Comment on English Raven’s blog post ‘Mourning the Missing Makers’

28 11 2011

http://jasonrenshaw.typepad.com/jason_renshaws_web_log/2011/11/mourning-the-missing-makers.html

Jason, I don’t think your words are fairly said.

Simple reason being, as you summise yourself, is that the majority of the people you are attacking (do you have a list of who these gurus are BTW, I’d be interested to see how much we coincide)simply won’t have read your blog post and so won’t have had the chance to rise to your Halloween challenge.

And even if they did, I imagine Halloween is one of the least inspiring subjects for most teachers when it comes to developing new materials, there are already so many materials out there from the stimulating to the trite that it’s not particularly inspiring to be challenged to come up with a trick or treat jazz chant which practises unreal present conditionals, not that we can presume that that’ll be the emergent language coming out of our ‘Have you ever heard of Halloween?’ lead-in.

As far as I’m concerned, the gurus of EFL are more accessible and accountable and approachable than they ever have been and at the same time they didn’t actually achieve their guru status through creating lesson resources in the first place (which is perhaps why I’m still in the ‘average language teacher’ category) but through their contributions to methodology (e.g. Jeremy Harmer’s The Practice of English Language Teaching) and they are still very much sharing and contributing in this field on a regular (if not daily) basis (e.g. Jeremy’s contribution to IH TOC last Friday, or Scott’s weekly blog post (am I allowed to mention those names in the same sentence these days?)).

So while I admire your ‘opinion’ I think it’s much easier to criticise than it is to create and I’ll just remind you that I’ve never used any of your resources in my classroom…

Jason Renshaw dijo en respuesta a Amuseamuses.wordpress.com

Hi Neil,

Thanks for the contribution here, though I would like to stress:

- The Halloween activity was a lead-in example, not the central thrust (which was: Why don’t established materials writers experiment and share their craft across their ‘PLN’s? Is it possible they’re missing something important?). If you have examples of well-known commercial materials writers who do this, I’ll be very happily proved wrong! :-)

- Please don’t confuse the notion of materials writers with resource/methodology writers (the latter I have found to be enormously approachable and sharing online — especially folks like Jeremy Harmer, Scott Thornbury, Gavin Dudeney, Nicky Hockly, etc.)

- I haven’t once used the word ‘gurus’ and I have expressed questions, not attacks

- I agree that it is easier to criticise than create, which is why I dedicate 98% of this blog to being creative and 2% to being (potentially) critical

- Not sure what your final reminder was for… Was it to encourage me to work harder? :-)

JR

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28 11 2011
Damian Williams

Hi Jason

I and my business partner Stephen Greene aren’t in any way famous, but we are both published writers and regularly share additional material for free outside of what we’re paid to do at http://www.tmenglish.org

On the subject of Halloween, I know this wasn’t the main thrust of your post, but being British I don’t really celebrate it. I do find Neil Gaiman’s more modern, relevant idea interesting, though: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2010/10/modest-proposal-that-doesnt-actually.html

And like he says, it doesn’t actually involve eating anyone : )

Damian

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