2020 year in review

So good riddance to 2020! A year in which teachers everywhere were forced to become tech experts. I’m curious how well those talks on the wonders of tech will go down in future conferences now we have all experienced the brave new world of Zoom.

This year has also shown us the power of science at work. When the 1914 pandemic happened, there was no vaccine and 50 million people eventually died of the disease. In contrast, after 1 year there are a number of vaccines for COVID19 all being rolled out at the same time. This is because science is cumulative. We can build on what we learn in order to do things better in the future. In ELT, research is still at a very early stage. It’s tempting to make the claim that research is useless and can’t tell us anything about the classroom (and many people do). I think this is shortsighted. There are advances we can make and these advances will allow us to make other advances in the future.

We also saw some of the problems with science. Unlike more faith based belief methods it is constantly updating and changing based on findings. At the start of the pandemic masks were not strongly recommended by the WHO. Now, they are. In ELT error correction was once considered pointless and ineffective, but new research seems to indicate that this is not the case. Looking at the research one is always left thinking that results are often more complex and nuanced than we would like.

Finally, we saw that once an approach becomes tied to a political cause it becomes almost impossible to convince people of the merits or demerits of that approach. It was particularly striking this year that within the space of a week large protests went from being regarded as selfish, irresponsible and bound to spread disease to urgent and probably safe. Similarly masks became politicized to the point that for one side wearing them was surrendering your God given freedoms and for the other not wearing them was akin to murder. We need to make more efforts to bridge these gaps and talk to people in ways that makes sense to them.

Here are the most popular posts this year:

3. 5 flavours of Hangman

2. What is acquisition?

  1. Is TEFL too nice?

I haven’t really gotten on well with WordPress and I’m very tempted to move back to blogger. I have some interesting ideas for 2021, So thanks for reading and watch this space.