Tony Gurr

Posts Tagged ‘Scott Thornbury’

Got EDUcational Literacy…?

In Assessment, Classroom Teaching, Curriculum, Educational Leadership, ELT and ELL, Teacher Learning on 09/06/2013 at 10:10 am

Got EdL (TG ver)

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I’ve just read Scott Thornbury’s latest (and last) post on his wonderful blog – An A-Z of ELT.

I was gob-smacked!

What a way to go out…with a wonderful list of “must-read” posts!

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Not to worry…he’ll have a new one  for us after Summer!

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Scott’s blog personifies…for me…the thunks that characterise an educator with a high degree of “fluency” in what I have dubbed EDUcational Literacy (esp. for those in the world of ELT) – just take a look at the 30 posts he highlights in that last post of his!

Soooooo much great “bedtime” reading for the Summer!

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Yeah…you guessed it! I was in the middle of doing my own “Sunday Post” when Scott’s landed in my in-box! But, I meant what I said…he just gave me a nice “hook”!

So…

“What exactly is EDUcational Literacy”?

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Pretty reasonable question, actually!

In a nutshell:

EDUCATIONAL LITERACY 01

 

In a way, Educational Literacy (let’s stick with the abbreviation – EdL) is something that should concern everyone on the planet. Any parent wishing to help his or her child make “wise” decisions about schools, colleges or university – needs to have EdL. Any teacher walking into a classroom (for the “first” or the “50,000th” timeneeds to have a lot of EdL, if she wants to be truly effective.

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EdL is something parentsstudentsteacherseducational administrators or anyone involved or interested in the world of learning (including, dare I say, media representativespublishers and politicians) – must have!

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In the case of teachersEdL is more than the teaching-related knowledge and skills required to manage a classroom, present content and practice teaching points – that is known as Pedagogic Literacy. Nor is also just our knowledge of grammar, structure and vocabulary (major components of Disciplinary Literacyin the world of ELL and ELT).

It touches on a teacher’s beliefs and values, the way she interacts with her learners and the extent to which she reflects on her own practice – to grow professionally and create even “better” LEARNing opportunities for those around her.

As such, EdL is a multi-dimensional construct – a true “multiple literacy”. It is not simply the product of adding to “a stack of facts and figures” or throwing more tools into “a bag o’ tricks” – it is experienced and lived through the synaptic-type interrelationships between a number of literacies (and fluencies)…

EDUCATIONAL LITERACY 02

EdL is also something that many people (sadly) do not possess – and this is what lies at the heart of many of the challenges we face in education.

For example:

  • Parents that tell teachers that their job is to “create” an engineer or doctor out of “Little Mehmet” – have low levels of EdL…sorry mum (and dad)!
  • Students that “blame” their failure on a given exam or the “academic clubs” that manipulate exam cut-offs – have low levels of EdL…sorry guys, time to take some responsibility (unless, that is, their educators also happen to have low levels of “Assessment Literacy”)!
  • Lecturers and teachers that do not even bother to learn the names of their students or “care” what these students “bring” to the classroom – have low levels of EdL…no apologies required here!
  • Educational Managers (up to and including Principals and Rectors) who value their “seat” more than the LEARNing of their learners and still fail to see the importance of “walking-the-talk” – have low levels of EdL…guys, just move aside (the 21stCentury is here)!
  • Schools that live off the “fat” (or prestige) of the “past” or try to “fake-it-till-they-make-it” – have amazingly low levels of EdL…time to “get real” and evidence what you “say” you “are”!
  • Media representatives that report the “league tables” without helping students and their parents to ask the right questions about how the “rankings” were carried out – have no EdL wotsoever…come on, guys – earn your pay-cheques!
  • Publishers who tell educators/teacher-trainers to put on a “show” and not bother with all that “LEARNing stuff” – fail the “EdL test”…totally…!
  • Politicians…Mmmmm…hey, who the hell said it was possible to “save every soul”!?!?

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You get the idea!

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EdL is essentially “realized” (and developed or learned) through the application of Critical Literacy to allthingseducation – critical reflection as applied to LEARNing and TEACHing.

EDUCATIONAL LITERACY 05

However, because of the very nature of both LEARNing and TEACHingEdL has a powerful emotional componentEdL appreciates that EDUcation and LEARNing are fundamentally “emotional experiences” that require Emotional Intelligence (or EQ) is also brought to bear on matters of LEARNing and TEACHing.

EdL (Care and Emotions)

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This is why LEARNing and TEACHing professionals need to exhibit high levels of Emotional Literacy:

  • Emotional sensitivity
  • Emotional memory
  • Emotional problem-solving ability
  • Emotional learning ability

and, to borrow from Gardner:

  • “Intrapersonal Intelligence”
  • “Interpersonal Intelligence”

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With so many abilities, skills and talents required of TEACHerstell me again:

EDUCATIONAL LITERACY 04

I must have missed that memo!

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EdL thus describes what an individual (especially EDUcators) “thinks” or “knows” about EDUcation, LEARNing and TEACHing, what s/he “does” with what s/he knows and also what s/he does to “improve” what s/he knows, does and feels in regard to allthingsEDUcation.

EDUCATIONAL LITERACY 03

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EdL also respects the role of theprofessional teacher – and what an “effective” teacher can do with what s/he can do with what s/he knows – as such, Pedagogic Literacy is also a focus of its attention, as is Curriculum Literacy and Assessment Literacy.

The problem is, taking Assessment Literacy as an example:

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Assessment Literacy is perhaps the best-known of the components that make up EdL – well, in educational reading circles at least. It has been described in the following way:

Assess Lit 01

BUT…I have to admitI prefer this one:

Assess Lit 02

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If most of us were really, really honest…we’d recognise that we all need to do a bit of LEARNing in this area – especially, when we remember these two little thunks

Assess Lit 03

And…then…we have the matter of Curriculum Literacy!

from A1 to B2 (in 9 months)

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Have YOU…has YOUR school (and its leaders):

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Got EdL (TG ver)

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Scott does! Thanks for the thunks. brother…

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BIG Questions for ELL…in 2013!

In ELT and ELL, Teacher Learning, The Paradigm Debate on 02/01/2013 at 6:42 am

The BIG Question:

Checken or Egg (photo TG ver)

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…could be applied to matters of LEARNing and TEACHing.

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Actually – as I was drafting (the original version of) this post, I (quite accidentally) discovered that Scott Thornbury is using a very similar title for his new e-book (to be published very shortly by The Round).

Scott’s idea is a pretty cool one – “re-engineering” a number of the core posts from his great “A-Z of ELT” and helping those lovely guys at The Round realise their goal of creating more bridges between the blogosphere and the world of conventional publishing.

This is why I felt I (just) had to re-blog a new, re-imagineered version of this post – to lose the Xmas “feel” I went with originally!

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Scott’s book is already shaping up to be a great addition to our ELT Library –  you can get a “taste” (or a “tease”) by clicking HERE.

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The THING is...

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…YOU guessed it !

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There is a bit of a problem with much of this “library”  of ours – a library that publishers have been helping us build up since the late 1970’s…a library that, I would argue, misses a great deal of the the “wood” for the “trees” (trees all those conventional publishers are busy “chopping down” on our behalf)!

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TEACHers do, of course, need books n’ stuff to help with their LEARNing.  

I’m not suggesting we should go all “Fahrenheit 451” on our favorite volumes and works of EDUliteracy. I’m saying perhaps we need a different “perspective” on how we look at the “business” we are in – and how we “do” that “business” around the globe through the books we read!

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Let me elaborate…with some BIG NUMBERS!

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Lies (people and stats)

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Before we get to the numbers (and people)…let’s start with a question:

How many English Language LEARNers are there – on the planet?

A tough one – I know!

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Well, if David Graddol is even close to being half-right – around a third of the world’s population (yes, I said 33.33% of around 7,018,500,000 human beings) – are trying to LEARN English – right now!

dogs_surprised8

give or take a million or so (and their dogs)!

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If you (as I have just done) also do a quick Google search for the acronym “ELT“, you’ll get around 37,800,000 potential bits of “bedtime reading”. However, when you do a similar search for “English Language LEARNing” – Google can only come up with around 1,910,000 pages for you to ignore.

And, “yes” – I know you can get just over 62 million pages of digital reading, if you use the acronym. But, then again…take a closer look at some of these hits – not all ELL “hits” are equal!

BESIDES…if you try “English Language Teaching”…the world’s favourite search engine will cough up 171 million results for you.

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Yani, almost three times as much “stuff” on TEACHing…than LEARNing!

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Now, this may not be much…when compared with the 252,000,000 results that you can potentially browse when you type the two little words Justin + Bieber” (and do not even ask me what happens when you type “Lady Gaga)!

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but...

…the point is…

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English Language TEACHing is BIG businessa huge “industry”…and we ain’t even touched on “textbooks” just yet!

An industry, for example, that nets the UK almost £1,500,000,000…everysinglebloody year! Not too shabby…not too shabby at all…just don’t get me started on global sales of the Top 50 publishers!

Let’s just say Amazon and Kindle have NOT delivered on their “promise”yet!

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The BIG question I have, when I consider these HUGE numbers…numbers that relate to LEARNers and their LEARNing (or SPENDing)…is this:
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Why do we call it the “ELT Industry” – not the “ELL Industry”?
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I said, a wee bit before, we ain’t touched on textbooks…so I guess we should.
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English Language LEARNers spend king’s ransom after king’s ransom on these lovely “paper-based LEARNing opportunities” – but we hardly ever hear them being described as the cornerstone of the “ELL Industry”.
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Or, did I just miss the memo?
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very rarely hear students talking about “my” textbook. It’s more a case of (the more “distant” phrase“our” book – you know, the one the TEACHer “uses”. The vast majority of TEACHers do appear to have more “ownership” of the textbooks they use in class – than the students that cough up good money for them (or, at least, take the time to photocopy them – as they are found to be too expensive for many cash-strapped students).
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As it’s these same TEACHers that control the “pace” of “textbook page turning” in our classrooms (I don’t think I have EVER heard a student ever say “Let’s turn to page 15”)…
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…I guess the whole ELT thingy really does make sense, after all – yani.

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The BIG problem isas my “birth-father” (the gossip is “working”) has noted:

Rogers QUOTE (Facilitation of LEARNing)

Scott…and many of his mates…”get” this!

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TEACHers like Scott “favour dialogue over transmission” and recognise that the process of NOT trying to fill “empty vessels” on a 24/7 basis is best facilitated by ASKing questions.

This is why he has promised us a “question-driven” approach in his new book – and some of the “teaser questions” he’ll be looking at are:

  • How do you achieve ‘flow’ in your teaching?
  • What makes an activity ‘communicative’?
  • Is there anything wrong with rote learning?
  • Can you teach well without planning?
  • Do rules help?

These are wonderful questions…and I’m sure many TEACHers will be very eager to read Scott’s “answers”

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Fewer, I fear, will take the time to reflect on his “questions for discussion” – many will totally miss the real point behind the book (IMHO).

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WHY (joker Face)

…am I thunking in such a dark & gloomy manner at the start of a bright NEW YEAR?

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Well, it’s quite simple really! I do not have much of a choice…the way things stand at the moment.

The ELT Industry is made up of suppliers (who seek to push their wares into this “market” of almost 234,000,000 LEARNers) …and “providers” (institutional players like our schools, colleges and universities).

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Both of these sets of “stakeholders” have to be “seen” to have all the ANSWERS.

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Get Answers Button

If they were seen to be more about “LEARNing” (than being “LEARNed” and “expert”)…they might not make as much money or “get” as many students!

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Peter Block has been telling us for years that it is this “take” on “what matters” that keeps luring us back to the Dark Side.

This “fascination” we have with allthingsanswers – drives our relentless search for the next “big thing”“quick-fix” or “magic bullet”. The “obsession” we have with an “answer-orientated” way of doing “business”…prevents us from really “seeing” the (LEARNing) wood for the (TEACHing) trees we noted earlier!

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Time for a RANT

That “business” in ELT is still dominated by the interests (or “convenience”) of our INSTITUTIONS – the thingsthe fixes….the bullets we focus on are, more often than not, all about the TEACHing.

Very few of our institutions take the time to ask the questions we need to ask – probably because the questions themselves are just “too” important! Instead, our preference for “quick-fix” TEACHing recipes all too often does little more than advance the culture of “alıntı, çalıntı and mış-gibi yapmak” (the Turkish for “borrowing, ripping off, and faking-it-till-you-make-it”) – rather than meaningful attention to student LEARNing and SUCCESS.

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Now, around about 500 words ago, you probably got a very crisp mental image of “me” in your head – just another guy having a rant! Just another guy having a bitch an’ a whine – with no bloody “answers”!

Isn’t that the whole point…the whole problem?

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Block (fingerprint quote)

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Well, to prove I do mean “well”I want to challenge all our “ELT Institutions” with a few “BIG Questions for ELL…for 2013”.

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Your “mission”, should you choose to accept it, is to put one of these questions (every week) on the agenda of your regular “meetings” – and come up with your OWN answers…through your OWN conversations…with those that “matter” at your OWN institution!

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Let’s start with a couple of “easy” ones:

Why (all over the globe) are “lessons” always around 50-55 minutes in length – shirously, in every country?

Why are so many of our classrooms organised in rows that “point” at the TEACHer (in fact, why do we still have classrooms at all)?

Why (in many classrooms) do TEACHers do more “talking” than the LEARNers?

Why do so many institutions (and their TEACHers) still “ban” mobile devices and “smart phones” in the classrooms?

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This one still bakes the noodle of many an administrator:

Why do some institutions still believe that (relatively) untrained and inexperienced “native speakers” are better than qualified and experienced “local” practitioners?

8

This one could keep decision-makers awake at night:

Why do ELT institutions (and TEACHers) still approach English Language Learning as something that can be “taught” or “delivered”?

8

These ones might hit home for a few of them, too:

Why do so many of us (TEACHers) still complain that we do not have enough time to “cover” the material?

Why do so many schools operate with a curriculum that is little more than the “contents page” of a textbook?

Why do so many institutions allow publishers to select their themes and texts – rather than letting the LEARNers do it?

Why do so many institutions still work with the premise that “if we do not assess it, the LEARNers will not do it”?

Why do institutions still assume that students will LEARN more English if we test them more often?

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And a couple on TEACHer LEARNing:

Why do schools and universities still believe that TEACHers can “LEARN” from one-shot, one-way workshops (especially if they serve no other purpose but to keep TEACHers busy during holidays)?

Why does ELT (as a “discipline”) still LEARN so little from other disciplines?

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Heyyou never knowASKing questions like these…might, just maybe, help us co-create a few ANSWERS…that help Google balance things a wee bit more in 2013!

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Mission Possible (wt Tom in DXB)

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N.B: One of the most comprehensive discussions of trends in language education is presented by David Graddol, in his excellent monograph “English Next. In this, he builds on his innovative analysis given in The Future of English (1997) – and also offers a great deal of insight into helping us understand where the “business” of ELT (and ELL) is going.

All I Want For Christmas…

In ELT and ELL, Teacher Learning, The Paradigm Debate on 24/12/2012 at 3:30 pm

…is a wee bit more of a focus on ELL…rather than just ELT!

Checken or Egg (photo TG ver)

Yes, that is English Language LEARNing…not the gene or the enzyme.

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And, as it is almost Chistmas, I guess “turkey” might have been a better choice than “chicken” – I know, I know! Baby Jesus, Mary and Yusuf…everyone is a critic!

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Actually, I was planning to use the title “BIG Questions in ELL (for 2013)” for this post but, quite accidentally, discovered that Scott Thornbury is using a very similar title for his new e-book (to be published very shortly by The Round).

Scott’s idea is a pretty cool one – “re-engineering” a number of the core posts from his greatA-Z of ELT” and helping those lovely guys at The Round realise their goal of creating more bridges between the blogosphere and the world of conventional publishing.

The book is already shaping up to be a great addition to our ELT Library –  you can get a “taste” (or a “tease”) by clicking HERE.

8

The THING is...

8

…YOU guessed IT !

8

There is a bit of a problem with much of this “library” – a library that publishers have been helping us build up since the late 1970’s…a library that, I would argue, misses a great deal of the the wood for the trees (trees all those conventional publishers are busy “chopping down” on our behalf)!

TEACHers do, of course, need books n’ stuff to help with their LEARNing.  

I’m not suggesting we should go all “Fahrenheit 451” on our favorite volumes and works of EDUliteracy. I’m saying perhaps we need a different “perspective” on how we look at the “business” we are in – and how we “do” that “business” around the globe through the books we read!

8

Let me elaborate…

…as if an objection or three would stop me!

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Lies (people and stats)

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Before we get to the numbers (and people)…let’s start with a question:

  • How many English Language LEARNers will be hoping that a big, fat guy (all dressed in “red” and hungry for minced pies) will “break into” their homes tonight – and leave them a copy of Raymond Murphy’s “English Grammar in Use” (the new, revised, upgraded, on-line version – of course).

A tough one – I know!

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Well, if David Graddol is even close to being half-right – around a third of the world’s population (yes, I said 33.33% of around 7,018,500,000 human beings – give or take a million) are trying to LEARN English…as I sit here and worry about whether I can find a “hindi”  big enough to feed all my relatives here in big, bad Istanbul tomorrow afternoon!

Noël Baba” really did show a lot of “investment savvy” by picking up all those shares in CUP, Pearson and Cengage over the last 20 years! Damn my principles…

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OK – I smell a roll with all these BIG numberslet’s see if we can’t find some more legs for this post!

If you (as I have just done) do a quick Google search for the acronym “ELT“, you’ll get around 37,800,000 potential bits of “bedtime reading”. However, when you do a similar search for “English Language LEARNing” – Google can only come up with around 1,910,000 pages for you to ignore.

And, “yes” – I know you can get just over 62 million pages of digital reading, if you use the acronym. But, then again…take a closer look at some of these hits!

BESIDES…if you try “English Language Teaching”…the world’s favourite search engine will cough up 171 million results for you.

8

Yani, almost three times as much “stuff” on TEACHing…than LEARNing!

8

Now, this may not be much…when compared with the 252,000,000 results that you can potentially browse when you type the two little words Justin + Bieber(and do not even ask me what happens when you typeLady Gaga)!

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but...

…the point is…English Language TEACHing is BIG businessa huge “industry”…and we ain’t even touched on “textbooks” just yet!

An industry, for example, that nets the UK almost £1,500,000,000…every, single, bloody year! Not too shabby…not too shabby at all…just don’t get me started on global sales of the Top 50 publishers!

Let’s just say Amazon and Kindle have NOT delivered on their “promise”yet!

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The BIG question I have, when I consider these HUGE numbers…numbers that relate to LEARNers and their LEARNing (or SPENDing)…is this:
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Why do we call it the “ELT Industry” – …not the “ELL Industry”?
8
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I said, a wee bit before, we ain’t touched on textbooks…so I guess we should.
8
English Language LEARNers spend king’s ransom after king’s ransom on these lovely “LEARNing opportunities” – but we hardly ever hear them being described as the cornerstone of the “ELL Industry”.
8
Or, did I just miss the memo?
8
I very rarely hear students talking about “my” textbook. It’s more a case of (the more “distant” phrase) “our” bookyou know, the one the TEACHer “uses”.
8
The vast majority of TEACHers do appear to have more “ownership” of the textbooks they use in class – than the students that cough up good money for them (or, at least, take the time to photocopy them – as they are found to be too expensive for many cash-strapped students).
8
As it’s these same TEACHers that control the “pace” of “textbook page turning” in our classrooms…I guess the whole ELT thingy makes sense, yani (BTW – I don’t think I have EVER heard a student ever say “Let’s turn to page 15”)!

8

The BIG problem isas my “birth-father” (the gossip is “working”) has noted:

Rogers QUOTE (Facilitation of LEARNing)

Scott…and many of his mates…”get” this!

8

TEACHers like Scott “favour dialogue over transmission” and recognise that the process of NOT trying to fill “empty vessels” on a 24/7 basis is…best facilitated by ASKing questions.

This is why he has promised us a “question-driven” approach in his new book.

Some of the “teaser questions” he’ll be looking at are:

  • How do you achieve ‘flow’ in your teaching?
  • What makes an activity ‘communicative’?
  • Is there anything wrong with rote learning?
  • Can you teach well without planning?
  • Do rules help?

These are wonderful questions…and I’m sure many TEACHers will be very eager to read Scott’s “answers”

8

Fewer, I fear, will take the time to reflect on his “questions for discussion” – many will totally miss the real point behind the book.

8

WHY (joker Face)

…am I thunking in such a dark & gloomy manner on Xmas Eve?

8

Well, it’s quite simple really!

The ELT Industry is made up of suppliers (who seek to push their wares into this “market” of almost 234,000,000 LEARNers) and “providers” (institutional players like our schools, colleges and universities) – and both of these sets of “stakeholders” have to be seen to have all the ANSWERS.

8

Get Answers Button

8

Peter Block has been telling us for years that it is this “take” on “what matters” that keeps luring us back to the Dark Side. This “fascination” drives our relentless search for the next “big thing”“quick-fix” or “magic bullet”. This “obsession” with an “answer-orientated” way of doing “business”…prevents us from really “seeing” the (LEARNing) wood for the (TEACHing) trees we noted earlier!

8

Block (fingerprint quote)

8

That “business” in ELT is still dominated by the interests (or “convenience”) of our INSTITUTIONS – the things…the fixes….the bullets we focus on are, more often than not, all about the TEACHing.

Very few of our institutions take the time to ask the questions we need to ask – probably because the questions themselves are just “too” important!

Instead, our preference for “quick-fix” TEACHing recipes all too often does little more than advance the culture of “alıntı, çalıntı and mış-gibi yapmak” (the Turkish for “borrowing, ripping off, and faking-it-till-you-make-it”) – rather than meaningful attention to student LEARNing and SUCCESS.

8

Now, around about 300 words ago, you probably got a very crisp mental image of “me” in your head – or perhaps thunked “What an EDUScrooge or ELTGrinch”!

I mean…it’s Christmas Eve…for crying out loud!

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Well, to prove I do mean “well”I’m going to gift all our “ELT Institutions”…with a few “BIG Questions for ELL…for 2013”.

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Now, I’m not sure how many I will be able to produce (before I have to rush out to buy that “hindi” I told you about earlier)…so here we go:

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Let’s start with a couple of “easy” ones:

Why (all over the globe) are “lessons” always around 50-55 minutes in length – shirously, all over the world?

Why are so many of our classrooms organised in rows that “point” at the TEACHer (in fact, why do we still have classrooms at all)?

Why (in many classrooms) do TEACHers do more “talking” than the LEARNers?

Why do so many institutions (and their TEACHers) still “ban” mobile devices and “smart phones” in the classrooms?

8

This one still bakes the noodle of many an administrator:

Why do some institutions still believe that (relatively) untrained and inexperienced “native speakers” are better than qualified and experienced “local” practitioners?

8

This one could keep decision-makers awake at night:

Why do ELT institutions (and TEACHers) still approach English Language Learning as something that can be “taught” or “delivered”?

8

These ones might hit home for a few of them, too:

Why do so many of us (TEACHers) still complain that we do not have enough time to “cover” the material?

Why do so many schools operate with a curriculum that is little more than the “contents page” of a textbook?

Why do so many institutions allow publishers to select their themes and texts – rather than letting the LEARNers do it?

Why do so many institutions still work with the premise that “if we do not assess it, the LEARNers will not do it”?

Why do institutions still assume that students will LEARN more English if we test them more often?

8

And a couple on TEACHer LEARNing:

Why do schools and universities still believe that TEACHers can “LEARN” from one-shot, one-way workshops (especially if they serve no other purpose but to keep TEACHers busy during holidays)?

Why does ELT (as a “discipline”) still LEARN so little from other disciplines?


Hey…you never knowASKing questions like these…might, just maybe, help us co-create a few ANSWERS…that LEARNers might recognise as a “real” Christmas present!

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Mission Possible (wt Tom in DXB)

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P.S: Father Christmas – if you are reading this, all I really want…is an iPhone5! I have been a good boy…all year! But, if you cannot manage that…world peace, an end to poverty and equitable access to education for every little girl on the planet will do just fine.

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P.P.S: Everyone Else – One of the most comprehensive discussions of trends in language education is presented by David Graddol, in his excellent monograph “English Next. In this, he builds on his innovative analysis given in The Future of English (1997) – and also offers a great deal of insight into helping us understand where the business of ELT is going.

Why is our CBO “MIA”?

In Conferences, News & Updates (from the CBO), Technology, Uncategorized on 02/05/2011 at 3:05 pm

Most of you know I’m busy running around for Conference Season here in Turkey at the moment…but I have also been glued to CNN watching how “Obama took down Osama”.

Far more interesting than my usual soaps!

OK – back to Conference Season. I have just returned from a really great “ELT EdTech Fest” put on by the lovely chaps at UES (up in Istanbul) down in Antalya – a great event with so many dynamic, young teachers (we are all young when we get to a conference in Antalya)…

I had plans to do my own post on events down in Antalya…but…

Upon my return, literally after only minutes of being in the house, Scott Thornbury put up his “T for Technology” post – had to take a look, didn’t I?

Scott began his post with reference to the “Twitter is for the birds… debate held between Alan Waters and Nicky Hockly at the recent IATEFL Conference in Brighton. Many, in both Brighton and Antalya said Nicky “kicked ass” – but Scott’s take on it was more balanced:

Instead of arguing about the merits of integrating technology into (language) education, it became a free-for-all about technology in general (“I wouldn’t have been here if it hadn’t been for Twitter”, “If you are unable to follow a Twitter-stream you are soft in the head…” etc). Comments like these seemed to be largely irrelevant to the matter in hand, i.e. the uses (or abuses) of technology in language education.

This is what we have come to expect from Scott.

I read through the post and started to read a few of the comments that his bloggers began to put up. Some followed Scott’s lead and agreed with the idea that we all need to adopt a more balanced, principled approach to using technology in ELL.

I also watched as young Coco (an 11-year-old student) explained how he had learned so much from teachers using IWBs and how much fun technology was for students. Well done Coco!

The problem was that a few bloggers could not hide the fact that they wanted to continue the free-for-all begun during IATEFL debate. You know the usual “technology-bad, teaching-good”…

Now, you know me! I have trouble keeping my mouth shut – and so threw in my “two-cents” about “technology not really being the problem – rather it is the obsession with teaching”…

My comments helped make me a new “best friend” – Luan (from Shanghai)!

Scott mentioned that he is worried that blogging is becoming a full-time job for him – I’m more worried that commenting on the posts of other bloggers is also becoming a major undertaking.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that that Antalya, Osama and Scott’s post are the reasons for me being “missing-in-action” … excuses, excuses (and I haven’t forgotten about “Speaking – Part Three” or the two guest-posts I have sitting on the desktop)!

BUT, take a look at the post (and all the comments) – makes for fun reading!