A garnering of mosts

Most students of English as a second or foreign language want to use English for communicative purposes.

Most students of English as an L2 fail to become confident, proficient users of English.

Most of language learning is implicit. Language learning is not the same as learning about biology or geography: it is essentially a matter of implicit learning leading to procedural knowledge. Language learning is a process of learning by doing.

Most teachers of English as an L2 treat English as an object of study.

Most teachers of English as an L2 assume – not they are always aware of the assumption – that the English language can be reduced to its (grammatical, lexical, functional, phonemic, etc.) parts and that these parts can be further reduced into items that can be taught as an object of study in such a way that their students learn what they are taught.

Most teachers of English as an L2 pay scant attention – because they were never told about it by those responsible for training them- to the crucial difference between explicit and implicit knowledge of language, the difference between declarative and procedural knowledge, and the trajectory of interlanguage development.

Most teachers of English as an L2 are badly prepared for their job.

Most teachers of English as an L2 are badly paid, have little security, have little say in what they do, and work under bad conditions.

Most ELT trainers are badly prepared for their job.

Most celebrity ELT gurus are frauds. They pretend to know about how people learn an L2 while knowing almost nothing, and their advice to teachers is informed by their own commercial interests.

Most of those who benefit from the $200 billion industry of ELT see education as a commodity. The celebrity gurus are their sales team.

Most of us in ELT face a bleak future.

All of us, all of us who make up the huge band of intellectual workers in the ELT sector, must strive for change. Getting rid of coursebooks would be a good start.

2 thoughts on “A garnering of mosts

  1. Most* of this is absolutely spot on.

    *All of it, actually, but I’m a slave to sociolinguistic “accommodation”!

  2. With reference to my post, Neil McCutcheon commented on Twitter:

    I don’t think that most teacher trainers don’t know what they’re doing, though, or somehow refuse to share the “secret” of procedural knowledge. That’s harsh.

    If you read the post, you’ll see that McCutcheon attributes to me things that, quite simply, I didn’t say.

    Not that Matthew Noble semed to have noticed any discrepency between what I said and McCutcheon’s summary. Noble added:

    He’s always been way off the mark on that score, IMO.

    As usual, it’s not entirely clear what Noble’s talking about, but I suppose he means that I’ve always been harsh on teachers, always saying things about them that aren’t true. Noble goes on

    And oddly unwilling to open his mind and ears to people who’d like nothing more than to help him gain better insights into how ‘most’ trainers think about and engage in their work.

    Noble has no way of knowing what I’m willling and unwilling to open my mind and ears to, and I can tell him that what he says is false. Finally, Noble says

    Most Geoff Jordan blog posts are exactly the same

    There’s a smiley after it, so we must take it as just another of his attempts to be funny. If you look at the list of posts on the menus on the right, you’ll see they cover a wide range of topics. Nearer the truth, I suggest is: An enormous number of Matthew Noble’s tweets refer to the same thing; viz.: Matthew Noble.

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