SPELT, since its inception in 1983, has played a leading role in bringing together ELT professionals in Pakistan. For some time now it has been felt that time is ripe now for SPELT to launch Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to provide space and opportunities for teachers to meet with like minded colleagues in their specialist areas of interest such as ‘Communicative Teaching of Grammar’, ‘Testing and Assessment’, and ‘Research in ELT/Applied Linguistics’.
Currently, a number of academics in Pakistan are engaged in research on issues in Applied Linguistics and ELT. Similarly, student research is burgeoning in post-graduates programmes in ELT and Applied Linguistics offered by different universities. However, ELT researchers in Pakistan do not have a platform to share their work and/or discuss issues with like minded people. Hence, Dr Fauzia Shamim of the University of Karachi, along with several colleagues including both novice and experienced researchers (see appendix 1) sent a proposal to SPELT for setting up the Research SIG to help develop, and support, a culture of research amongst English language teachers, teacher educators and applied linguists in Pakistan. The proposal was accepted by the SPELT Working Committee. Subsequently, the Research SIG was invited to organize sessions at the SPELT conference held from 17-19 October 2008 in Karachi.
The first business meeting of the Research SIG was held on 19 October 2008, i.e., during the SPELT conference in Karachi to select a coordinating committee and devise an activity plan for the years 2008-2009. The meeting was open to all conference participants. Twenty one people attended this meeting and signed up as members of the Research SIG. (Please note that Research SIG membership is free for all SPELT members for 2008-2009).To learn more about the Research SIG activities please visit the SPELT web site www.spelt.org.pk
The Research SIG has been formed to promote research in English Language Teaching (and Applied Linguistics) in Pakistan. More specifically, the goals of the Research SIG are as follows:
- To identify issues for indigenous research such as teaching English in large classes
- To support novice researches through providing opportunities for training and discussion on research processes, including formulating research questions, research design and methods of data collection and analysis
- To discuss and share ways of using research findings for improving the teaching-learning of English in Pakistani classrooms
- To build a community of researchers for mutual sharing and dissemination of research findings, identifying funding opportunities for research, and supporting each other in conducting quality research on ELT issues in Pakistan
The following members were selected as the Research SIG coordinating committee for the years 2008-2009.
- Dr Fauzia Shamim, Dept. of English, University of Karachi (Coordinator)
- Dr Ayesha Bashiruddin, Aga Khan University, Institute for Educational Development, Karachi
- Dr Hina Hussain Kazmi, Iqra University, Karachi, and ED-Links Project
- Ms Rabail Qayyum, Institute of Business Administration, Karachi.
- Ms Bushra Khurram, Dept. of English, University of Karachi
- Mr Najeeb-us Saqlain,, Textile Institute of Pakistan, Karachi
- Dr Sajida Zaki, NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi
- Uzma Abdul Rashid, Dept. of English, University of Karachi
Research SIG Activities for 2008:
- Research SIG sessions in SPELT conference 2008 (17-19 October, Karachi)
Research SIG organized ten sessions overall. This included eight paper presentations, one workshop for novice and aspiring researchers on ‘Developing Research Questions’ and a research clinic for researchers who may be facing some problem during their research process and looking for some advice on issues such as data collection or analysis of data. In addition, the Research SIG provided a forum for graduate students to share their research in progress and research findings. Five students from Iqra University, led by their supervisor Dr Hina Hussain Kazmi, shared their recently completed M.Phil research work in a colloquium, while learning to present and disseminate research findings through a conference at the same time. Also, Dr. Ayesha Bashiruddin along with her masters’ students made a presentation about the English Language Teaching Enhancement Project (ELTEP) which is initiated this year in the Aga Khan University, Institute for Educational Development.
- Modular course on ‘Teaching and Researching in Large Classes’:
The first modular course on ‘Teaching and Researching in Large Classes’ will be offered for a group of 20-25 teachers. The course aims to enhance the participants’ skills and understanding of teaching English in large classes as well as empower them with a tool for continuing professional development, i.e. action research.
The course will comprise 3 modules with 45 contact hours spread over a period of six months. An important component of this course is the opportunity for the participants to conduct supervised action research on problems in teaching-learning English in their own large classes. In module 1, participants will begin with sharing and discussing their problems in teaching-learning in large ESL classes. Next, they will plan to conduct action research in their classes to address one or more of the identified problems. (Module 1 will also be open to a limited number of other teachers who may not wish to enroll in the entire course.) During module 2, the participants will conduct action research in their own large classes. During this time, they will be supported by the tutor and peers through five monthly research clinics. Finally, in module 3, the participants will meet again for five days during their summer break (June 2009) to write up their research studies and share them with their peers for critique and evaluation.
Enrollment forms for this course are available at SPELT house. Last date for enrollment is 5 December 2008.
- Research SIG Activities for 2009:
During the Research SIG business meeting, participants identified a number of needs which, they suggested, could be addressed through ongoing workshops and research clinics during 2009. Details of these activities will be available at the SPELT web site and Research SIG blog soon.
- Dr Fauzia Shamim, Professor, Department of English, University of Karachi (Coordinator)
- Bushra Khurram, Lecturer, Dept. of English, University of Karachi
- Uzma Abdul Rashid, Cooperative teacher, Dept. of English, University of Karachi
- Rabail Qayyum, Lecturer, IBA, Karachi
- Dr Ayesha Bashiruddin, Assistant Professor, AKU- IED, Karachi
- Haleema Younus, Assistant Instructor, AKU- IED, Karachi
- Dr Rafique Memon, Director, Centre for English Language and Literature, Sindh University, Jamshoro
- Dr Mashoori, Chairman (Incharge), Dept. of English, Khairpur University, Sindh
- Dr Hina Hussain Kazmi, Associate Professor, Iqra University, Karachi
- Dr Sajida Zaki, Associate Professor, NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi