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

23 of 50 modern language teaching clt taiwan what you need to know about it a conversation with someone who disagrees viii

A Conversation with Someone who Disagrees (viii)

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? They may even get personal in their comments. I will list one of those comments, and give my answers.

Their 10th Comment

I don’t care what you say. My school/teacher is wonderful, and I like the style of teaching they/he/she use.

Furthermore, this person says you’re no good at all, and none of your students ever learn anything from your class!

My Response

Always remember that the least effective methods of teaching English (that is, one based on mechanical memorisation, constant use of Chinese language to translate and explain meaning, and unthinking unchallenging inactivity by the students) require the least effort, least knowledge, least skill, and least commitment from both teacher and students. The teachers using this approach have easy lives, and so do their students, who just spend time in the classroom without learning much (but have been convinced to pay lots of money for it). The teachers chat in Chinese, give you Chinese printouts downloaded from the Internet, and fill in all the classtime explaining things in Chinese. Because of this unchallenging atmosphere, you might feel happy with these teachers, and like them as people. Most significantly, if these teachers have convinced the market that they are an ‘IELTS expert’, they can be getting rich in this way.

Obviously, these sorts of teachers don’t want anyone to know the truth about language learning. Money corrupts people, and makes them interested only in themselves. That means these sorts of teachers want to keep the thinking here in Taiwan locked in the 1970s, so they can keep earning their easy money. They don’t want their ‘rice bowls broken’, to use a Chinese idiom. Obviously, these people are the ones who will most aggressively object to my thoughts. So, if your teacher says any sort of 10th comment, a wise response would be to ask for evidence that it is true – that is, ask those people to outline a coherent argument why they have that attitude, and to prove it.

The most important step is to then analyse what they say with COLD HARD LOGIC! I have read some of the counter-arguments (translated from the Chinese), and they make NO sense at all. I ask some of my friends, ‘Does that make any sense to you?’ and they say, ‘Even in Chinese, it’s not logical.’ However, then they shrug their shoulders, and add, ‘But I’m an intelligent person.’ Hmmmmmm.

Well, you might also ask that teacher to show you proof of their TEFL credentials, TEFL achievements, and TEFL experience. Ask to see the original copies of any documents (because people can claim anything, remember). You might then also compare those credentials (if they exist), to mine. [Just click on http://www.aisielts.com/about-om/about/my-credentials/  where everyone is displayed and proven]. You then have to draw your own conclusions.

Moving from the teachers to the students, everyone has a right to ignore my advice about the best teaching methodology – but think carefully about what I have discussed. Remember that comment: ‘But I’m an intelligent person.’ Don’t you want that comment to apply to you? Don’t you want to confidently make that comment yourselfStubbornly insisting on your view when you have no evidence at all to support it is not intelligent. Allowing yourself to be easily tricked by others is naive. Those who get ahead in this world assess people and situations carefully, and weigh up the evidence with an open but critical mind. Successful people use that cold hard logic, and make choices based on that. If you want to be successful, you need to think carefully, and ultimately, the decision is yours.

We will look at the final critical comment in the next posts.

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

[Wow, there’s a lot of vocabulary in this post!]

  • to corrupt (v)
  • an idiom (n)
  • to be aggressive (adj)
  • to be coherent (adj)
  • to shrug one’s shoulders (v phrase)
  • credentials (n)
  • to be stubborn (adj)
  • to be naive (adj)
  • to assess
  • evidence (n)
  • ultimately (adv)

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

23 of 50 modern language teaching clt taiwan what you need to know about it a conversation with someone who disagrees viii