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Introducing Western style educational models to other countries is a precarious business. The very nature and complexity of how other nations operate their school systems cannot be comprehended without a deep contextual understanding of the political, economic and spiritual codes already in place, without which any enterprise is at risk of becoming token, redundant or worse still, counterproductive. However there are certain fundamental aspects, which cannot be disregarded when considering general theories of teaching and particularly that of acquiring a second language. People learn best when they are enjoying themselves and when they can see how their learning fits into the context of their life beyond schooling. Too much theory and not enough practice is ineffective. In nepal schools there is an enormous focus on the acquisition of the english language, however the methodologies used by teachers and endorsed by the government are
at best perfunctory and ineffective to nurture strong, competent and confident english speakers. The current state of government-funded education in nepal is very poor. Not only are many of the schools isolated and inaccessible due to the geography of rural areas, but also the provision for learners is inadequate and schools receive scant support from central education bodies despite their insistence that efl is compulsory. In a nutshell, efl education in nepal is not pupil-centred; many teachers have had little or no training whatsoever in their subject area or in techniques and strategies to enhance learning. efl theories are only quickly explained, without insurance that the class actually understand the subject matter, and this is not followed by examples and means of applying
their learning. Often this will be followed by an exercise that is unrelated to their previous learning, Most rural nepalese are subsistence farmers, and village teachers usually have responsibilities outside of their jobs in school, which serves to distract them further from their roles as educators. Indeed, although the nepalese recognize the importance of learning english in participating with contemporary society (which is their wish), in practice it is a different story, and many villagers encourage their children to avoid attending school in order to help with chores on the farm. Attendance is very poor, as is social cohesion with the school body, and equality among the sexes (girls are considered less important than boys). Schools are very poorly organized, meaning that resources for efl
are not deployed properly, and many teachers seem distracted and ill-equipped to manage classrooms to get the most out of learning situations. Libraries are tatty, inappropriately stocked with books supplied by well-meaning NGOs (if at all), and they are usually locked – as most teachers don't know how to rota library time. Lessons are not planned or varied, and are unstructured – following the rote memorization and parrot-fashion mimicry of drilling without any subsequent opportunities to apply their learning to context. The knock-on effect of this is that pupils have little or no opportunity to USE their learning and many pupils seem bored and uninspired, as they do not understand WHY they are learning. Lessons are conducted mainly in their mother tongue, and many teachers revert to shouting (or worse) when pupils have failed to understand a topic. This is not really the fault of the teachers, it is just the way that the system has evolved, and many find it too difficult to change,
or there is no incentive to do things differently. Devoid of resources and displays (which in itself is no obstacle to generating good quality teaching), many of the classrooms are cramped, dull and lifeless, where the pupils are encouraged to slavishly follow standardized coursebooks that are full of typographical errors and inconsistencies. The very tests that the pupils will sit at the end of the year are taken from these books, further entrenching their reliance on memorization rather than holistic, contextual learning. Many of the pupils in these schools genuinely want to learn english or further their studies so that they can move away to the cities, but the reality of village life coupled with the deficiencies of an antiquated and draconian education system mean that they are being let down.
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