Namaste and Welcome to the Second Anniversary issue and third year of Nelta Choutari.
That’s the number of views that Nelta Choutari crossed on December 16, 2010. That’s incredible, and we are excited about it, but we also feel more responsible towards the increased number and probably variety of readers. We define responsibility by relevance–and we can only address that challenge if you participate in and contribute to the discussions in this forum.
At the end of 2008, inspired by the ELT conversations in NELTA’s Yahoo Group mailing list, three of us (at the time) wanted to make that kind of intellectual resource generated by Nepalese ELT teachers/scholars available beyond email inbox of NELTA members and the archive of the mailing group. We thought that our professional conversations must become a resource for future generations as well as shared with the ELT community in the world outside (please see related article by Prem). We first started with a wiki site with the simple aim of letting fellow teachers share their teaching stories, while we shared our own thoughts and reflections. We were not sure what NELTA colleagues across the country might want to read about–we still struggle with that question today–and we were also worried that load shedding and lack of internet access would make our effort towards building a professional conversation forum meaningless. For some time, the visit counter on our wiki seemed to confirm our fears; but instead of giving up, we started a blog, moved the materials, and continued to share our own ideas every month, assuming that if nothing else the blog would be a means for us to read one another’s ideas. But soon, our expectations were greatly exceeded. By the beginning of the next year, the statistics started soaring.
The statistics is exciting. The average of 5 views a day last year has gone up to 26 views a day this year (not counting admin views), and the rate of increase is quite encouraging:
In the background, however, we have always been more concerned about how to increase the contribution “by” our fellow teachers from NELTA branches across the country, or the grassroots level, than just how to increase the readership (please see related post contributed by NELTA President Ganga Ram Gautam, who was our guest at a recent meeting); while readership is important, the key mission of this professional networking initiative is to contribute towards the blurring of lines between reader and writer, teacher and scholar, practitioner and theorist, student and researcher, center and branch and so on. So, at this time, we are beginning to discuss how to encourage students (future teachers) to read and respond to professional conversations in forums like this. Most importantly, we are talking about how to let this discussion forum contribute towards building our own local scholarship, research, theories, and pedagogy. We want you to join the mission.
We would like to ask fellow teacher-scholars to please shun the scholar-teacher distinction and come forward and share your ideas in this and all kinds of professional discussion forums. Colleagues from across the country who have some access to this forum, please join hands with us: let us overcome the hesitation due to center versus branches distinction (see related past article). So the question is not just how to increase viewership of this blog. This blog is, in fact, a part of a larger mission: to make professional networking, discussion, and development a fundamental aspect of ELT practice as well as scholarship in Nepal. We often worry about the 5 or 7 of us posting our own ideas rather than posting the ideas, experiences, and challenges of teachers on the ground and discussing them instead; but to tell you the truth again, we are just beginning to get more of those contributions. Thank you very much, dear NELTA members from Palpa, Surkhet, Gorkha, and Birgunj, for your contribution for this special issue. We dedicate this issue to you! Until now, the small team of editors have been posting our own ideas a lot of times, and, indeed, blogs are usually run by one or more individuals who are interested in an academic or professional subject; but this team has tried to appropriate the rather “individualistic” culture of blogging in order to create a “community” platform. We have gradually tried to develop this forum into a magazine-like form, with monthly issues, editorials, and columns related to specific interests (research, teaching, training, learning about ELT, developing ELT resource, professional updates, integration of new media into networking, etc).
We would like to dedicate the first issue of 2011 to NELTA colleagues in NELTA branches across the country, asking you to help us make this a venue for teachers at the grassroots level to post their ideas and respond to one another. With your active participation and contribution, dear teacher-scholars across the country, we can shape the course of scholarship and professional development, research and resource development, teaching and learning in ways that are specific, relevant, and engaging to us in Nepal and in particular local contexts. Let us gain the knowledge created anywhere in the world, but let us also network and work together to create our own knowledge and scholarship.
1. BRANCH SPECIAL (several articles and updates from NELTA branches)
- NELTA Palpa Conference Vibrated the Teachers in the Area (an article by Gopal Bashyal, NELTA Palpa)
- NELTA = Novel ELT Activities (an event update and article by Gopal Bashyal, NELTA Palpa)
- NELTA Surkhet in 2010 (a branch update from Surkhet, by Mukunda Giri, NELTA Surkhet)
- “Teaching English with a Difference” (a report from Birgunj on a recent Training Program, by Suresh Shrestha*)
2. Towards Local Literacy: Globalization and Nepalese ELT (an article by Prem Phyak)
3. An Inside View of Choutari’s Professional Networking Activities (a guest observation by Ganga Ram Gautam)
4. Interview with an English Teacher (Ekku Maya Pun, a podcast by Hem Raj Kafle)
5. Networking, Nepalese ELT Teachers, and Professional Development (an article by Kamal Poudel)
6. Student Special: How to Assess Online Sources (an article by Bal Krishna Sharma)
7. English Access Microscholarship Program in Nepal (an article by Shyam Pandey)
8. Educated but illiterate (an article about education and information literacy by Sajan Karn)
Please remember to write comments for as many entries as you can. Also, please subscribe to Choutari by email. Thank you and HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011.
(*This entry was posted late, as an exception, to encourage contributions from colleagues from outside the Valley; please send in your contributions before the 15th of the month so they can be lined up for the next month. Thanks. Ed.)