Welcome to NeltaChoutari: February 2014

Editorial

Choutari Mentorship for Emerging Writers 

Uttam Gaulee

(with Praveen, Santona, and Sagun)

Along with my fellow editors for February, I am honored to greet our Choutari audience with the first issue on behalf of the expanded team of editors (added a new member again this month–see his bio below). When it comes to professional networking and contributing to a network, bigger is better! Let me start by saying that I am excited because I believe that our big new team will serve you even better ELT khurak in the days to come. Thank you for being here!

As you may have noticed, the quality of materials that we have been publishing has (naturally) varied, and this is because we have not yet implemented a rigorous enough peer-review mechanism. To be realistic, we won’t implement anything like what conventional journals do–and indeed, we don’t want to. A blogzine needs to remain flexible, as well as doable within the limits of the monthly cycles and our volunteer work. However, starting this month, we will be implementing some wonderful new ideas. And we need your support as writers and mentors (if you are able to the give a little time to help the Nepalese ELT community).

Just to give you a sense about what happens in Choutari before the sun rises every beginning of the month, both the editors and the respective authors generally engage in a conversation for reviewing and editing process. More than half of the entries published here required not only substantial feedback and comments but also guidance on proper language pitch and cohesion. The team has been providing such supports to the contributors by connecting them with the team members and the experts beyond the team.

The concept of supporting the emerging writers to bring an impact in the long run was further refined when I joined the team and pitched my idea. To put it in another way, behind the monthly issues of the blogzine ‘NeltaChoutari’ is a great community, and that community is characterized by intellectually invigorating discussions, collaborative work for collecting and producing quality materials, and efforts to support and mentor emerging writers in the Nepalese ELT community.  It led to the new initiative Choutari Mentorship Project (CMP), which I would like to formally announce through this editorial. The links to mentor and mentee survey forms are provided at the footnote section of this blog post. Thank you in advance for your response.

The CMP is an attempt to make the process of mentoring more organized, more broad-based, and more productive. From our own experience, we editors have realised that the concept is very powerful and could help support the larger audience toward improving their writing skills (specifically) and engagement in professional conversation through networking (more generally). The project is also an attempt to make visible what goes behind among a friendly and informal group of active and productive scholars. We are directed by a strong belief that having a mentor tremendously increases possibilities of ‘growing’ as a successful writer. Thus, we are developing a simple mechanism for tapping into the expertise and encouragement of a more experienced colleague for anyone who wants to contribute to Choutari.

Going through the process mentioned above, I along with my fellow editors for February have come up with a variety of good materials for this month. In the light of her own personal upbringing as a female in Nepalese society and then in the academia, Sweta Baniya discusses the social constructions of gender and gender roles. In her post, titled “Gender through Socio-behavioural and Academic Perspective,” she presents gender identity through social and intellectual lenses. She also appeals the audience to share their views and thoughts about gender and gender role particularly in the context of ELT and their professions in general.

In the second entry, Using Corpora in English Language Teaching, Hima Rawal argues that using corpora could be one of the most efficient ways to teach language. Inviting English language teachers, textbook writers and researchers to use corpora to add value to their works, she presents some of the most prevalent corpora in the field of ELT, briefly discussing how to use them in the ELT classroom.

Based on the personal experience, the third entry (Storytelling for Learning Language with Fun) by our colleague Santona Neupane argues that we should tap into the power of storytelling to improve and develop language skills and creative thinking while making lessons fun and engaging for our students.

The fourth blog entry contributed by Pramod Kumar Sah is a continuity and response to highly thought-provoking ideas presented by Prem Phyak, Bal Krishna Sharma and Shyam Sharma in the post titled Shifting Focus: Building ELT Practices and Scholarship from the Ground Up written last month. The entry had presented a broad and powerful proposal for reinvention of Nepalese ELT from the ground up. Shah’s entry takes their ideas one step further by situating them in the context of classroom, textbooks, and such other specifics of ELT practice in Nepal today.

The fifth entry titled Five Books That ‘Changed’ My Life is our Choutari colleague Umes Shrestha’s unique initiative for Choutari to offer the audience not only a list of inspirational books but also how they contributed in changing someone’s life. For the same, Hem Raj Kafle shares with the readers how the five books that he read have shaped his writing and added value to his life and career.  It is an insightful account of his personal journey growing as a scholar, a writer, and a critical thinker.

In the final entry, An Access Teacher’s Reflection on ELT Training, Mandira Adhikari, a teacher from Microscholarship English Access project implemented by NELTA in partnership with the US Department of State/US Embassy Kathmandu reflects on a two-day training and how the series of training sessions delivered have been effective for her classroom.

As usual, here is the full list of ELT khuraks for the month of February:

  1. Gender through Socio-behavioural and Academic Perspectives, by Sweta Baniya
  2. Using Corpora in English Language Teaching, by Hima Rawal
  3. Storytelling for Learning Language with Fun, by Santona Neupane
  4. Need of Evolution: Continuing the Discourse-to-Practice for Local ELT Practices in Nepal, by Pramod Kumar Sah
  5. Five Books That ‘Changed’ My Life, by Hem Raj Kafle
  6. An Access Teacher’s Reflection on ELT Training, by Mandira Adhikari

We invite you to join the conversation again by sharing your responses as comments under any posts, by liking and sharing them with your network, by contributing your own posts for future issues, and by encouraging other colleagues to do the same.

Uttam Gaulee

Editor

– – – – – –

If you’d like to be a part of the Choutari Mentoring Project, please take the survey(s) below.

Mentors: If you would like to help out other writers, please share a few things about that interest through this survey.

Writers: If you’d like to be connected to experienced mentors for improving your blog posts for Choutari, please let us know a few things through this survey.

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2 Responses to Welcome to NeltaChoutari: February 2014

  1. Shyam Sharma says:

    Special shout out to Uttam and your fellow editors of the month.

    I think the CMP initiative that you’ve started is just wonderful. I am honored and excited to be in conversation with you as you develop and implement the idea. Just to share a thought with our audience as well, I think that even if you can connect 2-3 writers with 2-3 interested mentors every month, and if editors of future issues can continue to employ you to help with that process, the project would be a huge success.

    I think the idea that you have developed so far is powerful in the sense that it is simple and doable–as well as potentially impactful. Looks like you’ve already heard from a few potential mentors! [Feb 1, ’14] I can’t wait to see how this goes. I’m sure it will help new writers a lot.

  2. gauleeuttam says:

    Thank you for the encouragement, Shyam. Sure, the success of this initiative lies in the participation and support of individuals. Response thus far is encouaraging but there’s a log way to go!

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