(20 of 50)    MODERN LANGUAGE TEACHING (CLT) & TAIWAN: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IT: A Conversation with Someone who Disagrees (v)

By | March 5, 2018

A Conversation with Someone who Disagrees (v)

Let us continue our imaginary conversation with that person who strongly disagrees with everything I have said. They are like the picture above, and they certainly don’t look happy, right? I will list their comments, and give my answers.

Their 6th Comment

My teacher is better because this person gives me all the answers. With your approach, no one gives you the answers, so I don’t learn anything.

My Response

My first thoughts are that you should think more about CLT and the learning process. Remember, a teacher who gives you all the answers is not teaching you, and you are not learning, because you are not trying, or not learning how to get answers. Let’s quote Benjamin Franklin.

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”

Just giving you or explaining to you the answers = telling you the answer = you forget = you don’t learn = a low IELTS score. The ‘teacher’ who does this is taking the lazy way, and you are, too. And that’s sort of the problem: everyone wants the lazy way, the quick way, the easy way, but learning a language is not like that, right? I remember reading a comment from a student: ‘This teacher is wonderful because he gives you all the answers.’ Well, as a teacher trainer, all I can say is that that teacher is BAD because he gives you all the answers. And when you read such comments from students, you need to judge whether you actually want to follow the path of that student. Did that student succeed? How long did it take? How much did they spend/waste? Years? Hundreds of thousands of NT? Hmmmm. Time to think, and think carefully.

My second response is that in CLT, you do get all the answers. You just have to work for these answers (so that you actually learn!). You have to read the text, listen to the script, study your error-coded written work, look up your dictionary, or consult the textbook (= my IELTS books in my class, where Tip 19 in particular gives all the answers). For example, if you want the answer to an ‘Sp’ error in your writing, just use your dictionary. If you want the answer to a ‘T’ error, just go to Tip 19, Item 7 of the book, and read what it says. And so on.

My final response is … hmmmm, people are all different, and obviously there are lazy and impatient people who just don’t want to work, but want instant answers, and magic IELTS scores. People like that will not like CLT, and may go to ‘traditional’ teachers. But people like that will have to learn the truth the hard way: by going through teacher after teacher who all give exactly what these people demand. And will they achieve their goal?

Their progress will be slow, and learning will take a very long time, and these people will pay their teachers so much money, but at least they get the sort of teaching they want, and both them and the teachers will be happy with each other. You are both playing the game, following the old rules, falling into the old traps. But you are not challenged, not pushed, and not asked to think, and that gives many people security.

After months and months, or maybe years, those people might reach their goal, or they might not. But after all that time, they may begin to realise that those teachers who gave and explained the answers (all in Chinese) were just pretending to teach them, and they and the other students were pretending to learn.

You have to ask yourself, are you one of these people? Do you really want to become one of them? Are you sure you are not one of them right now?

We will look at another (critical) comment in the next post.

Now, check that you know the meaning of the underlined vocabulary (also repeated below).

  • a script (n)
  • to consult (v)
  • to be impatient (adj)
  •  security (n)

If you want to find out more about me, go to aisielts.com .

Author: Andrew

Andrew Guilfoyle Cambridge CELTA, Cambridge DELTA, Cambridge CELTA teacher-trainer, M.Ed