Today I want to publish my bold manifesto. I want this to be the Secret equivalent to Scott Thornbury’s 2001 Vow of Chastity. From this day forward, I want to have inspired debates where people rubbish me, build me up, knock me down. I want to be the catalyst for change. I want…I want…I want…how did that Rolling Stones song go again?
If you work in education in the UK, it is a rare moment indeed when you are not being inspected by one organisation or another. The QAA might be breaking down the front door, with a posse of UKBA inspectors barging in behind them. Or you might have the ISI launching a tactical exploration of your doings. And the kind-hearted folk at Accreditation UK might pop up too, flashing their warrants and asking if you’d mind if they just had a little old look round. (Un)Surprisingly, institutions aren’t always delighted about this. Personally, my thoughts are in flux (never a good position to take at the start of an article…). Let’s discover what I think.
With horror, I realise that over three weeks ago I volunteered myself to write, within a week, a summary of an #ELTChat tweet-up concerning research in ELT. One of the problems of depending upon volunteers for this sort of thing is that it makes it more difficult to nag them relentlessly when they fail to deliver. For some reason- not entirely disconnected from the holiday season, I suspect- “type up ELTChat summary” simply disappeared from my list of things to do. I remember having a bit of a cull from the said list and suspect that come next week when all is back to normal, it will pop up and remind me. The thrill will be to see what else pops up along with it: “remember to take life-saving medicine on Easter Monday”? “Send Maggie Thatcher a get well soon card”? “Remember to cash in last year’s winning lottery ticket before deadline”? Some of these to-dos are too late now (goodbye, Lady Thatcher) and I will just have to bear the consequences of the others, as punishment for letting myself dow, letting the organisers of #ELTChat down and letting the wider community of my peers and my betters down. I hope this summary goes some way to making up for my dereliction of duty.
After last week’s unintentionally contentious posting that resulted in accusations of elitism and poor writing, I am going for a less controversial approach this week. But be warned: despite the exhortations of one of my critics to write for the readers, I am writing primarily for myself. There is an appropriately vain hope that some of you might find something of use in what I have to say, but this is really a crucible for my own thinking. To be honest, the fact that I am choosing to self-publish on the…ummm…worldwide web makes me wonder about the sanity of the reader who felt that it is incumbent upon the writer to consider their audience. Apologies in advance (and feel free to disagree as vehemently as you can muster). Continue reading