A Conversation with Someone who Disagrees (iii)
Okay, the Chinese New Year Holiday is now finished, and tonight the teaching of IELTS Preparation begins again, and the new Saturday IELTS Course starts this coming Saturday (and it's full, just like the Sunday class). I'm going to get very busy, so while I have some time, let us continue our imaginary conversation with that person who strongly disagrees with everything I have said. They are like the picture above, and they certainly don’t look happy, right? I will list their comments, and give my answers.
Their 4th Comment
But I asked my professor, and he said this CLT stuff is nonsense, and obviously every teacher has to use Chinese to teach me English. And my professor has a PHD in history! So there!
If your professor is smart, he would say,
‘Well, EFL methodology is not my field, so I can’t really comment.’
And if EFL methodology was your professor’s field, then he wouldn’t say what you said at all. He would absolutely agree with every word I say, because both your professor and I would be in the same field, and would have been taught similar theory, seen similar proofs, facts, and research evidence, and had the same sort of experiences in the EFL classroom.
Can I repeat what I said earlier: TEFL is a highly specialised field, and all the rules and principles cannot be easily or quickly understood by people who have not been trained in it, or studied it. The average untrained person thinks that ‘teachers must teach’, but when it comes to TEFL, the approach (as you now know) is completely different. [See the 11th post of this series].
Remember, in CLT, teachers facilitate, provide the framework for practice, and manage activities where the students can actually play the leading role in the classroom. That’s the only way to actually learn. You, the learner, have to 'drive the car' to learn how to drive. Language is for communication, so you must use it for communication.
Remember the example I gave from when I was doing teacher-training courses at Monash University [Post Number 12], of how a senior teacher of philosophy had great trouble passing the CELTA course. Yes, it is somewhat ironic that it is teachers (often highly qualified in their specific fields) who find it most difficult to understand and apply the principles of CLT.
The conclusion is, don’t ask ‘conventional teachers’, no matter how qualified or experienced they may be in their specific field, about TEFL and CLT. It’s not their field. They don't know, and the smart ones would say this.
We will look at another (critical) comment in the next post.
Now, check that you know the meaning of the underlined vocabulary (also repeated below).
- a principle (n)
- to facilitate (v)
- to be ironic (adj)
- be be conventional (adj)
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