I am Laxman Gnawali from Kathmandu, Nepal. I prefer to be called Laxman. The surname is problematic. It begins with the spelling as in gnaw but g is not silent. So the first sound of my surname is the combination of /g/ + /j/ + nasalization.
I originally hail from Gulmi, a hill district 350 kms west of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, where I live and work now. Kathmandu is a beautiful valley with its rich history, art and culture. There are so many temples all around that it is often said there are more gods than people in Kathmandu. It is believed that Kathmandu valley was a big lake and a saint had the water drained out by cutting the hill in the south and made it fit for settlement. No wonder, the soil in Kathmandu so fertile that it gives excellent crop yields even today.
I went to a Sanskrit school up to Grade 10. Luckily they also taught English. As I was interested more in English than in Sanskrit, I did fairly well in English examinations. Later at the college, I majored in English. I finished my M.A. in English literature from Tribhuwan University, Nepal in 1991. Later in 2000 the Hornby Trust gave me an opportunity for a degree programme in the UK. I was placed in the College of St. Mark and St. John (Marjon), Plymouth (now University College Plymouth St. Mark St. John) where I did M Ed in TTELT. Since my return in 2001, I have been working as an English teacher educator at School of Education, Kathmandu University.
Since 2004, I have been coordinating M Ed in ELT programme. When I returned from the UK, the Postgraduate Diploma programme was already running. I saw the prospects of a Masters programme and proposed M Ed in ELT to the University and got the approval. With support from NELTA colleagues for curriculum development and other academic inputs, the programme started in 2004 and is running successfully. Initiating and leading this programme has been my biggest professional achievement so far and launching M Phil in ELT will be my next initiative in which I seek support from wider ELT community.
I work from Sunday to Friday. In Nepal Saturdays are holidays. My working day starts late. I reach the University at 12 noon and work until eight in the evening. This 12-8 working day applies only to the School of Education because our students are working teachers. They teach in schools in the day and come to the University for the evening classes. I teach several courses but I am mainly responsible for Study Skills, ELT Methodology, Curriculum Design and Materials Development, Teacher Development, all for M Ed students. Apart from course delivery, tutorials and counselling, I supervise dissertation research.
On Saturdays I attend weekly meetings of Nepal English Language Teachers' Association (NELTA, www.nelta.org.np). These regular meetings are held to plan and decide upon different activities which NELTA conducts through its 24 branches. As Vice President, my responsibilities include organizing training programmes, managing publication of NELTA Journal and Newsletter, organizing international conferences, and liaising on behalf of NELTA and maintain rapport with Ministry of Education, non-governmental organizations, international organizations and foreign missions in Nepal
I am pleased to share with you all that I have also contributed to a few national and international ELT projects. First, I contributed as a group coordinator (face-to-face group) of English Language Development for Primary Teachers project undertaken by Hornby Alumni from East and South Asia and supported by the Hornby Trust through the British Council. Second, I am a project team member for English for Teaching: Teaching for English (ETTE) project undertaken by the British Council to support English teachers in CSA region. ETTE is a language and methodology project which aims to reach teachers in both rural and urban areas who have not had much previous access to support activities and operate in marginalized and under-resourced areas. This project started in April 2008 and will continue for three years. Another project I am involved in is ELT survey of Nepal. We have developed a full proposal and tools and intend to start the implementation form autumn 2008. Funding is an issue now.
I also have some publications to my credit. Apart from articles in NELTA Journal and other educational periodicals in Nepal, I have co-authored a School English textbook series from Nursery level up to Grade IX, and a textbook series for Out-of-School-Children programme. I have just submitted a chapter "Promoting ELE in Nepal: The NELTA Way" for a forthcoming book English Language Education in South Asia: from Policy to Pedagogy to be published by Orient Longman India.
That's all for now. (Apologies if I sound egotistic but I was simply sharing my experiences in the field of ELT.) Feel free if you would like to ask me anything: about me, my workplace, the education system I work in and of course Nepal that became a republic on 28 May 2008.
You can read my interview with the Teaching English Team in my next blog post.
If you want to e-mail me, please write at firstname.lastname@example.org
Laxman Gnawali (Mr.)
Vice President, NELTA www.nelta.org.np
Assistant Professor ELT (www.ku.edu.np)
School of Education
GPO Box No. 6250
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