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Language degradation in EFL
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Qaaolchoura



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 539
Location: 21 miles from the Syrian border

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
Qaaolchoura wrote:
My third thought was that what he's doing is theoretically sound, but painful in the way it's executed.

~Q


...erm, what theory is this? Based on the Diva method mentioned by Fluffy, perhaps?

He seems to be attempting to demonstrate English grammar (past perfect and associated time phrases) through modeling the forms. He's keeping it interesting by choosing an absurd story.

However listening to him speak, once you get over his unique physical experience, does border on painful. It is in fact possible to speak slowly and clearly without sounding like a mentally handicapped robot.

~Q
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Qaaolchoura



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Posts: 539
Location: 21 miles from the Syrian border

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
More totally natural use of English here, both from the teacher and the fully participating learners! WOW!!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlfdIipe73I&feature=related

Wow indeed.

25 seconds in and he asks: "do you guys understand 'statement'?" Then without a pause for response, he moves on.

Either his TEFL course never taught the difference between a good and bad comprehension checking question, or he figures that after all his time teaching "effortless English," the rules don't apply to him

~Q
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1286

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the other hand, his company (learn english effortlessly / learn real english) are everywhere you look. They advertise on amazon, they're there if you put in a "learn english" search on google. They must pay a whack on advertising, so presumably, are selling their course.

To me, they're your typical snake-oil sales people. They've obviously been trained to do that Tony Robbins thing. But the crucial thing is - and no matter how much we hate it, as educators and holders of degrees and all sorts of lovely academic proof of our brilliance - they tap in to a very real concern that learners of English have. How come you can spend years and years studying, but end up unable to have a conversation, order a beer, etc in an English speaking country. Of course, we might have a very good idea of why that is, but your man and his crew are going straight to the heart of what many learners worry about.

And another thing strikes me. You go to one of the "best" sites there is - say something like the British Council - and you get pages of very worthy, but very dull explanation on this or that grammar point. Quite small text, on that olive green background. Then this bloke comes along, and does a video that you can probably understand most of, and tries to entertain you. (Yes, his jokes are lame, but don't you prefer lame jokes in your second language too, as they're so much easier to understand?)

Thing is, a lot of learners have limited time to study in their spare time, and like most people, like a bit of entertainment to liven it up. I'm not saying that he's therefore the answer, but I do think that he has identified, and is cashing in on a need.

I doubt very much that your man has trained as an ELT professional. It seems very much to me that he's got hold of a few half-baked ideas, and then packaged them up to form a "course". Dodgy theories, dodgy teaching practices, questionable results. But he'll probably appeal far more to typically frustrated learners than the worthiness of most of the ELT sites you find out there. (Mine included, btw.)

I'm not saying we should descend to his level. But perhaps it behoves us all to tap into what our learners are feeling, and engage them there.
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 3292
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How's this for "effortless" English re. the teaching of 'statement'?

1) Insert G.I. Jane into DVD player.
2) IIRC, skip to scene where she shaves her head and then goes to see the camp commandant (Scott Wilson) about the problem of being treated differently to the men.
3) Enjoy his kiss-off line to her.

Alternatively, one could just invest in a dictionary rather having crap teachers explain things badly or not at all.
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 3292
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@TIR: The problem however is the sheer absurdity of his stories and examples (thanks Quaalchoura for introducing the word 'absurd' into the thread!). I have no problem with the occasional apparently spur-of-the-moment joke or tangent, but when improvisation of only half-rehearsed completely off-the-cuff silly stuff seems to be the entire basis of one's approach, it obviously can't be a very well-considered one.

I mean, it wouldn't take much longer to come up with less absurd, genuine stories, which learners would find of more actual use (versus vocabulary like 'ninja', 'kill' etc) and hopefully ultimately relate to more.

For example: "I was on holiday in Budapest and came across a really nice Japanese sword in a shop. The price was a bargain - not unbelievably cheap, but a lot cheaper than I was expecting for a sword of its quality. I asked them to hold onto it for me while I rushed off to a bank to exchange the necessary amount of traveller's cheques, but by the time I got back, guess what. They'd added a few zeroes to the price, claiming the previous price had been a mistake. But perhaps it was just as well I didn't get to buy it, because bringing it back through UK Customs (after the ferry ride back from France) could've been a problem - they might've spotted it and confiscated it etc". (True story).

Silly ninja-lite stories may be the just the thing for those who like to be under the illusion of learning or having learnt much English, however!


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1286

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@fluffy

I take your point, but that wasn't what I was trying to say.

I think that this is where we're sunk:

Quote:
I mean, it wouldn't take much longer to come up with less absurd, genuine stories, which learners would find of more actual use (versus vocabulary like 'ninja', 'kill' etc) and hopefully ultimately relate to more.


I'm not sure that finding stories that are "less absurd, more genuine, more of actual use" is the elixir to what ails learners. I think that what this guy is trading off is the fact learners can't communicate fluently, with confidence, in normal situations. That's the whole thrust of his seven lessons, or whatever he calls them.

It's not in the quality of his video lessons, or even in the better quality that most ELT professionals could do for the same grammar points (though show me an ELT professional that has mastered video on YouTube and I'll buy you a beer). It's the fact that he's telling learners what they want to hear... He's nailing them at their (perceived) point of weakness.
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 3292
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I get that point.Wink It's not my~our problem however if learners don't then ask themselves WHY they aren't improving and seem "unable to communicate". (Answer: Probably because they're limiting their diet to those baby-sized dollops of baby food!). Authentic English can be hard, but that guy really is making it too easy - NOBODY (or very few non-insane adult) people talk like he does, nor would they be willing to for the "struggling" learner.

Anyway, I'd be interested to see exactly what vocabulary and grammar he explicitly presents in his series of lessons (assuming there is much real progression to them - I bet they're all aimed at the "intermediate" level, at those who could make a good or bad fist of things but just need enough "motivational" goading to try. Which reminds me, I must try to find that clip of Tony Robbins motivating professional English footballers to walk on fire and smash brittle tiles shards into his face LOL).
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 11061
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is no one doubting this fellow's success in terms of his sheer, brazen pandering to clueless clients in search of a quick-fix. Even the stupid name 'Effortless English' commands a certain respect for the levels of effrontery achieved. But come on! Wouldn't you describe his face as punchable and his voice as justifiable grounds?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11530
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I doubt very much that your man has trained as an ELT professional. It seems very much to me that he's got hold of a few half-baked ideas, and then packaged them up to form a "course". Dodgy theories, dodgy teaching practices, questionable results.


His profile on LInkedIn indicates MA TESOL from a US university. It's not a uni with a reputation in the EFL field, but it's an actual bricks-and-mortar school that has a rep in other fields.

Perhaps the videos were his research project originally Laughing Rolling Eyes
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 11061
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd have guessed an MBA from a central African republic somewhere. VIP programs for one dollar? Very Happy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCBgLAlrS4Y&feature=related
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1286

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
His profile on LInkedIn indicates MA TESOL from a US university. It's not a uni with a reputation in the EFL field, but it's an actual bricks-and-mortar school that has a rep in other fields.


You looked him up Spiral! Are you connected to him in any way?

Do you think we should invite him on here to comment on the thread? Or maybe he's already among us! Who of our number has been very quiet on the subject so far? Or who doth protestesth too much? My money's on Sash...
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11530
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, TIR: I am most definitely not connected to him in any way, shape, or form whatsoever. Thankfully!!
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 11061
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Teacher in Rome"]
Quote:


Do you think we should invite him on here to comment on the thread? Or maybe he's already among us! Who of our number has been very quiet on the subject so far? Or who doth protestesth too much? My money's on Sash...


One of the often overlooked aspects of vodka is how it, after an initial surge, can drain you of all energy and the desire to move physically. I rest my case, hic!
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 11061
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not to mention the fact that if Russian learners were given a remedial case like him for English lessons, they'd first of all stuff a fur hat in his over-exercised mouth and then string him up and feed him to the few remaining Siberian tigers! His line of patter may be peddled successfully elsewhere in the world - but here? Where languages are actually learnt?!
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 11061
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then they'd demand to know how he thought he could work as a teacher when he ad so many impediments working against him, hic!
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