Connected with my comments on what constitutes a successful lesson/teacher, is Earl Stevick's now famous riddle from his book, Memory, Meaning and Method

Connected with my comments on what constitutes a successful lesson/teacher, is Earl Stevick's now famous riddle from his book, Memory, Meaning and Method:

"In the field of language teaching, Method A is the logical contradiction of Method B: if the assumptions from which A claims to be derived are correct, then B cannot work, and vice versa.  Yet one colleague is getting excellent results with A, and another is getting comparable results with B.  How is this possible?" (Stevick 1976: 104)

The riddle can be re--phrased in various ways:  How come my successful lesson yesterday with class X , was a disaster with class Y today?  How come the lesson I taught last year with a similar group flopped this year? etc.  But the question remains, why does it work sometimes, whatever the method, and why not at other times? There is surely a something 'beyond method'.

Over to you.


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