Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Pulling my hair out!!!!!!
Even the books I do use have changed very little over the last decade. As much as I appreciate the Headway series (all except the advanced book, which is dire) they are way out of date methodologically and seem to have successfully ignored the electronic revolution that has been underway for the last 20 or so years. It's almost as if their world froze in 1986 and no one told them otherwise.
The situation becomes even more tragic when you reach advanced levels where simply revising grammar, syntax and vocabulary is unlikely to produce the kind of linguistic skills needed to pass exams or help those who want to be able to communicate in English at anything other than the most basic manner. It is hardly surprising then, that the Greek pass rate for C2 level exams such as CPE is 29%. Also as I read in Hyphenpedia;
"To the above equation you add the sad 77% (hyphen 2005 annual market research) of Greek professional FL certificate holders who cannot speak English, thus shaping a disappointing international profile for the average Greek professional. Then it is easier to swallow that maybe this whole Greek ELT system, that has successfully served Greek insecurity and the need for formal (but not necessarily substantial) accreditation, is coming to an end."
It is not enough that current methodologies are incredibly bad in helping students get the certificates they so dearly desire, They are also terrible at producing able second language speakers even amongst those who do manage to acquire some kind of qualification.
Yet every time I mention these facts and figures and try to introduce new ideas and approaches I'm told that they won't work, they'll negatively affect exam results or that that's not what students want from their lessons. After a while there comes a time when you just shut up, keep your opinions to yourself and tow the line.
Strangely though, the vast majority of the parents of students I do private lessons with are extremely happy with the fact their kids have become confident users of English and actually are happy to do lessons. But hell, what do I know? I'm just a teacher.