Gopal Prasad Bashyal
As I reflect on the year 2012, it turned out to be a wonderful one. It was not a giant leap, though. I think I am self-consented with my ambitions, some fulfilled, and some waiting in the lobby or some others thrown into the dust bin. Perhaps everyone enjoys such diverse currents in their life. From the point of view of my professional growth, the year could record some historical foot prints, and also brought some bitter realities of life. It generally happens to all, I guess. Then, why am I going to share them with my respected Gurus and colleagues? Certainly, I do not have any magic thrills. Yet I want to share the moments I cherished in the year.
As a NELTA activist, I began the year with some preparation for the 17th International Conference of NELTA. I planned to present a paper on “Autonomous Learning: Enabling Learners.” I am always worried about growing carelessness on the part of learners. They want some ready made junk food-type of knowledge, easy to prepare and tasty. Perhaps, guess paper writers and sellers are making their fortune in such an environment. I’m convinced with the idea that learners must take responsibility for their learning process. If they do that, they will enjoy learning more and that learning becomes more sustainable. Furthermore, if one produces something being fully engaged in it interactively, the product gives better taste. With these assumptions, I wanted to share some principles and ways of leading students towards being autonomous in their learning. The presentation was satisfactory, as the participants said. At the same time, Prof. Jai Raj Awasthi made the third volume of English Language Professionals, the journal of NELTA Palpa, public among the global ELT experts. The journal consists of different articles by local and national authors. Even the Master’s level students have started reading it for their examination and thesis writing. It is a great achievement of NELTA Palpa. Later, when General Secretary posted the Conference report, one of the photos showed me so well that it drew the attention of my five-year-old daughter. These days whenever I set out for Kathmandu she asks me if it is to NELTA.
The year 2012 brought me some other happy moments too. For example, I could present myself as a co-author of Optional English Series, grade 1 – 5 from a private publication. The series is especially for community schools, full of integrated activities. I applied for the Teaching Excellency and Achievement (TEA) program, a one-and-a-half-month course in the US, which is sponsored by the US Government. I got the information of being shortlisted for the interview when I was conducting training for teachers at Rampur RC. When I received a phone call from the US Embassy, all the teachers congratulated me and whished further success. Perhaps due to their good wishes I could answer well in the interview. There was a great storm outside that day. But the storm brought me happy news that I was selected for further competition. It was the TOIL test. Despite two Master’s degrees in English literature and education, I was much worried about the test. Mr Ganga Ram Gautam and Mr Hemanta Dahal were encouraging me to do well. I stepped at the doors of Dillibazaar and Putalisadak, Kathmandu to find the place for verbal test but they didn’t have that service. I gathered all my strength and went to the test. The behavior of the staff at Fulbright Commission helped me to cool down and I could take the four-hour test well. It was really an exciting moment. Despite all confusions and fears, I could enjoy the test and could obtain marks that allowed me for the further competition. It was a global level competition, as I was told. I was quite hopeful that my dream to visit the US would come true. Finally I received a letter from the US Embassy about my selection for the program. This is a great achievement in my life. I’m eagerly waiting for the lessons in the US.
Likewise I fought for a professional development course in MASHAV, Israel. I was selected and I confirmed that I would join the course. I regret to say that I could not enjoy this opportunity, since I couldn’t collect money for transport fare. I was really sorry for missing it. I apologized to the State of Israel and its Mission to Nepal. I realized the pain of being poor. If I had got money for the plane fare, I could have enriched my professionalism. I now feel I should earn some money so that I shouldn’t miss such an opportunity. I went to some doors stretching my hands for help, but I had to drop them down every time. This is one of flows among the ebbs and flows in my life and I cannot excuse myself for this misfortune.
It was in 2012 that I was selected as one of the trainers for ETTE + project. The British Council and NELTA are jointly working for this project in Chitwan. Mr Hemanta Dahal asked me to allocate some more time for NELTA and I dropped my ambition to be the head teacher of my school. I got five-day TOT for ETTE + organized by the British Council. It was really a wonderful time though I had already worked as Super ETTE in 2009 and 2010, and also conducted similar training in Lamjung in 2011. I learnt lots of creative techniques from Adele, Khalil, Christine and Aarish. The peer teaching and the balance between theory and practice for conducting training to teach young learners were really unforgettable. I’m eagerly waiting for the moment to work with teachers in Chitwan.
At the end of 2012, I applied for my professional journey to Dhaka for taking part in the 6th International Conference of BELTA. My proposal of presentation on teacher education has been accepted and now a team of 8 people, including myself, is preparing for the Dhaka visit scheduled the third week of January 2013.
Finally, in addition to ELT, the year 2012 was satisfactory in the areas of literature. I could write a few poems and critical comments in the Nepali language. Some of my poems in English when shared in different forums drew beautiful comments that encouraged me to write more poems in English. I want to publish an anthology of my English poems. Hopefully, it will be materialized in 2013. I conducted two workshops on creative writing. The Bachelor’s level students in Palpa produced some poems beyond my imagination – a simple guideline could help them so much. In NELTA Nawalparasi Conference, teachers continued composing poems till evening. I came to the conclusion that everyone could write poems. A very significant program held in Palpa last year was the two-day workshop on Expanding Horizons in English facilitated by Mr Ganga Ram Gautam and Dr Barbara Law. NELTA helped with books to different eight community schools as well as Tribhuvan Campus. Similarly, one-day workshops were organized time and again, and NELTA colleagues presented their papers and conducted workshops. Those programs helped in promoting the sharing culture, developing presentation and communication skills. Because of such fruitful endeavors NELTA is gaining momentum in the areas of ELT.