(38 of 50) CLT & Taiwan: 2nd Sign about a ‘Teacher’ Which Should Make You Worried: Part (i)

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Six Signs Which Should Make You Worried About a ‘Teacher’: 2nd Sign [Part i]

So, let’s continue with the next sign which should make you worried. This sign goes very much to the philosophy and work ethic of a teacher, so I will need three posts [(i), (ii), and (iii)] to fully explore this. This is the first post of these post, Part (i).

Sign That You Should Be Worried 2

The school or teacher only uses a whiteboard.

It’s really simple. There’s no excuse for this anymore. Even in my early days of teaching, the classroom had an ‘OHP’ (= Overhead Projector) allowing plastic ‘transparencies’ to be placed on a machine on the table. This projected images onto a screen.

These days, of course, the projectors are linked to computers, and PowerPoint programs can be used. There are also ‘smart’ whiteboard; electronic whiteboards, and other pieces of technology.

So why is your teacher ‘talking and chalking’ on a whiteboard? It belongs to a TEFL world from 30 years ago. Those days were old and primitive. Things were slower and more inefficient. The technology has now moved on! Why haven’t the teachers?

Here are three reasons why using a whiteboard is bad.


Whiteboards are incredibly inefficient. They waste so much time as the teachers write. It is just too slow. And then it is all erased. Tick tick tick. So much wasted time. And can you even read the handwriting? And as the ink particles settle all over the place, and the room gets dirtier and dirtier, you might realise that in IELTS preparation, you need to learn a lot, and learn it quickly. The ‘talk and chalk’ approach doesn’t give you this.


Whiteboards don’t allow pictures to be easily shown, and such visuals are essential to good teaching. It is a key part of any TEFL training course.

Even in my early days of teaching (Bangkok, 1990), I at least held up magazine pictures all the time. I began collecting them in special folders. That happened when I first worked for British Council. Now of course, I just click a button, and the beautiful illustrative picture is instantly there, projected directly onto the screen. My lessons are full of such pictures. Pictures are interesting, engaging, and easily recognisable, and that helps your learn!

A classroom that doesn’t use pictures is the opposite, and whiteboards make it that way.


Whiteboards are static and still – a boring. On a whiteboard, nothing moves, nothing flashes, and nothing can be revealed piece by piece. There is nothing cute, nothing innovative and nothing dynamic. It is the very opposite to a controlled, programmed, and projected image. It is just bad.

The next post will consider this same issue of whiteboards versus powerpoint, and draw some conclusions about the ‘talk and chalk’ teachers.

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

  • to project (v) // a projector (n)
  • to be transparent (adj)
  • to chalk (v)
  • to be primitive (adj)
  • a particle (n)
  • to be visual (adj)
  • to be illustrative (adj)
  • to be engaging (adj)
  • to be static (adj)
  • to be innovative (adj)
  • to be dynamic (adj)

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