The International Herald Tribune’s Take on “Unconventional” EFL Methods

Which former leader from an EU country recently spent £1,240 (or more) per week for English lessons and accommodation in Wales? Find out from the International Herald Tribunes article on unconventional methods. This school uses traditional methods: “”We don’t have any strange system of making people sit in a bath of water while doing lessons,” said Ann Jackson, who runs the center” but goes on to describe others which most definitely do not.

Suggestopedia will not be a new term for many EFL teachers, nor will Total Physical Response. But how about Crazy English – apparently developed in China to help learners overcome shyness and “break down internal language barriers”, where either learners or instructors shout (it’s not totally clear who does what, but I doubt that a shouting teacher would help students overcome shyness).

I’ve heard of The Silent Way before; however, I experienced a bit of deja vu when I read this: “The teacher’s tools include…colored wall charts and a telescoping pointer. The first class has the teacher pointing to the white rectangle on the phonetic chart and saying the “ah” sound in the word “not.”” Apparently I’m not a fan of The Silent Way, as a learner, in any case.

There are currently 47 comments, which make an interesting read. It’s interesting to note though that the topic almost immediately turns to English as a global language, rather than any discussion of the unusual methods mentioned.

And while the article obviously mentions and describes these rather odd methods, and notes a general move away from memorization and rote learning, there isn’t any conclusion on how common these more “alternative” methods really are. I suspect they are still very far from mainstream anywhere, but would be interested in knowing just how widely used they are. Are you a regular user of any of the unusual methods described here – and how common do you think your method is?