Words from the Wise

Here are some quotes from ELT experts who currently inform teachers. Who said them?

  • J. Harmer
  • A. Holliday
  • A. Maley
  • P. Ur
  • D. Larsen-Freeman
  • S. Carroll
  • L. Selivan
  • J. Anderson
  • S. Richardson
  • H. Dellar

(Note: There’s one “rogue statement” in there which I profoundly agree with.) 

1. It’s time to shift metaphors. Let’s sanitise the language. Join with me; make a pledge never to use “input” and “output” again.

2. Instead of the big top down grammar, which we just drop words into as Chomsky suggested, it’s thinking about the individual words that drive our communication and the grammatical patterns which often attach themselves to those particular words.

3. Teaching may be a visceral art, but unless it is informed by ideas it is considerably less than it might be.

4. It’s essentially racist to imagine a group here and a group there who are essentially different to each other.

5. Chunks …. are stored in the brain as single units. .. However, this does not completely negate the role of generative grammar. Knowledge of grammar rules is still important to fine-tune chunks so that they fit new contexts.

6. We have no evidence that PPP is less effective than other approaches.

7. We should not expect research to have any necessary or close link with the activity of teaching.

8. There is no evidence that TBLT works.

9. You can’t notice grammar. ..  the stuff of acquisition (phonemes, syllables, morphemes, nouns, verbs, cases, etc.) consists of mental constructs that exist in the mind and not in the environment at all. If not present in the external environment, there is no possibility of noticing them.

10. Most SLA researchers assume that native speakers make the best teachers.. and view the L1 as “an obstacle”.










1. Larsen-Freeman; 2. H. Dellar; 3. J. Harmer; 4. A. Holliday; 5. L.Selivan; 6. J. Anderson; 7. A. Maley; 8. P. Ur; 9. S. Carroll; 10. S. Richardson