One of the threads that connect the articles in this issue is the value of including the learners themselves in discussions and decisions on what to study, how to structure the lessons and, even, who should teach them.
In his main feature article on teaching pronunciation, Jonathan Marks ends by asking about the views of the learners themselves: what are their aims and ambitions, and what sort of English pronunciation would they like to achieve? Do they want to sound as much like native speakers as possible or do they simply need to be intelligible to other speakers of English, whether native or non-native? These are good questions – one of the aims of a learner-centred classroom is to match the teaching with what the students actually want and need to learn.
Andrew Sampson looks at the often-discussed issue of why many institutions prefer to employ native speakers of English rather than equally competent non-native teachers. Approaching the issue from the students’ viewpoint, he has conducted a survey to find out whether the students actually prefer native-speaker or non-native-speaker teachers – and why. The results are quite revealing. Interestingly, this is a subject that has come up in several submissions to the magazine recently. We won’t be able to publish all of them, but look out for more on the NEST/non-NEST debate in future issues.
Nick Cherkas writes his article on mobile learning from his students’ perspective: paraphrasing their feedback on being actively encouraged to use their mobile phones in lessons, he demonstrates why the activities and techniques he uses have been so popular and successful with his classes.
In the penultimate article of her series on motivation, Jill Hadfield identifies consulting the students and taking their opinions into account when making decisions about lesson content and class activities as an important motivational factor.
Finally, Peter Zoeftig’s coaching-inspired approach to language teaching puts the students and their needs, desires, experiences and opinions right at the heart of the learning process.
For those of you who intend to spend the latter part of the month glued to the TV Olympics coverage, the Scrapbook in Issue 81 provides some little-known Olympic information. Why not use it to surprise your students or your friends with your knowledge of some of the more arcane elements of the Olympic experience? Were you aware, for instance, that there was once a swimming obstacle race in the Games? Did you know that a plum pudding can, a chair leg and a flaming pair of underpants once played a part in the Olympic torch relay? Read Issue 81 of ETp and find out all about it!