November 2017

What are the Rules for Speaking English?

We are starting to accept that humans learn everything by finding the rules or patterns that are always true. We learn the rules for driving a car, cooking food, starting a fire, writing an essay, getting dressed, taking a bath, playing chess… Some steps come before other steps and there is a fairly simple set of steps that has to be followed in order to experience success.

There are no exceptions to the pure rules of any activity. You can’t get in the bathtub before you take off your clothes. It doesn’t work.

(Image from The Merrill Family)

We have also begun to accept that overloading learners with endless details about a topic – let’s say Speaking English is NOT the way to teach effectively. The human brain wants to know ‘What are the patterns that are always true?’

Tell me the rules so I can start to play the game. I’ll get better at it by doing it not by reading about it.

The rules for speaking any language must be fairly simple, every toddler figures them out on their own. Like all pattern systems the rules for Speaking English are simple. There are only six of them. (Grammar isn’t one of them lol. We all uselanguage effectively before we are ever taught to mislabel the parts). I’ve posted this before but in the presence of the upcoming Killer ESL AssessmentWebinar, followers are asking for the free PDF again. English is Stupid, Students are Not is the speaking guide with the six simple (not easy) rules of English conversation with no exceptions. It’s the map for how speaking English works.

[English learners, if you can read this post you can teach yourself how to speak English quickly and confidently using this book as a guide. Click Here Download it. Read it. Play with it. Speaking English is simpler than they teach you in school.]

Enjoy your gift from me and Thompson Language Center in Niagara Falls, Canada.

Yours in ESL,

Judy Thompson

The Sh…t Has Hit the Fan in Education

Ontario College teachers are on strike and you can’t really blame them. Administration has been trimming the budget by hiring contract teachers at a fraction of the cost of full-time teachers with more money and job security and paying themselves the money they saved! 70% of college faculty members are paid $30,000 a year.

Ontario college presidents were back at the trough asking for another pay hike, this time an unprecedented 32 percent annual average increase, taking the highest salaries in the sector to $494,000—ahead even of some of Ontario’s university president salaries from the largest and top-ranking schools.

Both sides are completely missing the point. If administration took a 90% pay cut and all teachers were hired full time at a twice what they are getting paid now there would still be no job security!

Do yourself a favor, get a coffee and peer into Clayton Christensen’s crystal ball for an hour or so. College education as we know it is a sinking ship. (Administration isn’t helping by grabbing the treasure as it goes down). The content and delivery are not sustainable. Students actually have to get value, skills and be employable after investing in a degree – none of those things are integral now.

The point that everyone has missed so far is that the fundamental breakdown in ESL and education in general is teacher training. If a young teacher could even get hired with their crap degree they’d figure out fairly quickly they can’t make a difference for students. Teachers can only reteach the garbage they learned and fight for a bigger piece of the pie to do it. There is no job security. The system is going down because a better system has already arrived to replace it.

If the 500,000 students left in limbo by the strike in Canada spent the last four weeks online researching the latest and greatest in education the world has to offer, they probably wouldn’t ever go back to traditional school. In the very near future no one will.

If teachers spent the last four weeks re-educating themselves and setting up online, they’d be making more money with more job security than they will ever see from the college barons.

The sh…t has hit the fan. “How do you turn this bloody thing off?” You can’t. Thank goodness.

Until next time,

Judy Thompson