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Saturday, May 26, 2018

A fusion of learning and attachment

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That evening I was surfing internet from my laptop. Wandering, I went to the website of National Academy for Educational Management (NAEM) and there I found a circular in the notice board telling about 50th Communicative English Course (CEC) to be held from 7 March and inviting the interested teachers among the specifiedacademic institutions to register themselves by the deadline.

I became rejuvenated to see the notice for two reasons: firstly, because of being a student of literature stream in my academic studies, I was much keen to attend communicative English course necessary to learn the basic skill of language teaching and secondly, I was seeking respite from my regular routine life and I felt the CEC would give me both learning opportunity and liberty from monotony.

Therefore, without a second thought, I decided to participate in the training and informed the chairman of my department about the training. Although I and my chairman are the only two teachers in the department who have to teach students of HSC level, four batches of our own department and around three hundred students of compulsory English at degree and honours levels besides other administrative jobs, he encouraged me to attend.

We, the officers of 34th BCS Cadre, prior to our joining, have been connected through facebook groups and share news and views in our respective platforms. Hence, I hit upon a plan to share the circular with my batchmates of Education Cadre about the training to know whether they would join. Interestingly, when I had reached the registration point at NAEM, I found my three batchmates:

Nazmul Hasan, Ahasan Habib and Nurul Ameen responding to my shared news. Moreover, four more participants from BCS 31stand 35th batches had come to participate. Besides, after first day training session, another batchmate of 34th BCS Education Cadre Parboni Das from Rajshahi viewing our snaps in the facebook contacted me about whether she would come. Upon my inspiration, she attended the training the following day. Thus, I could manage a happy gathering of these lively and happy faces and I perceived the fragrance of learning and delight would fill in the entire training!

But my first day experience was not up to expectations since rigorous rules, steadyclass schedule, class assignments for the next twenty one days were waving their hands at me! My plans seemed to be shattered. A question was then hovering through my head: "Will my expectations be thwarted this way?" However, my anticipated trepidationsoon evaporated with the company of a bunch of good classmates here.

They were both enthusiastic learners as well as good buddies, lending friendly hands to one another in and outside the classroom.  It can be mentioned here that as the course was designed for the lecturers of both government and non-government colleges, apart from BCS Education Cadre officers, a handful of non-government college teachers from different corners of the country also took part in the training.

Notwithstanding the fact that we were not acquainted with one another at our first encounter, very soon a warm relationship was developed amongst us and we had begun to pass many memorable moments. This is how the apparently haunting classes became enjoyable, participatory and full of fun with their loving company.

Of course, the valuable lectures and presentations by the resource persons of NAEM and  the panel of guest speakers from reputed institutions also eased the monotony that I at first feared. I couldn't but be moved and taught by their art of teaching.

Even engaging us in pair and group works were commendable, enjoyable and educative. Especially, during our poster writing and micro teaching sessions, we had learnt and done our assignments with much delight. Truly, those lectures were precious and demanding. Believe me, the things I have learned from their lessons have reshaped me and I do hope that I can be able to utilize them not only in my classroom practices but also in my daily life.

As part of the training, a study tour was included in the course contents. Hence, in order to arrange the study tour, a series of discussions with regard to the selection of spots followed and different scenic spots of Banderban and Cox's Bazar were finally chosen to visit.

Accordingly, on 20 March at 9 pm, the study tour with twenty partipants under the guidance of Course Director Md. Abdur Razzaque Mian and Course Co-ordinator Dr. Kallyani Nandy kicked off with a rented bus from the premise of NAEM to Banderban enroute to Cox's Bazar.

Although the highways were at timescrammed with tailback, we forgot the sluggishness of the entire journey amidst fun and delight revolving round the study tour in the bus. Besides it would not be an exaggeration that an aroma of unbound exhilaration and mirthalways flowed through the entire study tour making us forget that many of us had earlier been to these scenic spots. Although we were bound to complete the study tour by constricted time-schedule, the tour was really awonderfuland memorable journey.

After returning from the three-day hectic but enjoyable study tour when all became exhausted and resorted to take rest the following day, we, twomembers of souvenir committee, found no way other than to engage ourselves in work at the printing press to make the souvenir come out and hand outthe copies of the souvenir to the course committee as well as the participants on the closing day.

Our eyes were brimming with dew-drops of slumber but our brains had to remain active to carry on the task. But the next day, we ran into a new quandary when the owner of the printing press informed us that due to the Independence Day holiday, the operator took leave and thereby, we could not get the copies of the souvenir on time. Tensions ensued. We were in puzzle as to what to do.

The make-up of the souvenir had been done but the operator would not come. We murmured: "Will our endeavor go unpaid?" Luckily, fortune favoured us as the operator following our persistent requests agreed to work in the night shift and our efforts won through in the end. When the souvenir'Legends'wasbeing printed before my eyes, trust me, it was an amazing feeling as well as a learning opportunity for us regarding how to tackle crisis and find out the possible solution forthwith.

Another thing can be shared here. When I went to Dhaka for the Course, the days of my student lifeostensiblyrevisited. I felt like being a free bird that didn't forget to tweet even if there's a bar. Like the birds of same feather, here I found some trainees of same mind and a cozy mood always prevailed among us. Even after the training session, we hanged out, had lots of fun, visited shopping centres and of course, took the taste of a variety of yummycuisine at food courts. In fact, training days were full of fun and delight besides learning opportunities.

However, we offer our sincere thanks to everyone related directly and indirectly to the training, especially our fond faces Course Director Md. Abdur Razzaque Mian, two Course Co-ordinators Dr. Kallyani Nandy and Shamsun Akhter Siddiqie who relentlessly tried their best to provide us with possibly best inputs. And we will never forget the valuable class taken by the honorable Director General Professor Dr. Syed Md. Golam Faruk. His lecture was so precious and mindblowing that we enjoyed, learned a lot and expected more one. But due to his busy schedule, he could not gift us more lectures. 

Nevertheless, NAEM has taken a laudable step by initiating the Communicative English Course (CEC) for the teachers of English at different strata of academic institutions across the country to hone the communicative skills of the students. Undeniably, the unprecedented growth, development and effects of globalisation have created an incredible demand for English around the world. Like other developing countries, in Bangladesh, a strong demand for English across society have already been created because of its perceived economic and social value.

That's why the CEC training is worthwhile in the present context. On the other hand, the training has also helped us to be connected with a view to sharing our professional knowledge and experience with one another in future. In other words, it has created a platform for us. This pertinent initiative must deserve our praise,indeed.

Last but not the least, when our CEC training ended, for many, it brought immense happiness since they were eagerly waiting to meet their dear family after the 21-day 'confinement'. And for some people like me, it meant a loss of utmost happiness and liberty. Unlike all participants, I might be the only one who came here on one's own wish, not any compulsion from the college authority.

Although I was away from my family for twenty-two days and missing the company of my friends, colleagues and dear students, I still wondered: "What if the course would be extended to more 21 days!" Trust me, I would always miss the loving company of my dear course mates with whom I have shared many sweet memories.

Within few days, they have become the apple of my eye. Fun, argument, adda, even quarrelÑ all went together. However, despite the temporary exit from them, the love and support of my dear fellows and teachers rendered to me will permanently be imprinted on the pages of my sweet memories.


The writer is a BCS (General Education) Cadre Officer and teaches English at Ishwardi Government College, Pabna. He can be reached at ashim_meghdutt@yahoo.com

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