If there is one thing that is guaranteed to piss me off, it is when students walk into my office and demand to move up a level. Actually, that is just one of a long list of things, and to be honest, it’s not near the top of my “Things Guaranteed To Piss Me Off” compendium (perhaps this could be The Secret DoS book???). But things are OK at work at the moment and I wanted to write something because I’ve already finished reading through my twitter feed, my Feedly streams and the front page of the newspaper (in that order). Let’s see where this one goes.
IATEFL…sounds like a badly aspirated “I hate EFL”. Where were the marketing people that day? It seems as if after the latest IATEFL shindig, two people who won’t be needing marketing gurus are Russell Mayne, aka @ebefl, and Sugata Mitra. Of course, Mitra doesn’t need a publicist because he is his own best publicist; his message is enchanting; his mannerisms are endearing; he is a polymath who has approached the problem of educating society’s outcasts and thinks he may have found the solution: a hybrid lo-tech/hi-tech mechanism that has Indian children from socioeconomically deprived communities struggling to help Geordie grandmas improve their pronunciation – assuming I haven’t misunderstood anything here. People loved it.
Russ doesn’t need a publicist because, weirdly, he did the opposite of Sugata Mitra and people loved it. Sugata told people that the solution to the challenges of creating a more equitable world was simple and straightforward. Russ told the people that when someone tells you that there is a simple and straightforward solution to a deep-rooted problem, you may need to use a Baloney Detection Kit. I loved it.
I want to begin by writing, “There is one fact that seems to me to be entirely absent from the mainstream literature on teaching English as a Foreign Language and yet which is, at the same time, a truth universally acknowledged.” The problem is, however, that I find it almost impossible to believe that nobody has highlighted this singular truth. What kind of disservice are we doing to the teachers of tomorrow if we fail to acknowledge this one vital verity? Have we universally adopted a pledge of omerta? So, before I release the hounds, let me apologise to one and all if today’s rant is far from original; or let me stand adjudged by my peers if it should be that today’s vitriol is inspired by a phenomenon which is unique to my classrooms and my experience alone.
The counsel for the prosecution… Continue reading