I’ve written before invoking Sturgeon’s Law in relation to the shortcomings of ESL coursebooks. I know I ruffled some feathers with that and maybe 90% is a bit high. There certainly are some good activity books around, but at the same time it has to be said that there is a lot of rubbish.
In classroom observations, the biggest single problem I see, time and again, with novice and experienced alike, is too much TTT. It’s a big topic, not least because prescriptions on teacher talk tend to get overlooked and are sometimes dismissed.
The idea of post-method era in language teaching seems to be becoming a prevalent one. A few researchers have written on this, notably B. Kumaravadivelu, but I have a bit of an issue with the idea in general because the honest truth as I see it is that we need methods more than we need teachers.
It is said that Winston Churchill was such a formidable conversationalist that he could reply to almost anything anyone said, with a literary quote. He was such a voracious reader and had such a remarkable memory that he had a massive bank of ready wisdom he could draw on for any given situation.
Dogme, or [dogmə] as it is pronounced, has become a well-worn term in certain circles of the ELT industry. It is the practice of conducting a class through what is supposed to be free-flowing conversation without the use of books or materials. The idea has gained a bit of momentum but in this post I’m going to pop the balloon of Dogme because underneath the hype, I see it as a vacuous, anti-educational, and bourgeois approach to language teaching.