ESL Dialogues – A Couple of Opinions on our Profession
I think in a way it is a shame that in the EFL/ESL teaching profession we do not have more respect for the experience of teachers.
Our impressions do matter. Just because they are not a scientific study is beside the point. A teacher with many years of experience, does have something to teach us, and does have valuable knowledge to share.
by Kevin Burns
I really despise the style of academic writing where we are forced to quote Nunan, Richards, McDonough et al to back up what we know to be true from our own experience, – in order to be published in peer reviewed journals.
I suppose you can simply label me as a rebel who just does not want to play that game. But do me the courtesy of hearing me out.
Teaching English is not a science though I do agree that it can be studied scientifically to some extent. I am not saying that the studies done by the above people and others are not valuable. They are.
What I am saying is that the experience of veteran teachers too is of great value, and should be widely disseminated. We don`t have to try to emulate science to gain more respect.
Why not publish someone who has gained their opinion over a particular aspect of teaching – from observing it over twenty years?
We are professionals and we have self-respect. I don`t need the respect of naive people who do not understand fully what it takes to be an English as a second language/foreign language teacher. We do not need to impress the chemists of the world.
We just need to teach as well as we can, and help new teachers to be the best that they can be. That`s it!
The all-star, veteran teachers of each institution have a wide knowledge to share, and they should be encouraged to share it with new teachers in every way possible.
While this knowledge cannot be published as fact, and is not based upon a scientific study, it should be published and shared; as it is a wealth of information, a wealth of WISDOM I will argue.
Of course, keep up the scientific studies on relative topics in ESL/EFL. But let`s not try to emulate chemistry, or physics. We don`t need to and some of the terminology that is coming out is frankly embarrassing.
ESL Dialogues – What is with the Jargon we are now forced to use in our profession?
Whose bright idea was it to start using that?
Are we trying to be scientists now? Who are we trying to impress?
EXTENSIVE READING – what the heck is that? Oh you mean have the students read a lot. Okay now I get it.
Do we have to come up with all of this pedantic, self-indulgent terminology for some of the things we do? Why?
Why not just say it simply:
“I think it is important that students read many books.”
There, well said and you understand me right?
Do we really need terminology like:
EXTENSIVE READING ?
Teaching English is a social act not a scientific one. It is closer to psychology than it is to chemistry. And frankly “scientific studies,” of less than 100 subjects are not very convincing.
If you are not proud of what you do, then I feel sorry for you. Being an EFL/ESL teacher is a very valuable thing to do. You do not have to justify it to anyone. Be proud!
Those who can,….TEACH!