Insights from IATEFL

Up here in Glasgow, I’ve been hearing about…

…China.  David Graddol talked about Chinese as being the largest language by number of native speakers and at the New Oriental Signature event, we heard that NO feel that the Chinese way of learning works and that it is difficult for Chinese teachers of English to take on board Western ideas based on Communicative Language Teaching…pretty convincing when they are the world’s largest education organisation with 30,000 teachers in their employ.    They ended with a powerful invitation to ‘come and work with us’.  Food for thought for all us trainers – is this an opportunity we can pass up? Julie Butters in ‘They won’t talk’ addressed the Chinese context saying that perhaps we ought to allow students not to talk, but should value silence.

…EIL, David Graddol saying that no world standard English has emerged but that those speaking varieties understand each other perfectly well.  Conversely, there has been an erosion of national varieties e.g. American and British English, with globalisation and the domination of non-print media.

…change: Maria Heron said that we are being asked to meet challenges in a period of unprecedented global change, a point echoed by Graddol’s ‘we’re in a period of uncertainty when forecasts cannot be easily made and changes could happen quite quickly’.

…creativity in the C Group’s meeting – I’m encouraged to think of creativity as innovation or a different way of making materials.   Together with the idea of 21st century skills from Maria Heron’s workshop that coursebooks are now somehow static in a dynamic digital world, this really invites us to mix it up and respond to learners’ needs in a more intuitive, tailored, self-directed way.

 

 

 

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