Sunday, March 26, 2006

random thoughts on teaching

I was thinking last night on how much time we spend teaching stuff in EFL/ESL that probably has little or no impact on our student's linguistic ability. Imagine if we taught driving in the same way we teach English

Year 1 (yes, year) Students spend;

80% of their time behind a desk learning the theory of internal combustion and the physics of motion.
15% of the lesson is spent watching the teacher drive.
5% of the lesson is devoted to student driving.

Year 2

60% of the time is devoted to relearning the theory covered in year one.
20% is devoted to learning the highway code.
10% is devoted to watching the teacher drive.
10% is devoted to student driving.

Year 3

60% of the year is spent on revising year 1 and 2 theory.
20% is spent on mechanics and repair.
10% teacher driving.
10% student driving.

And so on and so forth for another two to three years

And then we wonder why after so many years of education the students go out on the roads and crash with alarming regularity.

Perhaps it's time to update the wonderful example of N.S. Prabhu's Bangalore Project for the internet age ? It is pure alchemy;the idea that knowledge and learning can be created out of the basest of raw materials e.g. railway timetables.

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