Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dispatches from the Patriotic Agents of Linguistic Imperialism

An editorial from the Kathmandu Post, written by my teacher and friend Prem Phyak:

Dying Mother Tongues

The dissenting opinion. English, I hear, is the only useful mode of communication; what is the point of anything but English medium education? Even my school is technically becoming English medium. The native languages are not economically useful and do not need to be spoken much less engaged with as a medium of instruction. At my school I see the 5-year-old kids speaking Tamang to each other in the playground and only Nepali and English in the classroom, and I'm reminded of how the language of my grandfather began its slow decline in 20th century Texas in the English-only classroom. At least there are a few loyal dissenters, like these guys.

The NELTA conference was fun. My presentation was halted by a stubborn audience member who needed to have his questions answered immediately, which as far as I'm concerned is a good sign. Better than snores anyway. In comparing what I know of the Texas and Lalitpur educational systems, one of my main goals was to simply introduce the idea that the USA does not always provide a superior model for everything: I looked specifically for instances where the practices of Lalitpuri teachers struck me as more successful than those implemented in Texas, and vice versa.

The other ETAs gave some interesting talks, and the other presentations by professionals from Nepal, India, Europe, and the United States gave me some ideas for the new school year (it's just about time for another monthlong break, arglbargl). Prem, of 'the-beginning-of-this-blog-post' fame, gave several talks himself.

But the simultaneous Fulbright ETA conference was the most fun. We met up with the other English Teaching Assistants in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. We were put up in The Godavari Village Resort for a few days and had some interesting discussions and talks, and then we were bused to Pokhara for the NELTA conference. They're a pretty great group. After the conference I went bungee jumping with some of them.

From there. woooooooooooooo.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Luke
    Thank you so much bringing my article into your blog. I am regularly reading your blog.Keep it up.