Woo watch

I’ve noted before that ETp (‘the leading practical magazine for English language teachers worldwide’) is quite the purveyor of woo. As two of its four person editorial panel, Janet Olearski and Susan Norman are ‘master’ practitioners of NLP, this is perhaps not surprising.

In the July 2014 edition we can read an article by Duncan Foord on how to cater for left brained and right brained teachers including a helpful lesson plan and mind map! In the article Foord tells us that ‘right brained dominant teachers and visual teachers will immediately identify with’ information presented as a mind map (4:2014). He also notes that half of the teachers he tries this approach on are ‘sceptical’ but that we ought to try to persuade them to give it a go. Next, he references a book called ‘teach for success’ by someone called Mark Fletcher. I wasn’t surprised to find the following quote on Mark’s website ‘Brain Friendly Books:

The book gives practical examples that will have a dramatic effect on teaching methods and learning expectations. It includes ways of using Mind Mapping, N.L.P., Suggestopedia, music, colour, learning styles and much more in your classroom.

All of this is somewhat ironic since ETP recently held their ‘ETP live’ conference in Brighton and who did they invite to speak? None other than Philip Kerr, debunker of ‘left-brained/rightbrained’ myths!

 *This post originally said that susan Norman was the founder of ETp. She is not. 

2 thoughts on “Woo watch

  1. Hi Russ,Interesting to see the left brain-right brain distinction coming round again (everything does eventually, apparently). In one of my own blog posts a while back I asked: ‘Should teachers switch brains in mid-lesson’ and pondered the idea of a bicameral teacher brain that could be manipulated through lateralization to accommodate both the art and science of teaching!http://eltcriticalmoments.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/should-teachers-switch-brains-in-mid-lesson/I was careful to emphasise that I was working with a metaphor, rather than supporting any pseudo-scientific claims. But a few years earlier, I had given a talk at BESIG Milan (with Stephanie Ashford) entitled ‘The Multi-tasking trainer’ and we kicked off by asking the audience: “Who here thinks of themselves as typically right-brained? Or left-brained?” The audience stared back at us in silence. They couldn’t (or maybe didn’t want to) get their heads around the notion of having to work with two brains. Too Beeblebroxian to contemplate?So let’s wish it well this time around. Incidentally, an even more awesome piece of pseudo-science worth dipping into is the work of Julian Jaynes. He believed that we are all possessed of two MINDS.Best regards, Tom


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s