April 22, 2014, by michaelgroves
Snake Oil and Language Learning
Neuro-Linguistic programming. Visual/ Audio/Kinaesthetic. These are concepts that will be familiar with anyone in the world of English language teaching. They are sometimes championed by some of the big names in the field- and are often touted as the panacea for language learning. Increasingly, they also seem to be entering more mainstream higher education.
However, at IATEFL, the UK’s massive English teaching conference this month, Russell Mayne gave a blistering attack on these ideas– much in the same vein as Ben Goldacre does in his blog and books. It’s a very interesting talk, even for those not part of the language teaching community.
Reflecting wider trends in education and social policy, he calls for a more evidence based approach to deciding what is effective in the language classroom, and what is just snake oil. This is a call that CELE fully supports.