I promised to let some of my professional beliefs fly around for you to shoot at.

Here are half a dozen rather disconnected thoughts to start with (more in the next blog). I'll be interested to know how far you agree or disagree, and why.

1 We should beware of anything called 'The … method' or 'The … approach'. This may well focus on some important things, but it will leave other important things out.

2 Adults don't learn languages like small children. It's not our job to recreate the conditions of first-language acquisition in the classroom; our job is to compensate for their absence.

3 Perfectionism is generally disastrous in language teaching. Students need to be reasonably accurate (how accurate depends on their purposes). But if we insist on correcting and re-correcting all their mistakes, we're making a very big mistake ourselves.

4 Many teachers do too much grammar, for all sorts of bad reasons. And many teachers do too little grammar, for all sorts of bad reasons. (What might these reasons be?)

5 Students have mother tongues, and there are times when it's extremely helpful to use or refer to them.

6 If you get right through your lesson plan, something's gone wrong.


Michael's now finished his period as our Guest Writer - many thanks to all of you who contributed to the discussion on his blog.