English is Stupid, New Fiddle – Old Tune
Listening to language teacher drone on in the target language for 3-6 hours a day can be boring and not an effective way to learn. I published English is Stupid in 2009 to teach adult immigrants to speak English in an interesting, revolutionary way. The content validated the learners’ daily experience of this crazy language and the cartoons and tone were light enough to entertain as well as educate. It worked really well. Where English is Stupid didn’t work really well was internationally.
Outside of North America the method was still fantastic but the title was offensive. People spend considerable amounts of money learning English and they didn’t appreciate anyone calling it stupid. The cartoons were also misrepresentative. Cartoon Teacher Judy on the cover made international students think the material was either for children or at the very least not taking English seriously enough. As the popularity of the English is Stupid system was spreading around the globe, we had to change our look.
I tried out the explanatory title English is Stupid, Students are Not while I was in Brazil in 2012 and that seemed to do the trick. We were ready to change the cover. Meanwhile we had produced three other books based on English is Stupid. We had a workbook the English Phonetic Alphabet Workbook (2011) full of exercises for the individual sounds of English, Grass is Black Pronunciation Dictionary (2012) that organizes words by main vowel sound instead of spelling so learners can look up how to spell words they hear and the big Momma Speaking Made Simple Course Curriculum (2012) with the blow by blow steps for teaching a complete speaking course. We changed the covers of all of them to match.
Inside the material is the same except for some typos and one tiny insignificant color word. A teacher at TESL Ontario in 2012 pointed out to me the color word Gold holds the same vowel sound as Yellow and it is only one syllable so it makes a better color word for /Ow/. She was right. Yellow is not a problem for students so if that is the word in your materials don’t give it a second thought. It works perfectly but Gold is the word we used in exactly the same place in the new editions. No worries.
All the books have also been made available inexpensively as PDFs. There has never been a better time to teach Listening , Pronunciation and Conversation skills using this system.
Until next time,