Category Archives: Teacher’s Experience/anecdotes

Practitioners’ Voices on Nepal’s School-level English Curricula and Materials: Authenticity, Agency and Local Ecology

The interview explores English language teachers’ perceptions and practices of ELT curricula, materials and pedagogy in private and public schools including commentary from teacher educators and researchers. It leaves us to ponder many genuine facets left unaddressed in the curriculum and materials development in our context. The conversation highlights significant issues regarding the curriculum development process, specifically the exclusion of teachers and communities from this process. It captures practitioners’  concerns about using a single textbook across all schools in the country. The thought-provoking conversation also opens up possibilities of doing things in a better way.

The audience of the interview are policy makers, curriculum planners, pre/in-service English language teachers, and researchers.

Facilitated by Binod Duwadi, the speakers are Anju Chimariya, Ram Krishan Puri, Umesh Saud and Jeevan Karki. Here are their bios:

Anju Kumari Chimariya: Mrs. Chimariya holds M Ed. in English education. She has been teaching English in foreign language context for long. Now she is a secondary English teacher at Shree Ratna Rajya Secondary School, Nagarjun 7. 

Ram Krishan Puri: Mr. Puri is an M.Phil. Research Scholar at Kathmandu University School of Education. He has been teaching English in foreign language setting for long and now he is an English Language Teacher at Thulo Chaur Secondary School, Jwalamukhi-2, Dhading. His research interests include applied linguistics and curriculum planning and policy. 

Umesh Saud: Mr. Saud has earned M.Phil. in English. He is the head of the English Department at DAV school, Jawalakhel. He has also been working as a sub-editor for The Himalayan Times since 2017. His research interests revolve around literature and human rights, and curriculum design and implementation.

Jeevan Karki: Mr. Karki is a multilingual educator and scholar. He has worked across diverse K-12 and higher education and non-profit settings as an educator and teacher educator. Now, he is a doctoral student and teacher educator at teacher education department, Michigan State University, USA. He is interested in contributing to multilingual students’ language and literacy development through research, advocacy, and intervention. His scholarly interests revolve around representation of students’ languages, cultures and knowledge across curriculum and instruction for meaningful, relevant, and equitable educational opportunities. 

Binod Duwadi: Mr. Duwadi has earned M.Phil. research degree from Kathmandu University School of Education, Nepal. He has been working as a visiting faculty at Kathmandu University for three years. He works as a reviewer for research journals in home and abroad. His areas of research interest include applied linguistics, critical pedagogy and innovative teaching practice in large classes.

Questions covered in the interview

  • How often do educators refer to curricula when planning or teaching English language courses?
  • What do the practitioners think of the provision of sending the same sets of textbooks from the center to all schools in 753 local levels?
  • Are textbooks desirable, compulsory, or neither to educators?
  • What about the relevance of the prescribed texts/knowledge in the centralized textbooks?
  • Our curriculum is based on communicative language teaching and a functional approach to language. How often do educators find themselves applying these principles? What other approaches, methods, and strategies do they use in their context?
  • What are the takeaways for curriculum planners, educators , and universities to envision decentralized curricula and materials?

Multimodality and Multiliteracy Approach to Teaching Poetry in English Language Classroom: From Experience to Exploration

Dasarath Rai

We are aware that the unprecedented technological shift has significantly changed the way we teach and learn the English language today. Rajendrama (2020), asserts that “as societies become more globally interconnected through digital technologies, a wider and more complex range of communication modes is needed to disseminate and exchange knowledge” (p.151). From this perspective, it is important to consider that the integration of diverse communication modes in teaching and learning activities is an integral part of today’s classrooms. Furthermore, she adds, 

The communication practices of our learners today are intrinsically multimodal, as they naturally draw on multiple semiotic modes such as text, images, video, and sound to express their ideas, consume information, and create new content on social media, photo- and video-sharing websites, video gaming, podcasts, vlogs, blogs, and so on (p.151).

Multimodality is “a reciprocal connection and interplay between different communicative modes” (Song, 2012). In such an increasingly digital world, what role should the English language teachers play? Have they been able to create space for learning where the learners can equitably perceive and express their ideas through different modes? This write-up shares practical techniques for teaching poetry based on a multimodal approach in today’s increasingly digitalized world which is expected to be helpful for teachers while teaching English in different settings. 

Multimodality and multiliteracies

The application of this approach in the classroom is believed to foster learners’ ability to acquire and perceive information and linguistic elements and enhance students’ interaction, and critical thinking (Reyes-Torres & Raga, 2020). Furthermore, I believe that this approach will contribute to equitable learning opportunities for learners inheriting different learning styles. For this approach to teaching, I have used knowledge processes of multimodal pedagogy proposed by Reyes-Torres and Raga (2020), which comprises a) experiencing, b) conceptualizing c) analyzing d) applying as a means of implementing multiliteracies pedagogy in EFL (English as a foreign language) classrooms.

Historically multiliteracies pedagogy was introduced in 1996 by the New London Group (NLG) as an approach to literacy that would be receptive to the changing cultural, linguistic and communicative realities of increasingly globalized societies (Rajendrama, 2020). If so, what does multiliteracies pedagogy do? To put it simply, it is the knowledge and ability to understand and use different modes of communication. As suggested by the NLG learners can draw five different modes of communication for meaning-making. They are as follows. 

  • linguistic mode (e.g. learners home and school language, dialects, rhetorical structure)
  • visual (e.g. images, colours) 
  • audio (music, sound effects) 
  • gestural (e.g. movement) 
  • spatial (e.g. positioning of objects)

The application of different modes in teaching and learning is termed as pedagogy of multiliteracies. Reyes-Torres and Raga (2020) suggest four process knowledge construction (FPKC) based on the multiliteracies pedagogy as discussed below: 

Experiencing: it is the first step of teaching which engages learners in meaningful ways that incorporate both spontaneous reflection and lived experiences. This allows them to immerse themselves in the text and world. 

Conceptualizing: it draws students’ attention towards specific concepts and explicit instruction on how linguistic, visual, spatial layout, etc. produces meaning. It emphasizes what they should know and understand about the text. They also learn to examine what specific knowledge and skills they need in their process of inquiry and meaning-making.

Analyzing: it engages students in examining and discussing the author’s message from their perspectives.

Applying: it emphasizes the transfer of new knowledge to other situations and the production of new designs. Thus, learners, at this level, become able to apply different strategies for their learning.

Application of the FPKC framework in my context

While teaching poetry in the previous years, I would simply write the title on the board and give a general background of the poet followed by the discussion of a few questions related to the title or the poet. Thereafter, I would deal with some unfamiliar words and get a student to recite the poem. Then, I would explain every line along with rhyming patterns and figurative devices. For me, the interpretation of the text and meaning construction was more important. However, now with the application FPKC framework including multimodality helped me engage students differently in my classes. In the section below I discuss its application in relation to teaching the poem ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’ by Robert Frost.

credit: freepik.com

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;   

He will not see me stopping here   

To watch his woods, fill up with snow.

 

 

Credit: freepik.com

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

 

 

credit: freepik.com

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

 

 

credit: freepik.com

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   

But I have promises to keep,   

And miles to go before I sleep,   

And miles to go before I sleep.

 

The visuals alongside the poem presented above can be used to teach students about the poem’s setting. The pictures have been chosen in alignment with the theme of every stanza. Now, let’s discuss the application of the FPKC framework in teaching the poem. 

Experiencing 

This stage is similar to the conventional pre-reading stage which allows teachers to reach a closer understanding of students’ perspectives and prior knowledge. At this stage, teachers should develop students’ thoughts and engage them cognitively. As suggested by Reyes-Torres & Raga (2020), it can be done in two ways: a) by fostering an open conversation to initiate a process of inquiry and reflection through which they can use their previous experience and b) by directing their attention toward the text through a visual thinking strategy.

While teaching the poetry mentioned above, I followed the first strategy which is to begin the lesson with an open conversation. The following model questions were used to initiate the conversation.  

  • Have you ever encountered a similar environment or setting depicted in the picture before? If so, describe your experience orally and compare it to the image presented. 
  • Reflecting on the images, what emotion or thoughts do they stir within you? 
  • Take two minutes to write down your immediate thoughts and feelings inspired by the images. 

In the second stage, we can follow the visual thinking strategy which can be carried out as follows. 

  • Revisit the title of the poem and create a drawing that represents the imagery or concept evoked by the title. Share and discuss your visuals with your classmates.
  • Choose the images displayed and describe them in your own words paying attention to its composition, colours, textures, and overall setting. Then describe how these elements contribute to the mood or message conveyed through the text. 

Multimodal entails a combination of several channels to foster the development of students’ cognitive and linguistic abilities. This step of experiencing engages the learner’s critical thinking skills, learning to articulate their thoughts effectively, and gaining a deeper appreciation of the text. More importantly, the observation and interpretation of the pictures helped students do a close reading of other semiotic signs used in real-life situations as well as meaningful engagement with the text in due course of time. This process allowed me to leverage students’ prior knowledge and experiences to facilitate the construction and interpretation of meaning within the text.

Conceptualizing 

To foster students’ ability to think and work with texts in an EFL context, we need to begin by selecting and building blocks of literacy that are important to them (Reyes-Torres & Raga, 2020), which suggests that we need to activate their knowledge and build the foundation for new learning. In this lesson, I picked up a few elements such as vocabulary, phonemic awareness, rhetorical devices, themes including author’s information. I started by presenting the author’s background through the following audio-visual. Listen to the audio carefully:

Building Concept: This audio helped learners to be aware of the way how poetry is to be recited. Furthermore, it provided them exposure to how sounds are segmented, and discriminated with the strong and weak forms of stressed and unstressed syllables. So, at this stage, I focused on the objective of raising phonemic awareness. I paused the audio and gave a brief explanation of the unit of rhythm consisting of a definite pattern. For instance, the first two lines follow the iambic foot in which every two syllables, the first is unstressed and the second is stressed.

Whose woods these are I think I know

His house is in the village though.

So making students aware of the stress, next there is linking ‘r’ which is realized as /a:r/. Why is it so? Why not /a:/ only?

Right here, I instructed students to concentrate on weak and strong forms. 

After playing the audio, the students were asked to interpret the poem in their way through multiple modes such as drawing, writing, recommending songs or composing their poems based on the theme of the poem.

Rhetorical devices and teachers’ intervention: At this point, I was concerned about constructing the meaning of the text by addressing the responses of the students as well as leading them to the implicit linguistic elements used in the poem or the use of the words to express meaning beyond the literal meaning of the words themselves.

Figurative Language

Personification: woods are lovely dark and deep

Symbolism: the woods, the dark evening

Imagery: his house is in the village though

Repetition: and miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep

Irony : but I have promises to keep

Teachers need to take into account the essential aesthetic nature of not only the knowledge of formal properties but also to ignite the students’ intellectual understanding as well as their emotional engagement with the text (Reyes-Torres & Raga, 2020). The discussion on this figurative language raised curiosity in learners about the artistic use of language. Thus, I guided them to compose their poems, make sentences, write songs, and speeches, make charts, sketch drawings, collect pictures etc.

Analyzing

The third knowledge process of multiliteracies pedagogy aims to relate textual and visual meaning with social, cultural, and ideological content and purposes (Reyes-Torres & Raga, 2020). The main goal is to have students interpret the reading from different points of view and learn to understand a particular voice, its position, motivation and concerns. To do so, I encouraged learners to discuss the author’s perspective, the emotions it triggers, implicit and explicit meaning and finally the relevance of different themes. 

Therefore, in this stage, I generated different themes of the text which are relatable to students’ lives. 

Credit: freepik.com

Theme 1. Isolation and solitude: Why do you think the narrator stops in the middle of the forest without a farmhouse nearby? What do you think the remote area represents? What kinds of feelings grow in your mind when you imagine such a place? Share your opinion.

Theme 2. Responsibility and Duty: What does the line, ‘miles to go before I sleep mean’? Present your opinion. Discuss that duties and responsibilities are far more important than our transient desires and pleasure. We may happen to

credit: freepik.com

think that this very experience is our reality but we have far to go before we finally close our eyes. Present your opinion.

Theme 3. Nature and Tranquility: What is the setting of the poem? Recall some lines of the poem that bring a vivid image to your mind.

In this section, I scaffolded students to break down the poem into different themes to develop their analytical skills and relate that with their lives. For instance, the lines, “miles to go before I sleep” instilled the knowledge of duties and responsibilities of their own. And this is exactly where facilitation is needed. In this way, “teachers relate textual and visual meaning with social, cultural, and ideological content and purposes with the students” (Reyes-Torres & Raga, 2020, p. 113).

Applying

Connecting textual content with students’ lives is one of the ways of understanding the aesthetic of reading and constructing meaning and the application of knowledge further strengthens their learning. In doing so, I needed to have well-defined objectives before starting the lesson. It demanded extensive reading, a deeper level of thinking and contemplation on how this information helps students face worldly challenges. I, therefore, needed to develop ways in which students could carry out new practice in the new contexts. In order to facilitate the application of the knowledge in the poem, I discussed the following questions:

  • How does the speaker’s description of the woods in the poem make you feel? Can you relate it to a time you’ve experienced something similar in nature? 
  • If you were in the same situation as the speaker in the poem, what decision would you make? Why? 
  • Imagine you are in the middle of the woods, how would the scene change if it were a different season, like summer or fall? 
  • Can you find another poem where a character faces a similar decision to stay or move on? Compare and contrast the two situations.

These questions challenge them to go beyond recalling information and engage in the poem more critically. They also promote critical thinking and creative expression, allowing them to connect the poem to their own life experiences and perspectives. 

Exploration and insights

The application of the FPKC frame and multiliteracies pedagogy has left some footprints in the course of my professional life which can be discussed as follows. 

  • Set clear level-wise objectives: This approach to teaching helped me to set clear level-wise objectives for the lessons from the experience to the application. The taxonomy of objectives helped me to teach students on how they could achieve higher levels of knowledge such as analysis and application. Furthermore, it made me clear what to facilitate and how to facilitate. For instance, in the conceptualization phase, I played the audio in the class which would add variety. Along with the audio, I was concerned about raising phonemic awareness in the learners focusing on stressed and unstressed syllables.
  • Integration of varied activities: The application of this framework allowed me to employ different activities in my classroom. I have used multiple modes such as questions for discussion, thematic pictures to stimulate learners, audio for building phonemic awareness, allowing students to draw pictures to express their ideas and creating situations where the students apply the acquired knowledge to a new setting. This helped me to guide the students in meaningful engagement with the text. 
  • Create space for expression and perspectives: In all phases of the framework, students were actively engaged within the poem. They expressed their ideas and perspectives either through writing answers to the questions, listening to the audio or drawing pictures related to the topic and expressing their opinions verbally. This technique created an environment where student’s minds, bodies and souls were activated.
  • Foster learner’s autonomy: The multimodal approach to teaching contributed to learner’s autonomy as well. This framework helped me to create opportunities for my students to think and work independently. They also demonstrated confidence in going beyond the lines to interpret the poetic expressions relating with their lives. 

Conclusion

My blog attempted to bridge the theories with classroom practice by demonstrating the application of four process knowledge construction (FPKC) framework based on the multiliteracies pedagogy through a poetry class in high school. It created room to integrate varied activities and modalities of expression (written, oral, visuals, audio-visuals modes), offered space for critical thinking and expressing their perspectives and fostered learner’s autonomy creating equitable learning in a diverse classroom setting. Thus the balanced use of multiliteracies in teaching-learning leverages English language learning, communication skills, critical thinking and aesthetic development. 

Author: Dasarath Rai teaches English at Ideal Model School, Dhobighat, Lalitpur. He has earned Master’s Degree in English Education from Mahendra Ratna, Campus, Tahachal, Kathmandu. He is interested in teacher professional development, multiculturalism, cultural identity, and materials development in language education.

References 

Rajendram, S. (2020). A pedagogy of multiliteracies and its role in English language education. In Contemporary foundations for teaching English as an additional language (pp. 151-187). Routledge.

Reyes-Torres, A. & Raga, M.P., (2020). A multimodal approach to foster the multiliteracy pedagogy in the teaching EFL through picture books: The Snow Line. (42) 49-199. DOI: http://doi.org/10.28914/Atlantis-2020-42.1.06 

Song, J. (2012). Teaching multiliteracies: A research based on multimodality in a PPT presentation. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 2(1), 113-117.

Project Based Learning in Rural English Language Classrooms: A Podcast

Click below to listen to the podcast:

 

Jham Bahadur Thapa

Author: Jham Bahadur Thapa is an M. Phil scholar in English Language Education at Graduate School of Education TU, Kritipur, Nepal. He is a life member of NELTA and also an executive member of NELTA, Tanahun. He has been teaching English Language Teaching from basic to higher level at several schools and institutions for 17 years. His areas of interests are multilingualism, narrative inquiry and teachers’ professional development.

 

Podcast script

Namaste, I’m Jham Bahadur Thapa, a multilingual English teacher. I have been teaching for 16 years and now I teach in a public secondary school in Tanahun. Today in this podcast, I’m going to share my experiences and reflections on implementing Project Based Learning in Rural English Language Classrooms.

Let’s get started!

The population of students in my school is very diverse, ranging from different linguistic, ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds. They mostly speak Nepali, Magar, Darai, Kumal and Newari languages. Most of them represent lower middle-class families from farming backgrounds. So, teaching English to the heterogeneous population comes with both opportunities and challenges for me. While I learn about cultures, indigenous knowledge, and languages, I also face challenges to enhance their English language proficiency in the under-resourced contexts. Additionally, students’ involvement, dropouts, irregularity in schools are some of the challenges. Despite these challenges, my students and I have been able to try out some great approaches and activities. In this blog post, I’m going to share my experiences and reflections on implementing project-based language learning with the students in grade eight.

So, The why behind project-based learning

There are various approaches, methods, and techniques in language teaching learning and project-based learning is one of the preferred methods among students and teachers. “Project work is one of the popular student-centered techniques which centers on the completion of a task, and which usually requires an extended amount of independent work either by an individual student or by a group of students” (Ghimire, 2024, p. 432). Confronting heterogeneous and unmotivated students, I was almost hopeless about how to engage them effectively in learning activities. However, I thought of giving project-based method a try since project-based exercises are provided in each unit of textbook, but they have never been practiced due to limited class time. I found that project-based activities promote collaboration, creation, and cooperation in learning. It also promoted student centered learning as they learnt engaging in real life-based assignments. Moreover, the curriculum has recommended project-based activities in grades six to eight.

Now, let’s talk about The how behind project-based learning

There were several projects in English textbook, and I selected the project works which they could do in classroom or beyond. Firstly, I piloted by engaging students in preparing weekly timetable. They accomplished the tasks and presented it in the class. In the second phase, I divided the class into four teams and assigned them the project of observing local festivals, preparing posters and presenting them in class. They divided tasks among themselves, making sure that they each had their group leader. To make learning authentic and contextual, I generally set project works during the festival times. They selected local festivals such as Janai Purnima, Krishna Janmastami, Teej, Bada Dashain, and Tihar. In the planning phase, they brainstormed and made plans followed by observation of the festivals (whatever was possible). In the poster preparation phase, they engaged in series of discussions and works. Their conversations were interesting as they discussed in Nepali and translating their ideas into English in developing the posters with some code switching of cultural words like Janai, Mantra, Bratabanda etc. It shows how multilingual students use their whole linguistic resources in learning English language, which aligns with the idea of translanguaging. Not only words, but they also represented the festivals by drawing nice pictures. Before the presentation, they rehearsed in their groups which generated a lot of conversations, negotiation and collaboration. Then, they presented their posters mostly in English also using cultural words in Nepali. Students also served as evaluators assessing their peers’ presentations, eventually offering feedback to the presenters. This practice was a pedagogical shift sharing teacher’s authority with students making them active and accountable of their own learning.

These projects truly brought together students to collectively engage in knowledge exploration, negotiation, presentation including assessment. It generated lot of listening, speaking, reading, writing including visually representing their ideas. Most importantly, students were active in the process of learning. Similarly, they learnt both English language as well as contents based on the given projects.

Now, let’s talk about My students and my feelings and reflections

Engaging in project-based learning during my teaching sessions contributed significantly to my professional development, resulting in successful teaching experiences. Achieving my objectives making students more active made the class enjoyable and enhanced the quality of English language teaching (ELT), requiring my role as a facilitator. The classroom dynamics, students’ collaboration and learning and the outcomes of the projects were so rich that I wish I could invite other colleagues and head teacher to witness the possibilities of project-based learning in under-resourced contexts.

Similarly, the projects offered them multiple learning opportunities ranging from English language learning, content learning to life skills development. It really boosted their confidence level in being accountable for their own learning. They learnt important life skills such as teamwork, collaboration, time management, oral presentation, evaluation and feedback giving skills. Similarly, they learnt a lot from each other, for instance the following groups learnt presentation skills from the first group and so on. I also think that project work offered multiple learning experiences catering students’ multiple intelligences. For example, those students who were not comfortable in writing and speaking were actively participating in drawing and decorating the posters. So, it offered multiple roles and opportunities for them to choose and work on something they were comfortable with.

Now let me talk about some systemic limitations

The project-based learning promoted active learning with fun. I like to design project-based learning opportunities as much as possible in my classrooms. However, the current curricula, textbooks and time schedule are challenges to me. A class session of 55 minutes is not conducive for project-based learning activities. Asking them to work in school after my class session is rarely possible as their schedule is tight in school. Working out of school was also not always possible as they lived in different locations. Likewise, giving more class sessions to the project would leave less time for textbook completion. So, I was able to implement only three to four project-based activities in an academic year. As students are assessed based on textbook knowledge, textbook completion is an obligation for me. Additionally, inadequate access to references, resources, and teaching materials complicates the application of project-based learning.

So, now my conclusion

Project-based learning promotes student-centered learning, hence active learning. “Project based language teaching gives significant attention to the learning in a natural way by taking part in projects” (Joshi & Poudel, 2020, p. 276). It offers opportunities for experiential learning, engaging students in activities that stimulate all five senses, including thinking processes. This method supports direct and active learning, creative, and critical thinking, collaborative skills and nurture communication for problem solving. It also opens up opportunities for planning, information assessing and processing, life skills such as presentation and feedback giving skills. Additionally, it empowers students to explore knowledge and express their ideas and perspectives through words, visuals and posters. Project-based activities promote holistic language development by integrating listening, speaking, reading and writing. While curriculum emphasizes the use of project-based learning, the class time, obligation to textbook completion and lack of resources are some of the challenges to its implementation. Given its benefits to students’ engagement and learning, teachers and students need to find some creative ways to engage in project-based learning.

Thanks for listening!

References

  1. Ghimire, R. P. (2024). The Handbook of Secondary English Teacher, JB Publication, Kritipur Kathmandu.
  2. Joshi, K. R. & Poudel, G.P. (2020). A Resource Book for the Competitors of Secondary Level English Teachers’ Examination. Inspire Publication Pvt. Ltd. Dillibazar, Kathmandu.

Exploring the Transformative Impact of Technology on Language Teaching and Cross-cultural Understanding across Borders

Bibas Thapa

As societal shifts occur, education undergoes corresponding changes. Modern technology has changed not just how we live our everyday lives but also how classes are run, giving teachers access to a multitude of tools and resources. Modern technological development is vital in helping young people acquire and enhance cross-cultural understanding and communication skills necessary for effective day-to-day interactions in the twenty-first century (Schenker, 2013). With the use of synchronous and asynchronous modes of online resources, educators can design classrooms that closely resemble actual situations, encouraging students’ active participation. By connecting schools via platforms with synchronous modes of online learning like Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Team, Google Meet, etc., educators can connect their students with classrooms across the world to collaborate and enhance their English language skills. In this blog, I share my classroom practices of integrating technology to teach the English language and develop cross-cultural understanding by connecting my students with other students’ across the globe.

The Genesis of the Borderless Session

Image 1: Students in a Hungarian class connecting with the students in my class through Skype

The development of information and communication technology has widened opportunities for educators and teachers to connect with the world geographically and culturally. As a result, schooling must prepare pupils for a world shaped by globalization (Darling-Hammond, 2010; Walsh, 2016). In line with this reality, I dabbled in technology throughout my early teaching career, illuminating the classroom with projectors and PowerPoint presentations. The students began to routinely sway to the beat of my digital waltz as they grew accustomed to it. However, my students grew restless as the months went by, demanding a new technology tool and a new approach to learning instead of the regular use of PowerPoint. On Friday, during an extracurricular speech competition about the effects of Facebook use, students’ desire became quite apparent. A maximum number of secondary school students used Facebook to network, learn about current events, as well as to create new acquaintances. It is evident from their speech that students found technology to be intriguing in their learning and that they also asked for more information, communication, and technology-integrated programs in schools. That speech day got me thinking about displaying fresh concepts using technology or the same projector instead of just teaching information.

When I was skimming through my Facebook, I came across a school in Punjab, India. I reached out to a teacher regarding my interest in connecting students from each other’s classrooms, opening up opportunities for them to practice their communication skills and cultural understanding. I received a response from the teacher after a week. I began brainstorming with my students and science teacher, Kumar Rumba, about possible projects. To make the session more interesting, the country name was not revealed, as they needed to guess themselves by asking yes-no questions. Students were assigned different roles as speakers, dancers, singers, etc. Some of them were anxious and hesitant to communicate with students from another country. We did not have a computer lab or a well-managed classroom but also we decided to commemorate International Dancing Day by collaborating with other teachers in our school.

Image 2: First connecting class with the school in Punjab, India, and students from a school in Hetauda.

On a Friday afternoon, my students dressed in traditional attire waited for a Skype call. It was a new experience for all of us, and I had mixed feelings. I was worried about my laptop’s data connection and whether the Skype call would go smoothly. We gathered in an office room with ‘Yes’, and ‘No’ cards, a flag, and a globe. We received their Skype call at noon and saw teachers seated on a beautifully decorated stage, accompanied by a dancer. At first, we played a guessing game where each student tried to guess each other’s countries through a series of yes/no questions. They were not allowed to provide any clue; they just needed to show a yes or no card. After asking a series of questions, students from Punjab guessed our country correctly, and our students displayed Nepal’s flag. Later, our students also guessed their country, and they displayed their national flag. The guessing game enhanced cognitive and communication skills in my students.

Next, our students and teachers (from my school) introduced themselves to each other. The students from Punjab greeted us in their native language, and my students did the same in Nepali. They described their country’s flag, traditional attire, and the school. When my students heard simple English sentences, their confidence level increased, and those students who hesitated to speak also actively took part in the conversation. One of my students exclaimed, “Ini haruko pani English hamro jasto raichha” (their English language is also like ours), demonstrating their confidence to communicate with their counterparts. Soon, they engaged in the conversation as if they had known each other for a long time.

Following this exchange, students took turns sharing ethnic dances. This experience fostered a sense of global community. The students who were reluctant to discuss Facebook’s influence during the speech competition jumped at the chance to express themselves via dancing, like a narrative twist. It made me think about multiple ways of engaging students to cater to their multiple intelligences. The inaugural international dance between Nepal and India unfolded through the lens of Skype. Students on both ends shared not just dance steps but stories of their cultures, peering into each other’s classrooms with curiosity. 

Fueled by the spirit of connection, I embarked on a mission to virtually unite my classroom with the world. Through this project, I forged ties with international acquaintances, joined online communities, and explored the connection with other classes beyond the borders through collaboration with fellow educators. This initiative was not just about crossing borders digitally; it was crucial for nurturing listening, speaking, and cognitive skills. In this dance of learning, every step was a bridge to understanding, and every word was a note in the symphony of global education. The tale of technological integration and cultural exchange emerged as a tapestry of growth, where simplicity met depth, and every breath carried the essence of learning and unity.

Language and Cultural Exchange through Skype Video Calls

Video: My students sharing cultural dance with Vietnamese students.

When we think of a classroom, we usually think of an enclosed space with four walls devoted to teaching and learning. However, in an age where technology affects human relations, communication between language teachers and students transcends traditional classroom boundaries (Romaña, 2015). This change involves moving our daily relationships into computer communication (CMC) through email or phone calls such as WhatsApp or Skype (Romaña, 2015, p. 144). Its unique features include global connectivity via video calling and student chat options. 

After having connections with more than ten countries like Vietnam, Hungary, India, Japan, Spain, Portugal, and the USA, technology and learning through it is no longer a mystery to my students. They conversed with their international student counterparts and learned about one another’s way of life. They learned about other cultures and communities, and my students also shared their customs and cultures with their global counterparts, fostering characteristics of global citizens. They taught the international students Nepali language and cultures such as Namaskar (नमस्कार), Dhanyabaad (धन्यवाद), and Sanchai (सन्चै). My students also became familiar with Sati Sri Akala (Punjabi), and HaMacTe M. (Russian) from international students. Respecting one another’s identities and cultures eliminates communication barriers and fosters greater understanding of each other. This bridges the gap between classroom content and real-world situations. The Skype sessions also helped to improve their speaking, listening, and pronunciation skills. Since my students have taken virtual international tours to different classes, Europe is not a mystery to them. 

The Skype Sessions promoted my students’ speaking skills and self-assurance. They practiced speaking in a real-world situation and engaged with both native and non-native English speakers worldwide by utilizing Skype in the classroom. Additionally, this cooperative and methodical approach contributed to their cognitive skills, geographic awareness, and cultural comprehension in an engaging and dynamic environment. 

Conclusion

To sum up, the borderless Skype session exemplifies how engaging students with diverse cultures worldwide facilitates cross-cultural understanding, language learning, and global connections. It offers Nepali students a remarkable opportunity to learn about other cultures while sharing their own, creating an inclusive and enriching educational experience in an interconnected world. Reflecting on my journey, technology has profoundly transformed education in my class. Platforms like Skype have fundamentally changed the way I teach and learn languages, eliminating spatial and cultural barriers. Through virtual exchanges such as Skype sessions have become an effective means of fostering cross-cultural understanding, communication, and language acquisition. 

However, it’s essential to recognize the challenges and responsibilities of connecting classrooms globally. Teachers must manage cultural sensitivities, coordinate across time zones, and ensure clear communication to foster meaningful relationships. Teachers and students together need to learn about the cultural norms and expectations of the communities they are going to interact with and collaborate with. Likewise, they need to communicate in advance the plan, activities, time zone, and so on for the sessions. We also need to assign different roles to students to make them accountable for their learning and organizing sessions. 

Looking forward, I am excited to explore more innovative virtual exchange programs within and outside the nation. I aim to develop new strategies to overcome technological challenges and further enhance their educational experiences by integrating technological tools.

Author: Bibas Thapa is an MPhil scholar in English Language Education at Kathmandu University. He is an English lecturer and also works as an ICT facilitator. He has connected in borderless sessions with dozens of countries, such as the USA, Brazil, Portugal, Greece, Vietnam, India etc.

References

Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). The flat world and education. New York, NY: Teachers College Press

Romaña, Y. Skype™ Conference Calls: A Way to Promote Speaking Skills in the Teaching and Learning of English. PROFILE, 17, 143 -156.

Schenker, T. (2013). The effects of a virtual exchange on students’ interest in learning about culture. Foreign Language Annals, 46(3), 491–507. http://doi.org/10.1111/ flan.12041

Walsh, L. (2016). Educating generation next: young people, teachers and schooling in transition. Houndsmill, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

Experiences of Flipped Teaching Through Messenger Group: A Teacher’s Reflection

Baburam Shrestha

I have been teaching English at the basic to secondary level at government schools for more than a decade. With the advancement of technology, I have observed that teachers and parents have perceived that students are less engaged in reading textbooks and books. They think that students are more engaged in playing virtual games or using social media on their phones rather than completing assignments or engaging themselves with educational materials. Both teachers and parents have raised the question whether the ubiquitous presence of mobile phones has been a curse or a boon for students. In my perspective, it is a supporting device for them. In today’s society, it has become a fundamental tool for students to access information, communication, entertainment, and knowledge. However, by only engaging on mobile phones for games and fun can be counterproductive to their study. So, a serious question always hits me: if they like to engage on their devices, why not integrate the devices in their study. So, I created a messenger group with my students to integrate technology in their study. In this blog post, I am going to share my practices and reflect upon them.

Messenger group to integrate technology in low-resourced contexts

Schools came to closure during the COVID-19 pandemic, which brought many challenges for my colleagues and students. I was pensive as I was in a dilemma about my teaching profession. As there were no chances of opening schools, schools came up with the idea of opening learning centers across students’ communities. My colleague and I visited learning centers twice a week to assign homework package but that was not sufficient for secondary-level students. We could only accommodate 25 students in one learning center because of health protocols. During our visits, we would grade their homework, provide feedback, teach them challenging contents and assign homework for next week. I explored some of them having mobile phones and internet access at their home though a few did have access to the internet. However, they would manage to go to their peers’ house to access the internet. My observation revealed that most students were already familiar with mobile phones, they only required some ideas about using the devices for their study. Despite some limitations, I proceeded with the messenger group initiative, recognizing its potential to bridge the gap in access to educational resources and take students beyond textbooks to explore knowledge. Then I created a class messenger group and invited them to join. The group was a convenient forum for us to share resources, interact, communicate and learn. I shared study materials and assignments, and they were able to go through

A screenshot of sharing resources through messenger group

them at their own pace and time even though it was impossible to meet in school due to the pandemic. It also helped students to get some ongoing support and resolve questions as I would respond to their questions and concerns.

My approach of engaging students in their study through technology aligns with flipped learning (Flipped Learning Network, 2014) which is one of teaching approaches in classrooms today. In flipped learning, teachers provide concepts to students using either videos, audio, or presentation apps, so that students study the contents and prepare before class (Al- Samarraie et al., 2020). So that in the classroom they can spend their time collaborating with teachers and other friends to advance their knowledge and understanding about the contents, which makes the classroom activities and time more productive. In my case, I did not record and share audio and videos, instead, I used texts and visuals to summarize texts and exercises and assign the tasks to them. I also used PowerPoint slides, text, snipping tools, movies, interesting Ted Talks, Benime apps, and other tools to facilitate teaching-learning. I joined workshops offered by some teachers’ associations to enhance my knowledge and skills in using ICT in my classrooms.

I continued using the messenger group even after the pandemic. I used the forum to share the contents and assignments of the day beforehand so the students would be familiar with the contents and become prepared for the class. Then they would share their ideas too by engaging in different kinds of activities in real class. Gradually, they became

A screenshot assigning homework.

interested and accustomed to studying the shared materials and completing their homework on time. It also helped them to learn independently as they could learn in their own way at time and place. They also used the messenger group as a forum to ask follow-up questions about things they did not understand in class. I would reply and confirm the answer in the group, and they would share ideas and work with me and their peers. 

Benefits of flipped teaching

Flipped classroom vs traditional classroom

Flipped teaching is one of novel approaches where contents are shared before class with tasks assigned. Hariri et al. (2021) have illustrated that flipped learning is one of the recent and effective approaches that increase students’ interactivity and enhance the understanding of content in foreign language classrooms. I also observed some noticeable differences in student engagement and performance between traditional classroom settings and the flipped teaching approach. Unlike traditional classrooms, in flipped classes, students get direct access to knowledge with flexible contents and instructions. It was student-centered, making them active in the learning process and they were interested in studying by using mobile devices, whereas traditional classrooms are more teacher-centered where students would get less chances to interact with their teachers and peers. Similarly, they would get extra time to do their tasks and share their perspectives unlike traditional classes. In the same way, flipped teaching created an equitable opportunity for performing the tasks for students with diverse backgrounds as they would be able to study contents at their own time and pace. I also noticed that students became more independent in doing their assignments.

Benefits for my students

Parents and teachers blamed students for spending too much time on their devices and with our virtual forum, they also used their devices for study purposes. One interesting observation I made was that those who had previously neglected reading began showing interest and followed up for classroom assignments with their friends in the messenger group. Additionally, some of the students shared their work in the group. Similarly, students who had difficulty with exercises were able to comprehend complex questions

Students submitting their works through the messenger group.

and share answers due to conversation and scaffolding in the group. Even absentees shared their assignments in class as the class materials and homework were shared through the group. The class had various student types, including shy ones, who felt comfortable expressing curiosity to teachers and developed a habit of engaging with messages and reading contents. It boosted their confidence, heightened reading awareness, and accelerated learning via social media. 

Benefits for teacher

I used the virtual group to share some learning materials including content-related videos, PowerPoint slides, books, and podcasts online in advance which helped them to understand assigned materials and get ready for the next class. It also helped them in following home assignments as they could ask follow-up questions, leave their comments, and share their learning. It was also convenient for me to follow them up for their assignment through messenger. Likewise, I reused the materials and resources for other classes, so that I did not have to create another set of materials again. Embracing new technology, I further developed my teaching skills and sparked my interest in using technological tools.

Some challenges of flipped teaching

Although I was able to build a virtual students’ community to support each other in their learning, my students and I faced some challenges. Students, especially from remote parts, faced some difficulties in the internet connection. Students with internet access joined the group, but not everyone did. Those without internet access used mobile data, which proved costly and sometimes caused issues with downloading materials. Consequently, some were initially not involved in the messenger group, while others, despite being in the group, showed little interest. Gradually a few student ambassadors’ word-of-mouth brought more students back to the group and they started engaging in conversation and submitting their assignments through it. Additionally, it was a little challenging for me to make sure that they did not post irrelevant materials and messages to the group. So, the takeaway is to orient students to the dos and don’ts of virtual forums in the classroom. 

Closing thoughts

Flipped classroom teaching through messenger groups is one of the recent teaching approaches that I adopted in my classroom. It can cater to multiple learning styles of students as it opens up both synchronous and asynchronous doors of learning. In my experiences, it has been valuable for both teacher and students as it helped me to share digital resources which are not possible to share in the classroom due to lack of technology. Moreover, I was able to clarify their doubts and confusion through the group chat. Students also had opportunities for collaboration, conversation and acquiring knowledge through shared resources independently. It was helpful in making students independent in their study and confident in expressing their ideas. Additionally, I was able to teach them how they can use their mobile devices beyond communication and entertainment to access knowledge and integrate technology into education. Logistically, teachers need to have some digital literacy, but they do not need to be highly skilled in using technology though having more knowledge and skills is always helpful. I had a general idea of operating computers or mobile devices and creating a messenger group. Similarly, I was comfortable working with slides or word files, designing activities and sharing them in our virtual group. Also, we can also always find useful resources and activities online and use them.

Author: Baburam Shrestha is an MPhil scholar in English language Education at Kathmandu University. He has been teaching English from basic level to bachelor level since 2017. He is a published author in national and international levels. He is a life member of NELTA and an executive member of NELTA, Sindhuli. His areas of interest are literature, multilingualism, autoethnography and narrative inquiry.

References

Al- Samarraie, H., Shamsuddin, A., & Alzahrani, A. l (2020). A Flipped classroom model in higher education: a review of the evidence across discipline Education Technology Research and Development, 68(3), 1017-1051. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-019-09718-8

Flipped Learning Network. (2014). The Four Pillars of F-L-I-P™. Flipped Learning Network Hub. https://flippedlearning.org/definition-of-flipped-learning/

Han E. & Klein KC. Pre-class learning methods for flipped classroom. Am J Pharm Educ 83: 6922, 2019. doi:10.5688/ajpe6922.

Haririe Asl. Mafton, P. & Marandi, S (2021). Collaborative Flip Learning Through Call. A Recipe for Realizing Social Presence in Virtual Learning Environment. 

Reidsema, C., Kavanagh, L., Hadgraft, R. & Smith, N (2017). The Flipped Classroom. Practice and practices in higher Education. Springer.

Engaging Students in Large Class: An Experience of an English Teacher

Binod Dawadi
Binod Duwadi

Setting the Context

I attended a public secondary school in Dhading, which was five kilometres walking distance away from my home. I had to do all the morning chores, prepare meals, eat and run to school as my parents had to go to work on the farm every day. As the classroom was overcrowded with up to seventy students, it was difficult to get a spot in the front row. I had to adjust with six students on a bench at the back of the class, which would make it hard to listen to my teachers. It was challenging to find a cosy place to read, write and listen to the teacher’s lectures. When I recall now, it was tough to get through all this and complete my school education.

Despite the teachers trying to engage us in learning, most of my classmates were inattentive to the teachers’ instructions. The teachers used to crack jokes or share some new things but the students hardly paid attention to their studies. As a result, the teachers were less motivated to teach us and ignored what my classmates were doing in the classroom.

My classmates were from different ethnic communities: Brahmin, Kshetri, Newar, Gurung, Tamang, Gharti, Dalits etc. As they were from diverse groups, they had different beliefs and ways of doing activities. They were basically from working-class families. Yet, some of them belonged to semi-educated families and they were less interested in their study. Nevertheless, I was very excited about my studies.

On a chilly day

It was a cold winter morning. I was teaching ‘The Ant and Grasshopper’ in class ten. I asked my students to write some new words in their exercise book individually. There was some noise, so I tried to control their side talking by cracking a joke. Some of the students who were sitting on the first and second benches were listening to me passionately, whereas the students who were sitting at the back were busy with their personal talk. Again, I told them not to make noise, but their side-talking was ongoing. I further inquired and knew that they were not listening to me clearly. Again, I advised the other side students to have patience and it took around 15 minutes to make them silent.

Moreover, I just had 30 minutes to go. Hence, I revised the previous lesson and made them ready to participate in my large class. Then, I taught my lesson before the lunch bell rang. When I came out of the classroom and I went to the canteen for lunch, I shared my problem with my close friend, who had also been teaching English at a lower secondary level. He listened to me very carefully and agreed with my problem. When I finished the trouble of the classroom. Interestingly, he narrated a story of his classroom that he was also suffering from a similar kind of trouble in large classes. After school, I went back home in the evening and started thinking about my trouble alone.

I realized large class teaching is a complex task and large classes are pretty challenging for the teachers to conduct effective instruction. In such classes, the student number is very high, more than 50, which causes difficult teaching circumstances (Hess, 2006). It is tough for teachers to focus on every student equally. It is considered that students’ engagement and active participation are diminished in large classes, and the frequency and quality of student-faculty interactions are reduced (Cash (2017). Furthermore, Marshall (2004) considers small classes to be very friendly and easy to handle but large classes are highly risky and challenging. Marshall (2004) further highlighted that the analysis of contexts, institutional change in resource allocation and teaching in multidimensional contexts is very thought-provoking.

I conceptualized that teaching in large and under-resourced classes is very tough and tedious throughout my teaching career. In the past, I was a student of a large class where physical infrastructure was not adequate, though we had a blackboard inside the classroom covered with dry grass roof of the building. We didn’t have sufficient classrooms. I still remember when I was a class three grader, and our class was divided into two different classes within a single classroom. It was pretty noisy and hard for the teachers as well. I experienced teaching in an under-resourced context is not an easy job.

Furthermore, I equally reconceptualized that large classes need much personal attention and encouragement to make progress. The students in their learning potential vary considerably due to their language and literacy skills. Thus, we say teaching in large classes is very much like teaching in all other situations; however, handling large classes is more complicated, exhausting, and infinitely more demanding, and challenging.

I explored the reality of large classes through the experience of my research participants who have been teaching a class comprising more than 60 students. I investigated challenges for instance, disruptive students, crises of discipline, and unwanted noise and explored strategies like group work, pair work, and collaborative project works to cope with the large classes with an in-depth study.

I realised that no students get a chance to learn new things in crowded classrooms. They lack the opportunity to grow holistically. Consequently, the prior investment of parents, teachers, schools, and students goes in vain. Based on my experiences as an EFL practitioner in a large classroom, I noted that offering group work and pair work was an effective tool in large-class teaching.  The ability to handle large classes provided me an insight through which I germinated useful tips for large class teaching. I reconceptualized the concept of post-method pedagogy by Kumaravedivelu (2006) who persistently claimed that a meaningful pedagogy cannot be constructed without a holistic interpretation of particular situations and that cannot be enhanced without an essential improvement of those particular situations as a theoretical foundation to scaffold his ‘parameter of particularity’. Thus, it is noted that post-method pedagogy prioritises much on creativity, patience, teamwork and leadership.

Major Strategies I Employed in My Large Classroom:

A comprehensible teaching-learning process that ensures efficiency and effectiveness involves the design and implementation of creative and innovative teaching strategies, capable of responding to the individual needs of students and ensuring their academic success, (Jucan,2020). Without level-appropriate activities and contextual strategies, the teaching-learning activities are not making success, (Kumaravadivelu, 2003). Learning style, the learner’s preferred mode of dealing with new information, includes a construct known as cognitive style, (Oxford,1990). In my experience, large-class students have various ways of learning strategies, so I have applied various ways to make them learn. Some of them are as follows.

Engaging students in different project work:

Group work is believed to be allowing students to share ideas, perspectives, and skills among their pair and group. Students learn skills of collaboration and team building in which they develop communication, cooperation and the ability to work effectively with others. It also promotes higher-order thinking, creativity, and problem-solving, as students have to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information collaboratively, (McCormick et al, 2015) So, I designed some activities to attract the student’s attention in his large class every day. I often engage students in different activities. I ask to design a Calander for a group, a Code of Conduct for the classroom for another group and a Wall Magazine for the other groups. Likewise, I instructed them to share their ideas with their friends through their diverse perspectives. Moreover, they started taking feedback from each other. I involved students in some small groups. In doing so, I selected discussion topics that could be of interest to my students. Sometimes I provided them with topics in groups or individually, they searched on the internet and through some reading materials.  I knew that all the time group did not work, so to keep every student involved in the group work, sometimes students were provided answers for each of the questions individually first.

Motivating students in pair work:

Working in pairs allows students to give and receive constructive feedback. Pairwork helps in the development of various skills such as teamwork, leadership and interpersonal skills. It is well known that motivation is a force that drives people to work towards a particular outcome (Maslow, 1943). I equally motivated students in pair works where they actively participated and developed a sense of competitiveness in and between other pairs in the classroom. I often motivated them to work on different tasks such as conversation practice, role-playing, problem-solving, debate, collaborative art, etc. Thus, I particularly engaged students in story-writing activities, case study analysis and general problem-solving. Moreover, students would appreciate their tasks in pairs and they learn their commonalities and differences.

Encouraging students to ask questions:

Teaching with questions to my students provided me direct connection with them (Filiz,2009). There is a great role for asking good questions in effective teaching and learning. Hence, I encouraged students to ask questions in my class because this task helps them build critical thinking skills. In this, they asked content-wise questions as it helped them to work together and make sense of the particular subject as mentioned by Kumaravadivelu (2003). Moreover, I motivated my students to raise questions based on their curiosity about the content. Developing questioning abilities indicates students enhance creativity and critical thinking skills. Moreover, questioning habits helped students feel relaxed and learn easily the complex subject matter. It encouraged my students to be active, independent and creative in the large classroom.  Besides this, I encouraged my students to speculate on certain incidents, for example, I showed a picture and told them to imagine and connect with the picture. I wrote a sentence, “ If I were in this situation…..”. I let students think, develop their hypotheses, and arrive at a conclusion. This pattern scaffolded students through their positive mindset that they learn interestingly in the large class classroom.

Involving students Think-pair-share procedure:

Think-pair-share (TPS) is a cooperative learning strategy that encourages active participation and engagement among learners. In this think-pair-share technique, students are given a question, and students first think about themselves prior to being instructed to discuss their response with a person sitting near them. Finally, the group shared what they discussed with their colleagues to the whole class and their discourse kept on going (Rowe,1972). Hence, I used the TPS strategy to cope with a large class context. I began my class by asking a specific question about the text. For example; What are the various uses of Artificial Intelligence in education and list them based on your experience. (from one of the chapters of grade 10). Then, my students started thinking about what they knew or had learned about my query. Then, I engaged them to work in pairs with their partner in a small group discussion. Finally, they share what they have collected so far.  Thus, the post-method pedagogy entails that students develop coordinating skills, increasing active participation and enhancing their innovative sharing skills.

Major Takeaways: 

We teachers struggle in our large classes due to a lack of level-appropriate instructional tools. We often think of managing a large classroom since it needs tactfulness and a lot of experience. Teachers’ ability to explore and develop approaches to observe, analyze and evaluate their teaching for the purpose of accomplishing desired changes. It is an eye-opener and a gateway to make teachers, who are reluctant to bring innovations to their teaching, change their minds and redirect their teaching toward a more contextualized implementation of the strategies suggested to assist them in enhancing their teaching and their students’ learning. Engaging students in various project work, motivating students in group and pair work, encouraging students to ask questions, making level-appropriate fun as well as engagement, and evolving them into TPS strategies are major roadways to creating a learning environment in large classes.

References:

Cash, C. B., Letarago, J, Graether, S. P., & Jacobs, S. R. (2017). An analysis of the perceptions and resources of large classes university. Life Sciences Education, 16(2).

Cash & Marshall, (2007). Between deep and surface: Procedural approaches to learning in

engineering education contexts. Studies in Higher Education,29:5, 605-615, DOI: 10.

1080/0307507042000261571

Gibbs G. (1996). Using assessment to support student learning. The University of East Anglia.

Filiz, S. (2009). Questions and answer method to ask questions and technical information on the effects of teacher education. Social Sciences Journal of Caucasus University.2.

Jucan, D.A., (2020). Efficient didactic strategies used in students’ teaching practice. Social and Behavioural Sciences.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2003). Beyond methods: Macro strategies for language teaching. Sage.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2005). TESOL methods: Changing tracks, challenging trends. TESOL Quarterly, 40(1), 59-81.

Hess, N. (2006). Teaching large multilevel classes. Cambridge University Press.

Hess, N. (2007). Teaching large multilevel classes. Cambridge University Press.

McCormick, N. J. and et al, (2015). Engaging Students in Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: A Brief Review of the Literature. Journal of Studies in Education. 5(4).

Oxford, R.L. (1990). Language learning strategies: What every teacher should know. Newbury House/Harper &Row.

Rowe, M. (1972). Wait time and rewards as instructional variables: their influence on language, logic and fate control. ERIC No Edo61103.

About Author: Binod Duwadi has earned an MPhil in English language education from Kathmandu University, School of Education. Mr. Buwadi has been a faculty of English at KUSOM and KUSOED. His research interests include ELT in under-resourced contexts, ELT with ICT integration and Multiliteracy pedagogy.

From the Ground Up: Thesis Writing as a Transformation of Academic Skills

Dasarath Rai

Context

During my university studies, the idea of crafting the finest research paper for my master’s consumed my dreams, deeming it the noblest facet of my academic journey. Despite my fascination with the term “thesis,” I initially grappled with a clear understanding of it. It felt akin to envisioning the construction of a cosy dream house or contemplating an ethereal place. However, as the actual process of thesis writing commenced, it proved to be more challenging than anticipated. I posit that this difficulty is the primary reason many master’s students perceive research paper writing as elusive. Some abandon the endeavour, while others procrastinate until the final deadline, attempting to persuade supervisors to accept incomplete papers. There are even instances where students resort to copying others’ work.

This issue has triggered extensive discussions among teachers and academicians, scrutinized and analyzed from a top-down perspective. While existing research on the matter provides valuable insights for students and educators alike, there remains a dearth of students’ narratives detailing their struggles and strategies—an approach from the bottom up. In this article, I aim to offer my perspective on thesis writing, elucidating how I surmounted challenges, conducted research, and presented findings in a methodical and structured manner.

My Experiences with Thesis Writing

Since writing a research paper was entirely new to me, exposure from teachers was crucial to constructing a fundamental concept of academic writing, the writing process, and finding sources. The theories and principles of writing a research paper were challenging. Though I understood the language to some extent, penetrating the content left me with a profound sense of emptiness, causing anxiety. However, determined teachers’ exposure and guidance helped mitigate my struggles. After completing the third semester, I became acquainted with terms like qualitative and quantitative research design, research objectives, questions, literature review, methods, discussion and analysis, findings, and conclusions. Despite this, I lacked the necessary skill to write, making my experience of writing a research proposal akin to a crow in the cloud.

When I began preparing my first proposal, my mind was blank. Determined to start writing, I sat in front of my laptop, appearing confident as if I were embarking on the greatest task ever. My niece, who was reading beside me, sensed my seriousness. Despite fifteen to twenty minutes of pondering, my mind remained empty; not a single word appeared on the laptop screen. Frustration set in as I questioned my competency, growing restless. I began talking to myself, “What the heck! My competency is that I cannot write a sentence. How can I ever write a thesis?” Despite the anxiety, the notorious journey of writing the proposal finally began as follows.

I am sitting on a chair to draft a thesis proposal. My mind remains blank after almost twenty minutes of contemplation. Questions persist: what to write? What? Is it windy outside? I observe the fluttering curtain. The wooden chair I occupy supports me, and on the table, stacks of books stand. As I start jotting down words, a sense of purpose eludes me. Does it make sense? No, it does not. But who cares? Someone might laugh at my writing, unaware that I’m simply venting my frustration with the thesis proposal.

I powered down my laptop and exited the room. For a week, I resisted the urge to write. After that interval, I powered up the laptop and revisited the aforementioned text. Much to my surprise, whatever the text was, it infused me with confidence, evoking a sense of authenticity I hadn’t experienced since my school and college days—excluding exam writing. I felt a sense of pride in my ability to produce something, regardless of its content. This brief text served as motivation, inspiring me to dedicate unwavering effort to articulate my ideas and thoughts on paper. And so, my journey continued…

After two years of continuous effort to write a research paper and unexplainable support from my supervisor, participants, and other teachers, I managed to produce around two hundred pages of a research draft. My supervisor boosted my confidence with the statement, “Rai Bhai, you have a good insight into research work. Research is a process of learning, unlearning, and relearning. How much you’ve learned is sufficient for your level. Now, proceed to the viva. Get ready for the presentation with slides.” His statement filled me with boundless happiness as I felt I had won the battle through rigorous work, and despite his inflexible schedule, my supervisor had done his best to guide me. I still recall him calling me for an online meeting through Zoom around half-past eleven at night.

“Well, Mr. Rai, you are building castles in the air,” said the external supervisor while flipping through the pages of my research work after my presentation. He then prescribed a list of improvements. My mouth went dry with the prescription because I had foolishly convinced myself that no further editing was needed, and my research was a flawless diamond. However, with the remarks of the external supervisor, it seemed no more than a corn husk. I looked at my supervisor with a perplexed expression, and he gestured for me to be patient. It took an additional two months to align with the suggestions of the external supervisor. Eventually, my corn husk received hard binding. I call my research work a husk because I am now unsatisfied with what I wrote back then.

Suggestions for Writing Thesis

Whether the journey is easy or hard, footprints are always left behind. Following someone else’s footprints can make the journey easier. In essence, I would like to share my footprints with readers, especially master’s students preparing to write a thesis and teachers dealing with similar student issues.

How to Explore the Issue of Writing?

Recognizing the problem proves to be the most formidable hurdle for students. In the absence of a precise understanding of the challenges pertinent to their respective disciplines, students encounter a state of paralysis when tasked with writing. Even at the master’s level, numerous students grapple with identifying issues and await guidance from instructors for topic selection. While there is no inherent fault in topics provided by instructors, researching any of them is deemed acceptable. However, my observations indicate that students often encounter difficulty in critically presenting robust arguments, justifications, and references. They frequently lean on the perspectives of others, struggling to independently generate knowledge.

If we analyze the master’s degree theses written so far, the majority of students tend to begin with the historical background of English language teaching in Nepal. For example, “English education was formally introduced by Prime Minister Jang Bahadur Rana. . .” Instead, starting with a statement like, “Representation of cultural identity has become a buzzword in language teaching and learning…” Why does this happen? The answer is simple: students are often not aware of the issues and problems they are going to investigate.

Identifying the issues and problems in writing is a complex task but not impossible. In my case, I explored the issue through interdisciplinary reading and discourses. Students should engage in reading diverse texts and reflecting on their ideas, finding connections between them. Participating in conferences, seminars, and professional discourses can also be beneficial. If students work as teachers, they can easily explore issues in the workplace. For example, they can examine how social constructs hinder a child’s learning or how an English language teacher’s professional ideology influences a child’s learning. Such issues often arise in the workplace. Therefore, issues and problems are around us but require a meticulous study of the situation and context.

Early Bird Catches the Worm

Procrastination can prove detrimental to the writing process. In my case, I immediately started writing even though I didn’t have anything specific to write about. I provided my first proposal without editing, and, as a result, the quality of my writing suffered, as you might expect. Creating a draft allowed me to brainstorm ideas, and I didn’t hesitate to write whatever came to mind, irrespective of spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, or inappropriate vocabulary. During this phase, unfortunately, I resorted to copying others’ ideas and sentences, falsely claiming them as my own. I even copied entire paragraphs without concern for plagiarism, as my primary objective was to acquaint myself with various writing techniques.

One day, I confronted myself with the question of how long I could continue copying and whether I was capable of generating my writing. That pivotal moment became the catalyst for me to gather the courage and embark on crafting my original content. Within a month, I composed a twenty-five-page proposal. Seeking feedback from my teacher, I was met not with mere suggestions for improvement, but rather a barrage of probing questions. Queries such as “What is your intended focus on this topic?” “What drives your motivation to write?” “What objectives do you aim to achieve?” and “How do you envision reaching these objectives?” forced me to reevaluate my approach. In response, I opted for a different topic and resumed my writing endeavours. This early intervention proved crucial; otherwise, I might have succumbed to frustration had I delayed my start.

Autonomous Reading and Writing

At this stage of writing, I began evaluating other research works with questions in mind and a pencil in hand while reading. For instance, how has the author raised the issue? What supporting literature have they mentioned? What methods and procedures have been followed? This process provided me with insights into the methodological aspects of writing.

Regular Follow-up with Supervisor

My strength during thesis writing stemmed from the unwavering support of my supervisor and teachers. I maintained regular communication with them, receiving invaluable step-by-step feedback. Concurrently, I sought guidance from additional teachers, whose input proved instrumental in advancing my writing. One teacher played a pivotal role in helping me formulate insightful questions to delve into the core issues, while two others provided mentorship on formatting, citations, and references. My supervisor played a crucial role in refining various aspects, from polishing my language to structuring ideas within the prescribed framework. Additionally, I received training on methodologies, enhancing the overall quality of my work. This experience underscored the collective effort involved in writing, highlighting the invaluable contribution of academicians.

Post-Thesis Achievements

While pursuing my master’s degree and undertaking the challenging task of thesis writing, I observed that many of my peers regarded it as a mere ritual required for completing their studies, attaching little significance to its relevance in their post-masters life. For them, it became a task that could be completed hastily as the deadline loomed. This perspective not only presented a problem but also posed a threat to the entire academic culture. I share these observations not merely from an analytical standpoint but from my personal experience. By the time I completed my final thesis, I had rewritten and re-edited it twenty-two times—a process similar to churning curd to make ghee. This arduous journey solidified my belief that academic work is inherently sensitive, rigorous, and painstaking.

Discussing my achievement, thesis writing has illuminated the importance of academic writing, a crucial skill for my profession in teaching. As a teacher, effective writing is paramount, and I believe the certificate gains true value when accompanied by essential skills. Evaluating my teaching before and after completing the thesis, I notice a significant difference in my delivery, techniques, and guidance to students—an accomplishment in itself. Additionally, I successfully built relationships with academicians whose support has further fueled my passion for reading and writing. Ultimately, I have developed skills that have granted me both personal and economic freedom.

Conclusion

In conclusion, my experiential insights suggest that authentic transformation frequently necessitates enduring a period of trial. Analogous to the profound metamorphosis undergone by a caterpillar in its transition to a resplendent butterfly, or the ecdysis observed in the skin-shedding process of a snake, an academician is also required to undergo a comparable transformative process. The optimal locus and method for initiating this profound journey of metamorphosis lie in the composition of a master’s thesis.

About the Author: Dasarath Rai teaches English at Ideal Model School, Dhobighat, Lalitpur. He has accomplished a Master’s Degree in English Education from Mahendra Ratna, Campus, Tahachal, Kathmandu. He is interested in teacher professional development, multiculturalism, cultural identity, and materials development in language education.

 

Reflecting the Impact of Local Instructional Materials in Nepali Teacher Education

Sagar Paudel

Context

In this article, I explore the influence of locally and culturally accessible instructional materials in teacher education programs, emphasizing my reflections on their utilization by educators. This investigation stems from my research conducted during the completion of my M.Phil. Degree at Kathmandu University. The primary objective of my study was to examine the use, efficacy, and overall impact of integrating local and culturally available materials in teacher education programs across various universities. This research holds significance as it adds to the discourse on the globalization of education and underscores the importance of culturally sensitive pedagogical approaches.

Locally and Culturally Available Instructional Materials

In the Nepalese context, the availability of locally accessible resources has reshaped the landscape of EFL (English as a Foreign Language) educational materials. Various items, including folktales, traditional melodies, cultural artefacts, and local literature, prove effective in contextualizing subjects related to global language learning in an EFL classroom. Additionally, materials present in the campus library, such as newspapers, magazines, journals, and photos, can be utilized. Official documents released by institutions, such as notices, letters, brochures, and pamphlets, also serve as locally available materials. Teachers can collect photos and short video clips of local working people, and display them in the classroom through multimedia. Items like restaurant menus, stamps, and other local artefacts can further contribute to contextualizing classroom content. These instructional materials provide educators with a significant opportunity to create a vibrant and engaging learning environment

Use and Impact of Instructional Materials

Observing how effectively teachers integrated these materials into the university-prescribed subjects during my research was inspiring. There was a noticeable enhancement in both teacher and student engagement. Teachers reported a stronger connection to the material, enabling them to deliver courses more effectively. The resonance of these materials with their own experiences improved students’ motivation and enthusiasm for studying English in teacher education programs. Not only did locally and culturally relevant teaching materials prove to be valuable assets for language learning, but they also instilled a sense of pride in students for their culture and local environment. Incorporating these resources made the learning process more meaningful by bridging the gap between the local cultural context and the global language of English.

Teachers’ Viewpoints

During interviews with EFL teachers actively utilizing local resources, I observed a strong sense of empowerment and ownership. Recognizing their cultural heritage as a valuable asset in education, these teachers displayed a renewed passion for their work. Many teachers mentioned that incorporating locally relevant resources enhanced their teaching methods and broadened their understanding. They also noted an improvement in their students’ understanding and engagement in teaching-learning activities. Students not only learned English but also gained an understanding of the cultural contexts essential to the language, highlighting the interplay between language and culture. Teachers believed that a strong relationship between language and culture could bring about positive changes in teaching and learning tailored to the needs of the local context.

Relevancy of Locally and Culturally Available Instructional Materials

It is crucial not to overstate the significance of locally and culturally appropriate teaching resources in the Nepalese EFL environment. An increasing number of teachers recognize the importance of preserving and celebrating local cultures in the classroom as education becomes more globalized. The use of native or local resources establishes a connection between the need to preserve local identity and the global demand for English language proficiency. Participant teachers also emphasized the importance of using materials that contextualize global content in local contexts, facilitating effective student learning. Integrating local materials is not just an essential educational strategy but a necessity in a country like Nepal, given its diversity and richness in linguistic and cultural aspects.

My thoughts on Locally and Culturally Materials

The research I conducted serves as a stepping stone to further understanding the importance and relevance of using locally and culturally available assets in teaching-learning activities. My experience as a researcher has been thoughtful and intimate. Witnessing the positive and transformational effects of such instructional resources emphasizes the need for a paradigm shift in educational methods. This has strengthened my belief that learning should be a lively and contextual process, tailored to each student’s specific needs and surroundings. Beyond target language literature, materials from native languages, folklore, cultural heritages, traditions, and locally available resources like newspapers, magazines, journals, brochures, pamphlets, photos, and audio-video clips of local culture and settings have proven to be valuable instructional materials. The universality of cultural significance and contextualization encourages the exploration of similar approaches in various educational conditions worldwide.

However, it’s crucial to acknowledge the challenges that arise when conducting research in the local native context of different communities. Curriculum designers and policymakers should prioritize the incorporation of local and cultural materials in teacher education programs, as teachers are the primary change agents in society. When teachers possess knowledge and pride in local and cultural materials, they are more likely to integrate these resources into the classroom. This, in turn, encourages students to engage in learning as they see their local and cultural context reflected in their studies. Therefore, addressing the need for effective teacher education programs, establishing uniform curriculum guidelines, and constructing a supportive policy framework focused on the use of local and cultural instructional materials is essential.

Finally, a promising avenue for transformative education lies in the use of locally and culturally appropriate instructional materials in EFL teacher education programs in Nepal, as explored in my research. The benefits to educators, learners, and the broader educational landscape underscore how this approach can enhance language learning outcomes and foster cultural pride. I hope that my study contributes to the growing body of knowledge that envisions education as a dynamic, socially conscious enterprise. It serves as a call to action for researchers, educators, and policymakers to collaborate in the ongoing discourse on the direction of language education. The diverse blend of innovation and tradition in the Nepalese context offers inspiration for educators worldwide seeking to create inclusive and culturally relevant learning environments.

About the Author: Sagar Paudel earned an MPhil in English Language Education (ELE), from Kathmandu University, Nepal. Mr. Poudel is an associate professor at Adhikabi Bhanubhakta Campus (TU), Damauli, Nepal. Mr Poudel currently serves as the Head of the Department cum Assistant Campus chief at the Campus.

 

Managing a Chaotic Classroom: A Memoir of an Early Career Teacher

Surendra Prasad Ghimire

Context

I faced challenges in managing an effective, interactive classroom and creating learning atmosphere in my early teaching career as an assistant lecturer of English at Hetauda School of Management and Social Sciences, Nepal. Due to my overconfidence, I used to think that knowing contents of teaching was enough for effective teaching. Therefore, I prepared for the classes by focusing very well on the content of the prescribed English textbooks and allied materials. I mostly used to adopt lecture methods for teaching; therefore, students would receive very little time to interact in the class. On the other hand, students’ seating arrangement, two rows of fixed desks and benches, was designed in a way to facilitate teacher-centered and lecture-based instruction. There was a projector for displaying slides, videos, and other related digital materials in the classroom. There would be an average of fifty undergraduate students in the classroom with proper uniforms. However, the environment of the classroom until the middle of the academic session became chaotic and messy. Therefore, I had to spend a long time systematizing the classroom before beginning the lecture, and time and again I had to stop because of an unpleasant classroom environment. Despite the various attempts to manage the classroom, it remained messy and chaotic. In this narrative , I reflect on how I effectively managed such a noisy and chaotic classroom in the middle of the academic year.

Introduction

In contrast to behaviour management, classroom management is a broader concept that focuses on the management of all the students in the classroom (Stevenson et al., 2020). Classroom management incorporates all the actions of the teachers in constructing the classroom environment to promote students’ academic growth and social behaviour (Velásquez et al., 2023). In addition, effective classroom management encourages the students to obtain maximum benefits from classroom activities and controls the unwanted behaviour of the students in the classroom (Bozkuş, 2021). Therefore, a well-managed classroom has wider implications as it aims to organize an orderly teaching and learning environment to enhance the learning outcomes of classroom activities and promote students’ social relations (Brophy, 1983; Marzano & Marzano, 2003; Shank et al., 2022; Wubbels, 2011). Moreover, some studies reported that managing the classroom at the beginning of the academic session made it easier for teachers to handle the class successfully during an academic session (Emmer et al., 1980; Lopez-Pelcastre, 2023). However, from the beginning of the academic session, I encountered various obstacles in managing a well-organized classroom environment. I found that the students were almost not concentrating in my class. They began making noises in the classroom including personal talks with their friends, which didn’t contribute to the learning vibes in the classroom. Some of the students developed unique ways to disturb the class, such as tapping their shoes on the floor, making a sudden unusual sound etc. Others would zone out, which indicated that they did not have motivation to attend my class.

This situation had been going on for a few months, which made me almost frustrated with the teaching profession. I also did not have personal satisfaction, and even I could not sleep very well at night. Sometimes, these noisy students would bother me even in my dreams. To get rid of this, I read several books about managing the classroom and realized that teaching profession requires numerous qualities to be successful, and having only knowledge about the content of teaching would not be adequate. Then I began pondering how to effectively manage the classroom. And I argue that noisy and chaotic classrooms can be effectively managed by understanding the students properly, reviewing our teaching methods and classroom activities, and receiving feedback from the students even in the middle of the academic session.

Why behind what

Gradually, I began exploring the reasons behind such chaotic and disturbing classrooms through formal and informal communication with the students. Some reported that they were feeling bored because of long lectures, and due to lack of classroom activities, etc. Based on what they shared and my experiences, the following were some of the possible reasons for my classroom mismanagement:

  • The lecture method to deliver the textbook contents made the class monotonous and didn’t give them space to share their ideas in the classroom. They received limited opportunities for questioning and arguments in the classroom.
  • Lack of activities to engage students was another reason as they did not receive an opportunity to construct knowledge by interacting among them. They were limited with my lectures, handouts, and prescribed textbooks.
  • The inability to understand and address students’ interests and passion and merely emphasizing the textbooks.
  • Lack of adopting student-centred teaching methods and adopting teacher-centred approaches. Students had fewer opportunities to interact with each other and had to participate in the classwork on the basis of what I instructed them. They received less opportunities for creative and constructive activities in the classroom; instead, they became passive listeners.

Ways Forward

By exploring the actual reasons behind classroom mismanagement, I transformed the ways of teaching, focusing on student-centred teaching approaches. The following were the ways forward to overcome the problems of mismanagement in my classroom:

Establishing Friendly Relationships with Students

I established friendly relationships with the students by properly understanding them and respecting their ideas. I spent adequate time listening to their responses about their various issues within the classroom and outside the classroom, such as in the interval time, in the canteen, library, etc. Gradually, I realized that establishing better relationships with students supported my ability to receive feedback from the students and ultimately assisted in transforming the classroom into a more interactive learning space. In addition, such relationships helped the students develop a positive attitude toward each other and provided enough room for understanding. As a result, I found greater participation of students in classroom activities and a change in their attitude toward being more positive, supportive, and collaborative inside and outside the classroom. Consequently, the previous noisy and chaotic classroom disappeared instead; a more interactive, collaborative, and learning classroom appeared with the positive vibration of exploring insightful information both in me and the students. In addition, I found that such friendly relationships with the students established a solid foundation of academic excellence and transformed the students into more responsible individuals for their work. However, I found that very few of the students attempted to misuse such friendly relations by involving themselves in the debate out of context in the classroom and making various excuses about their classroom activities and home assignments.

Teaching with Fun

I transformed my ways of teaching by focusing on various approaches such as discussion, interaction, collaboration, presentation, argumentation, and so forth. I minimized my long, monotonous lecture method and focused on mini-lectures if they were required. As a result, students began participating in learning activities as I promoted group discussion, sharing, interaction, and collaboration in the classroom. I formed some groups in the classroom to have discussions on various issues related to solving the problems. From the few days’ practice, the majority of the students learned to be engaged in classroom activities and developed their power of patience by waiting their turn and respecting each other’s ideas. In addition, I blended some sort of humour into the classroom by cracking jokes and sharing some real and imaginative stories if I realized students were feeling bored. Moreover, I began to display English videos associated with ongoing classroom discussions that assisted me in creating an interesting learning environment in the classroom by boosting their English language power and providing fun for them. Teaching with fun with the support of various videos and sharing jokes and stories in the classroom helped me energize the students for learning by involving them in various classroom activities instead of making unnecessary noises. These findings, to some extent, aligned with the study of MacSuga-Gage et al. (2012), who claimed that effective teaching helped manage the classroom.

Individual Care for the Students in the Classroom

I found various kinds of students in the classroom with unique manners and ways of learning. I began to think about them, particularly focusing on how to motivate them in classroom activities. I started individually supporting the students, mainly selecting those who rarely participated in classroom activities. Instead of staying in the same place in the classroom, I visited individual students, particularly during classroom activities, which helped me understand the real problems of the students. During such visits, students asked even simple problems that they could not ask in the mass (perhaps they feared that their friends would laugh at them). Such practices assisted me in developing personal relationships with the students, which ultimately contributed to managing the classroom. As I began supporting them, they also became supportive in the classroom. They started listening to my instructions and following the procedures of the activities without disturbing the entire learning environment in the classroom. In addition, I prepared their individual portfolios, which helped me understand the students better and helped them in the classroom. Ultimately, such individual care in the classroom assisted the students to be more proactive and interactive in classroom activities, which gradually supported me in transforming the previously chaotic and noisy classroom into a more innovative and interactive space.

Conclusion

Establishing friendly relationships with students and teaching with fun and individual care for the students in the classroom, as discussed above helped me in creating an effective learning environment in my classroom. Pondering over the mismanagement of the classroom, receiving feedback from the students, and transforming the classroom teaching and learning process accordingly contributed to solving the problems of mismanagement in the classroom. As a result, my noisy, chaotic classroom gradually turned into innovative, interactive, collaborative classroom.

References

Bozkuş, K. (2021). A systematic review of studies on classroom management from 1980 to 2019. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 13(4). https://doi.org/10.26822/iejee.2021.202

Brophy, J. E. (1983). Classroom organization and management. The elementary school journal, 83(4), 265-285.

Emmer, E. T., Evertson, C. M., & Anderson, L. M. (1980). Effective classroom management at the beginning of the school year. The Elementary School Journal, 80(5), 219-231.

Lopez-Pelcastre, A. (2023). The influence of classroom management on student learning and behavior in the classroom.

MacSuga-Gage, A. S., Simonsen, B., & Briere, D. E. (2012). Effective teaching practices: Effective teaching practices that promote a positive classroom environment. Beyond Behavior, 22(1), 14-22. https://doi.org/org/10.1177/107429561202200104

Marzano, R. J., & Marzano, J. S. (2003). The key to classroom management. Educational Leadership, 61(1), 6-13.

Shank, M. K., Santiague, L., & ideas. (2022). Classroom management needs of novice teachers. The Clearing House, 95(1), 26-34. https://doi.org/org/10.1080/00098655.2021.2010636

Stevenson, N. A., VanLone, J., & Barber, B. R. (2020). A commentary on the misalignment of teacher education and the need for classroom behaviour management skills. Education Treatment of Children, 43(4), 393-404. https://doi.org/org/10.1007/s43494-020-00031-1

Velásquez, A. M., Mendoza, D. F., & Nanwani, S. K. (2023). Becoming a competent classroom manager: A case study of a preservice teacher education course. Teaching Education, 34(2), 147-169. https://doi.org/org/10.1080/10476210.2022.2048646

Wubbels, T. (2011). An international perspective on classroom management: What should prospective teachers learn? Teaching Education, 22(2), 113-131. https://doi.org/org/10.1080/10476210.2011.567838

About the Author: Surendra Prasad Ghimire is an MPhil Scholar at Nepal Open University, Nepal, and a Lecturer of English at a QAA-certified college, Hetauda School of Management and Social Sciences, Makwanpur, Nepal.

My Experience as a Motivator in my Teaching Career

   Sangeeta Basnet

I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.’’ ~ Lily Tomlin

As a teacher, every day I enter the class, I feel like it is my first day in my teaching career. I have been teaching for more than 13 years. My greatest inspiration is my father who served at the same private school in India for 25 years. I sense that I have inherited strong qualities from him for instance, to motivate the students, listen to them and help them with some suggestions. Back in my childhood days, I used to hear lots of stories about students’ lives and problems shared through my father and how he supported them throughout. Back then I didn’t really focus on those stories much, but now as a teacher, I am experiencing the need for motivation in my students. Along with being a great motivator for his students, my father was also strict in his principles. As time changes, the way of teaching method also changes. However, the role of a teacher as a motivator for students always remains the same. Students’ life is not only limited to their academic achievements, they are to be prepared for their lives.

One of the most significant aspects of a student’s educational experience is their academic performance, which is determined by a variety of psychological factors that might create an impact on their cognitive, emotional, and behavioural functioning. Among those psychological factors, motivation is one of the most important psychological variables that might affect student performance.

Motivation is what pushes them to participate in learning activities, finish their assignment and be prepared for their future. It is one of the psychological factors that affect students’ performance. Firstly, most of the students’ lives are full of chaos since the widespread pandemic has left many negative effects on their lives. Secondly, they are unable to set up a fixed goal for themselves and they are easily distracted by common factors. Lastly, their attention span and patience level are very low and they are hardly able to possess a determined mindset.

A real-life example of this is one of my students who had been affected in her academic performance due to a lack of motivation. Before the pandemic, she was one of the top ten students in her class. She was not only good at academics but was extremely creative. We were very satisfied and impressed with her creativity. She was a happy and lively child. During the lockdown, we weren’t able to meet physically and we were obligated to conduct the online classes. It seemed everything was going well during the online classes. However, when the physical classes resumed, I noticed a drastic change in her behaviour. I felt that it was because of the gap in which we were not able to keep in touch with students’ activities during online classes.

Last year, she was in grade 8. I was her English teacher. The charm on her face, her lively and radiant personality and her curiosity to learn new things were no longer visible on her face. I noticed but waited until the result of the first terminal examination. When I saw the result, I was stunned to see that her performance was not as good as before. The next day, I decided to have a conversation with her parents. Unfortunately, they didn’t come to school to meet me. After two days, I called her in my leisure period and had a talk with her. At first, she was reluctant to share her feelings with me. She gave me a fake smile and told me that she would try her level best in the upcoming examinations. I knew that she was hiding something from me and felt uncomfortable to share it. I reminded her about the days when she was very cheerful, ready to take part in all extracurricular activities and make us happy with her creative work on various occasions. Her eyes were filled with tears. And she wept in front of me. My intention wasn’t to hurt her but to help her. She revealed her family issues, which demotivated her to do anything related to her studies and all. Her family environment wasn’t favourable enough for her to concentrate on her studies well. Her family issues started during the pandemic. She loved to come to school every day, meet her friends and teachers. However, she wasn’t able to concentrate on her studies. I talked to her for around 30 minutes that day and asked her to go to class.

I discussed her issue with my colleagues and came up with many solutions to motivate her and to recover her own position on academics from that day on. In my class, I encouraged my students in various ways for at least five minutes before I start teaching. Furthermore, I managed to engage her in creative activities during the leisure time. She is interested in painting, journaling and crafting. I encouraged her to present some decorative articles for classroom decorations. I felt that other students might also be going through similar situations. I tried to build a strong rapport with everybody, sometimes communicated with them casually about their problems and made them feel comfortable to start conversations with me. I became a friendly figure for my students and they were comfortable sharing their concerns. Besides studies, I came to know that students’ achievement was affected by various psychological factors which provoked me to adoption of different ways to motivate my students and assist them to solve their problems for at least five minutes during my class.

After 2 months, I noticed that the previous charm and the similar curiosity that she possessed before had thread recovered. From that time to time, I talked to her and made her feel at ease and motivated her. Sometimes, I spent my classes just listening to them. I felt that being a teacher, my responsibility won’t be complete if I am unable to motivate my students and help them to overcome various obstacles in life. The girl came to her original position and she was very happy with the small efforts that I made for her. She started to show her good performance in studies and other aspects. I was very happy and felt like my small efforts helped my student to recognize her talent and to regain her academic success.

Now the girl is in Grade 9 and luckily, I am her class teacher. She is very happy to be in my section. On that day, I learnt a great lesson that a teacher’s responsibility is not just limited to teaching a class. The greatest achievement in a teacher’s life is when they are able to make a difference in their lives. I have learnt to motivate the learners from my father and am always determined to prepare for a better future. This is one of my best experiences that I will never forget in my life. Various students are often impacted by many psychological factors that affect them academically. As the teaching-learning process is a continuous process, I should continue to explore the problems of my students and the ways to help them overcome their difficulties which keeps them to achieve their best performance in academic achievement.

To conclude, I experienced myself as a motivator besides an English language teacher in my teaching career by understanding the psychological problems of my students which were invisible to me that caused deterioration in academic performance. My father’s experiences assisted me to play the role of an effective motivator. To elevate the academic performance of my students, I played the role of a motivator.  To motivate my students, I analyzed the problems of my students, heard their past stories, communicated with the parents and teachers and created a favourable learning space for the students. I strongly suggest all the parents and teachers make a healthy environment for them to share their problems, hear their past stories, and always encourage and inspire them to do better in their academics. As a teacher, let’s give students something more to think about at home than just burdening them with homework.

About the Author: Sangeeta Basnet is an English Language Teacher. She has been teaching English for more than 10 years. Currently. She is serving in one of the renowned private schools in Birtamode. She holds a Master’s degree from Manipur University, India. She is a life member of NELTA and STFT. Her professional interests include teaching strategies used in ELT classes.

English Teachers’ Experiences on Learner-Centered Teaching Pedagogy

Tripti Chaudhary

Abstract

The article entitled ‘English Teachers’ Experiences on Learner-Centered Teaching Pedagogy’ attempts to explore the narratives of English language teachers on learner-centred teaching pedagogy. The information for this study was gathered through interviews with three English teachers teaching at the secondary level in a  public school. The findings revealed that English language teachers have shifted their teaching pedagogy from the grammar-translation method to task-based language teaching pedagogy and teachers have effectively focused on the child-centered method with the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools.

Keywords Grammar translation, ICT, learning, narrative, pedagogy

Introduction

I remember the days when I was a student at the secondary level. My English teacher used to teach us to translate the text from English to Nepali and used to make us memorize the text as they were. I, along with my colleagues, used to have a hard time memorizing the text and, in some contexts, we had a hard time understating the texts even though they were translated into Nepali and mother tongue. Despite the hardships in learning and understanding the text, with the same practice, I overcame the iron gate, School Leaving Certificate (SLC) with good marks. I was expecting a shift in the teaching methodology in higher education. However, my expectations were ruined as the tradition of translation was reiterated there as well. It seemed that English was never understood without translation. English was never taught in English and the same traditional method was introduced, practised, and internalized. Later as a teacher, I applied the same method for a long. I made the students memorize the text, translate it into the mother language, and so on. Due to that reason, I still feel reluctant and anxious while speaking with others in the English language. In the very beginning of teaching language, the grammar-translation method was applied rigorously but was criticized due to its limitations (Richards & Rodgers, 2010).

But, from the very day of the beginning of my classes at M.Phil., I realized the differences in the teaching-learning environment. I found out how learning is to be transferred and how teaching is to be placed. I witnessed a drastically different role from the Professors. Every time readiness of the Professor, the use of ICT in the classroom, the use of different teaching and learning materials, and the appropriate teaching approach and methods such as Communicative Language Teaching, Cooperative Language Learning, and Task-Based Language Teaching approach fascinated me to engage more in the classroom practices and transfer the skills to my classes.  Henceforth, in this scenario, I feel that this is a pertinent issue to explore how do English teachers narrate their teaching approach now and then? I decided to carry out a mini-research by incorporating the narration of teachers on how language teaching pedagogy has changed from the past to the present.

In the context of the changing pedagogy, the roles of the teachers also change.  English language teachers need to play various roles to dig out students’ hidden knowledge and the overall development of the students. They are supposed to play the role of facilitator, mentor, role model, information provider, resource developer, planner, assessor, etc. (Sapkota, 2017). The teachers’ roles depend on teaching pedagogy, which plays a crucial role to impact on the learning outcomes of students.

Methodology

Teachers’ stories themselves can be better resources for language teaching pedagogy. Verifying this,  Richards (2002) advocates that teachers’ pedagogical knowledge can be enhanced through teachers’ stories themselves. Similarly,  Anam et al. (2020) claimed that teachers are different in their actions, reactions, strategies, and decisions because they have different values, beliefs, cultures, and experiences. Therefore, they are stores of knowledge and skill. With this fact, I carried out this research and tried to dig out their stories.

This research is a small-scale study of the English teacher’s experiences with learner-centred teaching pedagogy. This is qualitative research, comprising the narrative inquiry method.  Qualitative research is to get a subjective response from participants; hence, semi-structured open-ended questions were employed for the interview. Purposively, I selected three English teachers of secondary level from a public school in Pokhara, who have more than 10 years of teaching experience. Then, I took consent from each participant before conducting the research. Finally, I explored the stories of the teachers and developed themes based on their narratives.

Data Analysis

I took interviews and recorded the participants’ voices on the device. The teachers namely, Mr. Light, Mrs. Ray, and Mr. Shree (pseudo names) participated in the interview. Finally, based on the information collected from the teachers, I drew themes and findings of the study.

Findings

This section presents the discussion and results of the study under three broad themes.

Teaching Learning Pedagogy

The participants had a great memory of the grammar-translation method in their student’s life. The grammar translation method is based on learning grammar rules and vocabulary. Grammar is taught with explanation in the native language and is only later applied in the production of sentences through translation from one language to another (Rahman, 2012).  In response to the question, how did you learn English, and which method did your English teacher apply in your class?  Mr Shree shared,

The teacher used to teach us English, translate text from English to Nepali, and write rules and structure of grammar on the blackboard, like; s+v+obj… um, and we students would rote the rule of tenses, articles, prepositions etc., and apply it for making a sentence.

As a learning experience, Mr. Shree learned English through the GT method and grammar was the major factor in learning English.  However, the participants indicated the change that they have been experiencing regarding teaching-learning pedagogy.

 The participants mentioned various innovative ideas including task-based language teaching  Task-based language teaching is an approach to language teaching that provides opportunities for students to engage in the authentic use of the target language through tasks. As the principal component in Task-based Language Teaching (TBLT), the task provides the main context and focus for learning, and it encourages language use similar to the way language is used outside of the classroom (Kim & Douglas, 2014). Mr. Light curiously revealed his experience,

I am using student centre activities which are very important for students because they get involved and try to give their ideas. Most often the time, I like engaging them in project work, puzzles, and information collection on related topics. They enjoy a lot with their work. Umm, I still remember that one day, I gave them writing a biography of a renowned person in the world, in that case, they searched name list of popular singers, dancers, poets, and players and wrote about them interestingly. They made me surprised because I had never heard about renowned people from different backgrounds.

As an expression, Mr. Light keeps students at the centre of learning and plays the role of advisor, mentor, and facilitator of students’ tasks. The finding re-verifies the research finding by Bhandari (2020) and also highlights that today’s teacher role has tremendously undergone various changes.

Role of ICT in Language Teaching Pedagogy

The use of contemporary technology in teaching languages has been intensely growing over the past decades worldwide (Warner 2004 as in cited Khatiwada, 2018). It has brought significant change in the teaching and learning styles of teachers and students. Every sector of our life is influenced by ICT. In the same way, English language teaching is also affected by rapid growth in the use of ICT in Nepal.  The use of ICT in the classroom has changed the roles of students and teachers. In this scenario, Mr. Light eagerly offered his experience and said,

 My students easily can learn the vocabulary from online sources and the exact pronunciation of words. By using Google, they create poems, write essays on different topics, and make project works from different reading materials.

The story of Mr Light revealed that the use of ICT has been found to assist students in assessing digital information efficiently and effectively since it is used by students to discover learning topics. In the same line, Moubtassime (2021) claimed that the use of ICT help them avoid the problem of pronunciation and grammar issue.

Similarly, Mrs. Ray said, “I use YouTube for teaching listening and speaking skills by relating with topic based on the syllabus”.

It means there are various online platforms where students can practice and learn the language.  Lee (2000) focuses on the importance of claiming it as a key factor in enhancing the learners’ motivation for language development and linguistic proficiency. In conclusion, it is believed that the internet facilitates teachers to find new ideas, new techniques, and ways of teaching that assist in their teaching profession. Internet is helping them for creating a child-centred classroom. Hence, the use of ICT in the language classroom seemed to be very beneficial to both students and teachers.

Language Proficiency

Learning is the process of acquiring and understanding new knowledge, behaviour, skills, and values but language learning is defined as developing the ability to communicate in a second and foreign language. My participants narrated their experience in response to the question- how do you compare your students’ learning achievement and your own? Mr Light explored his experience of the past, “In our school age, learning was content-based, so we were able to say exact answers according to the expectation of the teacher.” In the same line, Izadinia (2009) asserts that years ago teachers were considered unquestioned authorities who were responsible for delivering knowledge to students, and students, in turn, were doomed to listening (p.7). But, on the other hand, in recent periods, teachers have had different experiences than their own students’ life, so, Mrs Ray shared

Students nowadays are more fast and smart than teachers, sometimes in connection with the internet, they already get information and knowledge before getting formal classes.

From the above-mentioned explanation learning achievement is relatively different when compared to past and present. The curriculum is also designed differently based on communicative skills thus students of the past seemed good at content whereas students of the present have good proficiency in the English language and they have good knowledge of ICT as well. Moreover, they can also use this tool for searching relevant learning materials.

Discussion

The study has traced the major trends in English language pedagogy from the past to the present. The grammar translation method was the dominant teaching approach in the Nepalese context. Teachers utilized only textbooks as the best learning resource. They did not have access to  ICT even though it could stimulate learning motivation through collaborative learning and also improve learning efficiency. The use of ICT in language teaching promotes students’ motivation and learning interest in the English language (Ghimire, 2019). Due to this reason and the demand of the situation, teachers have gradually changed their teaching pedagogy and have applied different teaching approaches for the betterment of students. The stories of participants revealed that they have applied a task-based language teaching approach which promotes students’ engagement in the classroom.  It has created a comfortable language learning environment and students love to use the English language with their friends and teachers (Bhandari, 2020).

Moreover, ICT is playing a crucial role in English language teaching where the internet is the most available, flexible, practical way and a treasure of vast knowledge, teachers are utilizing it for the purpose of meaningful classrooms and developing good communication skills. Thus, in this changing pedagogy of teaching, teachers are providing a great number of learning activities as mentioned above, and opportunities for students to communicate in the target language. The internet facilitates teachers to find new ideas, new techniques, and ways of teaching that assist in their teaching profession. With this, they can create a child-centred classroom.

Conclusion

The study revealed that the grammar-translation method used in language teaching and learning has been shifted. It has been replaced by the task-based language teaching approach where teachers want their students to use the ICT tools and engage themselves while learning. Student-centered learning is more focused these days where they learn in their self-paced learning environment. Teachers have also been transformed from dictators to facilitators where learning is placed at the center rather than the subject matters.

References

Alfadley, A., Aladani, A., & Alnwaiem, A. (2020). The qualities of effective teachers in elementary government schools from the perspective of EFL elementary teachers. International Journal of English Language Teaching, ECRTD, UK. 1, 49-64.

Bhandari, L.P. (2020). A task-based language teaching approach: A current EFL approach. Australian International Academic Centre.

Ghimire, N. B. (2019). Five facets for effective English language teaching. Journal of NELTA Gandaki.

Izadinia, M. (2009). Critical pedagogy: An introduction. In P. Wachob (Ed.), Power in the classroom: critical pedagogy in the Middle East. Cambridge Scholars Publication, 7-16.

Khatiwada, K. P. (2018). Online engagement for developing writing in English: perception of teachers and learners. Kathmandu University.

Kim, M., & Douglas, S. R. (2014). Task-Based Language Teaching and English for Academic Purposes: An Investigation into Instructor Practice in Canadian Context. TESL, Canada.

Lee, K. W. (2000). Energizing the ESL/EFL Classroom through Internet activities.

Moubtssime, H. H. M. (2021). The use of ICT in learning English: A study of students in Moroccan University. SAR Journal, 4(1), 19-28

Rahman, M. (2012). Grammar translation method: An effective and feasible method in Bangladesh context. Department of English and Humanities. BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Richards, J.C. (2002). Teachers’ narrative inquiry as professional development. Cambridge University Press.

Richards, J. C. & Rodgers, T. S. (2010). Approaches and methods in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sapkota, K. P. (2017). EFL teachers’ readiness in the secondary classroom: A narrative inquiry. Kathmandu University.

About the Author:   Ms Tripti Chaudhary is pursuing an M.Phil. in English language education at Kathmandu University. She has been working as a Program Coordinator in an International Non-Government Organization in Finland Nepal. She has been working in different INGOs for a decade to contribute her knowledge and skills in the education field. The areas of my interest include teacher professional development, parental education, and research in different areas.

Inspiration to Transformation: My Academic Odyssey

Dammar Singh Saud

Introduction

Growing up in a middle-class family with five siblings, my formative years were shaped by the love and care of my elders, instilling in me a sense of confidence and freedom. Among them, my father emerged as the most influential figure, guiding me with his hard work and selfless values. As I reflect on my educational journey and professional life, I realize how my father’s schooling continues to resonate, impacting my academic pursuits and shaping me into an educator who seeks to inspire and transform the lives of others.

The Enduring Legacy of My Father: Inspiring Values in My Academic Journey

Growing up in a modest family in the Baitadi district, my father’s determination, love for education, and selflessness left an indelible impact on my values, beliefs, and personal growth.

Despite their humble circumstances, my father’s family recognized the transformative power of education, impressing upon him the importance of prioritizing learning for a brighter future. Embracing this wisdom, he excelled academically and obtained top honours in the Kanchanpur district, the western part of Nepal. Working part-time to support his further studies, he completed B.Ed. in mathematics from Tribhuvan University, Nepal, and devoted over 36 years to teaching secondary-level mathematics in rural areas.

My father’s life experiences taught me the value of hard work, honesty, and unwavering determination to achieve my goals. His struggles also instilled in me a sense of gratitude for the opportunities I have today. His most profound lesson, however, was selflessness, his unwavering dedication to his family and society left an indelible impression on my character. As I pursued my academic journey, my father’s influence continued to guide me. Although my circumstances were more privileged, his lessons taught me that diligence and integrity make success possible.

His teachings not only shaped me as a good person but also as an authentic individual. I am determined to pass these invaluable lessons to my future family and students. With his enduring legacy as my compass, I seek to inspire and transform lives, just as my father has done throughout his remarkable journey.

Empowerment Through Education: A Personal Academic Journey

My academic journey commenced at home, where my family played the role of my first teachers, introducing me to alphabet belts and basic numbers. Though I began my formal education in a government school like my siblings, I had the privilege of studying in private (boarding) school (first in my family). This choice garnered public attention and prestige in our village, underscoring the value of education.

During my primary education, I excelled in memorization-based learning, securing top positions in my class. However, the system of rote learning limited my true understanding of the subjects. Shifting to government education posed initial challenges due to larger and more diverse classes, but I adapted over time, benefiting from a more flexible learning environment, albeit lacking student-centred approaches.

Upon completing my SLC, I went to Nainital India for my I.Sc., however I realized that my I.Sc. didn’t align with my interests, and faced language difficulties and homesickness. My family, understanding my predicament gave me the freedom to decide my academic path, leading me back to Mahendranagar, my hometown.

Embracing my interest in English, I pursued I.A. with English as my major subject. My academic journey continued rapidly, culminating in a B.A. with a major in English from Mahendranagar. My pursuit of higher education led me to Kathmandu, where I completed my M.A. in English literature from the central department of English in Kirtipur, achieving a first division. During my master’s studies, I harboured aspirations of becoming a police officer, inspired by the bold heroes of Hindi movies. However, my passion for teaching gradually surfaced, steering me away from the police force.

In this journey, education has played a pivotal role in empowering me intellectually. It provided me with knowledge, skills, and critical thinking abilities, enabling me to navigate various academic pursuits successfully. Furthermore, education has empowered me economically by opening doors to career opportunities and professional growth, allowing me to contribute meaningfully to society.

Education also fosters social empowerment, equipping me with the ability to share knowledge, mentor others, and contribute to the transformation of education in Nepal. Through my role as an educator, I have had the privilege of training teacher educators, presenting research papers at national and international conferences, and integrating innovative teaching strategies with ICT in language classrooms.

As I reflect on my academic journey, I recognize that education has been the key to my empowerment in multiple dimensions. Not only has it enriched my personal and professional life, but it has also instilled a deep sense of responsibility to empower others through the dissemination of knowledge and a commitment to transformative education.

Empowering Teaching Through Innovative Integration of ICT

As I embarked on my teaching journey at Darchula Multiple Campus, Khalanga, Darchula, Nepal in 2009 after completing my M.A. in English Literature from Tribhuvan University, I initially questioned whether teaching would become my true passion and profession. Not having an ELT background, my first experiences in university-level ELT classes left me feeling somewhat apprehensive. However, the positive responses and appreciation from both students and colleagues ignited a newfound enjoyment in teaching, leading me to realize that teaching was indeed my passion.

To improve my teaching skills and enhance my expertise in English Language Education further, I pursued a one-year B.Ed. and M.Ed. from Tribhuvan University. Determined to stay up to date with the latest pedagogy and educational technologies, I delved into integrating ICT into my ELT classrooms. The availability of ICT infrastructure, including computer labs, laptops, projectors, multimedia smart boards, and internet facilities, provided valuable tools to enrich the teaching and learning process.

The integration of ICT, though initially challenging, proved to be a motivating force in my teaching practices. Participating in various training sessions, workshops, webinars, and conferences, and learning from online resources like YouTube videos, I gradually adapted to using ICT more effectively in language classrooms. My colleagues often sought technical support from me when incorporating educational software such as MS Teams and Zoom during the transition to online classes amidst the pandemic.

Witnessing my students’ satisfaction and a keen interest in my classes further fueled my motivation to innovate in teaching by strategically incorporating ICT. A significant incident that highlights this impact occurred on 5th July 2021 when I was allowed to conduct ICT training for my colleagues at Far Western University Darchula Multiple Campus Khalanga Darchula. The training focused on using MS Team for upcoming online classes, and it became evident that many faculty members lacked familiarity with ICT in education. Their enthusiasm to learn and improve their ICT practices was inspiring. Guiding them through the basic functionalities of MS Team, such as creating class schedules, adding students as members, conducting quizzes, and facilitating group discussions, the session proved to be both engaging and fruitful, garnering appreciative comments from the participants and the dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Despite facing challenges within the academic environment and culture, where well-performing teachers are sometimes undervalued or discriminated against based on political affiliations, I have remained steadfast in fulfilling my professional duties honestly and responsibly. The support and belief from my family, friends, and students have been instrumental in sustaining my resilience.

Through the transformative power of education and the innovative integration of ICT, my passion for teaching has flourished, empowering me intellectually and professionally. Beyond my personal growth, I aspire to be an agent of change, promoting the meaningful use of ICT in education and contributing to the advancement of the educational landscape in Nepal.

M.Phil. at Kathmandu University as a Gateway for Transformation

I decided to pursue an MPhil in English language education from Kathmandu University with the unwavering support and encouragement from my family, friends, and students. Their belief in my abilities and the significance of advancing my academic journey propelled me to seek an institution that would catalyze personal growth and transformation. In this esteemed institution, I got amazing mentors, whose mentorship equipped me with both theoretical knowledge and practical competencies, instilling in me the confidence to implement cutting-edge teaching strategies and adapt to the ever-evolving needs of my future students. Through their guidance, I deepened my understanding of English language education and acquired the necessary skills to become a proficient teacher for 21st-century learners. Engaging in teacher professional development activities, I was exposed to innovative teaching methods, educational technologies, and effective pedagogical approaches that are most relevant in today’s dynamic classroom environments.

Furthermore, the vibrant academic environment at Kathmandu University fostered a strong sense of community among fellow students. Collaborative projects, discussions, and academic events enriched my learning experience and provided me with diverse perspectives on educational practices. This supportive network of peers and colleagues further contributed to my personal and professional growth, creating a nurturing environment for exploration and intellectual development.

During my M.Phil. journey at Kathmandu University, I experienced a profound personal transformation and achieved notable professional growth. Embracing innovative teaching strategies, I contributed to the academic field through publications and disseminated knowledge to a broader audience. Additionally, my academic journey extended into teacher education and research, as I provided training and presented research papers at national and international conferences, contributing to the advancement of Nepal’s education system. This transformation has empowered me with the confidence to foster positive change and cultivate a passion for learning among future generations.

Summing up

My academic journey has been a transformative experience, catalyzed by the influence of my father’s dedication to education and selflessness. From the early years of learning at home to my pursuit of higher education at Kathmandu University, I have been intellectually and professionally empowered. By integrating innovative teaching methods and ICT in the language classroom, I have witnessed heightened student engagement and satisfaction. This journey has also enabled me to contribute actively to the field through my publications and knowledge-sharing endeavours with fellow educators. Supported by the unwavering belief of my family, friends, and students, I am determined to leverage the transformative power of education, creating a positive impact on the lives of students, and fostering progress within Nepal’s education landscape as I continue to evolve as an educator and researcher.

About the Author: Dammar Singh Saud is an assistant professor at Far Western University, Nepal. He holds an M.A. in English Literature and an M.Ed. in English Language Education. Currently pursuing an MPhil in English Language Education at Kathmandu University, his research interests include ELT Pedagogy, ICT in ELT, Teacher Professional Development, and Translanguaging.

Students’ Feedback and Teachers Support to Advance Teaching Practices: A Teacher’s Reflection

Dasarath Rai

Over the decades, we have witnessed a different shift in the principles and methods of language teaching. The key concern behind such a move is to appease and address the need of the learners and make them achieve the desired linguistic competency. However, the ideologies of language teaching prescribed to us so far have proven to be contextually irrelevant. According to Kumaravadivelu (2003), “classroom-oriented studies carried out in the last two decades show that teachers could not be successful in putting the methods into practice in real classroom situations.” These findings have encouraged teachers to innovate their own practices and generate theories beyond what was prescribed, and grow as independent, autonomous, and reflective practitioners.

Throughout my six-year tenure as an English teacher in a private school in Kathmandu, I have encountered numerous pivotal moments in my classroom that have served as beacons of enlightenment, guiding me toward creating my own teaching methods rather than merely adhering to prescribed principles and methods. I think principles perform perfectly for scientific experiments, however; language teaching and learning necessitate a more adaptable and fluid approach. In this regard, every language teacher becomes a reservoir of principles, possessing a comprehension of learners’ unique needs, context, and intended objectives.

My journey towards transformative teaching commenced with a fundamental shift in perspective, prioritizing the needs of my students. This shift was prompted by the realization that my own educational background had conditioned me to cater solely to the expectations of my teachers, fostering the belief that they were the absolute source of knowledge. As a result, my teaching endeavors were driven by what I knew and what I desired to impart.

Nevertheless, the awakening of my conscience compelled me to recognize the inadequacy of this approach in the capital city, where students are inundated with abundant information and varied sources of knowledge. In this regard, I realized that introspection and self-evaluation are key to cultivating insights and intuition for relearning and unlearning.

Evaluating teacher from students’ bench

Knowing students’ attitudes, beliefs, and interest is quite rewarding for a teacher. Therefore, I decided to collect students’ feedback. The rationale behind gathering their feedback was: to critically evaluate my teaching methods from students’ vantage points, make learning more engaging and students centered, and find out the flaws which unconsciously go unnoticed in the classroom.

To achieve my objectives, I told students to write their feedback on the paper. I urged them not to show their write-ups to their friends. It is because I wanted to dig out personal opinions from them.

I collected students’ opinions from three sections. I took their feedback home and read it thoroughly. I divided the feedback into two groups. Positive feedback is one pile, and constructive feedback is another. I read all the constructive feedback twice and analyzed whether they had been true to their words or not, whether they had any personal influence and any prejudice or not. Then I picked up some of the common feedback, which really required my attention. One common feedback was that “You give us some contextual knowledge but extend it to dull and boring lectures.” This is what the teacher-centered approach is, where the teacher keeps on talking, and students become just passive listeners.

No matter whether students perceive it or not. As a result, students feel bored, unenviable, and exhausted. They don’t get time to exchange their personal thoughts, feeling, and ideas with teachers and their friends. At the same time, the teacher also becomes exhausted by screaming throughout the day and trudging home disconsolately due to students’ reaction of disappointment in his or her class. It indicated that high school students want specific information from the teacher instead of rattling off all the information he or she knows. It is particularly due to their age, level, and experiences in the real world. The next feedback read, “We feel your focus on only some students. So focus equally on all the students and promote students’ participation in class” I understood that it was the voice of those students who did not get the opportunity to participate in different activities in the classroom despite their talents. As a result, they felt socially distanced and emotionally detached in my class. At the same time, it was the question of equity in learning. In this regard, Ling, Nasri, & N. M. (2019) define “equity means that students should have equal opportunities to achieve their optimal abilities without being restricted by their community background or dispositional characteristics.” In my case, equity denoted scaffolding to especially those learners who have poor linguistic performances and cannot learn at the pace of other students in my subject. The aforementioned feedback enlightened me that treating all students equally regarding content delivery and teaching language skills is unjustifiable in a heterogeneous classroom setting.

Response to students’ feedback

The students’ feedback revealed that they wanted to activate themselves mentally and physically in the classroom. They wanted to listen less and engage more in activities that could be productive, meaningful, and interesting. I pondered the best strategies and materials that could equally engage the students in learning. While doing so, I discovered that our teaching and learning activities are limited when we fully depend on textbooks. Therefore, I did not fully rely on the textbook but prepared different materials and worksheets for teaching all four language skills. For reading activities, I created worksheets that were intellectually challenging. Students had to fully comprehend the text to do the activities to develop intensive reading skills, and the activities given in the prescribed textbook were below students’ level.

Regarding speaking activities, I used-cut outs consisting of clear guidelines for speaking. I designed the materials in such a way that students had to brainstorm for two to three minutes on the topic before they spoke. The guidelines helped them to maintain coherence in speaking. This activity helped me in two ways: one exciting part was I could maximize students speaking, and another was I could engage them in a meaningful talk. I assume that speaking should not only be commotion for students, but it should be meaningful where they can share their thoughts and ideas. In the same way, I used IELTS listening text in my class, and the outcome was so exciting.

The students’ feedback helped me modify my teaching method, which was particularly practicable and fit for my context. I could equally engage the learners in learning. In another way, the students were at the center, not me.

Teaching, a collective effort

Our faculty often used to have discussions on different ideas about teaching and learning activities and professional development. Therefore, the English faculty in our school adopted some techniques. Firstly, the school allocated one weak period for faculty meetings, which were regularly held. The meeting served as a platform for teachers to engage in narrative sessions, sharing their classroom practices, techniques, methods, outcomes, and the challenges they encountered during their teaching experiences. During the meeting, we did not only share the stories but also offered suggestions to the problems. For instance, experienced teachers shared their materials, discussed lesson planning, and suggested novice teachers use positive verbal reinforcement to the unruly students in and out of the class to make them responsible in their work. By implementing this methodology, we established a supportive community of educators, as advocated by Richards and Farrell (2005), wherein mutual classroom observations and constructive feedback facilitated a teachers’ support group.  In addition, we engaged in a classroom observation process where we attended our colleagues’ classes to observe their teaching methods and reciprocally invited them to our classes for feedback. We diligently recorded these valuable insights in a personal diary, allowing us to enhance our teaching skills and refine our strategies. This instructional approach aligns with the peer observation framework proposed by Richards and Farrell (2005). Through reciprocal classroom visits, we observed our colleagues’ instructional practices and invited them to observe our own. We systematically documented the feedback in a personal diary to facilitate continuous improvement. After observing one of my classes, my senior faculty head, with extensive teaching experience, provided written feedback, insights, and recommendations, which read as follows.

You have incorporated materials that went beyond the usual textbook. This approach kept the students alert and engaged. The activity was a reading-based exercise, where students delved into thought-provoking texts and answered questions that required higher levels of cognition. The challenging nature of these questions fully engrossed the students, fostering a deep understanding and critical thinking. Besides, consider the pronunciation of ‘bicycle’ and get students to paste the material in their copy after they finish activities.

Rethinking evaluation system

Despite the tireless efforts exerted by teachers and students throughout the year, the final outcomes of students have consistently sparked discourse and deliberation among students, educators, and academicians. However, the concerns related to the evaluation system often go unnoticed within our educational setting. While our education system emphasizes the importance of critical thinking and creativity, the evaluation system relies on grades, often viewed as irrational and lacking justification from students’ perspectives.

Last year, two students had not made the required grade in two subjects to qualify for the next level. The outcomes left them feeling disheartened and humiliated, leading me to ponder, does this three-hour evaluation system truly assess students’ capabilities? Does it compensate for students’ time and efforts? Probably, the answer is ‘no’. Those two students, who served as representatives from my class, are just a glimpse of the thousands of students across the country whose self-worth and sense of pride have been severely undermined by the impact of this evaluation system.

Hence, it is imperative for educationists and academicians to engage in a comprehensive evaluation of the existing assessment system, ensuring that it possesses the necessary flexibility to effectively measure students’ abilities while being practical and contextually relevant.

Souvenir at farewell

Teaching is my passion. I feel I am born for it. I know nothing can be more rewarding for teachers than the complements and their students’ achievement. Last year, some students came to me with colourful paper folded artistically. They handed it to me with excitement. My inquisitive hand unfolded the papers. As the papers unraveled before my eyes, a symphony of emotion swirled within my being. The profundity of their gratitude echoed through the chambers of my heart. Their words, like sacred verses, embraced my weary spirit.

To,

Mr. Rai,

In the beginning, your classes were boring to be honest, but as time passed by, we got to know your English class was one of the most exciting classes. You have been a really great teacher. Your teaching style is wonderful. Your experience is learnable. It has been two years of your wonderful teaching that we cherish. Your handwriting has been a favorite part. If you will not be in our section next year. You will always be remembered.

Reference

Aloni, N. (2007). Enhancing Humanity. Dordrecht: Springer.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2003). Beyond methods: Macrostrategies for language teaching. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Ling, T., & Nasri, N. M. (2019). A systematic review: Issues on equity in education. Creative Education, 10(12), 3163.

Richards, J. C., & Farrell, T. S. C. (2005). Professional Development for Language Teachers: strategies for teacher learning. New York: Cambridge University Press.

About the Author: Dasarath Rai teaches English at Ideal Model School, Dhobighat, Lalitpur. He has accomplished Master’s Degree in English Education from Mahendra Ratna, Campus, Tahachal, Kathmandu. He is interested in teacher professional development, multiculturalism, cultural identity, and materials development in language education.

Teaching English in the Rural Schools: A Teacher’s Reflection

Jham Bahadur Thapa

Introduction                                                                 

A good teacher is one of the prominent figures in society. It is believed that whatever the teacher teaches is correct and true. So, the teacher is a role model in a society whose character can be imitated by numerous people. Therefore, a teacher should always have a positive attitude and have a person of spotless character. Similarly, talking about teaching is a dynamic profession where the teacher should be very energetic and adopt new teaching strategies as per the need of the situation, demands, and level of the students. Teaching English and being an English teacher is a challenging job in this ICT era. It is one of the most complex, and sensitive tasks in the ELT context of Nepal.

Here, I have narrated my own real story of teaching experiences as an English teacher in a rural area of Nepal, including what and how I have faced the ups and downs during my ELT periods. Our society is heterogeneous. I am from the Magar community of Tanahun district where our Magar communities want their children to be in the army. Similarly, my family also wanted me to join the army. More amazingly, one of the incidents directed me to become an English teacher where I stand today.

Self-observation and reflection

After completing my Intermediate Education Level with a major in English, I initiated my teaching career being an English teacher at one of the community schools in Tanahun district in 2072 (2015). I was appointed as a private teacher and paid 2500 RS. in a month. During the winter vacation, I came home from Prithivi Narayan Campus as usual other students did. Once early in the morning, around 5:30 a.m., the head teacher who taught me in primary school came to me. I was shocked to see him at my house so early. We talked for a long time, and even after a long conversation; I couldn’t guess why he was there. Eventually, being more honey talks, he requested me to teach English in that school that has been running basic level 6- 8 grades.  I was in a dilemma with my teacher’s proposal whether to teach in that school or not, as I had to continue my higher education on one side, and on another side, my parents couldn’t afford my higher education without doing any job. Finally, he suggested me to continue my further study, both teaching, and self-studying. After the selection process, I was appointed to be a lower secondary English teacher, from where I completed my primary education. I felt very nervous at my first teaching. So, I uttered the words with stammering. Now I recall how many times I stammered, ‘Don’t make noise’ It might be more than 30 times in a period. How poor my first class was. By reflecting, I think teaching years are not valued until we provide positive transformation to the students.

Being a novice teacher, I used to depend on textbooks. There was Ajanta’s dictionary in school which I frequently used to consult. It made the ELT classes more comfortable for me. I had to teach all the periods except the tiffin time. In the remote part of our school, there were only blackboards and chalk in the name of teaching materials. I rarely used instructional materials like; cardboard, cutter pictures, word card, and other local materials. I used to follow the Grammar Translation method to teach English. Later on, I employed the communicative language teaching method where the students could get ample opportunities to engage in pair work, group work, role play, simulation, and some project-based works, etc communicating in English. After that, I could teach language skills using cassettes and pictures, focusing on the students’ needs and interests as well. I was satisfied with my teaching as my students had improved their English slowly and gradually. I received very positive responses from my parents. I wish I could improve the existing ELT situations in favor of students’ dynamic learning process.  Regarding that situation, I myself reflected on how I had studied English at the secondary and campus levels.

By demand of time, several approaches or methods came and collapsed and now are existed in ELT. Similarly, I have got a chance to improve my teaching assumptions and philosophies. I have participated in different ELT trainings. Especially, I’ve learned the modern post-method approach, including with critical thinking approach that highly affects the ELT field. I have learned how to deal with multi-lingual and inclusive classes. The training in which I participated made me conduct the class in a child-friendly environment. In the present day, I intelligently tackle the issues/challenges in my teaching profession. Obviously, numerous pieces of training and having a master’s degree reformed me to design, construct and apply teaching materials and lesson plans and provide feedback to needy students. When I myself started being up to date, renewing, and reflecting on the present ELT approaches, methods, and techniques my performance is being improved with students’ results in English subjects.

The successful teaching class

It was a day in the month of Magh 2075 (2019), as usual, after the assembly time, I went to class ten. Afterward, I had a well-prepared class and commenced the lesson by telling a moral story. I provided the time to guess what the topic was on that day. Then, students could easily guess the topic of the day that they were going to have. At first, I divided students into nine groups having five students in each group. After that, I instructed them clearly what they were supposed to do with the cardboard paper. Then, I distributed the cardboard paper and a sign pen writing the phrase ‘Once upon a time…. It was given to the first group to write some relevant sentences about the moral story. Then, respectively that paper was relayed to each group by adding some new sentences to develop a story. Finally, the last group was given the task of writing the title and moral of the story. Providing clear instructions, each group developed the related sentences for the productive stage of story writing. During that period, I facilitated going around the groups. I provided necessary feedback to each group’s members.  I observed each group’s members actively involved in the given tasks. Actually, it was the most learnable and effective class I have ever had.  From that day, what I reflected is that every ELT teacher has to teach with a good lesson plan and employ the appropriate learning strategies, activities, and techniques to obtain the learning competencies.

Issues of teaching English in rural schools

I have faced many issues and challenges during my ELT teaching in rural Nepal. First, the issue is in ELT is the English medium of instruction (EMI) in the rural area of our school. EMI creates a kind of obstruction in teaching English and other subjects in my classes. Many teachers couldn’t teach the English language. So, it created a great puzzle for the students cum other teachers. Similarly, there is a great issue of policy making and implementation in the context of ELT in Nepal. Another challenge is teacher training implementations in the classroom. The main challenges of training teachers to teach English effectively remain in place.

Though English teaching in Nepal is not a politics of knowledge, it is a useful subject for bureaucracy and profit-making incentives. The issues of ICT, internet, and computer usage in ELT and outdated teachers are prominent issues in Nepal. Therefore, the changing position or roles of teachers should be focused on digital competence in this era of globalization and technology. In this way, the issues of the mother tongue-based, and multi-lingual approaches need to be addressed properly in the ELT context of Nepal. The economic, cultural, educational, social, and family issues of the students are the prominent issues in the ELT in Nepal. The teaching methods are the issues that I faced in teaching English. Lack of internet access in the remote part of Nepal is another challenge for English language teaching in Nepal. In my remote part, there are no rich resource materials, textbooks, curriculum, and teaching materials, which makes it difficult in teaching. We do not normally see students when they engage in writing in the classroom where students might need some help from teachers. Some of us do not appreciate students’ efforts and steps towards putting what they want to show through small compositions as creative starters. Furthermore, the issues related to ELT teaching in Nepal are the lack of proper supervision, monitoring, and teacher support. I think the issues should be addressed scientifically.

Objectives of teaching English in Nepal

In my experience, the objectives, goals, and paradigms are always shifting and changing due to the demands of the times. Despite this, the goals of ELT have been changed from focusing solely on developing language skills to fostering a sense of social responsibility in students. Now the objective of teaching English is shifted into communicating, collaborating, and exchanging ideas effectively with others who speak the English language. The students should be enabled to use all four language skills creatively, critically, fluently, and accurately to solve real-life problems. Furthermore, the ELT teachers make the students respect each other’s cultures and religious festivals.

 Road ahead in Nepal

I have been teaching and learning English for more than 17 years. What my experiences taught me is that the ELT system of teaching in Nepal is slowly promoting and expanding its different aspects. The curriculum based on the communicative approach is gradually shifting into interdisciplinary, multi-disciplinary, and Transdisciplinary approaches.  Therefore, the objectives of teaching ELT in Nepal should address every challenge or issue related to the students, ELT teachers, and curriculum in the present world. It is the era of rapid development of ICT and the Internet. For this, ELT teachers should have sound knowledge and communication skill of digital competence. The traditional perspectives of teaching English in Nepal have been changing the rigid feeling of native speakers, and monolinguals’ gradually faced objections. Non-native English teachers promoted multilingual practices in their classes. I think the government or the concerned bodies should focus on promoting multilingualism awareness. A new kind of training structure, policy, and implementation should be emphasized. The salary, payment, and other terms of facilities need to be addressed. Education policy should be reformed. Different kinds of ELT conferences, workshops, training, counseling, etc., are required. The concept of ELT globalization must be interrelated to each ELT teacher in Nepal. The education system, including examination systems, must change into a scientific system of examination that exists meaningfully in the present world. Students should be encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning. There can be the training of teachers as well as student motivation.  Similarly, ELT teaching in Nepal aims to achieve sustainable development. ELT teachers should improve the learning achievement of all students. In my opinion, what students learn in the classroom results from what a teacher makes students do in the classroom. Thus, the above-mentioned clues should be emphasized to improve the ELT in Nepal.

Conclusion

Being an English teacher in the Nepalese context, what I experienced is that the role of the teacher should function as a resource person to inspirer. Similarly, he/she should have a sound knowledge of current ELT pedagogy. The teachers should have self-reflective practice. The teachers need to make our students clear on how English has been used and how we should use it in the era of globalization. ELT teachers need to be action researchers in their teaching profession. The chief responsibility of an ELT teacher is to create a suitable and conducive learning environment where the children perform their tasks easily and freely; construct knowledge, and show their creativity. Thus, an ELT teacher should have all kinds of practical skills and knowledge and extend helping hands to the students to solve problems via cooperation, collaboration, and creating an effective learning environment. So, my teaching reflections guided me to be an inspirer updated ELT teacher for the betterment of my own professional development for the successful career of the students.

About the Author: Mr. Jham Bahadur Thapa is an M.Phil Scholar in English Language Education at the Graduate School of Education TU, Kritipur, Nepal. He has been teaching from basic to higher levels at different schools and colleges for a decade. His area of interest is Multilingualism, Narrative Inquiry Research, and Teacher Professional Development.

Integrated Curriculum in Schools: A Teacher’s Reflection

Laxmi Shrestha

Introduction

The government of Nepal introduced Integrated Curriculum in 2019 after piloting it for a year with the goal of providing knowledge of different disciplines through related subject matters. Integrated curriculum is defined as a curriculum that interlinks learning of more than one domain or learning areas (Ghimire, 2019). So, the content is thematically organized in it. Theoretically, it is regarded as one of the best forms of curriculum design. An integrated curriculum is characterized by a systematic approach to teaching professional skills, that is, personal and interpersonal skills, and product, process, and system-building skills, integrated with engineering disciplinary fundamentals (Crawley et al. 2007). However, as a teacher, I have mixed feelings while implementing it in my classroom. In this reflective blog, I will share my experiences of implementing it especially in relation to professional development, resources, and assessment process.

In Nepal, the implementation of the curriculum is hugely dependent on teachers. Unfortunately, teachers are unknown about the curriculum until they are handed over the textbooks. They get to know that the curriculum has been revised only after going through the textbooks. Many teachers think that the textbooks have been revised, but actually, it’s the curriculum that has been revised. Surprisingly, I got access to the soft copy of the integrated curriculum only after three years of application.

Curriculum dissemination and teachers’ professional development

Generally, after the change in curriculum, the concerned authority trains the teachers before implementing it. But in my context, curriculum is implemented in school first, and only a few teachers are given training after a year or two years. So, how can teachers implement the curriculum in its true sense?

Following a similar trend, after a year of curriculum implementation, two teachers from each school in Vyas Municipality, Tanahun were called to participate in the curriculum dissemination programme and I was one of them. The facilitators of four subjects showed their slides related to their areas (Mero Nepali, Mero Ganit, My English, and Hamro Serofero). Most surprisingly, the slides simply contained a copy of the curriculum and nothing else. The facilitators read, and we listened to them like obedient students. Some of the teachers asked questions but they didn’t receive satisfying responses. I think the facilitators didn’t understand the question, and the participants didn’t understand the answers. So, the two days’ training was not so effective.

The teachers returned to their schools. Neither they implemented the curriculum nor did they exchange their learnings with their colleagues. As I was also the administrator of the school, I asked one of my colleague how they were conducting teaching-learning activities in her school. Instead, she said that the teachers who took part in the dissemination programme commented they had not understood what they were told to do and were not in the position to share their learning with others.

Later, I got an opportunity to take part in training. I had filled out the form of ETC, Tanahun, which I saw on my Facebook page in August 2022 (Shrawan). According to the information, the training would be held in the first week of September (Bhadra), but I was called for the training in October (Kartik). I attended it and learned to teach according to the purpose of the integrated curriculum. I learned different techniques to teach Mero Ganit (Mathematics) while teaching My English, Mero Nepali, and Hamro Serofero (My surrounding) and; to use teachers’ guides (TG). I learned to use an evaluation form to keep records of students’ learning achievements. I learned to keep records and build a portfolio of the students. As it was a ten-days training with two days devoted for each subject area including students’ assessment. We were told how to use teacher’s guide. Frankly speaking, I had never used a teacher’s guide before. Moreover, I had rarely heard about it and never seen the teachers using and talking about it.

After the training, I hurried to reach my school and apply what I learnt. I downloaded the Teacher’s guide from www.moecdc.gov.np; however, I couldn’t find the TG of all subjects of all classes. Despite that, I found the training useful for me to teach and assess my students.

Access to resources and materials

As teaching and testing are the two sides of a coin, I had to assess my students’ listening skills in English. In their workbook, students were asked to listen to recordings and do given activities, but I was helpless because I was unknown about the recordings. I searched on CDC website but couldn’t find them. Then, I contacted the municipal education department and they told they would get back to me but never did so. I reached out the trainer, who facilitated the assessment segment in the training and explained my problem and he provided me with the contact information of a CDC officer. I called them and they asked me to contact them later and when I called later, their phone was switched off. Eventually, I couldn’t find the materials to assess listening skill of my students.

Needless to say that the teachers must be well equipped with the resources for effective teaching and learning processes but teachers in our context are struggling to access the fundamental resources. On the other hand, teachers are blamed for not imparting quality education. How can a teacher contribute to students’ education? How can a teacher provide better education without resources? It is said that teachers must be resourceful, but how?

Assessment policy and practices

The curriculum indicates that the students must be assessed regularly and provided feedback. So, I tried to collect the assessment template from one of the stationeries where I usually used to go for school related documents and materials. I couldn’t find them even after making couple of attempts and I accessed the softcopy of the curriculum and printed the assessment forms using my office computer. I started to keep records of my students progress in it. Later, the municipality called for a meeting to discuss the examination date and other issues just before the first term (quarter). They provided a booklet of assessment forms. It was frustratingly late because we were supposed to keep records of students learning achievement from the very first day.

The curriculum has talked about the formative assessment of students and workbooks are designed based on it. Students are to be assessed after completion of each theme, so that we can evaluate whether they have achieved the learning outcomes of the particular theme or not. All they have to do is assess their students and keep records in the given format and make a portfolio of each student.

Although it became easier for me, it was not the same for other teachers. When the second terminal examination was about to begin, there was a debate among the teachers whether to follow the curriculum or not for students’ assessment. Only a few teachers favored the curriculum, which envisions continuous assessment of students instead of paper-pencil test but teachers and parents are habituated to it. They don’t want to change the status quo. Instead they would want to continue with the traditional test, which is against the spirit of the curriculum. However, almost all the teachers wanted to continue with the terminal paper-pencil tests. They argued that the parents aren’t happy until their children appear in the written examination. It seemed that they were fencing themselves and making excuses due to the time-taking assessment system in a new format.

When the third quarter of last year was coming to the end, teachers were asking me about the process of assessment procedures of the students. I explained them many times what I knew but it was not possible to explain entire process over the phone. I requested them to read the curriculum and teacher’s guide. However, I don’t think they did so. Some teachers even asked me to take a photo of the assessment form and send them pictures of the record. It was surprising how a photo could help them to assess their students! Actually, the whole process is described very well in the curriculum. However, they do not access them either because they have poor digital literacy or are reluctant to implement the change in the new curriculum.

Conclusion

The government appoints specialists to develop the curriculum, and the specialists develop the curriculum. They might accomplish their job after designing the curriculum but curriculums are only successful once they are implemented effectively, so the concerned authority should also equally think about the implementers and implementation process. Teachers are still obliged to enter classrooms without any ideas about curriculum and instruction it envisions. They are also unlikely to be aware of the learning outcomes, pedagogy and assessment procedures in the new curriculum. Despite these problems, teachers are compelled to teach, which definitely hinder the effective implementation of the curriculum.

To summarize, the concerned authority must make sure that every teacher gets a copy of curriculum before it is implemented in classrooms. The teacher’s guide and curriculum must be available easily, like students’ textbooks. Teachers’ feedback must to collected widely before rolling out the new curriculum. Similarly, all teachers must be trained well before implementing new curriculum or policy. Mohr and Welker(2017) stated that “if curricular change is to happen, professional development ought to be a focus, and teachers’ perspectives should be central to the process.” Training after one or two years of curriculum implementation is worthless. Teachers should get chances to discuss their issues with the concerned authorities regarding their problems. Last but not least, the teachers themselves must also be active and curious to learn, so that they don’t have to always depend on others for implementing or leading change.

References 

Crawley, E. F., Malmqvist, J., Östlund, S., Brodeur, D. R., Edström, K., Gunnarsson, S., & Gustafsson, G. (2007). Integrated curriculum design. Rethinking Engineering Education: the CDIO Approach, 77-101.Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/234118103_Integrated_Curriculum_Design

Curriculum Development Center (2006). Primary education curriculum (grade 1-3). Sanothimi Bhaktapur: Curriculum Development Center.

Mohr, K., & Welker, R. W. (2017). The role of integrated curriculum in the 21st century school. https://irl.umsl.edu/dissertation/688

About the Author: Laxmi Shrestha is an M.Ed. from Aadikavi Bhanbhakta Campus, TU. She is an English teacher in a public school, Tanahun. Her interest in writing includes EMI, Second Language Acquisition, Sociolinguistics, and Language Teaching.

Dealing with Late Assignment Submission in Colleges

Surendra Prasad Ghimire

Setting Context

I joined college teaching at Matribhumi Campus, Lamjung, where a few regular students were in the classroom. I would have enough time to share ideas, listen to them, and support them. Later on, I was appointed as an assistant lecturer of English at Hetauda School of Management and Social Sciences, Makawanpur, where there would be an average of 50 students in each class. In the beginning, all the classroom activities were going smoothly on. However, gradually, I was entangled with the late submission of home assignments by some of the students, which caused me troubles in teaching and learning activities, particularly about completing the assigned course in the expected time. Thus, in this paper, by reflecting on my experience, I discuss specific causes/reasons behind the delayed submission of home assignments of English and some practical solutions to get rid of them.

Introduction                                    

Academic achievement of students and their submission of home assignments in time have been associated (Eren & Henderson, 2008; Rawson et al., 2017).  Thus, the study by Kim and Seo (2015) claimed that the procrastination of home assignments indicated the low academic performance of the students. There have been various reasons for such delayed submission of home assignments. For instance, a study by Kuftyak (2022) argued that the students who had low performance in their studies, their laziness, and lack of proper time management were some of the causes of delayed submission of their home assignments. Moreover, delayed submission of home assignments would have a colossal impact affecting almost all the aspects of social and professional lives of students, particularly their academic performance. In addition, a study by Shaked and Altarac (2022) reflected feelings of frustration, anxiety, stress, damage to self-image, and receiving a lower grade were some of the consequences of delayed submission of home assignments. Despite the devastating impact of procrastinating on the home assignments, some of the students in my class delayed the submission of their home assignments. Although I tackled the problem by encouraging and motivating the students to complete the assigned work in time, the fundamental situation remained the same. Moreover, they made various excuses, such as forgetting their copies of assignments and not feeling well, just to name a few to justify their delayed submission. However, finally, I overcame gradually minimizing the ratio of late submission of assignments by adopting various strategies such as finding the real causes of problems, establishing friendly relations with the students, changing the ways of teaching, dealing individually with them, and assigning the work on their consent, thereby, here, I argue by understanding the real causes/reasons of delayed submission of home assignments and dealing accordingly with the students assist minimizing the ratio of delayed submission of home assignments instead of imposing the workload and various instructions for them. Thus, in this brief descriptive reflection, I focus on just how I made the students submit their home assignments before the deadlines by exploring the causes/reasons of the problem and adopting some strategies to get rid of the problem.

Causes of late assignment submission

I explored various causes of late submission of assignments of English which were different from student to student. However, some of the causes of late submissions of home assignments are discussed below:

  1. Lack of clear understanding of the lesson

I found the students who did not concentrate on the classroom activities often delayed submitting their home assignments as they did not have much idea about how to solve the given problem due to a lack of clear understanding of the lesson. To solve their homework, they needed to explore their prescribed texts and other related materials which made them delayed in submitting their assignments before the deadline.

  1. Time management

I discovered some of the students who delayed in the submission of their home assignments had a lack of managing the time in solving their assignments as they reported they often began solving their home assignments very late hour after receiving them, due to which they could not submit their assignments before the given deadline.

  1. Workload

I found the workload of students’ home assignments was also a responsible factor in the delayed submission of their home assignments as I often used to prescribe them more work by realizing that they had to do a lot to improve their academic performance. In addition, some of the students reported that they would receive extra work in other subjects as well, due to which they would be already overloaded.

  1. Negligence

I investigated some of the students who did not submit their home assignments on time and often did not pay attention to working on home assignments instead, they enjoyed copying readymade answers from various sources, such as from their friends’ exercise copies, without really being involved in the given activities. Moreover, some did not care about the deadline of their assignments and made various excuses for their delayed submission.

Ways forward to overcome the problem

After finding some of the causes/reasons behind the problem, I adopted the following strategic procedures to solve the delayed submission of home assignments. They are as follows:

  1. Establishing friendly relationships with students

Establishing friendly relationships with students assisted me in minimizing the delayed submission of home assignments by supporting me in a better understanding of the students and promoting the teaching and learning environment in the classroom. In doing so, I began spending more time with students outside the classroom, such as during break time, particularly focusing on the students who did not submit their home assignments on time. Gradually, I sorted out the names of the reluctant students, particularly about doing their homework, and developed their portfolios under their consent which helped me to assign a particular kind of homework for certain students and follow them before the deadline of their home assignments. As a result, the students who procrastinated in submitting their home assignments gradually improved and began to submit their home assignments a bit faster than earlier. They started sharing their problems of solving home assignments and other problems related to teaching and learning, which supported me in preparing further plans for overcoming the problem of delayed submission of home assignments.

  1. Changing the ways of teaching

By exploring a connection between ways of teaching and the submission of home assignments, I reviewed and changed my previous ways of teaching in the classroom. I minimized the lecture method and focused on students centric teaching methods, such as class discussion and group work, just to name a few. Changing ways of teaching assisted me in solving the problem of lack of clear understanding of the lesson in the class. As a result, I found the majority of the students who delayed submitting their home assignments were actively participating in the classroom activities. I kept on following and inspiring them by highlighting their latest progress in classroom activities. Gradually, I realized the change in their classroom performance and submission of their home assignments before the deadline, which inspired me to work further to change their ways of working with assignments. Thus, changing the way of teaching assisted me to some extent in overcoming the problem of delayed submission of home assignments by promoting students to solve the problems and making them more responsible in the assigned work.

  1. Dealing individually with students

In addition, I started dealing individually with some of the students who were still nagging about submitting the home assignments and making various excuses such as forgetting or missing their exercise copies, having an urgent piece of work at home so forth.  They often would give me word that they would come the following day with the assignments; however, they never kept their promises. Then, I decided to deal individually with such students, which made it easier to explore further and understand them and to make them responsible for doing the home assignments. I initiated assigning different tasks for each such student instead of homogeneous kinds of work, which prevented imitating from each other’s copies and supported me assigning the work based on the standard of the students. The result was wonderful, as I found most of them submitted on the assigned time. Very few of them still did not submit on time. However, there was an improvement in their way of working.

  1. Assigning on students’ consent

Finally, I developed another strategy, such as assigning home assignments on students’ consent for those who (very few of them) were still remaining back on submitting their homework on time. Thus, I asked them some questions before assigning some work to them, such as “Could you complete this work in the given time”? “Could you solve the following problem?” After finding some positive responses from such students then only I began assigning work to them. Later on, I found successful results after doing this as they improved them by following the given timeline of their home assignments and solving the problem in better ways instead of making various excuses like earlier. However, I found some students would like to receive very few home assignments compared to the other students in the class. Thus, it took me a bit more time to assign them the homework on their consent; nevertheless, I did not give up. Ultimately, I found adopting such a strategy supported me in overcoming the problem of delayed submission of English home assignments.

Conclusion

This article reflects some causes/reasons for delayed submission of English home assignments. It provides some practical solutions for solving the problem, such as establishing friendly relationships with students, changing the way of teaching, dealing with each student individually, and assigning the work on students’ consent. This reflective writing showed a single strategy has not been adequate for addressing the problem of delayed submission of home assignments and provides clear direction for further exploring the problem.

References

Eren, O., & Henderson, D. (2008). The impact of homework on student achievement. The Econometrics Journal, 11(2), 326-348. https://doi.org/org/10.1111/j.1368-423X.2008.00244.x

Kim, K. R., & Seo, E. H. (2015). The relationship between procrastination and academic performance: A meta-analysis. Personality Individual Differences, 82, 26-33. https://doi.org/org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.02.038

Kuftyak, E. (2022). Procrastination, stress and academic performance in students. ARPHA Proceedings, 5, 965-974. https://doi.org/10.3897/ap.5.e0965

Rawson, K., Stahovich, T. F., & Mayer, R. E. (2017). Homework and achievement: Using smartpen technology to find the connection. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(2), 208. https://doi.org/https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/edu0000130

Shaked, L., & Altarac, H. (2022). Exploring academic procrastination: Perceptions, self-regulation, and consequences. Journal of University Teaching Learning Practice, 19(3), 15. https://doi.org/https://ro.uow.edu.au/jutlp/vol19/iss3/15

About the author: Surendra Prasad Ghimire is an MPhil Scholar at Nepal Open University, Nepal, and lecturer of English at Hetauda School of Management and Social Sciences, Makwanpur, Nepal.

Translanguaging practices in classroom: My experiences

Mandira Basnet

Abstract

In this article, I have tried to expose the difficulties of a multilingual classroom and my practice of translanguaging to address those problems to do fair to students’ native language as equally as the target language. The classroom is the microcosm of society, providing the authentic flavor of each society’s culture, lifestyle, and way of thinking. The students are gathered from diverse backgrounds. In the classroom teacher as a facilitator must respond to every student fairly and respectfully. The translanguaging techniques may help the teacher do justice to the diverse students because translanguaging supports the varied learner to choose the language they like for the highest level of performance that they can perform in the heterogeneous class.

Keywords: Translanguaging, Heterogeneous, Microcosm, Psychology

Background

I have been working as a secondary-level English teacher since 2016. My school is one of the government schools, and it is situated in Golanjor -7 Khurkot Sindhuli. It’s name is Shree Jana Jyoti Secondary school, and it is one of the province model schools of sindhuli district. My school has two mediums of teaching and learning, English and Nepali, since 12 years ago. Because of the craze for the English language, my school’s pressure is very high, so each class has two sections. Section “A” is where students learn every subject except Nepali in English. In Section” B”, every subject except English is taught in Nepali. The catchment area of my school is large, and students come walking even from 4 to 5 miles far and also from Terai Region.

The linguistic background of section “B” students’ is a little bit poor. In my school, though there is no strict entrance exam for those students from outer school, they arbitrarily choose the section “B.” Most of the students are from minor ethnicity and Dalits in section “B” like Majhi, Waiba, Hayu, and Shrestha. The translanguaging technique is very effective in this section for the optimum levels of knowledge and language development because there is no mental pressure for the students to use only the target language in the classroom as they can use Nepali or their mother tongue, so they become more interactive. Similarly, in section “A, there is predominantly so-called higher ethnic groups like Chhetri, Brahmin, Devkota, Rai, Mandal etc., though the linguistic background of this section is a little bit good compared to section “B”. The translanguaging technique gives more freedom to share the highest knowledge levels and makes the classroom more engaging.

Practicing English in the EFL classroom, which is full of heterogeneous students, is very challenging because the student’s linguistic and cultural backgrounds are different. However, it directly and indirectly affects language learning for example, the students from the Madheshi community are more active in writing sessions than speaking because their first language and culture are different from the other students and teachers in the classroom. Hence, it is not easy for them to interact in the classroom. As an EFL teacher, I have to encourage my students to speak in target language as much as possible. However, most of my students are reluctant to talk because of a lack of sufficient vocabulary, problems in sentence formation, pronunciation etc. Some sample problems of the classroom are as presented as follows. At the beginning of the session, while I was encouraging my students to talk in the target language, one student stood up and said that” mam, I can’t talk in English, it is a very difficult subject. “He pronounced /talk/instead of /tak/, and sentences were also incomplete

Similarly, in most cases, while forming sentences, my students become confused in the order of words e.g., they create unusual sentences like (I never have understood her instead of, I have never understood her), (Rajan drives always to work, instead of Rajan always drives to work). They always become confused about in which position they should keep which words. The next thing is because of the cultural gap, students become so confused and ask funny questions which do not hve any sense in the classroom context; for example, while I was teaching my class ten students the chapter related to the international cultures they became surprised and confused by reading Some European country’s greeting culture and ask some silly types questions like “mam doesn’t American feel ashamed to kiss between opposite sex in the open place?” “Is it appropriate to hug the foreigners if I meet them in Thamel Kathmandu? etc.” Another last but not least exciting thing is that I Feel tired of running class to class to make my students understand the questions because the question comes only in the English language. It is challenging to them to understand the questions. In this article, I am trying to reveal the real problems of multilingual classrooms and my attempts to use translanguaging techniques to address those problems.

Introduction

Translanguaging is a term used to describe the trend which supports the learner to choose the language that they like for the highest level of performance that they can perform. It motivates the learners to speak, write and translate in the language they feel comfortable to foster their learning. This concept entertains multilingualism in the EFL classroom. It helps to develop a positive attitude toward all the language skills that the learners have.

(Baker, 2011, p. 39) defined translanguaging as” the process of making meaning, shaping experiences, gaining understanding and knowledge through the use of two languages.” Similarly, (Hornberger & Link, 2012, p. 262) defined translanguaging as “the purposeful pedagogical alternation of language in spoken and written, receptive and productive mode. To be concluded, translanguaging is the process of allowing EFL learners to use any language that they like at any time. As an EFL teacher, while practicing the English language in the classroom, I have been facing the following problems.

Problems in Classroom Teaching

Psychology of Students towards Target Language

Most EFL students in public schools think English is a complicated language compared to their mother tongue. They cannot learn it, so they hesitate to interact in the classroom, switch to their mother tongue frequently while practicing the target language, and prefer to answer in their second language or mother tongue.

Problems Related to Sound

One of the significant challenges of the classroom is phonemic and phonological challenges. In the classroom, there is a lack of authentic input; in most cases, we depend on the textbook. We take textbooks as a curriculum rather than a helping book, and there is a trend to teach the subject to obtain marks rather than to learn it. So because of the lack of adequate input, students can’t pronounce most of the words correctly. Another problem is that they understand the sentences spoken by Nepalese speakers. However, it is challenging for them to understand the same sentences spoken by a native speaker. It means there is a lack of practice in pronunciation in the classroom.

On the other hand, the pronunciation of sounds in English can be challenging and confusing. The same letter can be pronounced differently in different situations. Some sounds may be silent in one instance but not another; for example, the letter “c” can be pronounced as /k/ in some words (e.g., “cat”) and as /cha/ in others (e.g., “chair”). The /k/ sound is silent in the word “knowledge”, but not in “keep.”

Linguistic and Cultural Diversity

For students whose linguistic and cultural background differs from that of the majority of students in the classroom, speaking in the classroom can be challenging. These students may not have a strong foundation in the second language and lack confidence, leading them to avoid speaking for fear of making mistakes. For example, in my classroom, students from the Terai region whose native language is Maithili and who use Nepali as a second language often remain silent, despite knowing the answers, due to their different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. During a dictation exercise, these students had difficulty understanding my pronunciation. They asked me to repeat the words and sentences multiple times. When I asked if they understood, one student, Devkant Mandal, told me that it was difficult to follow my speaking, but he could answer questions in written form. This highlights the gap between teaching and learning that can arise due to different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Questions are only in the target language

Due to the use of monolingual assessment systems, students face difficulties comprehending the questions in the target language, leading to an inability to express their knowledge accurately.

Efforts to Solve the Problems

To overcome the problems mentioned above, I have been using the following techniques and strategies in my classroom.

Create Positive Attitude

First, I adopt a positive approach by uplifting words to shift negative attitudes towards positivity. I often tell my students that English is easier than their native language and remind them that if they can fluently speak their native language, they can also learn English. I also acknowledge and appreciate their small accomplishments, encouraging them to answer questions in the language they feel comfortable with. This approach has proven effective, as it has motivated weaker students to become more engaged in their learning and freely express their ideas in both their native and target languages.

Encourage Students to Express Ideas in the language of Their Choice

In my 10th-grade class, I teach Health, and the medium of instruction is English. At the start of the session, I solely used English to impart knowledge. I encouraged students to use English in classroom interactions. However, this resulted in a lack of student participation and creativity, making the class dull and monotonous. Later, I realized that while it is crucial to have a high level of knowledge about Health, it is not necessary to learn it in English. So, I encouraged students to interact in the language they felt comfortable with. This change made the health class more interactive and engaging, as students were no longer burdened by language and could freely share their ideas in their preferred language.

Maximization of Authentic materials

The primary goal of language learning is to communicate effectively on relevant topics. Since 2021, the curriculum for grades 4, 7, and 9 have changed, focusing on social themes, such as religion, yoga, Health, dining etiquette, etc. As an English teacher, I aim to align with the curriculum by incorporating authentic materials related to these themes into my lessons. Using real-life materials makes the learning experience practical and exciting. It helps students learn the language based on their needs and the topics being taught. For example, when it comes to cultural topics that may not have exact translations in the target language, students are free to use both their mother tongue and the target language as needed.

Reduce Overcorrection and Interruption

In most cases, I refrain from correcting my students while they are speaking and try to minimize correction in their writing. I don’t mind if they switch to their native language to feel comfortable talking and practicing, even if it is challenging.

Conclusion

Translanguaging is a process that allows for flexibility in language use in the EFL classroom. As target language teachers, it is our responsibility to foster an appropriate environment for language practice. We should not prohibit using the native language in the name of learning English. Instead, we should embrace and appreciate the use of the mother tongue following the context and situation.

References

Baker, C. (2011). Foundation of bilingual education (2nd .ed) clevedon: Multilingual matter.

Hornberger, N. & Hand Link, H. (2012 ). Translanguaging and transnational literacies in multilingual classroom: A Biliteracy lens. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism.

About the author: Mrs. Mandira Basnet is an M. Ed. in English. She teaches English to secondary-level students at Shree Jana Jyoti Secondary School, Golanjor- 7, Khurkot, Sindhuli, Nepal.

Constructing teacher identity

Saroj Bogati

Introduction

The concept of teacher identity can be taken as multifaceted and constructed in a dialectical way. It has several implications, such as teacher education, school leaders, teacher unions, or curriculum can provide a universal teacher identity in which teachers need to fit. Human beings can influence their lives and the peripheral environment where they live. Teachers experience many opportunities to change themselves and to be identified by them and by the external environment. Identity construction is a kind of narrative positioning that opens the understanding of teachers as active agents in their own life where identity formation is dynamic and changing (Davies & Harré, 2001). Our relation to the world, people, choices, and language construct and reconstruct our identity (Weedon & Rappaport, 1997). Identity is not a fixed attribute of a person. It is a relational phenomenon and is a process of interpreting oneself by the periphery and environment. There has been a growing interest and research on teacher identity construction in many parts of the world (Dolloff, 1999). Identity can be defined as a set of ideas, self-concepts, peculiarities, riddles, and concepts considered a perception or point of view (Albert & Whetten, 2004). Identity is continually emerging and becoming a dynamic and shifting process. People do not have any fixed identity. There can be varieties of identities: cultural identity, social identity, ethnic identity, and linguistic identity. Teacher identity is needed to study how teachers work, learn and develop (Beijaard et al., 2004).

Democratic and managerial professionalism are identified in shaping a teacher’s professional identity, which is transformational, reformative, context-bound, constructed, maintained, and negotiated through language and discourse (Sachs, 2001). A teacher’s professional identity is influenced by workplace conditions, language policy, curriculum, cultural differences, institutional practices, and access to professional development. All language teachers are subjects to mainstream discourses such as languages, teachers, and teaching. The narrative told by media, researchers, documents, politicians, and groups of persons are called public narratives. It makes sense of the everyday world and provides different kinds of resources for identity constructions (Holstein & Gubrium, 2000). How public and institutional members understand these narrative resources to construct identities varies from person to person and situation to situation.  Educational policy, teachers’ professional development opportunities, and current educational practices create public narratives about teaching and teachers. One of the narrative resources to construct teacher identity is historically and socially constructed subject positions (Norton, 2010). Teachers’ identity relates to how a person perceives their relationship to the world and the relationship formation across time and space(Norton, 2000). Negotiating a teacher’s professional identity can be significantly influenced by contextual factors outside teachers themselves, their courses, and workplace status (Clark & Flores, 2001). Teachers’ identity is primarily affected by workplace conditions, language conditions, language policy, cultural differences and institutional practices, and so on. All language teachers are subject to mainstream discourses such as languages, teachers and teaching. Teachers’ identity is transformational, context bound, maintained and negotiated by the language, society, educational policy, and so on.

This article explores how self and other external factors construct teachers’ identities. It explores what factors are responsible for creating teachers’ professional identities.

Current Conceptualization on Teacher Identity

Teachers’ overall activity, public narratives, and what teachers know and do are a part of teachers’ identity work. They continuously perform and transform it through interaction in the classroom. Teachers’ identity is both an individual and social matter. Davies and Harré (2001) state that a subject -position prevents other ways of experiencing and understanding the world. A Norwegian research reported that teaching is a caring profession and is understood as creating and enabling an atmosphere for all children (Søreide, 2007). There is a nexus between transformative pedagogical practices and the identities of students and teachers. A research on teachers’ professional identity, Beijaard et al. (2004) reported that identity is an ongoing continuous process; therefore, identity is dynamic rather than stable and constantly evolving.  It is dynamic, fluid, and shifting in nature. There is a need for dialogic interaction between teachers and students, which can help to learn new things about students and teachers themselves. Professional teacher identity is established as a separate research area in the last few decades (Beijaard et al., 2004). Social science and philosophy are useful domains for the construction of teachers’ identity research.

The approaches reflected upon evaluation procedures for assessing teachers and their development from the perspective of predefined professional development (Porter et al., 2001). There is a need for dialogic interaction between teachers and students to help students learn new things from teachers and vice versa. This process can help create their unique identities. Non-native English language teachers can’t enjoy the status and power of native English language teachers. They have to struggle to achieve such a status in the educational field. There is a problem of identity between non-native and native English language teachers. Teachers’ professional development and personal identity determine teachers’ identity(Akkerman& Meijer, 2011). A person’s identity is connected to their performance in society or how one interacts (Gee, 2001). Identity can be transformational, context-bound, negotiated, and maintained through language and discourse(Varghese et al., 2005. Critical issues must be addressed in teachers’ identity construction, namely marginalization, the status of non-native teachers, the professional status of language teaching, and teacher-student relations.

Most English language teachers around the world are non-native speakers of English. Native English language teachers have been prioritized even in the TESOL workplace, and non-native speakers can face discrimination due to accent and credibility problems (Maum, 2002). Non-native teachers of the English language are compelled to face oppression and psychological dominance by native English language teachers. They may face an identity problem. There may not be the availability of native speakers as English language teachers everywhere. Different approaches, such as neo- Vygotskian  Sociocultural theory, language socialization theory, and critical pedagogy, can address identity, discourse, diversity, and local context.

The self and identity

One phenomenon of issues of determination of identity revolves around the notion of self and self-concept and its relationship to identity. Teachers’ identity depends upon self and the idea of self within an outside context. Teachers’ professional identity is defined in terms of the influences on teachers, how an individual perceives oneself, and the professional setting. Lauriala and Kukkonen (2005) stated that identity and self-concept as the same, where identity is considered concerning teachers and self-concept to students. They have used self-concept and identity as stable and dynamic simultaneously. The self is constructed within three dimensions- the actual self, and the ought self (recognized by external groups or society), and the ideal self. Looking at identity through the self and profession can help us think more clearly about identity from the point of view of teacher development. Identity through self and others seems essential, and it is necessary to consider the two together in enhancing comprehension of identity in teaching.

Kirkup (2002)  revealed the link between a teacher’s personal and professional self. His position links identity and practice. Identity can be the negotiated experience of self, involves society membership, and combines different forms of membership within an identity. A teacher can be taken as an active agent in influencing the community (Alsup, 2006). Identity can be a part of the social context where the person lives.  In the process of communication with others, one can self-realize the roles of others. Cooper and Olson (1996) state that historical,  cultural, and psychological factors influence teacher identity construction, which is believed to have an important space in one’s lifetime.  Identity has been established as a separate discipline through the discourse and practice of self and environment.

The need of critical reflection in shaping teacher identity

Reflection can be recognized as a key means by which teachers can become more able in the sense of self and deeper understanding of how self -suit into a larger context. It is one of the factors in reshaping teacher identity. Rodgers (2002) reported that reflection in teacher development has been acknowledged for some time and can be recognized as the core of effective teaching. Korthagen and Vasalos (2005) noted that core reflection is needed to enhance personal growth. It is necessary to tap into a sense of self and include reflection as a primary aspect to shape teachers’ identity. Reflection requires looking back at thoughts or practices and considering their value. It might guide a future way of looking at something. Conway (2001) reported that reflection could show the future path of thinking in teachers ‘ identity. Pennington (2002) said that teacher identity could be viewed from a different orientation.  Firstly, we can look at it from social psychology, which provides perspectives on teachers’ social identity. Secondly, we can look from the perspective of teacher education literature provides perspectives on teachers’ professional identity.

The role of reflection in making sense of experience and practice is essential in teacher education. Luttenberg and Bergen (2008) reported that reflection must be broad and deep, pragmatic, ethical, and moral domains must be included in reflection, which is helpful for the identity construction of teachers. Reflection may be more or less open or closed, depending on its connection to self-reflection. The narrative self-study reflects on discursively shaped thoughts, beliefs, and knowledge to portray the construction and reconstruction of various stages in a professional career (Safari, 2018). There is a need for a shift from traditional reflection to critical sociocultural reflection because sociocultural reflection takes account of identity and related issues of individuals in a specific context. It is better to link reflection to a collaborative inquiry as a means of exploring identity.

Narrative and discourse aspects of identity

Narrative and discourse are essential aspects of constructing identity. Narrative of teachers themselves and their practice, their discourse provides a gateway to explore the element of self. Clandinin et al. (1999) focused on teachers’ stories, their self, and the power of teacher narrative to express identity within a changing professional context. Sfard and Prusak (2005) explained that identification is discursive and communicational practice. It is a collection of stories of a person and narratives about an individual. There is a link between narrative and discourse. Identity is negotiated by an individual self and the external world (Beynon, 1997). The discourses in which teachers engage contribute to shaping or constructing the teacher’s identity. The study of teacher talk can lead to the shaping and construction of identities. A teacher is a subject that influences identity development.

Teacher education needs to understand identity as a complex and multiple social and individual phenomenon. People who have no fixed identity must construct their identity through membership, context, and language use. Context and identity play crucial roles in classroom interaction and teacher work. The course room is a complex ecological site where participants interact to construct different identities. The study of teachers’ narratives, which can be called the stories of teachers, plays a significant role in exploring teachers’ thinking, culture, and behavior which are the elements of teachers’ identity. Sachs (2005) defines teachers’ professional identity as the core of the teaching profession. It provides a framework to construct their own ideas, recognizing their workplace and status in society. Teacher identity is not fixed or imposed; it is negotiated through self and sense made from experiences.

Conclusion

Identity is complex and changes over time, constantly evolving. Identity is discursive, social, institutional, and cultural. It has a significant role in continually emerging and becoming. Teacher identity is one of the essential aspects of teachers’ education. Teacher identity is substantial to upkeep the formation of teacher education programmes. Teachers create identities according to the context of their workplace, the environment provided by an institution, government policy, curriculum, cultural background of teachers-students, social demographics, institutional practices, and so on. English is a globally accepted lingua franca, so both native and non-native English language teachers construct and maintain an identity as language teachers according to local, cultural, and social contexts.  The teacher education programme is the starting point for implanting the awareness of the need to develop an identity and an ongoing, dynamic process. It is situated within the mind, and it also exists within a social context.

References

Akkerman, S. F., & Meijer, P. C. (2011). A dialogical approach to conceptualizing teacher identity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(2), 308-319.

Albert, S., & Whetten, D. A. (2004). Organizational identity. Organizational identity: A reader, 89-118.

Alsup, J. (2006). Teacher identity discourses: Negotiating personal and professional spaces. Routledge.

Beijaard, D., Meijer, P. C., & Verloop, N. (2004). Reconsidering research on teachers’ professional identity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20(2), 107-128.

Beynon, C. A. (1997). Crossing over from student to teacher, negotiating an identity National Library of Canada= Bibliothèque nationale du Canada].

Clandinin, D. J., Connelly, F. M., & Bradley, J. G. (1999). Shaping a professional identity: Stories of educational practice. McGill Journal of Education, 34(2), 189.

Clark, E. R., & Flores, B. B. (2001). Who am I? The social construction of ethnic identity and self-perceptions in Latino preservice teachers. The Urban Review, 33(2), 69-86.

Conway, S. (2001). War and national identity in the mid-eighteenth-century British Isles. The English Historical Review, 116(468), 863-893.

Cooper, K., & Olson, M. R. (1996). The multiple ‘I’s’ of teacher identity. Changing research and practice: Teachers’ professionalism, identities and knowledge, 78-89.

Davies, B., & Harré, R. (2001). Positioning: The discursive production of selves. Discourse theory and practice: A reader, 20, 261.

Dolloff, L. A. (1999). Imagining ourselves as teachers: The development of teacher identity in music teacher education. Music Education Research, 1(2), 191-208.

Gee, J. P. (2001). Reading as situated language: A sociocognitive perspective. Journal of adolescent & adult Literacy, 44(8), 714-725.

Holstein, J. A., & Gubrium, J. F. (2000). The self we live by: Narrative identity in a postmodern world.

Kirkup, G. (2002). Identity, community and distributed learning. Distributed learning: Social and cultural approaches to practice, 182-195.

Korthagen, F., & Vasalos, A. (2005). Levels in reflection: Core reflection as a means to enhance professional growth. Teachers and teaching, 11(1), 47-71.

Lauriala, A., & Kukkonen, M. (2005). Teacher and student identities as situated cognitions. Connecting policy and practice: Challenges for teaching and learning in schools and universities, 199-208.

Luttenberg, J., & Bergen, T. (2008). Teacher reflection: the development of a typology. Teachers and teaching, 14(5-6), 543-566.

Maum, R. (2002). Nonnative-English-Speaking Teachers in the English Teaching Profession. ERIC Digest.

Norton, B. (2000). Identity and language learning: Gender, ethnicity and educational change. Editorial Dunken.

Norton, B. (2010). Language and identity. Sociolinguistics and language education, 23(3), 349-369.

Pennington, M. C. (2002). Teacher identity in TESOL. Advances and Current Trends in Language Teacher Identity Research, 5, 16.

Porter, A. C., Youngs, P., & Odden, A. (2001). Advances in teacher assessments and their uses. Handbook of research on teaching, 4, 259-297.

Rodgers, C. (2002). Defining reflection: Another look at John Dewey and reflective thinking. Teachers college record, 104(4), 842-866.

Sachs, J. (2001). Teacher professional identity: Competing discourses, competing outcomes. Journal of education policy, 16(2), 149-161.

Sachs, J. (2005). Teacher education and the development of professional identity: Learning to be a teacher. In Connecting policy and practice: Challenges for teaching and learning in schools and universities (pp. 5-21). Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.

Safari, P. (2018). A critical reflection on (re) construction of my identity as an English language learner and English teacher. Professional Development in Education, 44(5), 704-720.

Sfard, A., & Prusak, A. (2005). Telling identities: In search of an analytic tool for investigating learning as a culturally shaped activity. Educational researcher, 34(4), 14-22.

Søreide, G. E. (2007, 2007/03/01). The public face of teacher identity—narrative construction of teacher identity in public policy documents. Journal of education policy, 22(2), 129-146. https://doi.org/10.1080/02680930601158893

Varghese, M., Morgan, B., Johnston, B., & Johnson, K. A. (2005). Theorizing language teacher identity: Three perspectives and beyond. Journal of language, Identity, and Education, 4(1), 21-44.

Weedon, W. H., & Rappaport, C. M. (1997). A general method for FDTD modeling of wave propagation in arbitrary frequency-dispersive media. IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, 45(3), 401-410.

About the author: Mr. Saroj Bogati is an M.Phil. in English Language Education. He is a lecturer and Head of the Faculty of Education at Nuwakot Adarsha Multiple Campus, Battar, Nuwakot.

Challenges of teaching English to basic level students in multilingual classrooms: A narrative inquiry

Raju Yonjan

Abstract

Nepal is a multilingual, multicultural, and multi-ethnic country where different people dwell with their own identities in terms of culture, tradition, and language in society. As per the data of 2068, there are 126 ethnic groups and 123 languages. Multilingualism refers to the condition in which more than two languages are used in the same setting for similar purposes. (Poudel, 2010). This research aimed to explore the challenges and problems faced by English language teachers in multilingual classrooms. The study further aimed to discover some pedagogical approaches they employ to tackle the challenges. Research questions for the paper were; What are the challenges and the problems faced by English language teachers in multilingual classrooms? How do English language teachers express their experiences implementing pedagogical approaches to tackle challenges and issues faced in a multilingual classroom? I have followed Narrative inquiry as my research design. The data collection tools are interviews and observation. I have thematized the data. The study found that students feel comfortable learning via a language exchange. Translanguaging is an appropriate pedagogy for teaching English language in a multilingual classroom.

Keywords: Multilingualism, Multilingual, Pedagogies, Medium of instruction, Translanguage

Introduction

Nepal is a multilingual, multicultural, and multi-ethnic country where different people dwell with their own identities in terms of culture, tradition, and language in society. As per the data of 2068, there are 126 ethnic groups and 123 languages. Every person has their language and culture. (Chand, 2020) stated, “our community is mixed up with people from these diverse cultures.” So are in the classroom. In addition, multilingualism includes people with competencies in several languages or places where many languages are used. It is useful to bring the Council of Europe’s concept of multilingualism as the characteristics of a place – city, society, nation-state, where many languages are spoken, and plurilingualism as the attribute of an individual who has a ‘plurilingual repertoire’ of language competences (Council of Europe 2007 cited in King, 2018).

Furthermore, King (2018) stated was the fact that multilingualism can be seen in a geographical area, large or small, of more than one ‘variety of language,’ i.e., the mode of speaking of a social group, whether it is formally recognised as a language or not; in such an area individuals may be monolingual, speaking only their variety. In Sindhuli, the majority of people are indigenous, according to the 2011 census. According to the National Data Profile (2011), 48% people in Sindhuli speak Nepali language, 26 % citizens speak Tamang language which is nearly the half of the speaker of Nepali language. Similarly, there is also a number of people from Magar community dwell in the different geographical areas in Sindhuli district. We can probably say that we can behold pupils from different cultures and lingual backdrops even in the classrooms.

Statement of the problem

Multilingualism refers to the condition in which more than two languages are used in the same setting for similar purposes. (Poudel, 2010). As Poudel said in his definition, I used more than one language in the classroom for similar purposes. When I was teaching in the school, I found multiple backgrounds students whom I had to deal with different mindsets in the classroom. I found various problems, such as writing, reading, speaking, and listening. There is a problem with language aspects, too, like pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar.

Furthermore, students can’t understand only one language. The experience that I have in the use of other languages rather than English has motivated them to learn. In this regard, Atkinson (1987) states that the theory that the students’ mother tongue shouldn’t be completely ignored in the English classes, ever since the use of mother tongue (L1) can be very effective in terms of the amount of time spent explaining.

But we teachers are bound by the language policy of the government. Can we be successful in producing students with proficiency in English? Does Using a foreign language in an unfamiliar subject help to figure out the problem? Similarly, Nepal is bound by diverse languages and cultures. How do English Language teachers struggle to overcome the multilingual classroom? Will they find the perfect strategy to penetrate the various phenomena of the classrooms?

Objectives of the study

This research aimed to explore the challenges and problems faced by English language teachers in multilingual classrooms. The study further aimed to discover some pedagogical approaches they employ to tackle the challenges.

Research questions

The research questions for the study were;

  • What are the challenges and problems English language teachers face in multilingual classrooms?
  • How do English language teachers express their experiences implementing pedagogical approaches to tackle challenges and problems faced in multilingual classrooms?

Literature review

Medium of instruction (MoI) policy in Nepal

Language issue, among others, was one of the major agendas in the policy reform discourses. The policies focused on promoting the monolingualism of Nepali. Indigenous communities resisted the existing monolingual policy and demanded for a ‘mother tongue’ education (Phyak & Ojha, 2019). For example, Nepal National Education Planning Commission (NNEPC) (1956), called Wood Commission, was the first commission in Nepal for policy recommendations, led to the assimilation, restriction, destruction, possession, and perpetuation of one language Nepali in the education system of Nepal (Awasthi, 2004). Ninth and Tenth Plan, National Education Commission (1990) showed the willingness to promote non-Nepali languages as a medium of instruction in non-Nepali speaking schools. It encouraged the children from multilingual communities to learn the local language and recommended priority to the candidates who knew the children’s mother tongue while recruiting teachers (Awasthi, 2004; cited in Rai, 2021). High-Level National Education Commission (1998) again focused on promoting mother tongue-based education in Nepal. After considering the suggestions and recommendations, the Education Act (1971) was amended in 2002, ensuring mother tongue-based education.

Translanguaging as pedagogies

Translanguaging as pedagogy refers to the various methods in which bilingual learners and teachers become employ to get involved in “complex and fluid discursive practices to make meaning of teaching and learning, to communicate and appropriate subject knowledge, and to develop academic practices” (García & Wei 2014, p. 112). There are two types of translanguaging: teacher-directed translanguaging and learners-directed translanguaging (Lewis et al., 2012). The former refers to pedagogical translanguaging (Cenoz, 2017) or official translanguaging (Williams, 2012) that uses planned and structured teaching strategies to build on multilingual learners’ diverse linguistic practices flexibly (García & Li Wei, 2014). This approach can facilitate learners to understand complex academic texts and content and the target language learning and develop new linguistic practices.

García and Wei (2014) suggests the translanguaging pedagogy that can help teachers to accomplish their teaching goals; to differentiate and adapt instruction to meet the needs of diverse students in the bilingual/multilingual classroom (e.g., through translation); To build background knowledge in order to help students to make meaning of the lesson content (e.g., through collaborative dialogue, collaborative grouping, reading multilingual texts, and multilingual listening/visual resources); to deepen understandings, extend new knowledge, and develop critical thinking and socio-political engagement (e.g., through multilingual writing, and inner speech); to enable cross-linguistic transfer and metalinguistic awareness to help students to fulfil their communicative needs (e.g., through vocabulary learning, and comparing multilingual texts); To build cross-linguistic flexibility in order to help students to use language practices competently (e.g., through interchanging languages and media, and translanguaging in writing and speaking classes); to engage students through identity investment and positionality (e.g., through multilingual writing) and to examine linguistic disparity and disrupt existing linguistic hierarchies and social structures (e.g., through project learning, thematic units, and research) (García & Wei, 2014, pp. 120-121).

The learner-directed translanguaging takes place ‘when learners self-regulate their learning by using linguistic practices and meaning-making resources that are not explicitly included in the classroom or lesson’ (García et al., 2011). Within the classroom, learners use learner-directed translanguaging for metafunctions such as negotiating for understanding among each other, co-constructing the meaning within themselves and between self and others and exhibiting knowledge (García et al., 2011).

García and Wei (2014) further propose translanguaging strategies for monolingual and bilingual education. They are in three categories (ibid., pp. 121-122): The teacher should pay attention to meaning-meaning by teacher-directed translanguaging and learners-directed translanguaging. The teacher should employ and create classroom resources for translanguaging based on the multilingual and multimodal texts’ availability and production (e.g., textbooks, references resources), technology (e.g., computers, Ipads), and multilingual/multimodal classroom landscapes (e.g., visual texts, technology-enhanced media, multilingual word walls, and sentence starters). And the teacher should create the curriculum and classroom structures for translanguaging based on learner grouping in the home language, project- and task-based learning, research tasks, thematic curriculum units, and language-inquiry tasks.

Major challenges in multilingual classrooms

Dhakal (2015) states two challenges in the multilingual classroom setting and parents’ preference to teach their children a language with broader application. Firstly, parents don’t want education in their language as it doesn’t cover the wider area. Secondly, the local language is confined to the local communities. They feel that learning the local language limits the children only to their communities (Annamalai, 2003, p. 126). Rai et al. (2011, p. 33) also noted that the parents doubt whether MLE schools will sustain. They further state, “The most crucial challenge is that parents, teachers, children, and other stakeholders are still resistant and suspicious about the sustainability and effectiveness of the policy” (ibid). It is commonly claimed that all participants of MLE- planners and policymakers, educationists, community leaders, and almost all community members want their children to be taught in English (Phyak 2012, p. 42). Parents’ concepts, community leaaders, members, and even other educationists’ beliefs can be the significant challenges of multilingual classrooms.

Empirical review

Dahal (2020) researched “Teacher experience on using mother tongue in second language classroom: a narrative inquiry.” The study’s objective was to explore teachers’ opinions on using MT in terms of teaching grammar and vocabulary, classroom management, content delivery, and student motivation in secondary English language classrooms. It also found the role of MT in the second language classroom based on teacher experience. It suggested pedagogical recommendations based on the findings. She selected four English teachers and conducted typical semi or unstructured interviews. The result of the study indicated that MT is best for explaining the meanings of abstract nouns and can help teach grammar items. It also found that most classroom activities include learning new vocabulary items and studying grammatical rules. Likewise, Mother Tongue (MT) can be best used in ELT classrooms for pedagogical management. And particularly, it helped to develop rapport with the students.

Likewise, Sherpa (2016) has conducted research entitled “The Use of MT in Teaching English at Primary Level.” The study’s objective was to determine the role of using MT for teaching English and the advantage and disadvantage of using MT in a classroom. She selected 20 parents and 20 primary teachers from Taplejung district. The two sets of questionnaires were used as a tool, and the research finding showed that primary teachers mainly use the first language for cultural translation and to break the monotonous of the students.

Next, Madrinan (2014) conducted a research study involving kindergarten students of an English immersion program in the first year in Colombia to investigate whether the use of MT increases comprehension and facilitates the second language acquisition process. In her action research, she designed the lesson plane – using only English as the language of instruction, and both Spanish and English, respectively. The result revealed that the students did better involving the latter patterns, especially for transferring concepts from l1 to the target language.

Moreover, Ghimire (2016) carried out research entitled “Use of l1 Facilitation in Developing English Vocabulary” in the Gorkha District to find out learners’ progress in vocabulary with the use of the first language. It was experimental research. He collected data from 40 secondary students with purposive non-random sampling. He used test items (pre and post) as a research tool. His works’ findings revealed that using the first language in a classroom greatly helped students learn target language vocabulary.

Methods of the study

Interpretive research paradigm

A paradigm is a prototype and plays the role of assistant to describe the purpose of an investigation. Guba and Lincoln (1994, p. 105) point out that a basic system or worldview that guides the investigator, not only in choices of method but in ontologically and epistemologically fundamental ways. Moreover, the paradigms we build in our minds have a powerful effect as they create the lens through which we see the world (Covey, 1989). As my study aims to explore the challenges of teaching English language in a multilingual classroom, I was bonded with an interpretive paradigm. It believes in the inseparability of understanding from interpretation. I choose interpretivism as my research paradigm for this study because it attempts to bring the views of realism, naturalism, and humanism approaches that believe in reality, not imaginary. Furthermore, it helps me to understand my participants’ experience and the actual situation in the field.

Narrative inquiry

Narrative inquiry combines storytelling and research by using stories as research data or as a tool for data analysis or presentation of findings. It narrates the lived experiences of participants as a story. There are two terms in Narrative inquiry: “analysis of narrative” and “narrative analysis.” According to Polkinghorne (1995), analysis of narrative refers to the research in which stories are used as data, while narrative analysis refers to a study in which storytelling is used as a means of analysing data and presenting findings. I choose the analysis of narrative because it allows me to collect the stories from the participants and interpret them for meaning-making. So, I used analysis of narrative under the narrative inquiry.

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world. Storytelling is the way to sprinkle ideas that are inside you and be able to reach near the truth, knowing the reality of the phenomena. Bruner (1990) argues that it is through telling ourselves stories about ourselves and others that we understand who we are, who they are, and the relationship between us. Clendenin et al. (2006) equate teachers’ ‘‘personal practical knowledge’’ (p. 7) to the stories teachers live, tell, re-live, and re-tell. In contrast, stories of teachers are shifting stories that others hold or expect of teachers. In my studies, I aim to explore the challenges and problems faced by English language teachers in multilingual classrooms. The study further aims to find some pedagogical approaches they employ to tackle the challenges. Human experiences happen in a sequence that we call a story, and they emerge with the collaboration between researchers and participants. (Clendenin and Connelly, 2000).

Sampling procedure and research participants

The study explored the challenges of teaching English to basic-level students in multilingual classrooms. I used purposive sampling to select participants to collect reliable and detailed information on their experiences for this study. Furthermore, this study was based on a qualitative design that followed narrative inquiry. The total participant of this research were two basic-level English language teachers.

Data collection and story generation

The only tool for data collection of the study is an in-depth interview that included some guideline questions in an open structure to obtain lived experiences of English language teachers. An in-depth interview helped me to acquire detailed information on the lived experience of the participants (Johnson & Rowlands, 2012). I met the two participants who were from basic-level community schools. I collected their lived experiences through the open-ended questions (interview) I had made. And I narrated it to make meaning.

Meaning making process

Clendenin and Murphy (2007) opined that meaning-making is a process of understanding lives as they unfold temporally, as specific events within a particular individual’s life. This study followed the narrative inquiry that brings lived experiences of the individual from the floor for a meaning-making purpose which I found essential for my paper. After I interviewed, I kept them in a table for coding, categorizing, and thematizing. I used words or phrases from the informants’ language as codes. Coding helped me organize and group into categories of similar characters and patterns (Saldana, 2016).

Similarly, I categorized them after coding their lived experiences based on commonalities and distinctions. Then, I thematized it concerning English language teaching in a multilingual classroom. I related them to the existing theory and literature to make the study more authentic. Based on the themes, I transcribed, coded, categorized, and analysed the themes to make meaning.

Findings of the study

Difficulties in the multilingual classroom

There can be many difficulties in a multilingual classrooms. In this regard, one of my participants, Samiksha says; in my area, most of them are Magar, and some of them are sunuwar, bhujel and dalit. They don’t seem to motivated toward English language. Motivation in teaching and learning activities is the overall driving force within students that raises, ensures continuity, and provides direction for learning activities so that students’ learning objectives are expected to be achieved (Handayani et al., 2020) Samiksha further shared,

They don’t have a strong underpinning in English language they do not have the environment for reading it at home. They don’t understand even a single word. They can’t even write properly in the notebooks. The classroom is totally teacher-centred. The teacher have to explain the readings in Nepali and their mother tongue sometimes, which makes my class delay in proceeding the lesson further. In this regard my next participant Krishna shared;

Students have to perform many activities at home instead of reading books and doing homework. They have to cut grass, cook food, and sometimes have bring firewood from the near jungle. A few students complete homework. According to one of my students, they have very little room for doing and reading the lesson. He said, “haamile school maa jati padhyo lagvag tetinai ho, sir”.

Trans-language to comprehend contents

In multilingual classroom contexts, using mother tongues permits students to understand the concepts of teaching by utilizing their existing linguistic knowledge (Cummins, 2006). When she shared her teaching experience, she said, “one of my students told me, Miss, hamro English subject ni Magar basa maa vaako vaye haamlai yo ni aauthyo hola hai?”. Similarly, Krishna said, “It is challenging to make them understand via the English. I have to teach most of them in Nepali. I also ask some of them what we call it in your Magar language. They became shy in front of me. But later, after making it easy, they used to say.

The local education policy forces teachers to teach English in English. But it seemed insignificant in the multilingual classroom. According to Samiksha and Krishna, they had to teach English in Nepali as given below; Samiksha who was teaching in Class 5, tought the word meaning in this way.

Hillock (hil-lak) – Dado

Gardening (gar-de-ning)- Phul ropnu, Bagaichako rekhdekh

Interested (in-te-res-tid)- Ichha

Similarly, she teaches sentences also in the say as she teaches word meanings in Nepali. She has to translate every English sentence into Nepali.

Jhuma lives on a hillock. she translated it in Nepali, “Jhuma dada maa baschha.”  She did translate other sentences of the story “Jhuma”

The situation with Krishna was also the same. He entered the class, and took attendance, and a few students were absent the students who were absent the day before were called in front and asked why they were absent. They stayed quiet, and he advised them to be regular. He said, “Take out your books and turn page no. 36. Sabaile book nikala. chhatis page number paltau.”

After that, Krishna told the students to read the lesson “Some festivals of Nepal” and picked up some new words in the notebook. Before teaching the lesson, Krishna told the meaning of all the words in Nepali. We knew from him that he always used to do that.

Decorated (de-co-re-tid) – Sajaaunu

Commemorate (com-me-mo-re-ta) – Samjhanu

Deceased (di-sis-ed) – Mareko

Exchanging (ya-chen-jing) –  Satasatat

Combination (com-bi-ne-san) – Samyojan

Observed (ab-ser-v-d) – Hernu

At first, Krishna told the students to read the text after him. Students did it accordingly. They didn’t seem to read correctly the text as their teachers did. After finishing that, he started to translate those all into Nepali. For example;

Lhosar combines two words; Lho means year, and sar means new. Lhosar is one of the most popular festivals of Nepal, celebrated by different communities on different days. Tamu Lhosar is celebrated amongst the Gurung community, whereas the Tamang celebrates Sonam Lhosar.

(“Lochhar” due wota Shabdaharule baneka chhan. “Lo” bhaneko “Saal”. “Chhar” bhaneko “Naya”. Lochhar Nepalko prakhyat chhadharu maddhe yek ho, jun bhivinna samudayaharu bhivinna tarikale manauchhan. Tamu Lochhar Gurung samudayale manauchhan. Sonam Lochhar Tamang samudayale manauchhan.)

When I observed his class, the class found teacher-centered. He translated every word to the students in Nepali and pronounced the works in chunks for their easiness. I found that students were quiet in his class. He later freed the students to ask the question in Nepali. The students in the second desk were whispering to each other, requesting to ask the meaning of the word “community”. One of them stood up and asked, “Sir, caamunity vaneku k ho?” He said, “Samudaye” in Nepali. Furthermore, he gave an example, “jasto kunai yeuta jaati ko vid athaba basti hunx ni teslai samudaye vaninx. Samajik bisayemaa padheko hola ni hoina?” Such a quiet class seemed interactive now when they were permitted to speak both Nepali and Magar languages.

Talks in Multilingual Classroom

“Pedagogy must evolve to make education more experiential, holistic, integrated, inquiry-driven, discovery-oriented, learner-centered, discussion-based, flexible, enjoyable” (NEP,2020). She used Nepali and Magar language in the classroom interaction. She once read the text in English, and then used Nepali and Magar to interact in the classroom. for example;

Teacher: Ese jafre (do this)

Student: ‘hillock’ eski English sang hidele? (What is it written, sir?)

Teacher:  sabdau artha ‘dada’ ho lai aale (the meaning of the word is dada.)

Many researchers have found that the classroom must be interactive and student-centered. Whenever she asked the question in English, they all remained quiet. They didn’t even utter a single word. Krishna’s condition was also the same. There was no interaction if he spoke English for a long time in the classroom. For example;

Teacher: What is this? Say in English

Student: he stayed quiet.

Teacher: ese Nepali aang hi aale (Can you tell it in Nepali?)

Student: sir chake garo chhana (I feel quite difficult, sir.)

Teacher: Magar aang? (in Magar language)

Student: rewa (Crab)

However, the class seemed interactive when they were allowed to speak in their comfort languages. Both seemed good enough to engage the students via Nepali and Magar. Such practices are translanguaging pedagogy (García and Kleyn, 2016; Probyn, 2015).

Conclusion

It can be concluded that teacher has faced various difficulties while teaching English language to basic-level students in a multilingual classroom in Nepal. Teachers must teach in different languages to make them understand the content. Like Samiksha and Krishna, teachers have to teach English via Nepali or Magar, sometimes in the ELT multilingual classroom as a medium of instruction. In this regard, the pedagogies and perspectives of the teachers in this paper imply that any policies, be it EMI or English language teaching, that impose a monolingual approach lead to silence. It creates barriers to epistemic access (e.g., content knowledge) and meaningful participation in teaching-learning activities (see Makalela, 2022). Translanguaging is not just for teaching English and practices. However, it is also about building critical and ideological awareness to challenge hegemonic language policy in multilingual classrooms (Davis & Phyak, 2016).

Multiple languages must be allowed in the classroom to enable students to interact freely and wholeheartedly. Finally, this study found that there should be a plethora of space for multiple languages in the classroom to ease the students, which doesn’t only help them interact and collaborate in the classroom. It also helps to protect their language, culture, and identity.

References

Constitution of Nepal (2015). Kathmandu: Government of Nepal

Dhakal, D. N. (2015). Multilingual Education in Nepal: Retrospect and prospects. Education and Development. Vol. 26, 78-92.

Interim Constitution of Nepal (2007). Kathmandu: Government of Nepal.

Forrester, J. R. (2020). A Qualitative Narrative Inquiry Study of Perceptions Versus Practices

Regarding English Language Learner Instruction in Three Midwestern School Districts. Faculty of the Graduate School at Evangel University.

King, L. (2018). The Impact of Multilingualism on Global Education and Language Learning |  UCLES 2018.

Ismaili, M. (2015). Teaching English in a multilingual setting. GlobELT: An International Conference on Teaching and Learning English as an Additional Language, Antalya – Turkey. Social and Behavioral Sciences 199 (2015) 189 – 195. www.sciencedirect.com

Patil, Z. N. (2008). Re-thinking the objectives of teaching English in Asia. Asian EFL Journal, 10(4), 227-240.

Poudel, P. P. (2010). Teaching English in Multilingual Classrooms of Higher Education: The Present Scenario. Journal of NELTA. Vol. 15 No. 1-2 December 2010

Rai, V. S., Rai, M., Phyak, P. & Rai, N. (2011). Multilingual education in Nepal: Hearsay and reality. Kathmandu, Nepal: UNESCO.

Regmi, D. R. (2069 B.S.). Multilingual Education Policy in Nepal: Policy and Practice. Tribhuvan University Special Bulletin. pp. 136-149.

About the author: Mr. Raju Yonjan is an English teacher at Shree Kalikadevi Basic School, Phikkal Rural Municipality, Sindhuli. He is pursuing a Master’s degree in English Language Education at Kathmandu University.

English as medium of instruction in public schools of Nepal: Teachers’ perceptions and practical considerations

Laxmi Shrestha

 Abstract 

The paper entitled “English as a medium of instruction in public schools of Nepal: practical consideration” aims to explore the teachers’ perceptions regarding EMI in community schools and to find out the practicality of EMI in Community schools of Nepal. The interview was used as a tool for data collection, five teachers teaching in public schools where English was used as the medium of instruction were selected purposively. It was found that practically public schools are shifting to the English medium though it was challenging to apply. It was the demand of parents and students as well as the time. Public schools were found using EMI to create better job opportunities for the students, parents’ requests, to increase the number of students in the school, and because of the government policy practically.

Background of the study

The teachers appointed 15/20 years before are still in service and are compelled to teach in English medium classes in public schools. It is not an easy task for them because they were not taught in English at their time. It becomes difficult for them to make the student understand the content because they cannot understand it correctly. EMI is not a difficulty for aged teachers, but it’s becoming a problem the newly appointed teachers too. It’s in the sense that every subject except Nepali is being taught in English medium. While teaching social studies, typical Nepali words like gundruk, dhido, dhiki, janto, chhatri etc., are romanized. I think it is straightforward for them to understand the terms in the Nepali language.

Nepal is a developing country, and education in remote areas is very pitiful. The children are not getting education facilities in their own mother tongue for many reasons like lack of teachers, textbooks, difficulty getting to school and so on. In such circumstances teaching in English medium is a complicated job.

Nepal is a multilingual country. Many ethnic groups have their mother tongue and acquire their native language as their first language. There are still such people who don’t know the Nepali language. For example, in the Magar community, only the Magar language is spoken, and they are unaware of the Nepali language. In addition, the government has also declared that children have the right to get education in their mother tongue up to the primary level. On the other hand, English medium education is prioritized by the government and contemporary society.

Consequently, the planning and policy of the country, the necessity of the society, and teacher conditions do not match, and the quality of education is declining daily in our country. The plan makers do not observe the actual context of the country. They only make the plan by targeting the area where they stay, i.e., the city. In all this, the students are suffering. It means the nation is at a loss because it will lack human resources and cannot step towards development with no good human resources.

EMI is one of the burning issues in the teaching field of Nepal. The constitution has declared the right to education in the children’s mother tongue. Instead, the children are forced to take instruction in the English Language directly and indirectly. The hegemony of the English Language indirectly forces parents to admit their children to the school where English is used as a medium of instruction.

I am also a parent. I sent my daughter to a Montessori school (private school), and I used to teach in a government school simultaneously. When I compared both schools’ delivery, I did not find vast differences between them. Instead, I found a more experienced teacher in my community school. So I decided to take my child to the same school where I was teaching. I took suggestions from some of my friends, who suggested I shouldn’t take my child to the community school to make a base in English. But I believe that a child should learn the subject matter properly and they can learn the language through different means like TV, Internet.

Some teachers believe that the student must be taught the content and that the language doesn’t matter. In contrast, the school administration is forcing teachers to teach in English. Even parents are also conscious of the English medium. They think fluency in English means their children are talented in their studies, but knowing English is not talent in the subject area. So I found EMI as an issue in the educational field. Some believe EMI is a better way of teaching. On the other hand, some favor focusing on subject matter rather than language. So I want to explore different teachers’ views on whether English should be used as a medium of instruction or concentrate on the content.

Objectives

The objective of the study was to explore the teachers’ perceptions and practices of EMI in community schools.

English as a Medium of Instruction

English is the most widely spoken language in the world. It greatly influences the education system of most countries in the world. It is taught as the subject and used as the medium of instruction to teach other issues too. English Medium Instruction (EMI) refers to teaching academic subjects in English in non-Anglophone countries ( Macaro & et al. 2016). It is believed that if the subject matter is taught in English, it helps improve the children’s language because of the greater exposure. EMI is a model of teaching in which non-English subjects are taught through the medium of English (Poudel, 2021). Teachers use the English Language to elaborate the content. EMI is the regular practice in private schools. Community schools also follow this trend because of the parents’ attraction to the English Language.

English Language in school for teaching purposes is preferred because it may develop the listening and speaking skills of the students.EMI might help the students to increase their vocabulary power too. Tran et al. (2021) stated that students’ knowledge of technical terms was believed to be improved most through EMI by both lecturers and students.

Nepal is a multilingual country. More than 129 languages are spoken in Nepal. The government has declared that every child has the right to get education in their mother tongue up to the primary level. Contrary to this, children are forced to learn in English, a non-native Language for Nepalese learners. Regarding the instruction medium, Nepal’s constitution (2015) declared that Nepali or English, or both languages, can be used in the classroom.

Challenges of EMI

Teaching learning itself is a challenging job. Many learners feel difficult to understand the subject matter because of the language used to teach them in the class. Children from most ethnic groups learn Nepali as their second language. So, they may feel uneasy about learning using the English language as the medium of instruction. The class can be less interactive and silent. There may be a communication gap between teachers and students because of the language problem. EMI is not only a problem for the learner; it may also be difficult for the teachers. Bista (2011) views that educational institutions may not have language learning labs, the computers and internet use may be limited. Enough audio and visual aids may not be in the class, and textbooks and resources materials may be challenging. Teachers teaching may not have sufficient knowledge of the English language, which may lead the children to a misconception of the English language. Khatri (n. d.), English as a medium of instruction like students’ weak exposure to the English language, mother tongue interference in the classroom, poor competence of students in English, lack of support and encouragement from the parents and society, and no motivating environment for the teachers and schools are not resourceful and well facilitated.

Popularity of EMI

English is a powerful language in the world. It is the dominant language. Learning the English Language is a kind of indirect compulsion for the learner. Tang (n.d.) stated that language improvement is essential for EMI implementation. People without English are partly literate because English is mandatory in every sector. For example, one should know English to use an ATM, English is necessary to use email internet and get a job abroad, and fluent English speaking skills, which is equally essential in tourism. No sector is untouched by the English Language. Parents are keenly interested in teaching English to their children in Nepal for a secure future for their children.

The English language is used as the language of teaching and learning too. English is taught as a compulsory subject from pre-primary to university level in Nepal. The requirement to be a primary teacher in Nepal was SLC passed, who still teach in schools. In government schools, only one English subject used taught in the contemporary period. Public school teachers who are unfamiliar with English languages are compelled to teach in English. We believe that the more practice, the more perfection. It means that to make EMI effective, the learners and the teachers must use the English Language as much as possible.

In contrast, it is not practical because of many factors such as the influence of mother tongue, affective filter, lack of English-speaking environment, etc. Khatri mentioned in his research that there is no encouraging environment in the schools for practicing EMI-supported instructional activities in the regular pedagogy. Furthermore, he explained that according to the participant of his study, there is no English-speaking environment around their school premises.

Bista (2011) researched Teaching English as a Foreign/Second Language in Nepal: Past and Present. The main objective of the research was to review the history of English language teaching English as a second or foreign language in schools and colleges in Nepal. The author used secondary sources to complete his study as it was library-based. He concluded that the educators were using traditional lectured and grammar-translation methods, which is continuing. Furthermore, he explored that English language teaching is challenging because of the lack of physical and technical facilities.

Khatri (n. d.) studied the topic of Teachers’ Attitudes toward English as a Medium of Instruction. The research objective was to explore the teachers’ attitude towards using EMI in public schools and the challenges they faced in adopting EMI. The research was conducted using the mixed method. The results of the study revealed that public school teachers were aware of the basic concept of the notion of English as a medium of instruction. They were found positive in implementing EMI in conducting their daily teaching and learning activities.

Tang (n. d.) accomplished his research on the Challenges and Importance of Teaching English as a Medium of Instruction at Thailand International College. The core objective of the study was to explore the challenges of teaching English as a medium of instruction (EMI) and its essential impact on Thailand International College. A qualitative method was employed, utilizing an interview protocol as a research instrument. The outcome discovered four categories of challenges: linguistic, cultural, structural, and identity-related (institutional) challenges and four essential aspects of EMI implementation, namely, the importance of language improvement, subject matter learning, career prospects, and internationalization strategy.

Dearden (2014) researched ‘English as a medium of instruction – a growing global phenomenon.’ This study was designed to determine the size, shape, and future trends of EMI worldwide. She reported her research findings within five main points: the growth of EMI as a global phenomenon on EMI, official policies and statements on EMI, different national perspectives on EMI, public opinion on EMI, and teaching and learning through EMI. The main conclusions of the study were general trend is towards the rapid expansion of EMI provision; there is official governmental banking for EMI but with some interesting exceptions and so on.

Methods of the study

I used qualitative research design in this research, using both primary and secondary data sources. My study population was the teachers who were teaching other subjects rather than English. Five teachers were purposively selected from five public schools of Vyas Municipality, Tanahun where the English language was used as a Medium of Instruction (EMI). I took interviews with the teachers to collect data.

Data analysis and interpretation

This section is mainly concerned with analyzing and interpreting the information from the interview and observation with the different participants. Participants’ views are discussed and interpreted, developing different subthemes.

Teachers’ perceptions toward EMI in community schools

The teachers’ perceptions of using EMI in public schools are discussed and interpreted, developing the following themes based on their perceptions.

Use of the English language inside classroom

Many community schools have adopted English as the medium of instruction for many reasons. The teachers are compelled to teach in English whether they are competent. People say that, though the English Language is used to teach in the community schools, the result is unsatisfactory. Students’ performance in community schools is not good compared to private schools. So to understand the reality, I asked my participants about using English inside the classroom.

I asked my participant whether the teachers use only English Language inside the classroom. In this regard, my first participant Mr. Jagat said that Teachers use the English Language to teach but use the Nepali Language to explain the text because most students may not understand the subject matter in the English Language.In the same way, another participant, Mrs. Mamata, stated that I translate the content into Nepali to make it easier for the students. I could read their face though they don’t ask me to explain in Nepali. Regarding this question, my third participant Mrs. Sita shared her view. The teacher has to use both languages i.e., English and Nepali, to make the students clear about the content. Students are not able to understand the subject matter only in English.

Here my participants’ ideas are similar to Shah’s (2019) views that teaching in English seems a formality and a way of attracting students to schools. After analyzing the opinions of my participants, I understood that the community schools are using English only for formality. English language used as the medium of instruction is not practical because the students cannot understand the content in the English language. As a result, teachers use both English and Nepali Language in the classroom.

English medium for further study

After completing the secondary level, the students must choose a specific subject for their studies. Science and other technical subjects are being taught in English. The materials are also available in English. So the students must know the English Language. If they feel easy to use the English language, they will do better in technical subjects. Otherwise, they have to choose other subjects instead of being interest in studying such subjects. Here, my fourth participant, Mr. Dinesh, stated: English language is helpful to those students who are interested in a technical subjects. It helps the students to secure a good positions. Similarly the next participant, Mrs. Sita, claimed that English is essential for students to go abroad for higher study. It is impossible to go to the UK, the USA, and Australia for higher studies without the knowledge of the higher studies.

The English language has its influence in every sector. Likewise, education sector has also been dominated by the English Language. The English language is one of the main criteria to be fulfilled by students who want to study technical subjects. Furthermore, it is compulsory to acquire good scores on English language tests like TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, etc. to get admission to college and university abroad. Bista (2011) has claimed that, not only high school graduates but also college graduates prefer improving their level of English to pursue either higher study abroad or to start a job in foreign setting. It is a fact that the English Language helps students in their further study because at a higher level. However, students are reading in Nepali Medium taking Nepali as their major subject, they have to face the questions of compulsory subjects in English medium in board examinations. In this case, EMI at the school level may be helpful to them to understand the English Language somehow.

Strategy to increase students number

The parents’ attraction to teach their children English Language leads them toward boarding school. So the number of students in a community schools is decreasing daily. Many children are sent to the private English schools by buses. Those schools are far from from their homes, and they have to pay expensive fees but the community schools are searching students. The reason might be the community schools do not focus on English as medium of instruction earlier. However, nowadays, most community schools are also using books printed in English language and teach using English as medium of instruction. So, the number of students are being increased in public schools as well. While I asked teachers, they stated that the community schools have no other option to increase students. In this case, my first participant Mr. Jagat shared that;

The community schools do not have enough required human resources to teach in the English medium, but the teachers are compelled to teach in English medium because the school administration has made the strategy. The administration believes that if they teach in English, the parents would send their children to the community school.

In the same way, my next participant Dinesh said Before the implementation of EMI, we had a very low number of students. But when we started to use books in English medium of private publication, the number of students increased gradually When the same question asked to another participant Mrs. Sita, she stated: Previously, most of the students from her locality were sent to private schools. It was because private schools used to provide education in English. So our school management committee, PTA, and the school administration also decided to apply EMI in our school to increase the number of students.

The answers of the different teachers on the same query advocated that the community school must implement the English medium to increase the number of students in school. Bista (2011) claimed that the trend of sending children to English medium schools and or colleges have begun as an English mania today in Nepal. The majority of parents like to send their children to English-speaking schools. The decreasing number of students is a major problem in community school in the present day. The leading cause of this problem is quality education. The parents believe that the school where English is taught provides quality education. So they sent their children to private school. That’s why the community school has to choose EMI to attract the parents’ attention towards community school and increase number of students.

Teachers’ practice in EMI

The teachers are the main character to apply the policies of education in a real field. So, I observed few classes of public schools taking consent from the the suthorities and the teachers where English medium was used as classroom instruction. Mainly, I observed the classes other than English, where English was used as medium of instruction to find the practicality of the EMI in public schools.

Use of translation method for teaching

I went to Shree Janamaitri Secondary School of Vyas Municipality (name changed), a renowned school in Nepal. I entered into class seven, section D. The students stood up and greeted me. The teacher was teaching the subject matter of social studies as it is written in the book and was trying to explain it in English. She noticed that the students were not clear about the topic, so, she described in Nepali language. When the teacher asked the questions in English, most of the students feel easy to answer in Nepali except for some. The teacher asked the meaning of the word vaccination then the students replied, ‘Khop Launi’. Likewise, they responded in Nepali that the word Avoid means ‘Rokne,’ settlement, Basobas Garne. The teacher herself used the word’ DhamiJhakri’ because the exact English word to replace the word is not available in the English language.

Similarly, I visited the second school, Shree Janajagriti Secondary School (name changed). The school was in the countryside. The school was also practicing the EMI. I observed class six where a teacher was dealing with social studies. Students greeted me in English and responded. They had the books written in English language. The teacher was reading the book and translating the lines in Nepali to make the students clear about the content. The teacher asked the questions in English, but the students replied in Nepali. It seems that they understand the English language, but feel easy using the Nepali Language while responding.

The third school I visited was Shiddhivinayak Secondary School (name changed). The class I observed was class 9, and the teacher was teaching Mathematics. The topic was construction. The teacher was trying to make the students clear about constructing rectangles. I found that the book was written using English language but the teacher was using the Nepali Language to explain the matter. The students were also asking questions in Nepali, and the teacher was answering them in the Nepali Language too.

Less interaction using English

I visited a couple of schools to observe the practicality of the English Language. When I entered the first school for class observation, it was quarter to ten, and the students gathered on the ground for the Morning Prayer. I waited for a while, and found that the language to perform the assembly was Nepali, not English. One of the teachers asked me in Nepali,’ KATI KAMLE AAUNU BHAYO?’ I thought that the English language was being spoken only in the classroom. After completing the assembly, the teacher was previously informed about my observation schedule that I was observing her class for the data collection of my research. We together entered the classroom, they greeted us, saying, “GOOD MORNING TWACHERS” we responded together. When the class moved further, I found the passive students listeners. They did not take part in the conversations with teachers. They only listen to the teachers talk. When the teachers explained in English, they stayed passive but by the time the teacher translated in Nepali the students’ voices came out. The teacher also asked most of the time Yes/No questions only in English, and the students always answered with one word, ‘Yes.’

Likewise, I visited the second school as per my schedule to collect data. It was the fourth period. It was about half past twelve. The teacher was teaching math in class 8. The topic was set. The problems in the book were given in English, and the teacher read it as it was written in the book. While the teacher used the English language the class was almost silent. On the other hand, when the teacher started to describe the problems in the Nepali language, the class became noisy. I meant to say that the students began to take part in the discussion.

The present condition of the students and the teachers in community schools regarding the English language is not commanding. I found teachers’s using mother tongue in the classroom because of two reasons; one the students did not understand the content in English completely and the next the teachers were less competent in English.

Conclusion

 This study was conducted by collecting data in public schools of Vyas municipality of Tanahun district. The collected data shows that the public schools also have adopted the EMI policy. Some of the reasons for adopting EMI are to attract students, and to provide quality education. Public schools are forced to implement this policy without any prerequisites as we know, there is only one English subject in a secondary school but all subjects except Nepali are forced to teach using English language no matter how competent teacher is in English language. All the teachers may not have studied English as major subject, in that condition even teacher may lose confidences to speak in English in the fear of committing mistake or error. In this situation, who will teach health and population, social studies, and other subjects through the English as medium of instruction? It has been an issue in public schools now ad days.

The concerned authority does not seem sensible for the effective practice of EMI. The schools do not have basic resource materials. As we all know that all four skills of language must be developed then only learners could use and understand the language better. To develop all the skills, they need exposure. Without materials and exposure, learners cannot acquire these skills. It is difficult for the teachers also to make the content clear unless the students understand the language. The policy and the implementation do not match. So, the learning outcomes of the students are not satisfactory in public schools though the English is used as medium of instruction. So, as we live in multilingual country, we need to respect all the languages. Together with the English language, international language we need to promote and preserve our languages as well. All the students should enjoy their schooling, for that we need to use either English or Nepali language in balance taking consideration of students’ level, their knowledge and necessity of the courses and the context of learning for better outcome.

References

Bista, K. (2011). Teaching English as a foreign/second language in Nepal: past and present. English for specific purposes world. Issue 32 vol.11, 2011. Retrieved from https://e-journal.usd.ac.id/index.php/LLT/article/view/2571

Education Act 2028, 9th amendment

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About Author: Laxmi Shrestha is an M.Ed. from Aadikavi Bhanbhakta Campus, TU. She is an English teacher in a public school in Tanahun. Her interest in research includes EMI, Second Language Acquisition, Sociolinguistics, and Language Teaching.