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Action Research : Model One

Teacher-Students Interaction in the Nepali Medium English Classroom: An Action Research

1. Background - During my past two years of teaching, there have been many challenges that I have encountered, from learning a new school system, materials, and strategies for learning the structure and regimentation through my own personal experience. The one thing that I have found to be the most challenging though is finding my own individual teaching style and structure for making classroom more interactive in a trial and error process. Most Nepalese students especially from the government aided schools are usually found to be quiet in the English classroom, as they have a little experience in classroom interaction with the teacher. Traditionally Nepalese classrooms are dominated by the lecture method that does not encourage students to participate in the classroom activities. The other reason behind the students’ inactivity is the poor English background and lack of exposure in English in the lower level. So, teaching English with students interaction is quite challenging. This paper, employing action research, attempts to explore this problem and suggests some possible ways to create a more interactive classroom.

2. Class Description - The class observed was a group of 42 students of class-9 section (B) at Saraswoti Higher Secondary School , G.M.N-7, Ahale ,Gorkha. The level of the students in the class was beginners or under-intermediate. The students were from the heterogeneous backgrounds in regard of their social, economic, cultural as well as cognitive aspects. Out of 42 students, the teacher was a student-teacher with several years teaching experience at secondary level. The goal of this required class is to teach the students reading and writing skills aloud including listening when the teacher reads the passage.

3. Problems Identification and Investigation - The students, as a class, don't respond voluntarily to the teacher's questions and do not participate in class discussions. Students never ask the questions to the teacher outside one-on-one situations. Thus, the teacher receives little oral feedback. According to the teacher “Most of the class members sit looking straight ahead using minimal facial expressions, gestures and verbal utterances. What I want is for the students to be more demonstrative and more overtly communicative in their feedback. I want these behaviors: I want the students to ask questions, make comments and to respond with nods and shakes of the head, with sounds of agreement or sounds of understanding. Also, I want them to be both reactive and proactive.”
Despite the teacher's several attempts, the students don't seem responsive and interested in the teaching as well. Few of them try to respond in Nepali in submissive manner. Very few of them seem attentive but cannot respond to the teacher's questions; neither they ask any questions to the teacher about anything nor answer properly. The teacher's class was first observed in the third week of the first term. In the first 25 minutes, the class went through reading passage. 

The students first listened to the teacher read and explain the text to the students with their books in their hands, then the students read the text silently themselves. Then the teacher asked them whether they understood anything or not, but nobody responded. Next 15 minutes, the teacher went through the text explaining the new word meanings to the students so that they could understand better and respond to him. He asked the following questions to them based on the text: T: Any questions? Do you understand everything? Ss: Š(no one responds)T: Okay, how many people were quarrelling? Ss: Š(no response)T: How many people were quarrelling? Ss: Š(no response)T: There were three. Three people. Were they friends or strangers? Ss: Š(no response)Š
The teacher asked a few other questions which also drew no response or reaction from the students. The students, then, had to write the answers of some questions about the text in their book according to the teacher's instruction. Most of the students seemed to have much trouble doing this, and if there were any questions, they readily seemed to ask few things the friends sitting next to them but didn't drew any meaningful result.


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