Thursday, May 18, 2017

TEFLology Podcast: Episode 59: Tim Johns, TEFL Exchange, and CAP

(TEFLology Podcast)

Once again I'm behind in my reviews.  (I've been getting distracted by numerous other things, as regular readers of this blog no doubt have noticed.)
Episode 59 is now several weeks old.  It came out on April 26th, and you can listen to it here.
My thoughts below:

Tim Johns
I knew nothing about Tim Johns, but that's not a problem.  (In fact that's why I listen to this podcast.  To find out about things I didn't know before).
Partly because I was completely new to the subject, I found it a little hard to get my head around what Tim Johns actually did.
Intercutting the podcast with the audio from the John Higgens talk was a neat idea.  (New media helps to break up the usual TEFLology podcast, and make it more interest).  And yet, for me personally, I found it much easier to understand John Higgens talk when I just listened to it straight through first, and then went back and re-listened to the TEFLology podcast.
Fortunately the TEFLologists include a link to John Higgens talk on their website.

TEFL Exchange
I'm not sure I'm going to spend a lot of time on this website, but I enjoyed the banter between the TEFLologists on this part.
Several of the quips they got in at each other had me chuckling to myself.
Other notes:
Interesting that Vietnam (where I'm currently living) is number 2 on the top 10 places to teach English.
Also interesting that the price of beer is listed as a criteria in determining where the top places to teach English are.
Interesting, but not surprising.  (Several times in Cambodia I heard TEFL teachers measure their wages against the price of the beer.  "Sure, you get paid less over here.  But the beer is only $0.50 a glass.  You're laughing!")

A paper by Jason Anderson who, as the TEFLologists mention, they had already feature on a previous episode.

The new article by Jason Anderson, this time on CAP, can be found here.

My thoughts:
I'm not entirely sure this is different from what the why P-P-P is currently being taught in CELTA.  In my CELTA at least, we were taught to present the grammar point in context.  So, I would put say context is included in the presentation stage in CELTA.
That, plus as the TEFLologists point out, in Jason Anderson's CAP model, the practice stage appears to encompass both controlled practice and freer production type activities.
So... this is really just P-P-P under a different name, isn't it?

Or is it?
In the CELTA P-P-P lessons, not much time is alloted for context and presentation.

In many of the textbooks I teach out of, however, the grammar is drawn out of a reading or listening text.
I complained to my manager that this made it hard to do CELTA style lesson plans.  He disagreed.  "Text and grammar go together like peanut butter and jelly," he said.
But, the way the textbook was usually set up, I had to run almost two separate lessons--one reading lesson to get students to understand the text  (lead-in, prediction, gist reading, detailed reading, evaluation) which could by itself almost take up all of the allotted time, and then I had little time left to move into the grammar lesson.
Is this what Jason Anderson is talking about?  Textbooks designed so that there is a full reading lesson setting up every grammar lesson?

It does seem like a many textbooks are currently doing this now.
I have a little bit of a problem making the jump from "this is what everyone is currently doing" to "so we should teach this on training courses."
And yet, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with CAP.
And it doess ride of the main problem I have with P-P-P, namely that P-P-P forces free production of grammar points the students may not be ready to produce.
Provided, of course, that students are getting plenty of input, in addition to CAP lessons.
And they also have some time to practice their fluency, in addition to CAP lessons.  (Maybe one lesson would be CAP, and the next one could be input or fluency?)

The end of TEFLology ended with the usual plea to rate and review them on itunes, but also included "or whatever device you happen to be listening to these podcasts on".  Which meant that my excuse for not rating them in my previous review (I listen to these podcasts on podkicker instead of itunes) was now invalid.
I couldn't find a section for reviewing on podkicker.
But then I thought to myself, "Well, maybe I'm being lazy about this.  Instead of spending all my time making excuses about why I can't rate and review TEFLology, why not just spend 5 minutes making a itunes account, and then rating them."
That 5 minutes turned into a half hour.  First downloading itunes software.  Then I had to make an account.  Then it turned out I couldn't create a new account because I already had an old account (must be from the days when I used an ipod--I had forgotten about that).  Then I had to try to regain access to that account.  I clicked on the usual "Forget password" button.  Apple sent me a link to reset my account.
Apple wanted me to create a new password, and wouldn't accept several of the passwords I tried to type in.  (They wanted something that couldn't be guessed by hackers, wasn't used by my other accounts, and had a combination of letters, numbers, and upper-case and lower case.)
And I understand the need for password security.  I really do--hackers are in the news all the time, we need secure passwords.
But here's the thing.  I have several accounts online right now--amazon, twitter, facebook, google, my work email account, duolingo, quizlet, etc, etc, etc.  And I just can't create and remember unique passwords for all of them, especially if they're all supposed to be random strings of numbers and words.
Anyway, I eventually created a password that Apple liked (and wrote it down on a piece of paper so I could remember it).  And then I tried to review TEFLology, and I was told that I needed to create an Apple ID.  (This was different than my itunes account?  I guess?)  And then I tried to do that, and I was told that my account was frozen, and I would need to reset it.  (I don't know why.  Maybe because I had just reset my account, itunes was confused?)
So at this point I thought to myself: "You know what?  I've got other things I wanted to do today."

To sum up: I really don't find itunes user friendly at all.  (See my rant from 2013: A Rant About How I’m Not Happy with the Ipod)
So, sorry guys.  I tried.  I really did.  I'll continue to promote your podcast by blogging about it, and retweeting your stuff.  And I've also been recommending it by word of mouth at my workplace.  But I've given up on rating and reviewing.


Rob said...

Hi Joel, Rob again (from TEFLology) - thanks for trying to rate and review the podcast, we do appreciate it! Given that you blog about every episode, I think we can forgive the lack of an iTunes rating. I agree that it's a pretty difficult bit of software to use!

Joel Swagman said...

Thanks Rob. I'll consider myself off the hook then :)