Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Thursday, October 20, 2005


by AJ

A big appeal of the custom approach is that it allows for deep exploration of an issue or topic.

Factory schools are famous for their shallowness. They offer classes such as "Western Civilization".... in which 3000+ years of history are "covered" in one semester! Thats ancient Egypt to World War II in 16 weeks. Ive never understood the point of such courses.

So we'll go the other direction: depth. While customizing a course, Ill work with the student(s) to narrow the topic.

I agree with Dennis Littky, diving deep into a subject is much more powerful and useful than "surveying" a collection of 3000 years of trivia.

"The Beatles", for example, is a good course topic. Its focused enough to allow for deep exploration, and full enough to fill many months. "Western Music", on the other hand, is a recipe for boredom and disaster. Even "Rock & Roll" is probably too broad.

This approach could work for any subset of EFL. For example, instead of a generic "Business English" course, why not classes such as "Apple, Inc", "Ass Kicking Presentations", or "How to squash innovation and demotivate people: The GM story". The same vocabulary and grammar could be "covered"... but in a far more engaging and relevant way.