All posts by kaflehem


The fields of English studies and English teaching demand inclusive readjustment today. Beyond the age-old concerns of originality and standard in learning and practice, issues like gender sensitive curriculum, glocalization of indigenous knowledge, inclusion of mother tongue in school education seem to question the authority of English as a major medium and resource for modern education. English teachers must be prepared to take up an increasing pressure of interdisciplinary exposure and networking across diverse geographical locations to cater to this need of readjustment in the days ahead.

The June issue of Nelta Choutari is expected to hint at this reality. We have included the insights of Dr. Rajendra Bimal, a Janakpur-based scholar, in our oral history project. Other posts, in addition to covering usual pedagogical issues, aim to present local experiences to mark an increasing sense of awareness to redefine our roles as teachers and practitioners of English.

In this issue we bring to you:

  1. “Interview with Dr. Rajendra Bimal” (Part One) – by  Praveen Kumar Yadav
  2. Challenges in Assessing Learners’ Written Skills in Nepal – by Eak Prasad Duwadi
  3. Learning Style Preferences” – by Khem Raj Joshi
  4. Writing English in Nepali Way” – by Hem Raj Kafle
  5. Gender Disparity: A Classroom Issue” – by Mandira Adhikari

Interview with Dr. Rajendra Bimal — by Praveen Kumar Yadav

This is the first part of an interview with Dr. Rajendra Bimal, a veteran in language and literature from Janakpur.  Dr. Bimal earned doctorate degree in linguistics in three languages English, Nepali and Maithili. He has also been awarded with honorary PhD for his contribution in language, literature and culture of Maithili language from Maithili Vishwa Vidhyapeeth India. He is a linguist, litterateur, professor, poet, author, cultural activist and academician.

Dr. Bimal speaks on the following key points:

  1. His professional growth with English
  2. Memorable moments as an English teacher that have left lasting impression on him
  3. Key changes in the scenario of English in Nepal (teaching/learning/practices)
  4. English as an interdisciplinary field

The second part of this interview will be posted in the July Issue.

The Choutari team thank Mr. Praveen Kumar Yadav for preparing this issue of Oral History Project.


Challenges in Assessing Learners’ Written Skills in Nepal

– Eak Prasad Duwadi

Being a non-native English as Foreign Language teacher, I have faced innumerable challenges in assessing my learners’ written skills. Out of those, learners’ disliking writing tasks is the most common one. I have seen more than a half of a class often has blank syndromes (causes temporary speechless). Moreover, there are many EFL practitioners and teachers who give marks according to the faces rather than the texts their students have produced.  I think we need some remedies to correct these challenges. Hence, if the teachers are committed and well-trained, many of these difficulties will be addressed.

Some students (mainly from elite and foreign institutions) can answer some questions based on their previous knowledge of extensive reading and exposures, but the capability of  students who come from the schools of rural areas where even medium of instruction of English is not English is quite low. Consequently, what they are able to produce is sentences with wrong spellings, structures and coherence. The courses that I have to teach mainly include the development of macro skills. In assessment tests, they are asked to write reports, proposals, formal letters and academic articles though it is almost impossible to fulfill in a single semester.  Another challenge is that most of teachers do not use analytical rubrics: in my university, for example, there are staffs in controller’s office who has pure sciences background.

I have gained many insights on assessment in this session. Agreeing with Linville (2011), I prefer analytical scoring to either holistic or primary trait scoring. It perhaps is more valid as learners’ performance is not only assessed by a particular aspect but also be evaluated with integrated aspects. I have also learnt from Cohen (1994) who presents a series of reading assessing strategies, their advantages as well as drawbacks says that reading involves a series of abilities: language proficiency, attitudes, motivation and background knowledge amongst others.

Therefore, reading is the must for writing activity too. Be it course books, or reference materials, if learners read it, then only they can reflect or create something new. It is up to us to start trying some or a combination of them in order to find the most suitable for our students and for teachers too. Reading relevant literatures about writing and taking part in the discussion, I have made several assumptions.

First, my foremost duty is to promote students’ achievement in writing. I often do this by carefully designing rubrics, giving clear instructions, monitoring students’ writing to appraise strengths and weaknesses, teaching specific skills and strategies in response to student needs, and giving careful way forward that, I believe, will underpin newly learned skills.

Second, my liability is to provide opportunities for writing and encourage the students who attempt to write. In my own experiences, that is possible only when I also do writing with them instead of just asking them to do so.

Third, I ought to evaluate the writing products according to fluency, contents, conventions, syntax, and vocabulary. Now I believe that designing assessments that confirm to all the five basic principles of assessment (practicality, reliability, validity, authenticity and washback) is no longer an impossible thing for me.

Fourth, before designing writing examination, I should think about what and why to assess although both are very tough questions. For writing, I also ought to select items according to my learners’ needs, levels and objectives of the assessment.

Fifth, because “Each genre of written text has its own set of governing rules and conventions” (Brown & Abeywickrama, 2010, p.225), I should assess not more than one or two variables at a time since assessing too many variables together may violet the principles of assessment by focusing on either micro or macro skills for that moment.

Sixth, I should shun non-relevant amendments but allow to peers’ correction i.e. correcting the mistakes all by students themselves to convey positive backwash. I ought to provide positive feedback rather than merely giving them grades to improve and motivate energetically.

Other trainee friends also have expressed similar challenges that I mentioned in the beginning, whilst communicating online.  I, of course, would like to share some ideas that will help them take new directions so as to assess their learners’ writing.

Assigning them varieties of tasks as Brown (2004) has suggested like imitative, intensive (controlled), responsive (connecting sentences into paragraph), extensive (implies all processes and strategies of writing) and adopting “analytical scoring, we have to facilitate them rather than dictating or dominating. As the axiom goes “like teacher like students”, we teachers have to be role models, first of all. Next thing is that they need to have wider exposures of reading, writing, traveling, etc. Moreover, we must love them unconditionally.

When we involve ourselves with them in writing, we indirectly provide the learners extrinsic motivation and engorgement. Later we first can read out our own, and ask them to comment on it. Gradually, even the shy ones turn up enthusiastically. Ultimately, teachers will be able to shun the situations shown in the beginning of unit 5: Assessing Reading and Writing page.

In Nepal writing is the skill which we (teachers) assess mostly. I think what we must remember is: Why are we assessing? and what are we assessing? I here agree with Brown (2004) while considering about students’ writing ability, we need to be clear about, “What is you want to test: handwriting ability? correct spelling? writing sentences that are grammatically correct? paragraph construction? logical development of main idea? All of these, and more are possible objectives” (p. 218). Writing, therefore, is not only a peculiar element. Actually, it is an integrated form of many other aspects.



Brown, H.D. (2004). Assessing writing. In Language assessment: principles and classroom practices. White Plains, NY: Longman.

Brown, H.D. and Abeywickrama, P. (2010).  Language Assessment: Principles and Classroom Practices (2nd ed.).  White Plains, NY:  Pearson Education.

Cohen, A. (1994). Assessing reading comprehension. In Assessing language ability in the classroom. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.

Linville, H. (2011). Assessing Reading and Writing. [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from

Learning Style Preferences

– Khem Raj Joshi

Learners learn a second language in many ways. Each learner prefers different learning styles and techniques. S/he has a mix of learning styles but may find that s/he has a dominant style of learning. It means that learners receive information through their senses and prefer some senses to others in specific situations. Usually, they learn more effectively when they learn through their own initiatives. When their learning styles are matched with appropriate teaching styles, their motivation and achievement increase and are enhanced. Thus,   researchers   and educators try to discover their learners’ style preferences so that they can help them learn in accordance with their own preferred learning styles.

A good teacher is supposed to keep the following teaching credo in mind:

  • What I hear, I forget.
  • What I hear and see, I remember a little
  • What I hear, see and ask questions about or discuss with someone else, I begin to   understand
  • What I hear, see, discuss and do, I acquire knowledge and skill from.
  • What I teach to

From  the above framework  we can  infer that  a teacher’s  job is not only  to present information that learners need, but also to help them understand what  they are good at. Although it is very difficult to address everyone’s needs, it is important to meet as many needs as possible. To accomplish this, the teacher should assess learners’ styles and preferences.

Defining Learning Styles

Learning styles have been defined variously. Cornett (1983, p.9) defines learning styles   as “the overall patterns that give general direction to learning behavior”. In  the same way, Dunn and  Griggs  (1988) define learning style  as  “the biologically  and developmentally imposed  set of characteristics  that make   the  same  teaching  method wonderful for some and terrible for others” (p.3). From these definitions what is inferred is that learning styles are the general approaches that learners use in acquiring a new language or in learning any other subject. Learning styles are those educational conditions under which a student is most likely to learn. It implies that learning styles are not really concerned with what learners learn, but rather how they prefer to learn. Reid (1995) defines learning styles as “internally based characteristics of individuals for the intake or understanding of new information”. Reid clarifies that learning styles are the learner’s cognitive, affective and physiological factors that indicate how a learner perceives, interacts with and responds to the learning environment. On the basis of all the above definitions, we can say that a learning style is a learner’s consistent way of responding to and using stimuli in the context of learning. The learner may prefer one or more styles over others.

Types of Learning Styles

Scholars have divided learning styles into different types. In this article, I am   dealing with the most common types of learning styles:  visual, auditory and  kinesthetic, introverted and extroverted.

Visual Learners

Visual learners are those who “like to read and obtain a great deal from visual stimulation” (Oxford, 2003). For them, lectures, conversations and oral directions without any visual backup can be very confusing. They learn things best through seeing them and like to keep an eye on the teacher by sitting in the front of the class and watching the lecture closely.  Some   characteristics of visual learners are that they:

         use  words and phrases  that evoke  visual  images;

        learn by seeing and visualizing;

        are good at spelling but forget names;

        understand/like  charts;

        are good  at sign language,

        take  numerous detailed notes;

        find something to watch if they are bored:

        benefit  from illustrations and presentations  that use  colour;

        are attracted to written or spoken language  rich in imagery;

        find passive surroundings  ideal.

 Auditory Learners

Auditory learners are those who “enjoy and profit from unembellished lectures, conversations and oral directions” (Oxford, 2003). They are excited by classroom interactions in role-plays and similar activities. They learn best through hearing. Some characteristics of auditory learners are that they:

        speak slowly and tend  to be natural listeners;

        prefer things  explained to  them verbally rather than to  read  written information;

        learn by listening and verbalizing;

        notice sound effects in movies and enjoy music;

        can’t  keep quiet for long periods  and are good in study   groups;

        talk to themselves or others when bored,

Kinesthetic Learners

Kinesthetic learners are those who like movement and enjoy working with tangible objects. They prefer frequent move around the room. They learn through experiencing or doing things. Some characteristics of kinesthetic learners are that they:

        learn by doing and solving real life  problems;

        like hands-on approaches and learn  through trial and error;

        are good at sports;

        can’t  sit  still for long;

        like lab work, adventure books, movies;

        take  breaks when studying;

        build models;

        are involved in material arts, dance;

        speak  with  their  hands and gestures;

        enjoy field trips and tasks that  involve manipulating materials.

Introvert vs Extrovert Learners

Introvert learners are those who can do more work when they work alone. They learn best when they study alone. They think that it is fun to learn with classmates, but is hard to study with them. Some characteristics of introverts are that they:

        are  energized by the inner  world  (what  they are  thinking);

        prefer individual or one-on-one  games and activities.

        are exhausted after working in a  large group;

        tend  to keep silent and listen in a group;

        want to understand  something well before they try it.

On the other hand, extrovert learners enjoy joining in on class discussions. They prefer group work to working in isolation. If they have to decide something, they ask other people for their opinions. If they understand a problem, they like to help other learners understand it too.

Some characteristics of extroverts are that they:

        learn better when they work or study with others than by themselves;

        meet  new people easily by jumping into conversations;

        learn better in the classroom  than with a  private tutor.

 What Type of Learner Are You?

You can determine your learning style by looking over the characteristics of different types of learners. If one or more of the traits and characteristics of any type of learner sound familiar, you may have identified your learning style. Several   instruments have been devised to obtain learning style information from the learners. The first instrument widely known in second language acquisition was Reid’s Perceptual Learning Style Preference Questionnaire (PLSPQ), which was developed in 1984. Following this, another learning style, Instrument Style Analysis Survey (SAS) was developed by Oxford (1993). Later, Cohen, Oxford and Chi (2001) developed an improved version of SAS, i.e. Learning Style Survey (LSS). There are altogether eleven parts in the survey. The eleven parts are presented in a comprehensive way to help learners identify their own learning style. The framework is briefly presented below:

Part 1: Visual,  auditory and kinesthetic

Part 2: Extroverted vs. introverted

Part 3:  Random-intuitive vs. concrete sequential

Part 4:  Closure-oriented vs. open

Part 5: Global vs. particular

Part 6: Synthesizing  vs. analytic

Part 7: Sharpener  vs. leveler

Part 8: Deductive  vs. inductive

Part 9: Field  independent vs. field dependent

Part 10: Impulsive  vs. reflective

Part 11: Metaphoric  vs. literal

So, we can recognize our own learning styles using the Learning Style Survey which was designed to assess our general approach to learning.


Second language teachers can benefit by assessing the learning styles of their learners   because such assessment leads to greater understanding of styles. “The more teachers know about their learners’ style preferences, the more effectively they can orient their L2 instruction” (Oxford, 2003). Some learners might need instruction presented more visually while others might require more auditory, kinesthetic types of instruction. It is false to state that a single L2 methodology fits an entire class of learners having different stylistic preferences. If the teachers have adequate knowledge about their individual learners’ style preferences, they can employ a broad   instructional approach instead of choosing a specific instructional methodology. They could incorporate the things to be taught in accordance with their learners’ style preferences. If the learners have the knowledge of their own learning styles, it can be used to increase self- awareness about their strengths and weaknesses as learners. Their preferred styles guide the way they learn. Understanding their learning style is crucial to their personal growth and success. Thus, the major  implication is that an awareness of  individual   differences in learning  makes  the  ESL/ EFL teachers  more sensitive to their roles in  matching teaching and  learning styles to develop the  learners’  potentials in second language learning.

Concluding Remarks

There are different types of learners in a single classroom. If teachers know what their learners’ predominant learning styles are, they can incorporate multiple teaching methods. Identifying  learners’  style preferences  certainly facilitates  teaching  learning process but it does not  mean  that we should divide the  learners  into a set of categories  (i.e. visual, auditory, etc). The main aim is just to allocate a person on some point on a continuum. In other words, we cannot pigeonhole learners as they are capable of learning under any style, no matter what their individual preferences are.


Cohen, A, Oxford, R. and Chi, J.C. (2001). Learning  style  survey. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from http://www.carla.umn.edul/.

Cornett, C. (1983). What you should know about teaching and learning styles. Bloomington: IN.

Dunn, R. and Griggs, S. (1988). Learning styles: Quiet revolution in American schools. VA: National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Oxford, R.L. (2003). Language learning styles and strategies: An overview. Retrieved April 13, 2010. From

Reid, J. (1995). Learning styles in the ESL/EFL classroom. Boston: Heinle and Heinle.

Stewart, K.L. and Felicetti, L.A. (1992). Learning styles of marketing majors. Educational Research Quarterly. 15 (2), 15-23.


Writing English in Nepali Way

Hem Raj Kafle

Young English writers in Nepal are often confused. Their confusion comes from their seniors’ general advocacy of universality and standard in writings, both in language use and aesthetic productions. The advocacy, in other words, may be of writing English in the English way so that the ‘native’ reader finds it worth reading and appreciation. The confusion would mean there always is a tendency to dismiss the belief that Nepalis can claim some ownership of English by giving it a degree of Nepaliness through local themes and figures.

And this is something to ponder over. Some young writers may begin to wonder the logic of universality against their faith on originality and textual autonomy. They may try to locate their writings within the theoretical trends they are trained (or rather brainwashed) with. Their works may not appear unfit in the Romantic tradition for their touch of spontaneity; nor would they fail the New Critical, formalist, structuralist or poststructuralist/postmodernist ‘standards’ for their autonomy as texts. They would only come low in the strict (neo)classical norms of didacticism, decorum, sophistication and sublimity which the English using elders of Nepal passionately adhere to.

But would that matter much? To many new generation writers, writing in English has all the way been a search for identity and space among the existing Nepali English writers. The ‘established’ writers appear to belong to one or other of the following groups. First, there are literary writers — inspired professors and aspiring young thinkers. The second group comprises the academic and professional circle of researchers and textbook writers/ compilers.  The third includes the commercial group — the ‘writers’ of guides and guess papers, probably the most ‘academically’ sought-after people regardless of the quality of things they launch in the market. The fourth consists of independent contributors of newspapers and magazines, ‘widely’ read and usually forgotten. Many young writers, however, find themselves in the margin of any one the above groups though they may have the aspiration to belong to at least one or all.

The literary writers in English form a smaller group, probably for the same old reason that everybody does not become a poet or a writer of fiction. This group may occasionally meet and make reflections on the types of standard and gravity its individual members (should) maintain in their creations. In such cases, the inspired elders may have all the norms and standards to inculcate on the aspiring young people. One typical characteristic of such reflections, most of the times, is the adherence to either British or American way of thinking, writing and critiquing though from the margin the theoretically inspired young lot may be murmuring the upsurge of postmodernist thoughts and implications.

To put it other way, the (neo)classical ways often confuse the connoisseurs of contemporary English. To study and think in English today almost means to study and think anything irrespective of standards. At an age when postmodernism instructs the blurring of boundaries and standards and shows possibilities of alternative locations, new writers and critics are found at war with the discourse of decorum and didacticism. Our academia has already led the new generation towards study of margins and alternatives with such disciplines as non-Western studies, postcolonial studies and minority studies among others. The English Departments of Kathmandu are already full of ‘discourses’ on alternative literature including Nepali literature(s) in English. So, when the talk of western standards becomes vociferous at times, the attempts to study alternatives appear ironical and therefore problematic.

The old sense of originality is ambiguous. Whose originality? Is it the originality springing from writers’ consciences and contexts, or the one supposedly instilled by old norms and paradigms? Or is it the tendency to westernize thoughts at all costs?  When the writers of non-western locations (say postcolonial thinkers) have already used English as a tool to retort western discourses through realism and indigenousness, what are we doing by advocating western ways most of the times? Theory readers would call it a neocolonial tendency, a misfit for a time when English is no longer the language of a particular nation.

Authenticity is an equally problematic notion. Can there not be a specific way of using English in Nepal? We judge our English either in American or British standards, sometimes disregarding the adaptability of our native images and allusions into this ‘medium’. English, by history, is one of the most acquisitive languages and its power lies in being able to belong to wherever it travels. Nepali English writers need not all the time write for the native readers unless required by a context. Our main intention to write in English is probably not to look like English, but to tell the international readers how much we represent ourselves in this medium. It is also to popularize Nepaliness through a common connecting language. Emphasizing authenticity in western paradigms is therefore pedantic. If not, it is the resistance to originality.

There have always been talks of some kind of Nepali English from some energetic and inspired people, but Nepali English users are yet to see how it looks and sounds. The fact is the most strident advocates of Nepali English are usually the most unappreciative sticklers to classicism. Alternatively, a palatable course for Nepali English writers would be to respect the eclecticism and diversity in the content and readership of English. Can we do away with the changes, when English itself is more a concept, a theory and an encompassing discipline than a mere lingua franca, a confined category? Perhaps we are in need of more thoughts and interactions between the old and new generations. The time is to release oneself from the tendency of waving English and American flags from the location of our native academia. The time is rather to survey the stock of Nepali writings in English — to see whither we are moving, and which course is more appropriate for us in the day ahead.

[Updated from, “Nepali English: Confusions and Directions,” The Kathmandu  Post 23 Sept. 2007]

Gender Disparity: A Classroom Issue

Mandira Adhikari


Gender Disparity

Gender disparity means not having equality in terms of gender, either in language use, equal participation in educational program or in the form of textbook or curriculum itself. We can find disparity in different aspects and it is most commonly found in classroom interaction. Similarly, various researches have shown that we can find gender biasness even in the interaction between the teachers and the students. As Freeman and Mcelhynny, (cited in Mckay & Hornberger, 2009) put, especially in teacher fronted classes, the amount of interaction between girls and boys can be defined by the teacher because he/she is the one who defines students’ role and can change the dynamics in the classroom. Thus we can say that the teacher is a person who can provide identity of the students inside the classroom. Wardhaugh (2008) says, gender is a key component of identity (p.316) and if the teachers are focused in the language of a group, another group is left out. Focusing on the place of women in society, Lakoff ( 1973) says “ in every aspect of life a woman is identified in terms of the men she relates to but the opposite isn’t true of men as they act in the world as autonomous individuals but women are only ‘John’s wife’ or ‘Harry’s girlfriend’.  Thus, women’s social identity believed to be is related with that of the men to a large extent.

In the area of applied linguistics, we can find gender disparity because of the use of sexist language. The term ‘sexist language’ means the use of language focusing to a certain gender and not indicating to the other gender. Holmes (2008) says, “Sexist language is one example of the way a culture or society conveys its values from one group to another and from one generation to the next” (p. 317). Thus, we can find the trend of repeating the same sexist language generation to generation as a process and the reason behind it is the use of such sexist language. She further says that language conveys our attitudes and sexist attitudes stereotype a person according to gender rather than judging on individual merits which encodes stereotyped attitudes to women and men.  In this way, she has clearly mentioned why the use of stereotyped language helps to develop negative attitudes to the particular gender and if we are habituated to using such language, we happen to use it regularly because we have already developed our attitudes with the help of such language.

Similarly, focusing more on the user of the language, Wardhaugh (2008) asserts that the disparity and the use of sexist language depend on a person. The Chinese, Japanese, Persian and Turkish do not make the kinds of gender distinctions English makes through its pronouns but it is difficult to claim that males who speak those languages are less sexist than males who speak English. So, a teacher using such language in the classroom must be aware.

By and large, the issue of gender is a global issue and can be found discussed in various parts of the world and even in our Nepalese context. Let’s analyze our own context regarding gender disparity.

Gender Disparity in School

School is a place where the learners come from various social backgrounds carrying their own social identities. Freeman and Mcelhinny (cited in Mckay & Hornberger 2009) suggest that in school children come to understand their social identity relative to each other and relative to the institution. They further say that although schools are not only responsible for teaching students their gender-differentiated social roles, they often reinforce the subordinate role of girls and humans through curricular choices or classroom organizations that exclude, denigrate and/or stereotype them.  Thus, we can say that the source of gender disparity lies in the curriculum and it further comes as a reading material which helps learners(especially girls or females) to stereotype them.

Gender Disparity in Textbooks

Various researches have shown that there is imbalance of using language in terms of gender, especially in textbook.  Fatemi, Pishgham & Hidarian (2011) conducted a research on gender delineation in high school textbooks and pre-university ELT textbooks and revealed a clear gender imbalance, both in text and illustrations in favor of males. Similarly, Hartman and Judd (1978) reviewed a number of textbooks for the purpose of assessing the image of women and men that they present to the student and found out that women suffered most obviously from low visibility and in most cases male referents heavily out- numbered the female.

I found through a study that in terms of using language inside the classroom or in different books articles, there is biasness. I tried to analyze the primary level textbooks used in Nepalese schools. I prepared a checklist to analyze whether the use of language of those textbook is biased or not. I selected a book entitled Delights a Multi-genre Reading Course in English’ by Deepa Shakya, Bunu Dhungana and Nina Amarasinge to analyze whether the writers are concerned about the matter of gender or not.

The cover page of the book has altogether four pictures where an adult male can be seen with a boy and an adult female can be seen with a girl. There is the involvement of both male and female gender in the picture and the book isn’t biased in terms of picture in cover page. I then looked at both pictorial and verbal aspects of the book’s contents. In pictorial part, I analyzed the pictures using two categories:

  1. Adult (male or female)
  2. Child (boy or girl)

I analyzed the content part in three different categories:

  1. Title
  2. Main characters refer to male or female
  3. Authors (male or female)

The writers have used 11 pictures of male adults and 3 pictures of female adults, which clearly shows the disparity in using pictures in the textbook. Similarly, we can find altogether 8 pictures of boys and 7 pictures of the girl. In this way the book is biased in terms of gender in pictorial part.

In the verbal part, the author of the first lesson isn’t mentioned but it has got male main character. The author is a male in unit two and the picture of a boy clearly helps us to guess that the main character of this unit is male. Third chapter is concerned with nature thus; the main characters are both. The Fourth chapter is also devoted to male. The fifth chapter has both characters and is written by a female author. Similarly, the sixth chapter contains the picture of a male and is by a male author. The content choice therefore shows a disparity in consideration of gender. It implies that the sense of masculinity is dominant in the text book while the space for feminine gender is literally underestimated and limited.

Concluding Remarks

The analysis of primary level textbook has revealed a clear gender imbalance both in the texts and illustrations in favor of males. This type of imbalance is the prominent factor which must be considered in every policy and publication to reflect equality between males and females.

A shift towards the way of creating the equality among the genders in education ensures the social and individual confidence particularly in female students. This will help in the social uplift of females in the future. So, curriculum planners should broaden their view towards gender roles and stereotypes. This equally applies to text book writers, who I believe, should be careful while dealing with gender in their textbooks.

 [Mandira Adhikari is a Masters in ELT scholar at Kathmandu University]



Fatemi, A. H., Pishghadam, R., Heidarian, Z. (2011) Gender delineation in high school and pre- university elt textbooks: a criterian- oriented approach to text. The Iranian EFL Journal, 7 (3).

Hartman, P.L.,Judd, E.L.(1978) Sexism and TSOL materials. TESOL QUARTELY, 12 (4).

Holmes, J. (2008). An ntroduction to sociolinguistics. Longman: Pearson.

Lakoff, R. (1973). Language in society. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Mckay, S. & Hornberger, N. (2009). Sociolinguistics and language teaching. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Wardhaugh, R. (2008). An introduction to sociolinguistics. London: Blackwell

Research for Tertiary Level Presenters

Hem Raj Kafle

This article presents basic ideas of research based on my experiences of teaching a tertiary level course in English communication skills. The purpose is to outline some down-to-earth steps to address the presentation needs of students with moderate competence and performance.

What is research?

To start with the relatively obvious, research is as simple as trying to find a little more than what removes confusion.  It is the attempt to know things to the extent of being able to claim ownership and originality. The teacher can make it a point that presenters must know much more than they present. So, the only basic value to emphasize would be what Booth, Colomb and Williams (2003) postulate about research as the attempt to “free yourselves from ignorance, prejudice, misunderstanding and the half-baked ideas that so many charlatans try to impose on us,” and to “improve not the whole world, but at least your corner of it.” This at least would not sound idealistic given that the tertiary level orients a considerable portion of curriculum to research-based projects, and that the students are already prepared to face a professional work environment ahead.

I propose that the teacher encourage students to work on three main factors in the form of a research activity – knowing the audience, finding and organizing the contents and determining right strategies.

Knowing the audience

Research starts with the care for the audience. A presenter should work with the awareness and recognition of audience in view of their interests, orientation and competence on the subject being presented. Siddons (2008) contends, “Not knowing your audience is lethal. How can you engage people if you don’t have a clue what really interests them?” Knowing the audience requires a process of listener analysis, which according to Careers Skills Library (2004) involves the following considerations:

Ask yourself the following questions: What do my listeners want to know? If you don’t provide information that interests them, you’ll put them to sleep. Find out what they care about and cover this material in your talk. … How much do they already know? They may be experts or they may know almost nothing about your topic. You don’t want to “talk down” to your listeners. But you also don’t want to speak over their heads. Determine what your audience knows and pitch your talk to your audience’s level of understanding. Where do they stand? Your listeners may be likely to agree with what you’re saying, or they may need a lot of convincing. Find out their attitudes; then determine what to say to persuade them of your point of view. [emphasis added]

Search for contents

In addition to the knowledge of the nature and needs of the audience, research entails a thorough search into the content itself. The following three steps would help develop the contents of a presentation.

Somewhere to go:

Research should involve movement, both physical and mental. Even while you are surfing the internet you are moving, or navigating. In addition, you may travel to search for facts and figures, to take samples and to gather data. Going to library from your residence, going to the study from the living room – all comprise the action of going, the bottom-line for research. When you go out, you use your senses to perceive the world outside. You see, hear, touch, smell and probably taste things. Activation of senses helps you get the fuller picture of the phenomena you are exploring. The result is you experience your subject well, and will later present it with great involvement and positive attitude thereby activating your thoughts and polishing language competence.

Someone to talk with:

Research involves interaction with people. The basic purpose of such interaction is to include people’s minds in your venture for finding more knowledge.  This can be done both formally and informally. Talking formally refers to interviews or (focused) group discussions. Informally, it is more than structured interaction. What about asking people where a certain place is, whether such and such book is available or even whether there is someone who knows the subject more? And it does take into account the queries to the instructor or anyone she refers to. Even the SMSs, chats and emails may have substances. Meeting and knowing people both opens up the avenues of new resources and offers opportunities for building a professional connections.

Something to read:

Reading sounds simplistic; anyone at the tertiary level does read. But do students read enough in order to build competence in communication and learn new things beyond the curriculum? Most student presenters start in complete ignorance of what to do. A few get ready with very personal subjects like their most favourite (place/celebrities/idols) and the most unforgettable (events/days/experiences) which may not involve further study.  But the teacher should set a bottom line. In the beginning, the teacher must solicit the presentation all the way from the choice of a topic to final delivery. Thus reading should be compulsory so that it will involve learning. It should teach new ideas as well as ideas of oral communication.

Reading can include multiple types of texts: guidelines for presentation skills (preparation and delivery), handouts on a topic for students who have already got topics, list of possible topics for those who have not fixed them, interesting texts to get ideas on a possible topic, and even a list of things to do before ending up with an idea – visit library, talk with someone, see samples of earlier presentations, among others.  The texts can be of any length and genre: anything that one comes across once the ‘unrest’ and curiosity about a topic starts. It can be a piece of newspaper article, texts on a hoarding board, an advertisement slogan, writings on a new brand T-shirt and so on.

Beyond content

Researching through physical mobility, interaction with people and reading of relevant materials enables presenters to internalize the contents of presentation. But research must involve more work beyond the content.  Because it is a tertiary level class and students are already conscious of building professional attributes, they should be asked to develop certain strategies of organization and delivery. What would be the most appropriate beginning given the nature of the content and audience? What would be the degree of formality/informality both in demeanor and language use? What aids (handouts, chart papers, multimedia) are relevant to facilitate the presentation and audience involvement? What jokes, anecdotes and facts would embellish the content as well as trigger the audience’s positive attitude?

Research is inevitable for developing original content, for competence in knowledge and confidence in delivery. It helps build up credibility in the presenters by according them sincerity and diligence.


  •  Booth, Wayne C., Colomb, Gregory G., & Williams, Joseph M. 2003. The craft ofresearch. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Careers Skills Library. (2004). Communication skills. 2nd ed. New York: FergusonPublishing Company.
  • Siddons, Suzy. (2008). The complete presentation skills handbook. London: Kogan Page Limited.

Interview with Gambhir Man Maskey

Mr. Gambhir Man Maskey started to teach English during the very formative years of modern education in Nepal. The accounts of the different phases of his growth as a  teacher embody a long, perhaps uneven, history of  English teaching in the country. We are deeply indebted to Mr. Maskey for agreeing to share with us some precious recollections of this history. The Choutari team would like to thank Mr. Eak Duwadi for taking the initiatives.

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Teacher’s Travelogue: A Journey to Bangladesh

Kashiraj Pandey

[What follows is a section of a travelogue by Mr. Kashiraj Pandey, NELTA executive member. Please click HERE  for the full text.]


Seeing Myself in Dhaka

I did not have fixed plans and no one was worried about my arrival. For me, to experience everyday in which almost nothing seemed so familiar was the pride of travelling that way. I reached Dhaka around 10 am, the 19th May, 2011. As I was told to meet BELTA colleagues at 4 pm, that 10 to 4 worked so well that I explored many parts of Dhaka on the first day that delegates other parts of than Bangladesh and a colleague Ganesh from Nepal, another representative from NELTA, who took a flight to Dhaka the same day with grants from the British Council, was surprised to see me steering him towards many corners of Dhaka during our stay there.

Meeting Sudebjee from English in Action and Sonia from BELTA at the BIAM at 5 pm, the conference venue made me realize that a journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles. As soon As I met them one let me use his computer and the next offered to join for the snacks.

At the Conference

As announced, the conference started on time. At 8.30 am, the volunteers were ready, waiting for the participants and delegates to register. Most of the presenters had registered the previous day. During 9.00 to  9.45 , I could see all participants, presenters and delegates inside the dining hall each holding a cup, exchanging greetings and talking, every one busy, what a fine opportunity for networking!

And I was busy too, talking to everybody, if not as many people as I could find who loved listening others, not many actually. But, I did my best to make me heard, and they were amazed to see me and the way I reached there (you know in 40 degree Dhaka city, a man arrives by bus, all wet from every corner of his body and sweating, with fairly grubby clothes, never taken shower for three whole days and nights) and how I travelled all the way to Bangladesh by bus, and my unplanned journey by road– no seats in a scheduled bus with all hopes to eat and stay in  readily available local hotels… and more, all fun when things went well, and that’s how I was there, very excited.

Then I saw all going towards the hall by 10.00 for inauguration, so quiet, so curious we all were.

Then at 11.00 the plenary started with David Graddol for an hour, where he highlighted how the global trends are affecting in reshaping the world of ELT.

Before the concurrent sessions started at 12, I could see all the presenters working on their slides to shorten them so as to fit within the 25 minute time bound which was not very normal for anyone, and I was no exception either, for presentation in such huge gathering meant for an hour in general. The volunteers in different  rooms were so alert, and time sensitive. After 20 minutes, they would show a placard saying 5 MINUTES, which was a good signal for the smart presenters to conclude and switch into Q/A session. And in next 5 minutes, STOP!.

Some big names like Fife MacDuff , Jeremy Harmer enjoyed the opportunity to present at the auditorium for an hour each where other presenters like me had to compromise with a normal hall for 25 minutes time limit, and mine to be more specific was in the fourth floor. Yes, I also had my session on the first day with a topic, Journaling for Teacher Development: An Autoethnographic Approach. I could see all participants very enthusiastic, excited for the topic; for the technique of journaling, for an autoethnographic approach they wanted to know what it was and of course some were little skeptic on how would I deal the topic, very curious, very inquisitive, and involving.

After I gave my session, a bunch of BELTA members, the young faculties from universities in Dhaka encircled me, nice to see them falling in love with autoethnographic approach, I know who does not love to talk about their own feelings and emotions, and more than that, about what Creswell (2002) claims as “a reflective self examination by an individual set within his or her cultural context” (p. 438). When people have their own creation and feeling, they look for their own space within creativity, while autoethnography gives a space to display our multiple layers of consciousness, connecting the personal to the cultures around and that was reason they loved to hold me back. Revealing my days for the past three years that once I started to work in this domain, I have found people around me valuing and celebrating my efforts, kept me update and fresh all the times. I have never found anyone coming out to harm my creation, when I believe in “heart to heart communication” in writing. My teachers, colleagues, students, family members, readers, and participants in any workshops have given energy to save me ahead.

A professor from Eastern University did not delay to invite me to her university to talk about my attempt in using reflective journals to garner students’ and teachers’ creativity as well.

I readily accepted where pleasure was all mine to meet the young budding writers, the faculties of English Department at the Eastern.

At the Eastern

It was already four and the CNG auto took us at the University’s building in Dhanmundi. The professors, especially those who were writers too, were waiting for us. I had Mr. Ganesh Gnawali, my colleague from Nepal, with me. Yes, I shared my experience as a writer, the contents we readily get in this part of the world. I talked about some best pieces of Literature that I have read from around the world. I was more lenient towards the one that best represented life, society, and cultures of course, starting with what we already know. People have their own style  of creation and feeling, very unique but universal. Those dynamic participants promised they would keep in touch, let see how we could keep the promises further, may be by exchanging the ideas, writing and publishing more books of creativity, documenting the moments of pain and pleasure, ups and downs as what was done by other writers, their influencing texts. To name a few texts like King Lear, Malini, Kabuliwala, The Great Railway Bazaar, The Kite Runner, Swan Song, The Necklace, The Lunatic, Munamadan, and Gauri are some works that the world cannot forget even someone is indifferent to, and all of them somehow were able to capture the moment that reflected the social-cultural, or personal-political experiences based on their own spacio-temporal context/s, and reading, such creation of other writers, works as burning fuel to all writers on the rise when we all are the butterfly of a same garden with multiple sets of flowers blooming within.  That’s what I shared in the workshop at the Eastern based on my ongoing research area, reflective practices (Journaling) for overall transformation in teaching- learning. Thank you Professor Iffat Majid, for you gave this wonderful opportunity to meet all these creative galaxy.

At the TA Meeting

Mr. Ganesh Gnawali and I attended a meeting with the leaders of teacher associations from the region; from Bangladesh, from Pakistan, from Afghanistan, and from India. I was glad to observe that the regional Teacher associations are taking NELTA as a model association. We are also the one with branches all around the country who have active life members, more than 2000 by 2011.  While other TAs were advocating to encourage young and new members, we had already had Mr. Ganesh Gnawali, an aspiring and promising young man, the proof, whom the committee recommended to avail the BC grant while myself, though representing the central committee, so happily attended the conference on my own.

I shared how we are smoothly working with the government and the partners while it is still a challenge for other TAs from neighboring countries. Our members’ active participation, specially the new ones who wholeheartedly volunteer during the conference or throughout the years was another asset we shared with them. Agreeing on the need of frequent exchange programs, support in training and material development, and regional cooperation etc. the meeting concluded hoping to meet again soon.


As Aldous Huxley  remarks, to travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries, I was really worried whether I would be sold on the way even before reaching Bangladesh (Dhaka), but no one tried to hurt me in any cultural (sensitive) matters. However, as a tourist I could sense how easily things were sorted out when we spent money. Had the money changer not arranged the easy escape, I would have returned Kakarvitta instead of heading towards Dhaka from Burimari. And I had a good cause for this. At Burimari, but I should confess, I was so happy to see the humans in uniform accepting any amount of money from anyone with great confidence, confidence counts, doesn’t it?


T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

Motikala Subba Dewan 

Associate Professor

Abstract-This piece of writing is for the bachelor level students of English in Nepal.  It tries to give brief glimpse about T.S. Eliot and his poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, which is one of the prescribed poems in Major English BA course.  This is only a commentary on the poem and does not cover each and every detail about T. S. Eliot’s works and life.  It is purely academic research based on works citation from the websites and books.  It will be useful for the students or any individual to gain basic knowledge on elements of poetry and its figure of speeches.  And it is also very helpful for the English teachers to get the idea about the poem for classroom teaching.  “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” often called “the first Modernist poem.  The poem centers on the feelings and thoughts of the persona.  The poem is composed of Prufrock’s own neurotic and lyrical associations.  Indeed, over the course of the poem, he sets up analogies between himself and various familiar cultural figures, among them Hamlet.  This establishes a connection with Hamlet’s famous soliloquy (“To be or not to be?—That is the question”).  Prufrock’s doubt that he deserves the answer he desires from the woman transforms the poem into a kind of interior monologue or soliloquy in which “To be or not to be?” is for Prufrock “To be what?” and “What or who am I to ask this woman to marry me?”

Poem’s Synopsis

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is commonly known as Prufrock.  The poem is described as a “drama of literary anguish,” presents a stream of consciousness in the form of a dramatic interior monologue.  With its weariness, regret, embarrassment, longing, emasculation, sexual frustration, sense of decay, and awareness of mortality, Prufrock has become one of the most recognized voices in modern literature.  This poem is inner monologue, which means that everything in the poem is spoken from inside of Prufrock’s mind.  It presents a moment in which a narrator/speaker discusses a topic and, in so doing, reveals his personal feelings to a listener.  Only the narrator talks and intentionally and unintentionally reveals information about him.  The speaker expresses his thoughts about the dull, uneventful, mediocre life he leads as a result of his feelings of inadequacy and his fear of making decisions.  Unable to seize opportunities or take risks (especially with women), he lives in a world that is the same today as it was yesterday and will be the same tomorrow as it is today.  He does try to make progress, but his timidity and fear of failure inhibit him from taking action.


The setting of the poem is in the evening in a bleak section of a smoky city.  This city is probably St. Louis, where Eliot grew up or also could be London, to which Eliot moved in 1914.  However, Eliot probably intended the setting to be any city anywhere.


J. Alfred Prufrock: The speaker/narrator, a timid, overcautious middle-aged man who escorts his silent listener through streets in a shabby part of a city, past cheap hotels and restaurants, to a social gathering where women he would like to meet are conversing.  However, he is hesitant to take part in the activity for fear of making a fool of himself.

The Listener: An unidentified companion of Prufrock, could also be Prufrock’s inner self, one that prods him but fails to move him to action.

The Women: Women at a social gathering whom Prufrock would like to meet one of them but worries that she will look down on him.

The Lonely Men in Shirtsleeves: Leaning out of their windows, they smoke pipes.  They are like Prufrock in that they look upon a scene but do not become part of it.  The smoke from their pipes helps form the haze over the city, the haze that serves as a metaphor for a timid cat, which is Prufrock.


Loneliness and alienation (Prufrock is a pathetic man whose anxieties and obsessions have isolated him),

Indecision (Prufrock resists making decisions for fear that their outcomes will turn out wrong), Inadequacy (Prufrock continually worries that he will make a fool of himself and that people will ridicule him for his clothes, his bald spot, and his overall physical appearance) and

Pessimism (Prufrock sees only the negative side of his own life and the lives of others).   

Figurative Speeches

It presents a bizarre personification/simile with end rhyme (lines 2 and 3), comparing the evening to an anesthetized hospital patient.  There are odd simile of lines 1-2: Let us go then you and I,/When the evening is spread out against the sky/Like a patient etherised upon a table.  How can the dusk look like a patient on a surgeon’s table about ready for the scalpel?  In lines (8-9), streets become persons because they follow an argument becomes a person because it has insidious intent (personification) and use of like to compare streets to an argument (simile). Lines 11-12 suggest Pruforck’s destination, his intent in the poem, Oh, do not ask, ‘What is it?’ / Let us go and make our visit.  In the context of the poem, where is Prufrock walking? Where may he be going?  Like the first three lines, lines 13 -14 always throw students In the room the women come and go / Talking of Michelangelo.  Why are these two lines here, in the middle, suddenly?  What do they have to do with Prufrock’s thoughts?  It might be easier to consider oppositions.  How do the two lines suggest a very different environment from the preceding lines?

In lines (15-23), yellow fog and yellow smoke are both compared to a timid cat, which represents the timidity of Prufrock (metaphor).  This passage is an example of imagism, when a poet uses “pictures,” visual “images” of usually natural aspects of the world to convey mood, impressions, meaning. Eliot was very influenced by “imagist’ poetry at the time, poets who would write very short poems that often would focus on just one image.  In many ways, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a long series of imagist poems, linked together like a collage, in this case a sort of imagist-tapestry of Prufrock’s thoughts.  Why fog is yellow?  What does the yellow fog resemble in Eliot’s description?  When it rubs its muzzle and licked its tongue and Curled once about the house and fell asleep.  Why does Eliot compare the yellow fog to such resemblance?  In lines 24- 34, Prufrock repeats There will be time, six times. What type of mentality does Prufrock exhibit by repeating this line?  What kind of anxiety is he expressing? Why might he be expressing this particular type of anxiety?  When does a person, prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet?  What does he mean by, time yet for a hundred indecisions /And for a hundred visions and revisions? In lines 37-49, Prufrock offers the first real details about the place /event he is possibly walking to. As he imagines what might happen if he goes. What is Prufrock self-conscious of?  even paranoid about? What does his anxiety say about his supposed “crisis”?

In line (51), life is compared to coffee (metaphor).  Most of the lines in the poem have followed alliteration such as in lines (20-21), Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap, And seeing that it was soft October night, in line (34), Before the taking of a toast and tea, in line (56) fix you in a formulated phrase, in line (58), When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall.  In this line, Prufrock compares himself to an insect preserved for display in a collection (metaphor).  In line (75), And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!  here, the evening is a sleeping person ( personification) and the evening is compared to a person (metaphor).  In lines (91-94), poet has used anaphora; To have bitten off the matter with a smile,  To have squeezed the universe into a ball  To roll it toward some overwhelming question,  To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead.  There are use of hyperbole and metaphor in lines (92-93); To have squeezed the universe into a ball, To roll it toward some overwhelming question, these lines show the universe becomes a ball that is rolled.

Up until lines 110, what type of scenario does he imagine as possibly might have happened in the future? What situation does he imagine could have happened?  What does it say about Prufrock’s anxiety?  What clue does it give us as to why Prufrock is old and alone?  Lines 111-119 are famous, beginning with No! I am not Prince Hamlet and the Fool.  Notice the movement–from Hamlet to the Fool.  This is a kind of movement that happens a lot in the poem.  Notice the shift in mood, tone and rhythm in the final stanzas of the poem, lines 120 – 131. How does the mood, tone and rhythm of the poem change?  How might it reflect a change in Prufrock’s frame of mind?  How does the setting of seashore contribute to the change in tone?  Why does Prufrock bring up mermaids? What do mermaids symbolize (they have to be symbols, since mermaids don’t exist)?  Why does he shift from mermaids in the very end to “sea-girls”?  The last two stanzas of this poem are the most beautiful in any poetry.  When Eliot says, We have lingered in the chambers of the sea, and Till human voices wake us, and we drown?  Why do we linger Why do we drown?  Why is it human voices?  What other kinds of voices can there be?

Eliot repeats certain words and phrases several times, apparently to suggest the repetition and monotony in Prufrock’s life.  For example, how often he begins a line with And-20 times.  He also repeats other words as well as phrases and clauses-Let us go, In the room the women come and go talking of Michelangelo, There will be time, Do I dare, Should I presume, I have known, would it have been worth it.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is a modernistic poem that expresses the thoughts of the title character via the following:

  1. Conversational Language Combined With the Stylized Language of Poetry:  For example, the poem opens straightforwardly with Let us go then, you and I.
  2. Variations in Line Length and Meter:  Some lines contain only three words.  Others contain as many as fourteen.  The meter also varies.
  3. Shifts in the Train of Thought: The train of thought sometimes shifts abruptly, without transition, apparently in imitation of the way the human mind works when it dreams or day dreams or reacts to an external stimulus.
  4. Shifts in Topics Under Discussion: The subject under discussion sometimes shifts abruptly, from trifling matters one moment.  For example, one time Prufrock talks about the bald spot or the length of his trousers another time he talks about the time and universe.
  5. Shifts From Abstract to Concrete (and Universal to Particular): The poem frequently toggles between (1) the abstract or universal and (2) the concrete or specific.  Examples of abstract language are muttering retreats (line 5) and tedious argument of insidious intent (lines 8-9).  Examples of phrases or clauses with universal nouns are the muttering retreats and the women come and go.  Examples of concrete language are oyster-shells (line 7) and soot (line 19).  Examples of particular (specific) language are Michelangelo (line 14) and October (line 21).
  6. Shifts From Obvious Allusions or References to Oblique Allusions or References: Prufrock quotes, paraphrases, or cites historical or fictional persons, places, things, or ideas.  Some of his references are easy to fathom.  For example, everyone with a modicum of education knows who Michelangelo was (line 14).  Other references are difficult to fathom.  In his use of allusions, Eliot apparently wanted to show that Prufrock was well read and retained bits and pieces of what he read in his memory, like all of us.

Therefore, try to understand the poem as an assembly or collage of images that all somehow reflect Prufrock’s state of mind.  By the end of the poem, he is on the seashore, admitting his failure to reach his destination.  Seen as simply the romantic agonizing of a young man (Eliot was eighteen when he began the poem) over a woman he loves, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock would have a distinctly limited appeal.  However, the poem moves from this specific situation to explore the peculiarly modernist alienation of the individual in society to a point where internal emotional alienation occurs in loneliness.

Works Cited

Bush, Ronald. T. S. Eliot: A Study in Character and Style. 1984.

Datta, DA. Teaching The Waste Land.  Hyderabad: Sravya Grafics, 2001.

 Scholes, Robert Elements of Literature. 4th Edition. Oxford UP, 1991.

Forster, E. M. Essay on T. S. Eliot, in Life and Letters. 1929.

Ackroyd, Peter. T. S. Eliot: A Life. 1984.

< >› Literature.  15 June 2011.

<> 10 May 2011

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Interview with an English teacher

Hem Raj Kafle

This is a podcast of my conversation with Ms. Ekku Maya Pun. Ms. Pun has been teaching English in Kathmandu University for the last eighteen years. She is a highly respected person among her fellow teachers and students for her dedication and resourcefulness.

The conversation focuses on five main questions:

1) What made you take up English studies and English teaching?

2) Will you share with us at least three important things that you learned from your experience of being an English teacher?

3) How has the scenario of English teaching changed over the years?

4) How do you take the correlation/tension between English Language Teaching and English (Literary) Studies?

5) What are the challenges for English teachers in the next decade?

Please click the following player to listen to the podcast.

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(back to editorial/contents)

Welcome to the October 2010 Issue

— Hem Raj Kafle

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the October issue.

To start with, let us ponder for a while on the issue of teacher-student relationship:

Some nine years ago, an American volunteer to Kathmandu University’s the then Department of English commented with delight that she found the Nepalese students very different from those of America in terms of paying respect to their teachers. She had found it somehow strange to hear students address their teachers not by their first names but with such honorific terms as ‘sir’ and ‘madam.’ But a few weeks later she also reported the Department of the humiliation by a couple of noisy and stupid students. It did not take her long to admit that a teacher’s life is marked by this duality of pleasure and pain regardless of where she taught.  She bore with her the memories of both the pleasant meetings with respectful students, and of unpleasant encounters with the rowdies whom neither she nor we could ever correct.

All of us have experienced this duality, haven’t we?

Teachers who have spent a considerable part of their life in teaching have frequently come across many odd moments with their students. Issue like this appears trivial when the whole nation’s concentration is on challenges like building an overall educational system or ensuring peace and security. But we are concerned for a while about the feelings of our small circle to whom sharing of good and bad moments means helping one another grow. We take our identities and relationships seriously, in full influence of our culture in which good teaching and learning are considered to depend on a ‘holy’ relation between teachers and students.

Certain type of gap naturally exists between teachers and students. If it is of hierarchy in the traditional sense, there is nothing to worry about.  But any gap caused by antagonism and mutual avoidance is problematic. We have often heard stories of teachers fallen victims of student attacks. Problems like misbehaviour in the classroom and outside, or misinterpretation of positive concerns, and planned attacks as revenge to reasonable punishments have been common these days. Teachers are usually the immediate recipients of hostility and stubbornness, and only rarely do institutions interfere for amicable settlement. Can teachers make their teaching effective if their time is wasted in tackling antagonism and deviation?

One optimistic view: the role of a teacher can never be argued out as long as the need of learning persists. And this need will persist.  The teachers’ challenge however is to keep up with time which demands more work, more exposure, more commitment and more sharing.  Occasional hindrances are too little to outweigh the growing demand for teacher contribution both in formal teaching and informal social uplift.  Besides, teachers do not have the sole responsibility for correcting the society’s evils though they certainly can be hand in hand in the process of reforms.

With these words, we extend to you the present issue. The issue focuses more or less on the themes of teacher-student relationship, teacher behaviour and teacher innovations.  Please go through the articles and write comments. As ever we invite your productive participation. We hope to grow further both in resources and readership.


1.  “Schooled and Deskilledby Anil Bhattarai

2. ” Teacher-student communication:Assertion and Assessmentby Nirmala M. Adhikary

3.   “Nepalese Private (Boarding) Schools, English, and Child Friendlinessby Kashiraj Pandey

4. “Nepanglish: A Standardizing Variety of Englishby H. C. Kamali

5. “A Reading Lesson Planby Eak Prasad Duwadi

more or less

Schooled and Deskilled

— Anil Bhattarai

Present schooling system has been the most effective mechanism of creating millions of de-skilled, confused and perennially dissatisfied citizens. This is sad because at present we need citizens who can be creative in many ways to deal with not just the social complexities we are enmeshed in but also the ongoing and intensifying ecological challenges. Schools could do a lot more than what they are doing to cultivate skills, attitudes and wisdom in students, teachers and larger community for effectively dealing with social and ecological complexities. For that they have to be organising the whole teaching-learning system a lot more creatively than they are currently doing.

This means doing four things: a) reorganising their physical places in schools into diverse and creative landscape that foster curiosity and learning; (b) transforming skills of teachers so that they are adept at fostering creativity and inculcating the values of openness and exploration in their students; (c) creating innovative curriculum that are relevant to the immediate experiences of students but at the same time that could show the way local and global are connected; and (d) integrating lives outside the school boundary into the process of teaching and learning itself. Beyond schools, parents in particular could play very crucial roles in generating innovating learning process.

“I did not see you all these days,” I said to my neighbour’s daughter. Every time I came to Chitwan with my son to visit my parents, she used to come and play with him. I thought since my son was not with me, it must have been quite uninteresting to come and say hello to a grown up like me. Something else was at work, too, I later realised.

“Have you been busy?” I asked her. I have not yet asked which grade she is in at the nearby ‘boarding’ school she goes to. She nodded. Cool air blew on my face, the leaves of the nearby mango tree a-ruffle at the edge of our small front yard.

“Busy studying?” I asked again. She nodded back to me.

“What have you been studying?”


“Oh, you could have studied science by getting out to the garden,” I said casually. She looked a bit shy. “You could have learned about leaves. You could have discovered insects. There are plenty of birds around. You could have learned about soil, about seasons, about water, and about rain.” She stood still, incredulity writ large on her face.

“Do they take you out to teach science in your school?” I asked. She did not respond. I already knew the answer, though.

Immediately after I arrived at Tandi, I began to get in touch with friends only to discover that so many of them have been into schooling business. Many have started their own private ‘boarding’ schools. Some have added ten-plus-two in them. A few even have started undergraduate programmes (bachelor’s as is commonly referred to)—mostly in science and management.

The day following my arrival, I visited a friend at nearby private school. Many told me later that that school was the most successful one in eastern Chitwan. When I reached the school, that friend was not in the office. I waited for him at his office.

The adjoining classroom was full of 5-6 year olds, uniformed kids. I could hear the teacher telling them about plants and leaves. I was curious and got out of the office room and slyly went to the door of that classroom. There were a few drawings—of plants and leaves. He had also indicated different parts of them. He would shout out what a particular part was called. The students, the 5-6 year olds, shouted out loud back to him. I saw a few kids a bit restless in the bench. The cement-concrete floor looked dank. The fan was blowing some cool air but was making it difficult for kids to hear their teacher. Their necktie must have added to this discomfort.

As I watched this for a few minutes, I was thinking how I would have done the same thing differently. Outside the classroom there were trees—different kinds. There were different plants of grasses and flowers. Monsoon crops were growing all around. Some of the leaves and plants were in the process of drying up. Some new ones were growing. I would have taken the kids out to the gardens and fields and asked them to collect leaves and plants. Much of Chitwan is still agricultural economy and they all must have come from farming or semi-farming families. Kids see many plants everyday, touch them, and they also eat some of them. Essentially I would make the whole landscape as sites of learning, not just the dank, cement-concrete classroom. I would not shout out the names but ask them to write them down with a variety of leaves at their hand. I would ask them to draw the picture of leaves at their hand. I would then ask them what they do with these leaves. Are they edible? Do their parents use them for other things? If they did not know, I would ask them to find that out as their homework.

In this simple act, we could transform the learning-teaching system thoroughly. This will cultivate a sense of curiosity in kids as they venture out into the larger world for learning. Learning is about discovery. This will also cultivate a feeling that learning is an active process. This could make the living landscapes meaningful to learning process. Most important of all, this will cultivate self-respect among students—they will be valued for their curiosity, and not for their rote memory.

As I was thinking, my friend arrived. While I went outside the village in search of knowledge, wisdom and other things, he took his school on sharp growth chart. There are over a 1,000 students in 40-plus classes. They have added new school building. They now employ many teachers. I am sure they also earn money.

As we parted, I told him how the way he organises his school could impact so many students and their families’ lives. I shared with him some of my ideas. I am not sure if he shares the same views about learning-teaching process. For next week, I will write about how parents could convert very simple act of taking/walking their kids to school into productive learning moments. Until then, please look around your own learning landscapes.

[Originally published in The Kathmandu Post, August 2010.]

Teacher-Student Communication: Assertion and Assessment

– Nirmala Mani Adhikary


We, at the Department of Languages and Mass Communication in Kathmandu University, had been planning to organize some kind of program that could promote intellectual, academic and professional sharing among the faculties. Finally, we started the Friday Lecture Series from 2010 September 10. Our colleague Kashiraj Pandey, Assistant Professor of English at the Department, initiated the Series and presented a paper dealing on different dimensions of teaching and teachering. His presentation was followed by a short discussion session, where the faculties from the Department shared the best and worst moments of professional lives.

I also shared one of best moments I had experienced as a teacher followed by recollection of an incident I had been considering the worst in my teaching life. It was during this course I remembered Preeti, a former student whom I taught in Madan Bhandari Memorial College and whom I had not met since that incident. While telling about the incident and thereafter, my eyes were full of tears and finally I could not speak a single word. My colleagues said that they had never seen me in such an emotional state.

As a teacher, I have been enjoying both respect and affection from my students. I always keep ‘asymmetrical but full of sahridayata‘ relationship with the students. My view on the teacher-student communication in the classroom is geared by the belief that it is the site and situation, at least, in the cultural contexts of Nepal and India, where prevails asymmetrical relationship between the communicating parties (the teacher and the student), but with the experience of sahridayata. Only two incidents have gone contrary to my belief: the case with Preeti was the first one. However, her case has been subjected to reinterpretation very recently. And, at this juncture, it has contributed for strengthening my belief.


Preeti was my student in Madan Bhandari Memorial College, Kathmandu. She was studying B.A. majoring in mass communication and journalism. Like her classmates, Preeti also used to interact with me even outside the classrooms. During classroom presentations and other conversations I found her candid and insightful. However, it was due to my daughter I took special attention to her.

I used to take my elder daughter, Supriya Yashaswinee, to the college sometimes, especially during programs on Saturdays. During such visits, Preeti and Supriya developed  affectionate relationship; of course, the chocolates and biscuits presented by Preeti being the decisive factor. It is not that other students had not gifted anything to my daughter; but she liked Preeti most. Supriya used to remember Preeti time and again, and hence I was aware of their relationship.

One day, in the year 2005, the students were supposed to present on their respective topics as assigned by me. Preeti also had got some topic that I don’t remember now. But, she failed to do so. It was unusual to her previous performances. I was very unhappy to see her not being able to speak a word on the topic assigned. Worst, I did not see her attentive to what others were presenting. At one point, I asked her to just stand up and interrogated why was she behaving in that way.

May be due to her earlier performances in the class, or due to a kind of affection I had got because of her ‘friendship’ with my daughter, I had some sort of expectations from Preeti. I still remember, I was really unhappy with her. In her part, she was familiar to my warm regards only. Hence she did not take my interrogation seriously. In response, she very easily said, “Naae pachhi ke garne ta?” [“What can I do if I could not get it?”]

Other students started laughing to her careless expression. Her response alone was sufficient to make me embarrassed. Other students’ laughter made me furious. I not only ordered them to keep quiet, but also ordered Preeti to get out from the class. At that very point, the situation became quite awkward. All students were stunned, and Preeti was shocked. After a while, she spoke in very soft voice, “Sorry sir,” and she left the class. I asked another student to continue the presentation.

After that incident, Preeti never came to the class. Later, I asked her classmates but they could just say that she left the college. Till very recently, I was unaware of her whereabouts. It was a kind of mental burden for me that one student had left the college after such a bitter incident. Moreover, my daughter used to ask about Preeti time and again, and that would certainly increase my despair.

In the course of time, my daughter forgot about Preeti. In my case, she went from conscious mind to the subconscious. But, while my colleague Kashiraj Pandey asked to remember the worst moment in my professional life, my subconscious mind got activated, and I just remembered Preeti. The disappearance of Preeti from the college, and incommunicado between her and me, was in every respect contrary to my belief of ‘asymmetrical, but with full of sahridayata‘ relationship between teachers and students. Yes, my eyes were full of tears and finally I could not speak a single word. Thus, the first episode of the Friday Lecture Series ignited my restlessness.


Later, in the evening, I shared my feeling with my wife too. She gave me consolation by saying that the incident was just an exception and I should not blame myself. She even cited number of students who have visiting  me or communicating with me, even from abroad.”

After a couple of days, while I was signed in to the facebook, I was greeted in facebook chat by ‘Manushi’: “Sir, namaskar! Do you recognize me?”

I did not remember recognizing anyone called ‘Manushi’, and hence replied, “Sorry, I could not.”

“Sir, its me – Preeti, once your student at MBM College.”

“God! here is Preeti,” I just became happy.

The chatting continued for about an hour. Finally, I could get what had happened.

The aftermath

According to Manushi, it was extremely painful for her to be ousted from the class. It would not be unbearable if she had received such treatment “from other teachers,” and she “would just join the classes the very next day.” As she explains, it was not her anger toward “Nirmal sir,” but rather it was her disgrace for not being able to show appropriate respect to her “beloved” teacher, who was “highly regarded” and “very popular,” that made her impatient. And, she supposed that the classmates also would tease her for being ousted by even such a “kind hearted” and “friendly” teacher. She blamed herself for that incident. Consequently, she gave up her study here and went to India for further study. As I have been communicated, she not only did well in her study, but also has got job in a UN agency.

I asked her why she had not been communicating during all these years. She said that she did not “dare” to contact me due to some sort of fear, but she always wanted to beg pardon as she had something “unbearable” within her mind. When she saw me in facebook, she could not resist sendin the friend request. To be accepted as a friend in facebook was a positive node for her, and finally, she decided to greet her teacher. As conversation continued, we both not only expressed the sadness due to that incident, but also could overcome the mental burden we were keeping in our minds.


Though I was angry toward her on that very day latter I never regarded her guilty. Rather, I started blaming myself: “It was just a matter of student being informal,” “I should not have sent her out of the class,” “How could I be so harsh to her who was so nice even to my daughter !”

In her part, she says that she never thought me negatively. Rather, she also blamed herself. Moreover, she always remembered my “persuasive” statements, and always tried to get lessons from those statements. She had always thought of meeting “Nirmal sir” one day.

Thus, we both were sharing the same feelings even though we were not in direct communication for years. We had not fallen outside the domain of sahridayata.


Teaching is not just a means of earning for me. I have not come to this job as the last resort. I have given up such jobs that were more lucrative in terms of money and other tangible standards to choose this desired work of teaching and learning. Hence, students are not just receivers for me; rather, they are sahridayas with whom I am engaged in the process of sadharanikaran.


While I am writing this article, Preeti is online on facebook. She is seeking to fix the date and time for meeting face to face. She has come to Kathmandu just for a couple of days.


This article consists of some words (viz., sahridayata, sahridaya, and sadharanikaran) as key concepts. These terms are drawn on from my research works (for e.g., Adhikary, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010).


Adhikary, N. M. (2003). Hindu awadharanama sanchar prakriya (M.A. Thesis). Purvanchal University, Nepal.

Adhikary, N. M. (2004). Hindu-sanchar siddhanta: Ek adhyayan. Baha Journal, 1, 25-43.

Adhikary, N. M. (2007). Sancharko Hindu awadharanatmak adhyayan. In N. M. Adhikary, Sanchar shodha ra media paryavekshan (pp. 93-138). Kathmandu: Prashanti Pustak Bhandar.

Adhikary, N. M. (2008). The sadharanikaran model and Aristotle’s model of communication: A comparative study. Bodhi: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 2 (1), 268-289. [Available online:]

Adhikary, N. M. (2009). An introduction to sadharanikaran model of communication. Bodhi: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 3(1), 69-91. [Available online:]

Adhikary, N. M. (2010c). Sancharyoga: Approaching communication as a vidya in Hindu orthodoxy. China Media Research, 6(3), 76-84. [Available online:]


Parenting, Nepalese Private (Boarding) Schools, English, and Child-friendliness

— Kashi Raj Pandey

Yes, teaching English in Nepal for more than a decade, from primary, secondary, and now in a university has compelled me to reflect myself with different hats; basically every day, now a days, I have been wearing two hats: first, a professional hat; second of a “good” parent. A born, dedicated teacher and a very finicky parent, as teaching professionals are the most difficult clients for “boarding schools” too.

Last weekend, with sufficient activities and monitoring at Kathmandu University’s Undergraduate classrooms, I returned home, tired. Good that our elder boy was already there with the small one and their mother waiting: I was the last to reach home that relieved me from worrying about others’ arrival as we all absent ourselves day time; one a hosteller, another day-scholar, and the couple both working in different sweat shops.

Our meeting was followed by a homely Dinner; and during dinner time, we talked as usual. My wife was an initiator. She said, “Look, I have something to say today”. I, with curiosity, gave my response, “Yes. Go ahead”. Then she proceeded, “Our children are doing good in studies. They score good marks. But, the bigger one had a request whether we could speak English in home so that he can confidently speak in English with his teachers”. He is a nine grader studying in one of the “finest” boarding schools. In Nepal, we love to make judgment about the standard of schools on the basis of the money they collect from parents; like how much, how often, and how early. This school is “good” because of the amount they charge, frequency of events they advocate for extra money, and reason they find for collection. From this year they claimed that they have also improved their quality by rescheduling the mid-term exam as early as possible. They said it is good because the children can have their result before Dashain (the major festival in Nepal with a long holiday), but I know the reason, and so do you, all intelligent readers.

By now you all can guess, as a teacher of English, one thing with intention, I failed was this – not speaking English at home. And, I kept quiet waiting to continue that issue in the next session. I nodded – “Yes, the dinner is delicious and how nice eating together after a week’s hard work!”

Next session continued, as very often we do this. Parents sitting together with children for sometimes, may be just talking and talking even with no issues, we believe strengthens compassion among. And, that time we had an issue. I asked the boy to tell me about him. He said, “Everything is good”. But my boy needed further counseling, I could imagine.  As we kept talking, many things started to unfold. I even remembered and recited the first stanza of a poem by W. B. Yeats, “Among School Children” with them:

“I walk through the long schoolroom questioning;
A kind old nun in a white hood replies;
The children learn to cipher and to sing,
To study reading-books and histories,
To cut and sew, be neat in everything
In the best modern way – the children’s eyes
In momentary wonder stare upon
A sixty-year-old smiling public man.” (ll 1-8)

Yes, after some moment, he revealed that if we spoke “English” in home, he could have excelled in everything and among everybody in the school. Then, I realized the problem, but I never took “English” and “only speaking English” that way.  That made me little emotional and thoughtful. I have seen many “good English speakers” not doing anything even in the Americas, seen a village-wo/man with a great heart doing a lot; s/he may be poor, unfortunate to attend so called “boarding schools” but also NOT devoid of humanity. I know more on what I have to make them unlearn than what they are learning in school.

Children are learning that they need to pay fee for the admit card so that they can sit down for the exam and go for unhealthy competition. I am saying this because I saw an innocent little girl crying in one of the good private schools on her result day because she could not hold the FIRST position among some 600 students while the “Block Incharge” was trying hard to convince the child and her parents saying, “You should try next time”. My goodness, isn’t scoring the SECOND position in this huge mass a fabulous job? I think yes, and for me it is always a “WELL DONE!” Do these schools worry about giving prizes in the same way as they are curious to collect fees before exams? Children (ALL) I have always seen happier coming home with the envelope (a receipt inside) than their exam results.

We make children to be disciplined. And they are disciplined in such a way that even at their Undergraduate levels, when we ask them to contribute in some way or express their views, first thing they do is “standing up”. It has become their habit; most of them do not worry on the issue but ask to repeat again after they stand up; they have become habitual this way. We are giving them the “wrong” message that only educated people are comfortable to survive in this world and the toppers are always “respected”. I agree, but what about the other parts? Don’t we have to enjoy life with children? Is our home NOT different than schools? Aren’t we also paying high to imprison their childhood?  Honestly, I have sent my boys to these private schools not because I really wanted them to but just to make ourselves “socially” comfortable and put myself under this “veiled prestige and power relationship”. Now, I do remember the lines from Daniel Goleman’s essay where he has inserted a dying patient’s reflection, he mourns past losses and wrongs he has committed, “he regretted that when his daughter was small and needed him, he was on the road making money to provide a good home. Now, that he was dying, but she was grown and had her own way of life”. He felt it was too late to play, talk, and even share a lot of things that were possible earlier and, most of the times, I find hard to see myself differently.

How have we motivated the children? John Holt says we still claim children go to school to learn as if learning is different than living and that the child hadn’t been learning before.  They are learning to hide the home works. They are learning countless strategies for prying “right” answers out of the teacher, for conning her/him into thinking s/he knows what s/he does not know. Children when suggested to change certain things that were not right, they fear whether they could write that way in exams too. Many parents also fear a good amount of project works during holidays. I have seen them working actively in many student projects, that to be submitted to teachers, for the sake of children’s happiness. At this point, I worry whether children go to school to learn for themselves or for others?

Next, is “ENGLISH” terror. As I have seen fine slogans painted or posted in many private school walls like; ENGLISH IS COMPULSORY. PAY Rs. 5 Or 10 FOR EVERY TIME YOU SPEAK NEPALI. Why do we advertise this way? Can’t we simply speak English in the schools, a “correct” English I mean which may come from different sources, may that be watching TV, reading novel or anything. Parents in Nepal would love to see their wards speaking English, no doubt. But, don’t we also have to cultivate reading habit or don’t we have to give our children the knowledge about the life style, culture, feast and festivals of the target language? Can’t we also take our children to several events like Cultural Programs, Book Exhibitions, or other Educational Fairs? Keeping these all in mind, I was comfortable when my boy agreed with me as we are doing all other activities at the maximum possibility, though English was not compulsory in HOME. And this is the beauty that children find a home more homely, different than “Boarding” schools in Nepal.

I worry who has time to look into these issues with due priority for these children’s childhood has been imprisoned unknowingly deceiving them in the name of discipline, competition, success, or what not.

Nepanglish: A Standardizing Variety of English

H. C. Kamali (SaSi)

English has been so varied that when we talk of it, we have to be aware of the variety of being used, as there exist different varieties of English. So we have to accept the fact that “There is no such thing as the English Language” (Aarts and Aarts, 1982). This is all because English has been widely used around the world by people of different regions, cultures, languages, and so forth. Harmer (1999) argues in favour of this and maintains, ‘There is a multiplicity of varieties and this makes it difficult to describe English as any one thing’. So it is very natural to speak of varieties of English or world Englishes because there are several varieties of English identified, for example, British English, American English, Canadian English, Australian English South African English, Nigeria English, Indian English, Sri-Lankan English and so on. This is not only the case of the countries in American, European, African and Australian continents; even the countries in Asian continent have been greatly influenced by English. As a result, many different varieties of English have been developed and some are still emerging.

Regarding the expansion of English in South Asia, Kansakar (1998), in the same vein, maintains, ‘In recent years, speakers of English in countries like India and Nepal have been influenced by American English through tourism , radio, television and other media of mass communication. This situation has given rise to a curious mixture of South Asian, British and American varieties of English, which are referred to generally as South Asian English.’ Here Kansakar generalizes the varieties of English used in the South Asian countries as ‘South Asian English’. But the fact is that English has many varieties even in South Asia because every nation that uses English as a second or foreign language, in question, is claiming the English used there to be of their own variety. In the context of Nepal too, English which has the status of foreign language is considered to be developing as a variety of its own, i.e., Nepalese English or ‘Nenglish’ (Rai, 2006) or ‘Nepanglish’ (as recommended through my research).

English used in Nepal is of its own type – neither is it like that of British nor American, nor anything else because when Nepalese speak English they can be easily identified as Nepalese, not as Englishmen or Americans. So it is rather a very high time to investigate on Nepalese English (Nepanglish) and develop it into an internationally-accepted variety of English because here English is losing its Englishness and getting highly influenced by Nepali language. In this regard, David Crystal has also mentioned in his Encyclopedia of the English language that ‘Nepalese variety of standardizing variety is emerging gradually’.


A Reading Lesson Plan

— Eak Prasad Duwadi

One day when a friend of mine complained, “We discussed big issues, but till now none has published a lesson plan which is useful for an English teacher of Nepal”, I felt guilty then, but promised to do something. Coincidentally, several months later I underwent an intensive training for a month when not only I made dozens of ELT lesson plans (reading, writing, listening, speaking, grammaring, etc.), but also did teach several classes at different institutions. This is one of the ‘Reading Lesson Plans” that I made and executed successfully in front of my peers and trainers during that period. Although this is based on Hopkins et al.’s (2009) Smooth Moves, I chose a passage “Unseen heroes” by Shakya (2008, P. 5) in Nepali context. Moreover, both processes and timing were tested in the fields. Students had to construct their ideas instead of getting them directly from the teacher.

As Shin (2007) says that “[m]ore detailed lesson plans must be designed for each day of instruction” (p.3-8), I also believe that entering the class with lesson plans and materials is like going to the battlefield with guns and ammunitions ready.  Although how a teacher presents himself/herself in the class matters, teaching according to the plan works. Even to deviate is easy as there has been a framework in advance as Hopkins et al. (2009, p. 151-152) claim “usually good classes don’t just happen. They were planned to happen, and carried out successfully.” This format (lesson plan) provides a concrete task that will focus the teacher on the planning process and give wonderful ELT class.


Teachering: The Profession of my Original Dream

Kashiraj Pandey
Since childhood, I understood that a teacher’s job is a well respected and most secured one. There were the days when a teacher’s verdict would be the final one in Nepalese villages in settling some disputes too. A teacher was a representative to make a deal, and even a negotiator when someone from outside appeared with any reason, be it a political, social, or anything. People even invited the village teacher to read out the letters that were sent by their sons or daughters from their far-off work stations. Therefore, a teacher was everything for the people and one day, I also, being no exception, wanted to become the one when I grew up.
The teacher as a “guru”, who I believed knew everything. Teachers, I still find hard “not to understand”, are the only source of knowledge. Those days, children from a remote village like mine, the northern Dhading, whoever could afford the school used to dance according to the tune and timing of the teachers, and whenever were questioned about their future quests, almost all, I remember, wanted to pass SLC and become a teacher in a nearby primary school.
That was sufficient for me to motivate myself until grade 10, but to better prepare myself for the SLC, the “iron gate”, I left for the district headquarters in search of good teachers who would give me tutorials to complete my incomplete English course. To my dismay in making a deal with locally available “chief” tutors at Dhading Besi, It became a compulsion for me to make an odyssey to Kathmandu, the all-the-time welcoming boulevard, from where I could decide upon my future life. In Kathmandu, I joined the coaching class run by a team at Shanti Vidhya Griha, Lainchour. That was a welcome relief as the teachers helped to complete all the un-finished subjects including English. After a two month stay in the capital, I returned to my home district, Dhading. I appeared the exam, passed with comparatively good marks.
Being an SLC graduate, I became a potential candidate for the job, the job of a school-teacher. I was invited by a school next to my village. But, I more preferred the one in my own village which I did not get. That was an interesting moment as I recall now, and that was the time I had to make a decision in planning for my future. I rather decided to leave the village and pursue further education in the subject that had bigger market – English. Realizing this, I took English as a major, only thinking to improve the language competence, not worrying in knowledge at first. Yes, English was responsible in sending me from Village to Dhading Besi, the district headquarters and to Kathmandu from Dhading Besi while preparing myself for the SLC.
I enjoyed various turns and twists of life once I left my home, family, village, and the home district first time, for such a long period of time. After I passed Intermediate level, I started looking for a job- of course, the teaching job. It was the late 80s, when Nepal was heading for a revolutionary political upheaval. In Kathmandu, there were not many private schools that time and the existing few would not announce vacancies in the media. I did apply whenever I became aware on them, but there would be no responses every time. This led me to take other jobs but teaching, and that provided me with ample opportunity to learn other things which proved to be beneficial in life later.
However, I also started giving classes voluntarily in any school around during my free times. I used to walk in the schools and then to the classrooms where the teachers were absent or whenever they were nice to offer their periods that I could use by discussing some topics from literature, the English literature. I took that as a good opportunity to struggle with self and with the existing social, political settings. By this time, I also realized that studying the subject, “English” was not only for the sake of language, but also to broaden the horizon of knowledge.
English has become the medium to access information related to history, culture, the human existence, about me, and what-not. English has been a faithful companion of every moment in life which was filled with a strong feeling and urgency to update myself in any matter. English the “one time terror” of my life became the deciding factor to embrace teaching as a profession, a university teacher. This has led me to be with “good” human beings, my gifted students and colleagues around me everyday, and thus reuniting me with the original dream of my life.

Ten Years at KU: Pondering over Meanings

Ten years! They have slipped like seconds. My first day at KU is afresh as if it were yesterday — the confusion, the compunction, the curiosity, and what not. Only when I see the changed part of its surroundings and the new establishments, and only when I count the number of school-going children from KU quarters with my own son along, I begin to ponder over the days, months and years I have spent here.

I am trying to trace my transitions and transformations  in reminiscences, in my diaries, and sometimes in the grey hairs of my friends and colleagues. I can’t be more organized now while the flashback comes like a hillside stream during a heavy rainfall.

Continue reading Ten Years at KU: Pondering over Meanings