(and Sajan Karn)
July 2011 issue of Nelta Choutari is rich.
From the reflections of teaching English for the first time by a young scholar from the other side of the world to an oral interview with a veteran at home who has taught longer than some of us have lived, to critical reflections on speaking a foreign language, a travelogue by a group of teachers, observation about participating in the Humphrey Scholarship by the immediate past President of NELTA, honest thoughts of another Fulbright scholar about abstruse words in Nepali text books, to thoughts about the challenges of teaching poetry combined with a practical lesson plan, the materials we have collected for you are varied. They are also all thought-provoking.
Kent Grosh, a Fulgright Teaching Assistant, jumps right into his subject: the gap between students’ current vocabulary and the vocabulary their text books often use. His analogy is memorable: you don’t use calculus to teach basic multiplication. If we think about it, the analogy of using calculus to fourth graders not only applies to the case of vocabulary but is also true about many other aspects of our curriculum, materials, and often pedagogy: we often fail to meet students where they are. Luke Lindemann, another Fulbright scholar, points out a similar problem, which is regarding the increasing use of English as a medium of instruction by public schools, like the one where he taught. We know how proud parents are when their children are taught in “English,” the media gets equally excited, and even ELT scholars are prone to jump on that bandwagon of “English” as a measure of good education. But if we think about the negative impact of suddenly beginning to use English as a medium of instruction on teachers’ instruction and students’ understanding in class, the issue is much more complicated than English or no English. Lindemann’s article is absolutely thought-provoking. Four NELTA members from Birgunj–Praveen Kumar Yadav, Ram Abadhesh Ray, Ashok Kumar, Kamlesh Kumar Raut–share a lot of good ideas from the experiences that they had from their travel to a conference in south India. Their piece serves as an inspiration for colleagues who attend conferences, trainings, and other events: if we reflect on and write about what we do or experience, that can become useful resource to our professional community. In another entry, Ganga Ram Gautam, immediate past President of NELTA, shares his experience of participating in the Hubert Humphrey Scholarship at Boston University, US. His observations about ELT practices, educational leadership, and professional networking are worth thinking about for all of us, because those are activities that all of us should be engaging in at our own levels. How can we be more observant and reflective teachers? How can we integrate leadership into our work? How can we promote and engage in professional networking? Finally, Gambhir Man Maskey shares in his own voice the experience of teaching English for forty years and a few observations about the changes in ELT over time. His interview gives us a glimpse into the past and a sense of how much progress we have made as a professional community. (In an editorial extra, Shyam shares his own experience and a thought about the mission of developing professional networking among Nepalese English teachers.)
- So Many Textbooks, So Little Time, by Kent Grosh
- Speaking a Foreign Language Makes You Less Intelligent, by Luke Lindemann
- Teacher Travelogue: A Journey to ELT@I Conference in Vellore, India, by Praveen Kumar Yadav, Ram Abadhesh Ray, Ashok Kumar, Kamlesh Kumar Raut (members of NELTA Birgunj)
- A Brief reflection of my Humphrey Fellowship Program at Boston University, by Ganga Ram Gautam, Immediate past Present of NELTA
- Interview with Gambhir Man Maskey, a podcast by Hem Raj Kafle and Eak Prasad Duwadi
- Strategy and Challenges for Teaching Poem at Secondary Level, by Mabindra Regmi
- The World is a Big Choutari, but– , by Shyam Sharma
We hope that you will enjoy reading this issue. Again, we have five requests for you: 1. Please write at least one quick comment in response to at least one of the posts. 2 Please “share” posts that you like on Facebook or in other ways with your colleagues. 3. Please “like” what you liked—that sends a nice message to the author. 4. Please subscribe Choutari—it’s one click away. (We have 53 subscribed members including ten from abroad and we are surprised why folks are hesitant to use this convenience). 5. Please contribute your own entry for future months by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.