Georg, tun das nicht

I have a summer job.

It involves standing in front of a class of German teenagers for three and a half hours a day, trying to make them practice their English.

The fashion in teaching is to speak as little as possible, on the grounds that the less you speak, the more they will.  Obviously that doesn't work.

The fashion is also to avoid teaching grammar - the idea being that the students will learn it by osmosis from just being in England.

Obviously that doesn't work either, especially as when they're not in the classroom, there's no other activities laid on, so they wander around the town in groups...communicating mostly with each other in their own language.

There's a lot of vague theory about how teaching grammar ossifies speech and isn't the 'natural' way to learn a second language, but the real reason is that most teachers don't know much about grammar.

Which is odd, as generally Germans and East Europeans know a great deal about it.

This particular school has also produced its own textbook - which is to say, it's cut and pasted several existing textbooks together into an incoherent mess.

And having sold this mess expensively to all the students, they require teachers to try teaching from it, and only it, on the grounds that if we used a decent textbook, the students might feel ripped off.

Which of course they were. This is the logic of the market.

When I was at university, there was a joke among lecturers that they could do their job a whole lot better without having students around. In the TEFL world, we could all do our job better without the schools.

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