The topic of experts vs “gurus” came up at this year’s IATEFL and I’m not really sure I really know the difference. I think “Guru” has come to mean someone well-known who I don’t very much agree with. Perhaps ‘experts’ are the people we do? Is Thornbury an expert or a guru? How about Penny Ur? Was Vygtosky an expert? And how about Howard Gardner? Who falls into which category and who gets to decide?
You could measure how much money the Tooth Fairy leaves under the pillow, whether she leaves more cash for the first or last tooth, whether the payoff is greater if you leave the tooth in a plastic baggie versus wrapped in Kleenex. You can get all kinds of good data that is reproducible and statistically significant. Yes, you have learned something. But you haven’t learned what you think you’ve learned, because you haven’t bothered to establish whether the Tooth Fairy really exists. (source)
Brian Tomlinson says PPP is the worst way to learn a language. It’s an illusion.
1.4.14 Materials should maximise learning potential by encouraging intellectual, aesthetic and emotional involvement which stimulates both right- and left-brain activities (source)
this method is successful because it caters for the majority of learners who seem to be kinaesthetic in their preferred perceptual learning styles as well as global and experiential in their general styles. These are what are known as right brain learning processes (2014)
[consider if] the materials help individual learners discover their learning styles (2014)
perceptual learning style research overwhelmingly suggests that most learners prefer kinaesthetic input over auditory and visual forms of language input. None of the beginners’ coursebooks I have seen accommodate this type of learner, however (2014)
The maximisation of the brain’s learning potential is a fundamental principle of Lozanov’s Suggestopedia (source)
most researchers seem to agree on the value of maximising the brain’s capacity during language learning and the best textbooks already do contain within each unit a variety of different left- and right-brain activities. (2014)
So is Tomlinson right that PPP is ‘the worst way to learn a language?’ Worse than say Suggestopedia? I ask because Tomlinson’s 2011 book on materials writing includes a chapter advocating ‘The Lozanov method’ by author Grethe Hooper-Hansen. Hansen has written on subjects like “Organic Learning: Crossing the Threshold from Conscious and Unconscious“, and “Turning the tide of hemispheric shift: the case of non-conscious learning“. She is a major proponent of Suggestopedia and believes that some kind of educational ‘quantum revolution’ in education is under way:
There have been many wake-up calls: from Carl Rogers, Ivan Ilich, Paolo Freire; more recently from Howard Gardner, Herbert Benson, Daniel Golemen, Parker Palmer, Tobin Hart, and Alan Block, to name just a few. The quantum revolution, now nearly a century old, spelled out in great detail the changes that needed to be made to balance yang with yin (source)
She goes on to say that “the complexity of Lozanov’s method is due to a lifetime’s research into the hidden language and territory of the unconscious, in particular the nebulous area where it meets the conscious, which he calls the ‘para-conscious'”. I won’t go on, you get the picture. As Steve Novella notes “today one of the most popular legitimate scientific ideas used to justify nonsense is quantum mechanics” (source). In fact it’s misused so much by people like Deepak Chopra that there is even a wiki entry for Quantum Mysticism.