Tag Archives: Teachers’ experiences

Welcome to Third Quarterly Issue 15 (108)

Dear valued readers and contributors,


It gives us immense pleasure to release the third quarterly issue (July- September 2023) of ELT Choutari. This issue is non-thematic and replicate different experiences of teaching and learning English in different contexts. This issue has covered a wide range of areas of classroom pedagogy, classroom management, students’ motivation, students centred pedagogy, teachers professional transformation and practitioners’ reflections.

We believe that documenting teachers’ teaching experiences, challenges, and successes fosters a deeper level of understanding of their pedagogical approaches. The (emerging) practitioners learn innovative teaching methodologies, adapt to new language trends and develop relevant materials effective and useful in their language classroom. We honour the practitioners’ voices, their personal expeditions, and challenges to foster a collaborative culture and supportive environment for igniting change within their academia.

In the first post, Shiva Mainaly highlights the significant impacts of Call for Papers (CFP) on the conference attendees. He shares how important it is for the responder to respond about CFP and how it backfires if it is not addressed appropriately. The author further highlights how CFPs tend to address any aspect of burgeoning issues, ranging from colonial reckoning, the rhetoric of precarity and the rise of authoritarianism to social justice, linguistic justice, power and precarity attendant to AI’s growing application in learning and teaching space.

Similarly, in the second blog post, Surendra Prasad Ghimire provides a personal account of teaching English in low-resourced rural communities and navigates some unique challenges. The author provides insight into the complexities of low-resourced classrooms and offers some ways of teaching English in a rural context.

Likewise, Sangeeta Basnet in her reflective narrative shares how psychological assets play crucial roles in language classrooms and how those problems cause deterioration in academic performance. She also suggests some ways to address parents and teachers to create a healthy environment for them to share their problems, hear their past stories, and encourage and inspire them to do better in their academics.

Tripti Chaudhary, in the fourth blog post, shares her nostalgia and believes to have a paradigm shift in teaching pedagogy since the grammar-translation method. She further discusses how the rote memorisation has been transformed into a practice-driven approach in our academia in the 21st century.

Finally, in the fifth blog post, Dammar Singh Saud reflects on his experience of teaching culturally diverse students in school and shares how he was influenced by his father’s dedication to education and selflessness. He further highlights how innovative teaching method and the use of ICT plays pivotal roles in teaching teaching-learning process.

Here is the list of blogs for you to navigate in this issue:

  1. Mastering the Art of Responding to CFP by Shiva Mainaly
  2. Managing a Chaotic Classroom: A Memoir of an Early Career Teacher by Surendra Prasad Ghimire
  3. My Experience as a Motivator in my Teaching Career by Sangita Basnet 
  4. English Teachers’ Experiences on Learner-Centered Teaching Pedagogy by Tripti Chaudhary 
  5. Inspiration to Transformation: My Academic Odyssey by Dammar Singh Saud

Finally, I would like to thank our editors and reviewers in this issue, Mohan Singh SaudNanibabu Ghimire, Jeevan Karki, Jnanu Raj Poudel, Sagar Poudel, Karuna Nepal, Ekraj Adhikari, Yadu Gnawali, Binod Duwadi, Puskar Chaudhary, and Dasharath Rai, for their relentless effort and contribution.

ELT Choutari is a platform for researchers, scholars, educators, and practitioners to share their perspectives, practices, and stories from classrooms and communities. If you enjoy reading the articles, please feel free to share them in and around your circle and drop your comments.

We encourage you to contribute to our next issue (October-December) and send your articles and blogs to 2elt.choutari@gmail.com.

Happy Reading!

Lead- Editor
Ganesh Kumar Bastola

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

Surendra Prasad Ghimire


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.


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.


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.


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.

English Teachers’ Experiences on Learner-Centered Teaching Pedagogy

Tripti Chaudhary


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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

Raju Yonjan


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


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).


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.


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.

Welcome to the Second Quarterly Issue of ELT Choutari, 14(103)

Dear Valued Readers and Contributors,


We are pleased to release the second quarterly issue (April-June), 2022 of ELT Choutari believing that the varied resources will benefit you.

We are moving ahead rejoicing the Nepali New Year with new thoughts, aspirations and with enthusiasm. We wish you a happy, productive and historic new year, 2079 B.S.  to you and take this moment to thank our readers and contributors for inspiring us in the continuous journey of 14 years.

The world is constantly changing and the classroom pedagogies, teaching-learning principles and practices, research and resources should also change with the rhythm of time. Rationalizing this belief, Choutari explores resourceful ideas and pedagogical innovations and presents you in the form of articles, blogs, reviews, interviews, reflections, scholarly ideas, glocal practices, and indigenous knowledge to broaden our academic horizon.

Every classroom is diverse, so the educators in this millennium expect/are expected to be abreast with recent and relevant materials/resources for effective teaching-learning. We believe that the resources and materials shared on our forum can support you to be abreast in your field and contribute in your continuous professional development. Besides, writing your experiences/reflection and sharing your perspectives and scholarly ideas is another great tool for professional development. So, we encourage and welcome your writing/composition on the contemporary educational/linguistic issues, pedagogical practices and most importantly your teaching stories.

In this non-thematic issue, we present you the scholarly ideas, educators’ experiences and reflection and pedagogical practices useful for teaching, writing, researching, critiquing and professional development. We are hopeful that the ideas are replicable in our English language teaching-learning context. So, there are six articles and an exclusive interview in this issue.

In a conversation with Jeevan Karki, Dr Bal Krishna Sharma unfolds the global discourse in ELT, (Second) language acquisition, English language teaching in multilingual contexts, critical language teaching, English language policy and practices in Nepal.

Dr Padam Chauhan in his article ‘Ethnography of Writing: A Basic Framework to Introduce Academic Writing to ESL University Students’ recounts the challenges faced by English as a second language (ESL) first-year academic writing students in university. He highlights the linguistic, cultural, and instructional differences between the US education system and students’ home countries to highlight the educational, social, and cultural contexts in international higher education.

In the same way, Ganga Laxmi Bhandari in her article ‘Mother Tongue as a Resource in the EFL Classroom’ argues for the use of L1 in L2 classroom and believes that L1 not only creates the foundation for a better understanding in L2 learning but also develops a positive attitude among children towards their schools and L2 (Savage, 2019). She further argues that the English-only approach has been a failure; therefore, educators should adopt bi/multilingual approaches for effective language teaching-learning.

Likewise, Shaty Kumar Mahato, in his article ‘Teachers’ Collaboration for Teachers’ Professional Development’ reflects his experiences of professional development (PD) through personal and professional initiatives in the context of Nepal. He argues that teachers’ collaboration is paramount for professional development and engagement with different organizations like NELTA, BELTA and so on can also enhance teachers’ PD.

Similarly, Nanibabu Ghimire, in his blog piece, ‘Reading Among Under-graduate Students: Problems and Ways Forward’, brings on spotlight the reading struggles of under-graduate students and offers some practical ways for advancing reading skills.

Similarly, Bishnu Karki in his article ‘Exploring Creative Response in ELT: A Vignette of an English Teacher’ reflects on the writing strategies he adopted while teaching students in Nepal. He emphasizes on the innovative roles of teachers to explore creative responses in EFL classrooms. Karki, further argues that the teachers in the 21st-century classroom to be creative, cooperative and responsive to cope with the ongoing trends and shifts their profession.

Finally, Satya Raj Joshi in his article ‘Using a Story in Language Teaching: Some Practical Tips’ presents the fundamentals of literature in language classrooms and connects his experiences of language teaching through literature. He argues that the literature is a resource offering multiple ideas and activities for students which help them to develop skills and strategies applicable within and beyond classrooms.

For your ease of access, below is the list of hyperlinked articles:

  1. Conversation with Dr. Bal Krishna Sharma- English and New Englishes in Multilingual Context: What’s Been Gained and Forgotten?
  2. Ethnography of Writing: A Basic Framework to Introduce Academic Writing to ESL University Students’ by Dr. Padam Chauhan
  3. Mother Tongue as a Resource in the EFL Classroom’ by Ganga Laxmi Bhandari
  4. Reading among Graduate Students: Problems and Ways Forward by Nani Babu Ghimire
  5. Exploring Creative Response in ELT: A Vignette of an English Teacherby Bishnu Karki
  6. Teachers’ Collaboration for Teachers’ Professional Development by Shaty Kumar Mahato
  7. Using a Story in Language Classroom : Some Practical Tips by Satya Raj Joshi

Finally, we would like to thank all our editors, Mohan Singh Saud, Jeevan Karki, Karuna Nepal, Nani Babu Ghimire, Ekraj Koirala, Jnanu Raj Paudel and reviewers Dr Karna Rana, Ashok Raj Khati, Rajendra Joshi and Babita Chapagain for their tireless effort in reviewing these papers.  Most importantly, we are indebted to all the contributors to this issue.

If you enjoy reading these blog posts, please feel free to share in and around your circle, and of course, drop your comments in the boxes below. Likewise, please write and send us your teaching-learning experiences for which we will be happy to provide a platform at Choutari. Our email is 2elt.choutari@gmail.com 

Happy Reading!

Happy New Year, 2079

Lead-editor: Ganesh Kumar Bastola

Co-editor: Sagar Poudel

Exploring Creative Response in ELT: A Vignette of an English Teacher

Bishnu Karki*


English is taught and learnt as a foreign language in Nepal. I teach students from varying levels ranging from school to university. Teaching English at school and university is a tough and tedious job for every practitioner. It has been more challenging for all many of us. Normally, we believe that students in our context lack competency and proficiency in English language learning contexts. Motivating such learners to learn the English language is a very aspiring as well as a rigorous task for teachers like me. I often try to bring innovative ideas and activities to my classroom context. Unfortunately, my students do not pay proper attention to their studies and at some point, I feel as if they are studying English just to score passing grades. I realized that the students having ‘Nepali’ as the specialized subject focus only to score required grades or pass marks in comparison to students having ‘English’ as the specialized subject. . As an EFL teacher, I have to fully depend on prescribed course books’ task and activities to complete on time. This nature of the course has given no freedom for teachers to apply tasks and activities based on classroom explorations and context. The administration timely does an inquiry about the course progress whether the teacher has met the target of the course for terminal examination or not. Students also have developed their mindset to read any topic or lesson from an exam viewpoint. One of my students asked me during the teaching phase, “ sir, is this exercise important for the exam?” I replied yes to know the response of the student and how important he/she gives to that particular exercise. I found the students who asked me whether this exercise is important for exams or not prepared notes on that topic. From this classroom scenario, I realized to motivate my students to engage in the creative and critical tasks and activities beyond course books.

Fostering the creativity of learners plays a vital role in developing their analytical, critical, and problem-solving skills to enhance effective communication with peers and teachers naturally. In this regard, Tomlinson (2020) pointed out the significance of being creative for EFL teachers in-order to encourage their learners to be creative. Maley (2016) has  suggested the following principles for developing various forms of creativity:

Use heuristics at all levels- do the opposite, reverse the order, expand or (reduce ) something,

Use the constraints principle

Use the random principle

Use the association principle

Use the withholding-information principle

Use the divergent thinking principle

Use feeder fields

Regarding the notion of being creative teachers, we have to come out of the comfort zone to discover and explore newness for teaching creatively having a strong belief that creative teachers are not born and have to abandon the fear of being wrong.   The ongoing trends and shifts in teaching expect teachers’ willingness to be creative and demonstrate innovative concepts, beliefs, methods, and skills in teaching. How can a  teacher teaching with low resources and less professional opportunity familiarize him with creative and critical aspects of teaching?  To address the issue of the above question, I believe, there should be passion among teachers for self- continuous professional growth and learning. Teachers have to be motivated themselves and always devoted and committed to bringing significant changes in their classroom practices forming their own agency.

The rationale for my reflection

Rationalizing the status and ability of students in English, I happened to inquire how I could inspire my learners to be responsible for their own learning.  Many questions are stuck in my mind:- Are there any ways I could apply in my teaching to achieve transformative learning? Are there any explicit and creative activities that I could employ in my classroom context for better learning outcomes? Are there any specific ways I could apply to engaging students interactively and collaboratively?

These are some of the leading questions that made me reflect critically on transforming my teaching from content provider/ knowledge transmitter to knowledge explorer and reformer through dialogic interactions with interlocutors. In this write-up, I share my classroom practices on how creative response in ELT can foster students’ creativity, critical thinking, analyzing skills, and problem-solving skills, as well as develop communication skills to integrate various language aspects. The objective of this reflective writing is to rethink and critically reflect and analyze our classroom practices whether or not we are creating a favourable learning environment for our learners to develop their creativity. Moreover, this paper also encourages teachers teaching with less access to professional opportunities and fewer resources to be responsible for self-learning and grow professionally to connect with a wider ELT association of professional networking.


I began my teaching career without job induction training and mentoring. I struggled for my survival in the teaching profession during my initial days. There was no staff development programme and professional development opportunity for teachers. Teachers were seniors/experienced based on their years of teaching rather than updated skills and knowledge. I realized proficiency and competency-based training, seminars, workshops, webinars, and short-term practical courses empower teachers to advance their teaching careers. I also became a member of ELT associations like NELTA and TESOL for my continuous professional development and networking with the wider community. The following anecdotes illustrated my professional development activities.

I attended a six-day intensive course on “Fundamentals of Teaching” organized by the British Council on March 25-30, 2018. It was my first experience participating in a 6 days long training for individual professional growth. The takeaways from the training helped me shape my teaching to keeping learners at the centre of the learning process by applying recent approaches to language teaching, group division techniques, designing tasks and activities for lesson planning, managing heterogeneous classes, fostering creative and critical aspects of learners, Think, pair share technique and ways of maximizing interaction and collaboration.

Based on the skills and knowledge from this training, I presented a workshop on Designing Activities for Teaching Reading at the National Conference of NELTA held at Solidarity International Academy, Hetauda, Nepal on March 2-3,2019. TESOL-NELTA Regional Conference and Symposium held at DAV Sushil Kedia Vishwa Bharati Higher Secondary School, Jawalakhel, Lalitpur on November 20-23 was another professional development opportunity to participate and interact with scholars from home and abroad for professional networking. At this conference, I presented a workshop on Using Short Stories for Enhancing Reading Comprehension of EFL Learners. I got an opportunity to participate in a Creative Writing Workshop facilitated by an ELT expert Alan Maley on November 24, 2019. That creative writing workshop engaged me in various ways of writing creative poems and also inspired me to apply the technique in my classrooms to foster creative writing for my students. It is my belief that the best part of learning is sharing in a wider community. I presented a workshop entitled Enhancing Creative Writing in the EFL classroom at the Third Annual ELT and Applied Linguistics Conference on February 21-22, 2020 organized by the Department of English Education, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Recently, I also successfully completed a nine months-long online course entitled “TESOL Certificate: Advance Practitioner (TCAP) getting a scholarship from Regional English  Language Office (RELO) US Embassy, Nepal. This course provided theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed for teaching the English language effectively and innovatively by applying modern approaches, methods, and skills.  I got an opportunity to participate TESOL convention and English language expo virtually in 2021 and 2022. Attending the TESOL convention virtually made me familiar with recent practices of teacher education, teacher research, innovative classroom practices, and more importantly ELT in the present world. Scholars across the globe shared their beliefs, knowledge, practical ideas based on their classroom exploration, and research findings to empower teachers like me to rethink English language teaching. I was the award recipient of ‘Rosa Aronson Professional Learning Scholarship’ of TESOL 2020.

My classroom practices

My classroom practices focus on the development of the creative and critical skills of the students. In order to enhance creativity and critical thinking, I create a conducive learning environment to foster engagement from the students. I use Icebreaker to initiate the discussions, sometimes during the while phase of teaching and at the end of the class. Using icebreakers in English language class incorporates different language skills. Icebreaker is one of the effective strategies for generating new ideas. I spend around 5-10 minutes on the icebreaker with a clear purpose. The selection of the icebreaker is based on the nature of the text. I use prompts, quotations, riddles, and questions for engaging students in productive learning.

Social media are also the best platform for learning new ideas and concepts for self-professional development through professional networking. I have added many ELT scholars from home and abroad as my Facebook friends. They post innovative concepts of ELT, call for proposals and abstracts for international conferences, seminars, and workshops, and share resources, practical teaching ideas, and links for joining webinars. I found the following activity in the Facebook post of Marjorie Rosenberg, past president of IATEFL. I found this activity engaging so I used it in my classroom.

 Activity 1: Icebreaker

I asked the students to complete the following information using the first letter of the last name.  They were a bit confused about how to be engaged in this activity. To make them understand how to explore information for completing it, I asked for the last name of any students in the class and wrote the last name on the board. For example, if the last name of the student was Gurung, he/she had to complete the given items using the first letter of their last name (G).






Girl’s name…………………..

Boy’s name…………………….


Describe someone………………………..

Something in your home…………………….

Body parts………………………………………

Your last names………………………………….

Students actively participated in this activity. I found that students were very curious to share their responses. After the sharing session, I ask the students to write the names of the animals (donkey, elephant), a place to visit (Dharan, Illam), Favourite food (momo, biryani), clothes (sweater, T-shirt) on a piece of paper. I provided them with the structure (If I were a (insert the word generated above), I would……) to write sentences based on the words they generated above. For example: If I were a donkey, I would carry your goods.

If I were a sweater, I would keep you warm from the cold.

Students constructed creative and surprising sentences and compared and evaluated their generated sentences with their peers. This activity energized them to create new sentences based on the structures.

Activity 2: Using Acrostic poems for introduction to new students

An acrostic poem is based on a word written vertically. I used acrostic poems to introduce newcomer students. This activity of writing poems encourages students to write poems about themselves. Acrostics poems can be used to write poems on objects, things, places, and so on. To make my students familiar with writing acrostics poems, I present some samples to make them clear on how to write them. During the sample presentation, I address the query raised by the students.

For Example: Dog




After presenting the above example, I ask the students to write an acrostic poem based on their own name or about someone’s name they know well.

For example: Ganesh

G Goal-oriented

An Active achiever

N Nurturing naturally

E Excellent endeavour

S Sincere Sociable

H Honest humane

After students wrote poems about their names, I asked every student to share how they wrote them.

Activity 3: What Makes Me Happy?

I use this activity to promote positive thinking and also want to know the sources of my students’ happiness. I write “What Makes Me Happy?” on the board and asks the student to write their happiness based on the stem I wrote on the board. To make them clear, I write ‘Eating momo at a restaurant with my friends makes me happy.’ Based on this information, students explore their happiness and write creative and surprising sentences and chunks individually. I divide them into groups with five students in each. Now, students select one writer and the remaining students do the work of editing to shape their poems. Each group shares their final product of ‘What Makes Me Happy?’


Activity 4 : Bio poems

Bio poem enhances students’ creativity to write poems about a place, concept, event or individual they learnt through reading texts. Students write poems about the characters of the story or novel based on the sample. Students have read biography or autobiography of famous people, historically and naturally popular places or any events or concepts introduced in the text. In the form of poems, students organize and synthesize a large number of ideas creatively. The following template can be used to write a poem:

Line 1: First name

Line 2: Four traits that describe the character

Line 3: son/daughter relative of

Line 4: who feels/ verbs………….( 3 items)

Line 5: who needs/verbs……….( 3 items )

Line 6: who gives/verbs………..( 3 items)

Line 7: Who would like…………..

Line 8: Resident of………………….

Ending: Last name

Activity 5: Story Wheel

I attended a workshop on ‘Creative Response to ELT’ last year. In that workshop, the facilitator introduced the concept and practical ways of assessing the ‘story wheel’ in our classrooms. The story wheel required paper and pencil and can easily be used without overnight preparation and planning. Baker (2021) emphasizes that the story wheel can be used to expand learners’ retelling capacities, as well as to hone critical-thinking skills, and provide oral language practice. I use this activity in my class to retell the story students read or heard. Before I use this tool, I ask the students to read the story. I draw a circle on the board and divide the circle into segments. In the segment, I write the name of the story and its writer, the characters of the story, the setting, the plot, the picture that describe the best scene of the story, and key vocabulary. The segments in the story wheel depend on the nature of the story and the level of learners. I distribute pencils and A4 size paper to the students. I form a group with five students in each. They discuss in a group and make the story wheel based on my instructions. I offer my help to them if needed. The story wheel is easily transferable to a post-reading strategy with adaptations.

 Reading Activities

Enhancing the reading comprehension of my learners is another challenging part of teaching due to the complex nature of reading texts. Students develop their critical and interpretive skills through maximum exposure to readings texts. In our context, we have given very less amount of reading practice to our learners to improve their comprehension. Students seem bored and passive in reading lessons. This classroom scenario made me re-evaluate my teaching on how to design engaging, creative, and critical activities and tasks to assess reading interactively and collaboratively to motivate demotivated learners.  Reading texts enhances the interpretive abilities of the students. In my reading lesson, I begin my class by creating a learner-friendlier atmosphere motivating them to participate in the discussion to share their prior knowledge they have about the topic. I initiate the interaction and elicit information shared by the students by making a connection with their previous knowledge about the reading text.  I use the K-W-L chart (What I  know-K, What I want to know- W and What I learned-L) to engage students individually in organizing ideas of the text at pre, while, and post phases of the reading topic. Agreeing and disagreeing is another effective reading activity I prefer in my class to express the opinions of my students. For example, I write ‘ Arranged marriages are usually stronger than those based on love’ On the board. I ask the students: To what extent do you agree with the statement- strongly agree, agree, undecided, disagree, and strongly disagree. Students think individually and share their responses with their classmates.

Questioning the author helps students develop inquiry about the text to understand it. Students explore the meaning that the author wants to convey through the text. It also develops the students’ interactive, explorative and interpretive ability to construct meaning based on their reading of the text (Beck, McKeown, Sandora, & Worthy, 1996, 387).

Visualization, summarizing, predicting, making connections, and inferring are frequently used reading strategies in my classroom. While designing tasks and activities for reading texts, I follow the stages of reading illustrated by Lazar ( 2009) to achieve learning goals through interactive tasks and activities. I also use a plot diagram to map the events of the story. Students organize their ideas based on the elements of the plot diagram- exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.


Exploring the creativity of the learners in the EFL classroom is the cry of a day. To address the issue of creativity in the EFL classroom, I have applied learnt skills and knowledge to bring positive learning outcomes to my learners giving them maximum exposure through engaging tasks and activities. Creating a democratic classroom scenario will motivate the students to be responsible for their own learning believing they are an integral part of teaching which builds a good rapport between teachers and students.


Maley, A. (2016). Creativity: the what, the why and the how. ELT Council: Malta

Baker, A. ( 2021 ). Using story retelling wheels with young learners. English Teaching Forum, 59(3), 14-24.

Gabay, L. ( 2017). I raise my voice: Promoting self-Authoring through a curriculum-based project. English Teaching Forum, 55(4),14-21.

Beck, I.L., McKeown, M.G., Sandora, C., & Worthy, J. (1996). Questioning the author:

A yearlong classroom implementation to engage students with text. The Elementary

School Journal, 96, 385–414.

Lazar, G.( 2009). Literature and Language teaching. Cambridge University Press.

Tomlinson, B.(2015). Challenging teachers to use their coursebooks creatively. www.teachingenglish.org.uk

Author’s Bio: Bishnu Karki has an M.Ed. in English Education from Tribhuvan University. He is an Assistant Lecturer of English Education at Janta Multiple Campus, Itahari, Sunsari and Secondary level English teacher at Chandra Sanskrit Secondary School, Dharan. Mr Karki is joint secretary of the NELTA Sunsari branch and a global member of TESOL. His special interest lies in fostering creativity in ELT, teaching literature in the EFL classroom, and teacher education.











Teachers’ Collaboration for Professional Development

Shaty Kumar Mahato*      


Collaborative teacher development is the process of sharing together for enhancing and cooperating the quality of teaching and learning practices. It occurs when the teachers and learners work together in the process of teaching and learning. This paper is based on my presentation at the 22nd international conference of NELTA 2017. The teachers and learners have the common goal to overcome the problems occurred in the practices of teaching and learning. The teachers’ association like NELTA in Nepal is helping in energizing language teachers and researchers to be professional as well as professional growth. Personally, by joining NELTA, I am benefitted from growing professionally and academically. The teachers can play a pertinent role to collaborate with the people involved in teaching and learning practices. Collaborating together, the teachers explore more opportunities for the learners so that the learners can envision several steps of learning.

Likewise, teachers can also enhance expertise and build good confidence with their learners. The teachers exchange their ideas and knowledge with other participants in teaching and learning and that led them to be professionally sound. Therefore, collaboration is one of the ways for teachers’ professional development. Regarding collaboration, Vygotsky (1978) as cited in Barfield, (2016, p. 222) states, “Collaborative learning can be seen to occur through dialogue, social interaction, and joint-decision making with others and these shared processes contribute greatly to individual and collective growth as well as to co-constructed understanding and knowledge”. As a language teacher and researcher, I have had a similar experience in my classroom and outside of the classroom.

Similarly, Hargreaves, (1994, p.186) says, “To a point where teachers can learn from each other, sharing and developing their expertise together”. The learning becomes effective while sharing because they can generate meaningful ideas and information. Furthermore, Medgyes and Malderez, (1996), as cited in Barfield (2016, p.222), state, “collaborative teacher development is founded on dialogue, questioning, and discussion in working together towards educational change and improvement” and it is supported by Datnow (2011, p.155) that “it is at its most effective when it emerges voluntarily and spontaneously from teachers’ own beliefs that working together is productive and enjoyable”. It means teachers can feel comfortable if they apply the collaborative work to practice. Similarly, my experience in teaching is teachers can professionally forward in sustained and meaningful ways if we are able to do so together. Here, I transformed myself into a professional teacher and researcher.

This article explores the needs and importance of collaboration for teachers’ professional development. It is my own experience of encountering collaborative and non-collaborative teaching and learning. The theoretical studies of the collaboration in the field of language teaching and learning enhanced my pedagogical skills and also helped to explore more innovative ideas and skills. Likewise, this paper sets to explore collaborative teaching and learning to envision how it is one of the sources for teachers’ professional development.

Collaborative Teaching and Learning for Teachers’ Professional Development 

As a teacher and a member of NELTA, I participated in seminars and conferences and understand that teacher is not only empowering her/his students but also growing professionally. I also understand that professional teachers always try and stand in search of learning knowledge. Maggioli (2004, p. 5) defines, “professional development as a career-long process in which educators fine-tune their teaching to meet student needs”. As Maggioli suggests it is clear to say that professional development is not a day or night development for one’s career, it is an ongoing process where one should professionally develop and grow through joining different minds together. It gives the vivid concept that if the teacher understands themselves as a learner and expert to fulfil the demands of the students.

Collaborative teaching and learning make a sense of learning by sharing and engaging together. It also builds harmony in our Nepalese context. The teachers’ collaboration and an active engagement with their students and different agencies could explore more innovative ways and skills of learning. The literature also focuses on collaboration which means working together especially in a joint intellectual effort so that one could stay sound and confident in language teaching-learning practices. According to Richards and Burns (2009, p. 239), “it is a social process that is contingent upon dialogue and interactions with others, processes through which teachers can come to better understand their own beliefs and knowledge as well as reshape these understandings through listening to the voice of others”. It is clearer in our Nepali context that our country is diverse which helps to understand the social phenomenon. Similarly, teaching and learning practices enhance when there is equal dialogue and interactions. Through collaborative teaching, teachers can come and interact with other people. Regarding their understanding, experience, and subject matter build confidence and broaden their skills. Likewise, it helps to exchange ideas, skills, and understanding with other fellow teachers, researchers and policymakers in the language field.

Similarly, Johnston (2003) considers collaboration as a wellspring of teacher professional development. Collaborative teaching and learning are fundamentally social processes. It creates collegiality and quality in the teaching profession. Edge (1992) states, “self-development needs other people…by cooperating with others, we can come to understand better our own experiences and opinions”. I also understand that self-determination in learning with other people enhances both confidentiality and collegiality. Likewise, we need collaborative teaching and learning for teachers’ professional development because Johnston views state collaborative teacher development as any sustained and systematic investigation into teaching and learning in which a teacher voluntarily collaborates with others involved in the teaching process, and in which professional development is a prime purpose.

Collaboration is crucial and influential in teaching and learning, which is concerned with the teacher’s professional development that gives the update and current affairs of knowledge. Cook (1981) states, “concern for the ultimate clients, the students, and for intermediaries, the teachers are apparent in all programmes, and this concern is directed toward sound educational and professional development rather than the gratification of immediate needs and desires.”  Collaboration in teaching is not only meant for programme development, it is meant for individual development too. It creates an ample opportunity for the teacher to integrate and come up with the vision, increased understanding among teachers at all grade levels and in varied subject areas.

In my experience, I understand collaboration while engaging and interacting through different agencies such as NELTA, LSN, and so on. In doing so, I developed my skills and confidence not only in classroom teaching but also beyond classroom teaching. Likewise, it helps me to explore my techniques, strategies and methods to apply in and outside of the classroom. Doing collaborative works and finding its relevance in academia is described by Darling Hammond and Richardson (2009).

To make it more explicit, Cook (1981) states, “collaboration is to provide a means for improving the professional education, it is important to consider not only the meaning and implication of “collaboration” but also the nature of “improvement”. Collaboration creates an environment where the teacher can work together and learn together to improve their professionalism. The dialogue and interaction which led through collaboration also build trust, confidence and collegiality. Teaching/learning in such a way could give sound satisfaction with satisfactory achievement, which would orient them to professionalism. This could become like cooperation but not exactly cooperation. Collaboration is somehow different from cooperation. Let’s see the differences.

Collaboration and Cooperation 

Killion (2012) states, as cited in the essential guide to professional learning Aitsl (Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership) “the more one educator’s learning is shared and supported by others, the more quickly the culture of continuous improvement, collective responsibility, and high expectations for students and educator’s grows.” Collaboration is a community where learners and teachers are involved together to share their knowledge, skills or ideas to recover the issues and challenges seen in teaching and learning. According to Aitsl, collaboration creates a community of working to achieve a common goal through the sharing of practice, knowledge and problems. And, effective collaboration encourages ongoing observation and feedback among colleagues where a culture of professional sharing, dialogue, experimentation and critique becomes commonplace. What I also observed through experiencing collaborative teaching, it makes sense of collegiality and mostly to get to know how things are going on worldwide.

Brook et al. (2007) state, “collaboration creates a base of pedagogical knowledge that is disturbed among teachers within a school as opposed to being held by individual teachers” as cited in Aitsl. It clears that if the teacher is suffering from the pedagogical problems they would get the chance to solve them through collaborative work that may not be solved by an individual. AITSL clearly defines both collaboration and cooperation where collaboration is concerned with working with another or others in a joint project.  Collaborative works, it has a common goal and a high level of trust. It is a job-embedded long term program and works with joint planning, decision making, and problem-solving methods.

Cooperation has individual ownership of goals with others providing assistance for mutual benefit. Generally, cooperation is spontaneous and passive engagement by others. Therefore, cooperation and collaboration have not much comparison. Collaboration is far better than cooperation in academia. We can say that doing collaborative work makes professional growth. Therefore, to grow professionally collaboration with the teachers’ association, colleagues, researchers and teachers enhance the skills needed for professional development.

Why do we need collaborative teacher development?

Collaboration is viewed as a process that facilitates teacher development, serves to generate knowledge and understanding, and helps to develop collegiality and one of which teachers should have or share control. It is an organizational and inter-organizational structure where resources, power, and authority are shared, and where people are brought together to share common goals that could not be accomplished by a single individual or an organization independently, Kagan (1991, p. 3) as cited in Rainforth and England (1997, p. 86). The work accomplished by the group may not be solved by an individual and mostly they become unfamiliar with the phenomenon or process used to accomplish the task. When they come together they would have common goals which can be shared together and can be easily accomplished. In other words, the most common things in collaboration are it facilitates every individual to share and learn the issues one is facing.

Similarly, teacher development is a social process that is contingent upon dialogue and interaction with others, processes through which teachers can come to better understand their own beliefs and knowledge as well as reshape these understanding through listening to the voices of others. It can be viewed as teachers learning, rather than as others getting teachers to change. In learning, the teachers were developing their beliefs and ideas, developing their classroom practices, and attending to their feelings associated with changing, Bell and Gilbert (1994), as cited in Evans (2002, p.126). It seems clearer that joining hands and working together means helping an association as well as helping an association means building a nation together.

Likewise, Goddard and Goddard (2007) states, “when teachers have opportunities to collaborate professionally, they build upon their distinctive experiences, pedagogies, and content” as cited in Burton, (2015, p.6). If we collaborate, our work and ideas together in a group could bring the lived experience in the field of professionalism. I’m not sure the satisfaction that I got during a teaching in a particular situation is equal to others in their own field. However, in my experience of teaching and learning in a group, I explore more ideas and opportunities to overcome problems with solutions. We need collaboration not only for individual improvement but also for our program development.

Yarger (1979) suggests, as cited in Cook (1981, p. 99) “collaboration in teacher education is not related to quality and improvement in program development”, it should provide a breadth of perception and vision, an enrichment in terms of resources and an opportunity for increased understanding among the teachers at all grade levels and in varied subject areas. It could then lead to effective programs of professional development.

Different Forms of Collaboration for Teacher Development

Collaborative Teacher Development (CTD) can take the initiation of effective teaching/learning along with professional growth. Nowadays it is one of the major concerns to be professional in one of the fields and teaching/learning is integrated into all the other development of the people. It helps learners and teachers to explore more innovative skills to find and accomplish the task according to their interests. To decide who, where and how the teacher gets collaborates for further development is necessary to know. We could say that five fingers are stronger than one finger, in the same way, working together by involving collaboratively could bring a concrete result which is most beneficial for all.

There are different forms of collaboration where teachers are the centre point to achieving the goal. According to Johnston, (2003), as cited in Richards and Burns (2009, p. 242), there are four different forms of collaboration that teachers can involve in their professional development.

Teachers can collaborate with their fellow teachers

In this group, the teacher and their fellow (peer) teachers worked and discuss together. This is the most balanced relationship in terms of power.  Collaboration among language teachers may well focus on instructional issues such as materials exploitation, classroom management, classroom language use, and other related issues. The language teachers are likely to point them toward certain common concerns and interests. Their professional understanding and depth of knowledge can help everyone involved in the group. It creates a lot of interaction related to the subject area and enhances the other further skills and knowledge. Here, we could say that meeting with different expertise minds certainly helps other minorities who have difficulties with resources and facilities in teaching/learning.

Collaboration between Teachers and University-based Researchers

As a teacher and researcher, I am much benefited from these forms of collaboration. I explore more innovative ideas and skills needed for the teachers and learners. For doing educational research such kind of collaborations are commonly initiated by the researcher to find out lived experiences of the teachers. Teachers and university-based researchers collaborate together and talk about the general and specific issues, and challenges that occur in the language field. Sometimes they do the classroom research to find the solutions; creating such an environment teacher could easily enhance their skills and knowledge whereas researcher also gets the credit for research and that could develop their professionalism as well as collegiality. Teacher and university-based collaboration may have a great inspiration for the teachers because the researcher could provide access and authentic resources to overcome the problems.

Teachers with their Students Collaboration

This type of collaboration makes an arrangement and offers fascinating possibilities for learning in-depth about one’s own classroom and who is in it. This kind of collaboration encourages the teacher and students to accomplish the goal together. Here, the learners are empowered by the teacher and the teacher also comes to know the current affairs of knowledge related understanding in teaching and learning. This form of collaboration is action and problem solving oriented which is livelier in the field of language teaching. It is problem and action-oriented therefore it could fix the problems raised by the students or teachers so that they could get the prompt feedback from their students to achieve the goal.

Collaboration with Others Involved in Teaching/ Learning

In this form of collaboration, teachers can collaborate with the administrators, supervisors, parents, materials developers and so on. Teachers and administrators collaborate together to find the issues and challenges that cause the improvement of the teachers, institutions, and programs, for the development. Similarly, the teacher and the supervisors collaborate together to recover the problems in the teaching and learning field. Supervisors can give constructive feedback to the teacher for their professional development. The teacher can also collaborate with the materials developers and share the implications of the material in the language classrooms. Teachers can also collaborate with the parents who play a vital role to achieve the students’ goals. They could share the students’ attitudes toward learning and the teachers’ teaching. In doing so, many of these collaborations, in turn, have had a significant component of the professional development of the teachers.


Sharing one’s learning is the everyday experience of human behaviour. The knowledge is hidden; it would enhance and grow when human beings take part in the discourse. Even unknown and unfamiliar things become known knowledge and familiar when people come together to share and present. Collaborative practices lead teachers to re-conceptualize the innovative process, boosting learners to continue varieties of challenges, generate cross forms, and participate in constructionist and supportive practices, including an-alternative dialogues. Collaborative teaching and learning practices help both teachers and learners to explore creativity and construct new frameworks for learning. Likewise, it creates innovative ideas and skills to know together and learn together.


Barfield, A. (2016). Collaboration. Key concepts in ELT, 17 (2). Retrieved from http://eltj.oxfordjournals.org/

Burton, T. (2015). Exploring the Impact of Teacher Collaboration on Teacher Learning and Development. University of South Carolina Scholar Commons (Doctoral Dissertations). Retrieved from http://scholarcommons.sc.edu/etd/3107

Cook, G. E. (1981, May). Collaboration, Change and Concern: Professional Development through teacher centers. English education, 13 (2), pp. 97-104.

Evans, L. (2002, Mar.). What Is Teacher Development? Oxford review of education, 28 (1), pp. 123-137.

Rainforth, B. & England, J. (1997, Feb.). Collaborations for Inclusion: Education and treatment for children, 20 (1). Pp. 85-104.

Richards, J.C. & Burns, A. (Eds.). (2009). Second Language Teacher Education: Collaborative Teacher Development. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Maggioli, G. D. (2004). Teacher- Centered Professional Development. Association for supervision and curriculum development (ASCD). Alexandria, Virginia, USA.

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (aitsl). The Essential Guide to Professional Learning: Collaboration.

http://www.aitsl.edu.au/professional growth/australian teacher performance/and development framework.

Author’s Bio: Mr. Shaty Kumar Mahato is an MPhil graduate in English Language Education from Kathmandu University and working as an ELT teacher, researcher and trainer in the field of education. Since his Bachelor’s degree in 2005, he has been involved in teaching and research. He has presented his research paper in NELTA, LSN, TERSD and Asia TEFL. At present, he is working as a Project Coordinator-Education in Aasaman Nepal a national NGO. His area of interest is teaching methodologies, Collaborative Approach, Teacher Education, Language Policy, Discourse Analysis and Narrative Research Inquiry.