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July 2009--Needs Analysis and Teacher Training

Page history last edited by dhruba jyoti neupane 14 years, 5 months ago

Dear NeltaChoutari Readers,

We have decided to use this blog, instead of email, for the discussion because this will allow our interaction to become much more accessible.

Here are some quick comments on the article attached on Nelta Mail: "Implementing ELT Innovations: A Needs Analysis Framework" by Waters and Vilches. Even if you didn't get to read that, these comments should help you post a response (please click on "leave a comment" link under this entry, or any other entry which you'd like to respond to).

One great point raised by Waters and Vilches article is that of giving teachers the sense of ownership in implementing any curricular innovation: “… the trainers’ role is not simply to ‘teach’ the content of the innovation, but to maximize the potential for ownership of the innovation by the teachers” (139). When teachers are given training in a new approach or methods, it is extremely important to make them feel that the method/approach benefits them, makes sense to them, and motivates them to take the new challenges involved. Teachers ultimately implement the innovation at the level of the classroom, so if they don't feel a sense of ownership, and therefore satisfaction, the new pedagogy will remain an idea, an obligation, or a misunderstood something.

Another important issue the article considers is the need to take into account not only the interest of teachers who implement the innovation, or the administration that makes the innovation possible on a larger scale, but also students and a whole spectrum of stakeholders in the process of making an innovation in curriculum and pedagogy.

A third point worth our discussion in this article is that of the need for educating teachers about the rationale for the innovation, and not just train them with new skills or content: “Any attempt to change the curriculum—whether indirectly through changes in teaching materials, for example, or more directly, through changes in teaching methods—implies a need for teacher learning, i.e. opportunities for teachers to learn about the rationale for the new form of teaching, to critically evaluate, and understand how to get the best out of it” (137). The Choutari team looks at discussions that we are having on NELTA mail as motivated by that particular need to discuss ELT issues at the conceptual level. We also always urge readers/contributors to relate the general/theoretical readings and posts to practical classroom teaching as much as possible.

This time, we hope that NeltaChoutari will prompt—in fact, extend—the great discussion on the issue raised by Kate’s initial call for feedback and the following series of posts. The issue of innovation in general, or that of how to make new ideas and approaches to ELT productive in the classroom as well as relevant to our local society in particular, is one that is potentially inexhaustible. We certainly haven’t had enough discussion on this issue, and we hope to hear much more.

Finally, here is a specific issue that has come up in our discussion since last month but hasn’t been followed up very much. On the issue of teaching basic sounds to beginners, Nepalese ELT community obviously needs to think in terms of thorough innovation: there is a need to shift paradigmatically from teaching letter names (and not sounds at the same time or subsequently), words starting with letters (rather than with sounds), and pronunciation of words that bypass the need to first “hear” the unique sounds and then practice producing them with the correct vocal features. The shift to be made is, as already implied, into teaching the sounds of a (A-ea, as in “apple”; A-aa, as in “arm”; A-a, as in “Anil”; B-b, as in “boy”; etc). The innovation, to connect this problem with the issue in the article, should start by familiarizing teachers with the concept that English letters DO (most often) correspond to particular sounds, within the sound system of the language (against the myth that they do not, or rarely do so).


In this issue, there are also the following items:

b. Teacher anecdote (coming up)

c. ELT humour (videos)

          “sinking” not “thinking”

          what a song sounds like

d. useful links to ELT resource on the web:

          BBC English Pronunciation Talk 1

          BBC Pronunciation Talk 2


Please share your responses as blog comments on NeltaChoutari Blog.

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