Maybe the box doesn’t exist

I just had another student today who used a common trope that many, many students have used for describing themselves over the years: “I am not the academic type.”

This student had served in the navy for six or seven years before returning to the university. He said that he wanted to get a degree in electrical engineering, but he was worried that he may have lost his academic footing while he was away. A non-native speaker of English, at times it seemed as if he ascribed his anxiety to his language proficiency/identity but he said that he was not worried about his language per se when I asked him. This gentleman was, clearly, academically brilliant in my view. The problem: he somehow didn’t think he was even capable of catching up with the rest of his (regular, younger) peers. Continue reading

International Students: Surprising Numbers

It’s not surprising that the US is a leading competitor in international student enrollment, but if you start looking into the figures, some things are quite surprising. Here are some.

In 2010/11, the number of international students in the U.S. reached a record high of 723,277, with a 32% increase since 2000/01. (IIE, Open Doors Report, 2011). In 1955, this number was about 48,000! Currently, the tiny nation of Nepal, which is No. 11 on the world list for international students to the U.S.—plus, okay, my home country—sends about a fourth of that number of students every year; China alone sends almost three times as many students today. Continue reading

Choutari Repost–Sounds and Images… Thinking about Teaching

To the diversity of ELT khuraks of this month, let me add a different kind of material, a few inspiring web videos, with some reflections and questions on the issue of education in our time.

As a teacher, I believe that we must not just go to class with a lesson plan but we must have a broader understanding of the goals of education, a sense of how our education relates to the challenges of the larger society as well as our students’ futures, and the willingness to engage our students in thinking about larger issues than the textbooks provide–whenever and wherever possible or appropriate.

Originally published on ELTChoutari. Continue reading

The world is one big choutari–but…

The world is one big choutari.

Yesterday I received a few emails from fellow editors and a revised article from a contributor for Choutari July issue, which I am assigned to put together, with support from my colleague Sajan Karn. My bus was leaving for Boston at 4pm, so I replied to the emails and left New York. On my way to Boston–where Ganga Sir is wrapping up his one year visit as a Humphrey scholar and where I am joining him and Hemanta Sir, who happens to be here at this time, for dinner–I was able to return the article with some minor editorial comments with a 24 hour turnaround time. On my way, I was also able to read about the  training in Majuwa, Gulmi (which is my old home town) that Gopal Sir gave and also shared the update with us via Yahoo mailing list. It’s just amazing how much communication technologies have advanced around the world. But–

Originally published on NELTA Choutari here. Continue reading