(49 of 50) CLT & TAIWAN: Summarising Posts 1 – 48, and what you need to learn



Final Thoughts I

Wow! I have written 48 posts in a connected coherent thread, examining the nature of language learning, comparing the ‘old’ days of grammar-translation-memorisation with modern CLT, and examining the reaction of those who still might want the old system. I then looked at the ‘unreal/fake teacher’ syndrome, and gave examples and ways to recognise this, and thus help you in the future.

All of these are complex and emotional issue, and ones which strikes squarely at you, the students, and this country, Taiwan. Maybe, before giving the last post of this series, I should summarise all the points I have been trying in Posts 1 – 48. There are 12 of them.

A Summary of CLT Taiwan: Posts 1 – 48

Point 1

The ‘Grammar-translation’ is an ineffective way to teach or learn, and modern CLT is necessary.

Point 2

Memorisation is not a ‘learning’ strategy, and is fundamentally dishonest, corrupting, and self-defeating. Those who use this method for teaching are similarly dishonest, corrupt, and self-serving.

Point 3

For best learning, the main language of the classroom needs to be English.

Point 4

Teaching English/IELT is a highly skilled profession, and therefore the teachers need to be qualified and experienced in TEFL methodology, and determined to put this methodology into practice (or, in other words, a decent human being who became a teacher in order to help others).

Point 5

The bushiban industry (whether schools or independent teachers) in Taiwan runs as a money-making business, and thus, its goal is not to educate you, but to make money.

This means both schools and individuals are often corrupt, and will use dishonest methods to get your money. It is a sad fact that a large number of IELTS teachers out there are fake. They are not teachers; they are tricksters, frauds, and con-artists.

Point 6

Following Point 5, you, the students, definitely need to know the credentials of your teacher, and have proof of them and/or know all the signs that suggest the teacher/school is not real or, even worse, a complete fake.

Point 7

Students often find it culturally difficult to question or judge those who claim to be teachers, and this is one of the reasons why the system doesn’t change. It doesn’t have to change. The money is rolling in already.

Point 8

Similarly, the social media is often being used as a tool for manipulation and brainwashing, and you should be very careful about what you think is true, and judge everything you read very carefully.

Point 9

However, there are easy to recognise signs of fakeness/not being real teachers. They are …

i.          Teacher speaking in Chinese

ii.         Use of memorisation

iii.        Claims of guaranteed scores

iv.        Constant Explanations (in Chinese) in class

v.         “You only talk to the teacher”.

vi.        “I can predict the answers in the IELTS test.”

Point 10

There are similarly recognisable signs which should make you worried about your so-called teacher. They are …

i. No observation.

ii. Whiteboard Use.

iii. Very short courses.

iv. Correction/Writing in Class

v. No TEFL qualifications//”I got IELTS 9”.

vi. Claiming to be a ‘former’ IELTS examiner

You need to apply this analysis to every teacher of IELTS/English.

Point 11

You, the student, need to think more carefully about the nature of learning a language, and what it really takes to achieve higher band scores in the IELTS test.

As well as accepting Points 14, you need to realise that learning a language will take time and effort, and, as I say in all my IELTS books, “There is no magic answer.” You have to realise that those who claim otherwise are simply tricking you.

Point 12

If everyone could respond to Points 1 – 12, quality education, true learning, and the noble spirit (of actually helping others) would eventually emerge, and become the ruling ethic of the teaching industry. And only you, the student, can make it happen!

So there it is: 12 points. However, if you, the student, don’t accept these points, or don’t believe in them, and sink into the ‘old’ systems of grammar-translation-memorisation, listening to Chinese with your favourite ‘famous’ teacher throughout the whole IELTS course, that is your choice. Everyone is free to choose.

But what will happen to you if you do this? I can’t be sure, but I do know that so many students who have first come to me admit they have spent months or even years of their time, and large amounts of their money, and got nowhere! And that is the tragedy. The tragedy is that a system which confines and reduces you, puts you in a box, then closes the lid, is so widespread. It is crushing and corrupting a generation of students, and most don’t even know this.

But I honestly hope now that every single student of IELTS will eventually truly become an intelligent and wise consumer. This needs to happen for the standards of teaching of English and IELTS in Taiwan to truly improve, and move into this modern 21st century world.

This is not just important for you; it is important for your country: Taiwan.

If you want your country to succeed in this competitive world, spread the news about the true nature of English-language learning, and the true signs of good teaching of it. Demand it from every single teacher you have, and, if you don’t find it, go elsewhere. That’s the only way to move forward.

Please read the next post, which is the final post of this 50-post series.

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

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

  • coherent (adj)
  • an (online conferencing) thread (n)
  • manipulation (n)
  • brainwashing (n)
  • a tragedy (n)
  • to confine (v)
  • to crush (v)
  • to corrupt (v)
  • to be competitive (adj)