In the previous post, I looked at the ...

“You only talk to the teacher” syndrome.

Yes, it seems that this claim is now popular - the fact that ‘you don't talk to fellow students; you just talk to the teacher’. 

Well, everything I have learnt [and I have learnt a lot: check out Teacher Andrew's Credentials by clicking on the blue words] says that 'only talking to the teacher' is a bad strategy which will can take your IELTS mark down (hence, the picture). All the evidence and research confirms this, as does all my practical experience.

Please trust me on this issue! You really have to speak to get better at speaking. Without this practice, you may end up speaking strangely, stop and start, invent memorised material which you think sounds good (but doesn't) and when challenged with original topics, often simply remain silent, unable to speak. I've had to help many students like this.

And yes, it is a depressing feeling having to deal with students whose very ability to communicate has been undermined and eroded by a past learning history where they were actually not encouraged to speak. I am then faced with the difficulty of 'de-programming' these students - that is, trying to 'un-do' all the damage from their past teaching experiences. 

Trained TEFL teachers who are dedicated to their profession know that what matters more is communication - that is, getting a message to the other person. In a good class, this communication has to happen, and be maximised. When I was training teachers (at Monash University, tutoring for the Cambridge Teacher Certificate Courses), if this communication didn't happen among students, the trainee teachers were marked down. If only very little communication happened, these teacher were failed.

But why does this claim 'you only talk to the teacher' happen? And why do some students think it is better than talking to fellow students? Let's discuss that in the next post.

[To be continued in the next post]


Find the meaning of the underlined words, also repeated below.

  • credentials(n)
  • depressing (adj)
  • to undermine(n)
  • to erode (v)





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