NELTA – Nepal English Language Teachers Association
I listened to two small sessions at NELTA one was on Critical and Creative Thinking given by an American woman who taught for 18 years in the US and then came to Nepal for a short term volunteer vacation. She loved it and stayed and now runs her own organization that trains teachers in Nepal. The session was okay, but I wanted to hear more about how to do more. She just had us do one activity and the rest of the time we learned about her organization and a few anecdotes. Now I realize it was hard for her to get the group to come to order and to listen to directions so some time was wasted that she might have used differently. So I’d say it was a pretty good session.
The next one I saw was on promoting learner autonomy. This was much better. The speaker has a job in Japan as a Learning Advisor. So for the most part she helps students stay on top of their studies and develop better learning strategies. She described a course she gave on how to become a more autonomous, self-directed learner. Her ideas were sound and practical. More universities in Asia should offer such programs and classes.
On Sunday I planned to go for one or two sessions and lunch, but the day didn’t play out that way. I did pick up my NELTA Certificate, which is a cool souvenir, and chatted with an American who teaches in Japan.
Japan was well represented with about 5 or 6 presenters. As you’d guess, India and Bangladesh had a good proportion. Uzbekistan and sent a few. I was the sole person from Korea. The reason is that Korea is sort of a Lotus Land, which doesn’t encourage much professional involvement from its EFL teachers. I know my colleagues at Sogang actually gossip about the few staff members who would give presentations. They’d whisper that those teachers were just “ambitious.” Is that such a bad thing? For all their good education, intelligence and teaching ability, it’s a puzzle that Korean colleagues under-perform the colleagues I had in Indonesia (who did a lot, but except for one person, just produced rubbish) or China.