TEFL Conspiracy Theories

From time to time, I like to amuse myself with random conspiracy theory stories. The one about the moon landing being filmed in Vegas is a bit much, even for me, but I like to make guesses about online EFL personalities. The anonymity afforded by the Internet is great for this.

What if Dave Sperling of the ESL Cafe had an anonymous EFL blog? Do you feel convinced you would know it was him? What if one blogger had two sites but used totally different names? I’ve had at least three situations where I’ve wondered this, and jokingly… but only really half jokingly. To be fair, these aren’t really conspiracy theories – those involve multiple people agreeing to do something “bad” – but somehow they are along the same lines. And I think I heard that Oliver Stone is producing a film about blogs soon (oh yeah), so all the right ingredients are there.

As evidenced generally by people occasionally losing their jobs for blogging about them, and more specifically in a case I learned about via EFL Geek’s site concerning EFL blogger Zen Kimchi, there are many reasons to maintain some anonymity.

Sometimes it seems that blogging and the Internet generally are made for this kind of stuff; there probably are angles of it that don’t really strike you until there’s an issue. It’s easy as well to make a mistake online, when you’re blogging, say, while sitting in the bathtub (is that dangerous?) not fully realizing how many people can read what you’ve written and may read it at pretty much any point in the future.

In any case, back to the topic of TEFL, I guess, it can be interesting to find out what your students think of various popular conspiracy theories. Many are tied to rather specific cultural/country-specific news items – I don’t know the details of the various Kennedy assassination theories and wouldn’t expect my students to know or get really excited about them either. But if you can find stories related to more general themes (aliens, average-person type stories from oddballs, TomKat’s baby not being real) or just “the unexplained” as a whole, you may hear an interesting variety of opinions as to the truth of these things or if they are even considered conspiracy theory-ish at all.