Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Another random thought

As I was digging out my camping stuff from the cupboard last week I came across Focus On Proficiency by Sue O'Connell. Anyone who taught advanced level English here in Greece during the 90's will be familiar with the book as it was used by half the schools here. Looking at it once more I was appalled by the thought of how little has changed in EFL/ESL over the last 15 years.

We still use the same awful approaches with their stodgy subject matter and worn out ways of teaching. With the exception of the introduction of colour illustrations I can't see any real difference between this book and the ones I'm obliged to use now in school. I have tried repeatedly over the last few years to persuade the school to abandon the idea of a set book at advanced levels (the range of language and skills means that no one book will ever be enough) and yet the idea has always been rejected as impractical.

Luckily, I am free to do what I like when it comes to private students which means they get a far richer language experience which includes blogging, podcasts, audio books and all the tech goodies which we now have at our disposal, as well as literature, films and other more traditional materials.

Over the years I have moved further and further away from the mass produced, globally orientated pap that the publishing houses pump out every year. This is not snobbery on my part but rather the realisation that materials designed to please everyone, do nothing of the sort.

However, I do feel somewhat of a fraud sometimes when I post ideas for using technology in the class even though I don't often get chance to try them out in real life.


Frank said...

But...there are some people, such as myself, who think of using your ideas, so you never know if the ideas which you do not use are being used by other teachers.

I enjoy your site. I have it plugged in my Bloglines.

teacher dude said...

Thanks Frank for the vote of confidence. I have always thought that unless an idea is shared then it is next to useless.