Language Commission in Nepal is extremely important in this respect. There is, of course, still a place for English language teaching but I think there needs to be some serious reflection about its place in the overall education system in Nepal. The educational interests of the children must come first.

English Language Teaching in Nepal: Research, Reflection and Practice

Mr Karki is one of the editors of this magazine and an independent teacher trainer* 

Welcome to EMI Special Issue: August 2015

On the occasion of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples today, the Choutari team recognizes the importance of both local and global linguistic diversity and rich languages/language practices and cultural heritage knowledge of the indigenous people all over the world as a resource for building an equitable world in 21st century through quality education.

editorial banner

The spread of English as a global language has created numerous issues concerning educational policies and practices. Pushed particularly by the the ideology of “global  market economy”, English is taken-for-granted  as the language of education in developing countries. While the teaching of English as a language has already been a big challenge in ESL/EFL contexts, there is an increased push of English as the medium of instruction (EMI) policy from the early grades in Nepal. While the English language is certainly an important language in this globalizing world, it is not true that imposing English-only  medium of instruction ensures a better education that prepares students for job market (which is becoming more multilingual and multicultural) nor is it justifiable that EMI promotes equity and access in education.

A famous linguist and scholar, David Crystal (2002) argues that the spread of English language has already created unprecedented “threat to many minority languages” all over the world. In Nepal, we have a mosaic of linguistic diversity which can be an important source of education. But EMI is pushed without considering any academic and language learning theories/studies. As they are facing a big pressure to increase student numbers, community/ public schools wrongly assume that the EMI policy will help them out to retain the students.

The EMI policy to lure parents to stop children from going to private schools is a perilous and an extremely reductionist view about education which lacks both academic and pedagogical justifications. The medium of instruction policy is one of the most important aspects of education as it is directly related to academic and cognitive development of children; to language and culture of society; and the education system as a whole. Thus, the creation and implementation of any language policy should be rigorous, comprehensive, and grounded on educational theories and best practices that embrace local existential reality while showing critical awareness of global issues.

Another key aspect to consider while developing a language policy is social justice and equity.  Studies from all over the world have shown that allowing children to use their own home/community language as a primary language of education, while simultaneously learning second/foreign language, ensures greater student achievement. Further, the right to education in one’s own first language has been recognized as a fundamental right in all the global educational forums and policies that Nepal has already rectified and adopted its own policies.

In this backdrop, the government must be responsible to ensure its policies that are informed by educational practices and theories that support equitable and quality education for all children. We must be aware of the fact that  “market forces” do not entirely determine and represent larger social and educational needs of the nation and as market resources are always hierarchical, they are not accessible to all children.  Thus, we should first answer these questions: Do we really need EMI? When do we start EMI? What is the space of English in local linguistic diversity that shapes our educational practices? What should be the medium of assessment? Have we prepared teachers and created resources for EMI? What are the research-based foundations of EMI?

This August 2015 issue focuses on the above and other cross-cutting issues related to EMI policy in Nepal. We include case studies, pedagogical practices, and experts’ perspectives on EMI.

The first blog entry  by Mahendra Kathet, a teacher trainer, is a case study of community schools from the Mt. Everest region which have recently adopted EMI. In the second post, Ashok Raj Khati, a teacher training specialist working for REED Nepal, further investigates into the EMI practices based on case studies, observations, and theoretical aspects.

In the third post, Ishwor Kandel, a master trainer of NIITE (National Initiative to Improve Teaching in English) project, highlights the need of EMI in schools and focuses on professional development of teachers to materialize the policy effectively. He also shares the ongoing NIITE project and its contents.

The fourth post is an interview with Khagaraj Baral, Executive Director of NCED. Mr. Baral believes that needs and interests of citizens are primary in democracy and if they want EMI in their schools, it should be up to them. With reference to SLC results of few EMI schools, he argues that  EMI policy contributing to  better results.

Prem Phyak, a PhD scholar, University of Hawaii, US, and Lecturer at the Department of English Education, Central Campus, Tribhuvan University, in another interview, shares research-based findings and situates them in Nepal’s current EMI policies and practices. He argues that the issue is not whether we need EMI policy, rather it is the accessibility and quality in education through EMI in the multilingual societies like Nepal. He argues that there is a need for redefining and reimagining language teacher education (including ELT/TESOL) and professional development programs (including teacher training) from a multilingual perspective. He asserts that there should be intensive research studies and critical examination of the current policies and practices before making any language policy decision.

Likewise, Bal Krishna Sharma,a PhD scholar of the University of Hawaii, shares that in the context of Nepal, where English is taught as a foreign language, teaching in English-only does not benefit the majority of students. Based on his research, he argues that whether we allow or not, translanguaging is in practice in our classes and he further suggests using both English and home language of students systematically to produce effective teaching learning outcomes.

Similarly, in another post, Pramod Kumar Sah, a research scholar on EMI at the University of Central Lancashire, shares his views on the prospects and challenges of implementing EMI in the context of Nepal. He presents the cases from all around and argues that EMI in Nepal has been a haste and unplanned decision. He also proposes to allow multilingual practices such as ‘translanguaging’ and ‘plurilingualism’ in the bilingual and multilingual classes of Nepal.

Last but not the least, we have continued the photo photography project. For the project, Photojournalist Sunil Sharma, who is also working for Chinese News Agency called Xinhua, contributes the photos from the classes in the temporary learning centers that were built to support children who could not go to schools after the April 25 earthquake.

Here is the list of the blog posts for the August Issue of Choutari:

  1. EMI in community schools: A case from Mt. Everest region by Mahendra Kathet
  2. EMI in Nepal: A passport to a competitive world or a commodity to sell?, A Case Study by Ashok Raj Khati
  3. Project NIITE: Developing Better Teachers for Implementing EMI by Ishwor Kadel
  4. Parents have Rights to Choose Medium of Instruction: Executive Director of NCED, an interview
  5. Reimagining EMI from a multilingual perspective: Policies/Practices, Realities and Looking Forward, by Prem Phyak
  6. Why English-only ideology and practice, by Balkrishna Sharma
  7. English Medium Instruction (EMI) in Nepalese Education:Potential or Problem? by Pramod Kumar Sah
  8. The Photography Project: Education in Emergencies, by Sunil Sharma

We hope that the views, opinions, and experiences in this issue will help shape EMI policies and practices in Nepal. I extend my sincere gratitude to the entire Choutari team for their support. Similarly, I am thankful to all the contributors for their amazing ideas on EMI! Last but not the least special thanks goes to Praveen Kumar Yadav for his untiring technical support!

Hoping that you would enjoy reading the special issue!

Happy readings!

jeevan
Jeevan Karki, Editor, August Issue

Parents have rights to choose medium of instruction: Executive Director of NCED

Khagaraj Baral
Khagaraj Baral, Executive Director, NCED

National Centre for Educational Development (NCED) has been running National Initiative to Improve Teaching in English (NIITE) Project. For this special issue dedicated to EMI, Choutari editor Jeevan Karki has spoken to Khagraj Baral, Executive Director of NCED on EMI practice in Nepal. Here is the excerpt: 

What kind of project is it? And, why was the necessity of it felt? Could you please explain?

NIITE is a project to support our regular teachers’ professional development programmes. English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) was already in practice in our community schools before launching NIITE, whereas, it was launched two years back. There is a provision of conducting teachers’ training based on the needs of teachers in the School Sector Reform Plan (SSRP). The need of the most of teachers from community schools was skills to teach through EMI. It was because of the decrease in number of students in community schools in towns, would-be towns and district headquarters and the reason behind the shift of students to private boarding schools was the choice for EMI education. The next factor was the interest of parents to educate their children through EMI. Considering both the reasons, the School Management Committee (SMC) and teachers started working on teaching and learning through EMI. Then, we designed the training programmes as per the demand of teachers to get trained for delivering EMI based lessons. There is no pressure for schools to shift for EMI. Schools are free to use Nepali, English or both according to education act (2010), regulations and curriculum.

How many community schools are teaching through EMI and how many teachers are trained for EMI?

During last Fiscal Year, 7,500 teachers were trained from NCED. The training was provided to the teachers who were teaching subjects other than Nepali and English. Some schools are also managing the trainings on their own. The community schools from Daunne to Gaidakot in Nawalparasi district have conducted trainings with their own initiative. The schools that want to start EMI are not going to wait only for our support, instead our support seems to have been late than their initiation. Some schools have even recruited teachers for teaching through EMI in self-funding.

According to language policy, schools can use Nepali, English or both as a medium of instruction. Based on the policy, schools are adopting EMI even without qualified teachers and minimum resources. What kind of outcome this may bring in future? Doesn’t the government have to ensure the fulfillment of minimum requirements before implementing EMI?

Schools have adopted the medium of instruction as per the existing language policy. Are there qualified teachers and sufficient resources in the schools that use Nepali as a medium of instruction? If it is yes, there is also not satisfactory results. The medium of instruction does not solely improve the result. However, it has been observed that the results of the schools which have adopted EMI have been improving slowly. The result may not be satisfactory for few years but it will improve thereafter.

The SLC result of 2013/14 has shown that the schools that produced encouraging results were found to be adopting EMI, take an example of Kanti and Kalika schools of Butwal, Shanti school of Manigram. Similarly, schools of Biratnagar, Pokhara, Surkhet, Kathmandu, Bhaktpur, Lalitpur, Damak, and Hetauda have proved the same level of results. Why don’t you analyse the result of the community schools after adopting EMI in last ten years?

A lot of issues and controversies have been raised internationally in terms of shifting the medium of instruction (MoI). In order to systematize it, different countries have clearly set guidelines on age/level to start EMI, subjects to teach through EMI and so on. For instance, there is a provision of introducing EMI from the third year of primary level in China. What are the guidelines of teaching through EMI in Nepal?

The medium of instruction is determined by socio-economic, political and linguistic factors of the country and it is led by politics. As the politics is also based on democracy, the need and interest of people is strong. If there was an autocratic rule, only one language would have been recognized. If parents want to educate their children through EMI, the theories and principles of language become secondary. They lay-men do not care about the principles of language teaching. They want their children to get quality education of international standard. Secondly, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the authority is vested in the parents to choose the kind of education for their children. Talking about the case of China, although Chinese is the largest language in the world, they start EMI from the third year of primary level. Why is there a need for EMI in China as they have the most spoken language in the world? China is the leading economy in the world. It doesn’t need to depend on other countries. It doesn’t need to worry about foreign employment and it has excelled in technology. Despite all, it is also adopting EMI. The reality of our country is different. So, it we can’t compare with other countries.

In our context, the existing law and policy are sufficient. The important thing is to implement it honestly.

We are still not able to teach EFL/ESL effectively in our schools. In this context, don’t you think it is a hurry to start teaching other subjects in English medium?

You are right but the major question is how effective the Nepali medium classes are. We can never start if we wait to fix everything and then start. Attempts for changes have to be made. Schools have never been forced to shift for EMI. This shift has taken place in those schools which are interested to start and their infrastructure, teachers and SMC are ready for it. Nothing can stop those who are willing for change and those who want to remain as they are, there is easy policy for them too. You know that that institutional schools use EMI. Are there sufficient and qualified teachers for EMI? I’ve also found their teachers weak in both language and contents. Challenges are obvious during reformation. We need to move forward resolving the problems.

When children are taught and exposed to English language from very young age instead of teaching in their home language. Such products for instance, from private boarding schools, are found to be loving foreign language and culture rather than their own. Furthermore, the government is also promoting English language. In this context, what will be the effect in Nepali language and culture after introducing EMI at very young age?

The issue you raised is serious. However, it makes no difference. Have the products taught in Nepali medium protected and promoted their language and culture? Are they aware of their language and culture? Have they used their local or home language? Has the only use of Nepali or local language helped in the livelihood of people and in international competitions? And, have the ones taught through EMI gone against the languages and cultures of their country? Language is only a medium of learning. Although children are taught through EMI, they have spent more of their time at home. Have parents made their children aware of their language and culture? Every house has been promoting Hindi language watching Hindi movies, TV serials and cartoons on TV. Hasn’t it promoting the culture? Similarly, hasn’t the culture coming through English movies and cartoons? The education in schools has made the future leaders prosperous. The issue you raised is more serious for out of school scenario rather than schools.

What kind of programmes and modality does NCED have to produce qualified teachers for teaching through EMI?

NCED supports through trainings. Although we don’t have sufficient trainers, we provide training through our roaster trainers. We’ve prepared 150 trainers in cooperation with British Council in the last year and developed the package. I think now time has come to select teachers having basic communication skills in English in community schools. Like Public Service Commission, Teachers Service Commission also  need to test the English language skills of teachers. Talking about our programme, we now are going to design our modality in terms of needs of teachers including EMI training.

Choutari team would like to thank the Executive Director of NCED for his valuable time and insights into the practice of EMI. 

How can effectiveness of In-Service Teacher Training be maximized?

invert me
JEEVAN KARKI

…..opportunities for in-service training are crucial to the long-term development of teachers as well as for the long- term success of the programs in which they work…”

–Richards (2005)

In-service teacher training (ISTT) is essential for teachers to enhance their professional skills and update themselves with the latest trends in pedagogy. In order to serve the purpose, government of Nepal formally established National Council for Educational Development (NCED) in 1993 under the Ministry of Education (MoE).

The NCED is an apex body responsible for human resource development in Education, especially in pedagogy. One of the major activities of NCED is to provide ISTT to in-service teachers in different phases for their professional development.

Every year, ISTT programs are conducted to in-service teachers across the country through NCED itself or Lead Resource Centers (LRC) and Resource Centers (RC) based in district levels. However, it is reportedly argued that the effectiveness and impact of such trainings in the classroom remains yet to be capitalized on. For this interactive article, I have made attempts to bring views and opinions of the concerned stakeholders including Dr Anjana Bhattarai, Head of English Education, Central Department of Tribhuvan University (TU), Dr Laxman Gnawali, Associate Professor at Kathmandu University (KU) School of Education, training expert from NCED, teacher educators, and Resource Persons and teachers.

They were asked:

“The government of Nepal offers in-service training to teachers but there is not much visible improvement in the pedagogy in classroom. What can be the causes behind it and how can the in-service teacher training be made highly effective and productive?

DR ANJANA BHATTARAI  | Head of English Education, Central Department, TU, Nepal

anjanabhattaraiIn my perspective one of the most important factors contributing for ineffective in-service teacher training is the attitude of teachers. Most teachers (not all because few are active and work hard) do not feel such training as an opportunity for their professional development, whereas they feel it as a chance to earn extra money. It is a tragedy that we are yet unable to make them feel the importance of it. Therefore, teachers need to change their attitude and apply the skills learnt in training in their classroom. I think a possible solution for this problem can be a good head teacher. If a head teacher has positive attitude towards training and encourages his teachers to apply new ideas in classroom, teachers cannot afford to be reluctant to transfer the skills in the classrooms.

Weak monitoring system is yet another factor for this problem. Despite having Resource Persons (RP) and supervisors, the government is unable to make monitoring effective. Classroom inspection and supervision are not taken seriously. The RPs do not observe classes minutely and offer constructive feedback to teachers, whereas they meet teachers (in some cases they meet in paper only), ask how they are doing and teachers obviously say they are doing wonderful. How can this ensure teachers are transferring the skills in their classes?

The next contributing factor is existence of impunity. We do not have strong and effective mechanism to reward those who are doing well and penalize irresponsible ones. This eventually discourages the teachers who are willing to do something.

I think there is some problem in our parents too. Parents need to visit schools, show their interests in the activities of school and raise question behind weak performance of their children.

To sum up, if we can change the attitude of teachers, make our monitoring system efficient, encourage parents to raise questions in schools and make provision of reward and punishment, the impact of training can be better than now.

Dr Laxman Gyanwali | Associate Professor (ELT) | School of Education Kathmandu University

 

nelta-conference-16A few classroom visits in Nepal can tell us how ineffective the impact of the government-run in-service training has been. When I ask my graduate students why such a wastage of resources, they say the training does not directly link to the real classrooms, ignores local contexts, and does not address trainees’ mental constructs,  their needs and expectations. I fully agree with them. However, for me the main culprits for the ineffective teacher training are the trainers. You may ask why.  No trainer has been trained to be a teacher trainer. Each of them has a degree on pedagogy not on andragogy. They do not have a faintest idea of adult learning. Because the trainers in the government system have a permanent position, they do not bother for their own development. And they pass on their attitude to the teachers who they train.

There is only one solution to rectify this situation. Let’s set requirements for the entry as well as for the promotion for teacher trainers. They need to have a degree on training and andragogy and they also need to undergo periodic CPD, just as the teachers do. For me, training is as effective as the trainer involved in it. 

Balram Adhikari | translator, and a lecturer at Mahendra Ratna Campus, Kathmandu

1924893_829718523720484_26654504_nThe in-service teachers should count themselves fortunate for getting the opportunity to learn and to teach at the same time.  Also, they should be gratitude to the concerned authority for providing them with such opportunity. However, it is a sad fact that take away from the training session is less and its translation into the actual classroom teaching is even lesser. There could be multitude of causes behind this ranging from training policy to classroom pedagogy. Since the limited space prevents me from digging depth into the issue, I point out two areas of training drawing on my own experience of teacher and teacher educator both. The first is attitudes. It is not uncommon to hear in the training the participant teachers saying, “It only works here in the training hall, not in our schools”.  Most participants have this ‘it doesn’t work’ attitude.  First, the training should aim at inculcating positive attitudes in teachers. Only the positive beginning can lead us to the positive ending. Here I am reminded of Thomas Friedman’s famous saying, “If it is not happening, it is because you are not doing it”. 

Second is the nature of training itself.  Training should be based on target demands needs. By its very nature, training implies equipping a specific group of teachers with specific skills, strategies, knowledge and resources to help them address specific problems in a specific teaching-learning context. That is, everything is specific in teacher training. Only specific training packages can address specific teaching-learning problems. The specificity in training calls for involvement the target teachers in framing the training package.

 Parshu Ram Tiwari | NCED Trainer of English

ParashuramNCED conducts many in-service teacher trainings out of them TPD is the nationwide training program. These trainings actually implemented by Educational Training Centres (ETC), LRCs and RCs under the guideline developed by NCED. Except TPD, other several training programs like CAS training, MLE training, MGML training, training for the teachers using English as MoI etc.

It is not fact that there is zero transfer of teacher training in classroom. Some teachers who are devoted to their profession have brought newness and innovations in their classrooms due to knowledge and skilled learned in training. However, effectiveness in classroom hasn’t been noticed as the training expects.

There are some inhibiting factors to the transfer of teacher training, which are as below:

  • Especially roaster trainers in RC level are not efficient to conduct training.
  • In ETCs and RCs, there are not well equipped training hall to use modern technology for delivering training.
  • Teachers demand general needs, not academic and pedagogical needs. Very few teachers demand technical needs but they are not addressed properly.
  • District education office puts the training program in low priority.
  • Teachers have no dedication, motivation and willingness to implement training skill and knowledge in the classroom and they are reluctant to change their traditional ways of teaching with modern ones.
  • Training has not been linked with teachers’ career path.
  • No provision of follow-up support mechanism
  • No support and encouragement from school (Head teacher and SMC) to teacher for implementing training in classroom.
  • No rewarding system to those teachers who teaches using methods and techniques learned in training.

Suggestions

  • Training needs to be conducted only in LRCs and ETCs.
  • Training program needs to be well monitored and supervised.
  • Incentive for teachers who complete training successfully and transfer it effectively in the classroom.
  • Training needs to be linked with the promotion and upgrading
  • Training centers need to be equipped with modern technology and resources.
  • Follow up and support mechanism need to be developed.
  • School must support the teachers to transfer training skill in classroom by providing resources and making the classroom environment conducive.
  • Teachers need to develop collaborative learning and sharing culture among teachers.

 Govinda Prasad Chaulagain | Resource Person, District Education OfficeSolukhumbu

GovindaAs a resource person, I see there are a couple of reasons why in-service teacher training is not helping to improve the pedagogy in classroom. First of all, the student-teacher ratio in some school is very high. In few schools there are up to 120 students in a single class! Therefore, it is quite challenging to make classroom interactive. When a teacher tries to do something new in group/peers classroom goes out of control and hence they return to old method. Besides, teachers also have to teach more than usual number of periods because of lack of teachers. Therefore, they are not encouraged to try something new because of more work load.

Lack of materials and resources is another problem. Schools do not have even basic things to develop teaching-learning materials. Similarly, in some schools, there are not even reference materials for teachers. So they are compelled to depend on textbooks fully. The textbooks are clutch, a survival kit and everything for them.

There is also problem with permanent teachers working for long. They are comparatively more inactive than temporary or contract teachers in terms of transferring skills in the classroom. Not only that sometimes, they manage to skip trainings too.

I think there is problem in the present Teachers Professional Development (TPD) modality for in-service teachers. There is a top-down approach in designing training package. The trainers design training package that does not correlate with the actual needs of teachers. On the other hand, teachers themselves also cannot spell out what are their actual needs and always talk about the same issues like large classroom, unavailability of resources and materials and so on.

Finally, to make our in-service training highly effective, we should not forget to address the issues raised above.

 Ashok Raj Khati  | Training Specialist at REED  Nepal, & adjunct faculty  at Gramin Aadharsha Multiple Campus, Kathmandu

AshokFirst of all, I am quite convinced that in-service teacher-training programs can never be ineffective because they definitely provide some visions and frames for teaching. A trained teacher approaches to the students with some sort of framework, philosophy and guidelines; he or she could deal with students even on the way or on a bus far better than untrained ones.

However, to what extent the effectiveness of a particular teacher-training program becomes visible inside the classroom is an important aspect. It is true that some teacher training programs are more effective than others. They are primarily so because of positive attitude and motivational orientation of participants and facilitators toward professional learning. There are always a few people who assume that their qualification and experience could be adequate to teach in a specific context. This tendency does not produce effective training outcomes.

In addition, if teachers’ socio-cultural contexts and interests are encapsulated in teacher training programs, they are likely to be more effective. In recent years, new trends in teacher training programs such as in-school support, collaborative approach, researching and conferencing have been proved successful in mitigating the specific challenges faced by teachers in Nepali contexts. Similar type of training modality for years creates monotony on the part of teachers and they find training as a form of ‘ritual’ in their career.

Bhupal Sin Bista | Faculty of English, Shree Phutung Higher Secondary School, Kathmandu

The government has envisioned the provision in-service teacher training for the community school teachers for the efficiency and efficacy of teaching methodology exploited while conducting classroom lessons. The considerable amount of national budget allocated in the education sector has been separated for this purpose. Every year such trainings are conducted in RCs, LRCs and educational training centers on need based. It should have resulted in the tremendous improvement in the educational sector of the nation by now but the reality is something beyond our imagination. That is to say, the in-service teacher training does not have tangible impact on the teacher’s educational pedagogy. There can be several factors behind it. Some of the factors that bring about this gap might subsume:

  • Lack of training needs assessment
  • Lack of expertise in training guidance
  • Lack of appropriateness of training content
  • Lack of instructional aids
  • Lack of persistent monitoring and supervision
  • Lack of stick and carrot approach
  • Lack of learning culture
  • Classroom dynamics
  • Physical facilities of the school
  • Classroom size
  • Lack of adjusting training with TPD, including career development

These are the crucial issues seen with regard to the transfer of teacher training inside the classroom teaching. To improve the existing scenario, such issues are to be addressed decently meeting the needs of the individual teacher and the school. Furthermore, teachers should be encouraged to do so with diminishing the digital divide via appropriate and feasible policy, strategy, guideline and programmes.

Sakun Joshi | Faculty of English, Shree Sitapaila Higher Secondary School, Sitapaila 

SakunEvery year, the government invests a good amount of budget to provide in-service and refresher training to in-service teacher aiming to increase educational quality of the nation. In spite of having such efforts, there is still not much visible improvement in the pedagogy in the classroom. Some prominent causes behind the present situation can be as follows:

  • Improper classroom size to perform different techniques in classroom.
  • The large number of pupil in the classroom is another problem, which makes difficulty to manage lesson and prepare sensible teaching aids and demonstrate them in classroom.
  • The administration of many community schools does not show interest towards innovative teaching and learning.
  • Sometimes teachers knowledge on the content is also a constrain to successful teaching learning
  • Lack of creativeness and professionalism among teachers due to insecurity of their job.
  • Lack of regular and continuous supervision from the monitoring body.

I think fulfillment of the following requirements can help bring improvement in the pedagogy in the classroom:   

  • Give proper concern towards the improvement of the physical condition of schools including availability of enough materials and references.
  • School administration should be enthusiastic towards bringing new technology in school.
  • Teachers should be given every opportunity to exercise their lesson as per their needs.
  • There should be provision of strict supervision following with reward and punishment to teachers.

The stakeholders highlighted on different causes and proposed ideas above to make ISST effective and productive. Here I urge our valued readers to please feel free to share if you have something to say on the issue. Please express your views in the comment box.