The ICAL TEFL Blog is an informal collection of articles written by ICAL staff on all aspects of TEFL/TESOL in the widest possible sense. It includes news and comment as well as posts about grammar and language. We welcome posts by guest bloggers; if you would like the opportunity to post here, please see here.
The views expressed here are the individual views of ICAL staff or guest bloggers and do not necessarily reflect the views of ICAL as a training provider.
It wasn't about the content but about the design. You see that looking at the site on a modern desktop computer everyone was pretty happy: it was clear and easy to read and the information was there for the reading.
But on a mobile phone things were different. Text was squashed, pictures were huge and overflowing and generally it looked pretty poor. On a tablet it was ok... depending on the tablet. And on an Apple II (circa 1979) it just couldn't be done.
A professor of comparative English at Columbia university said that commas should be abolished. He said we should get rid of them and no one would care. He says we should kill them. Destroy them. Take each one and murder it in cold blood.
And the reaction? Pages of internet newsprint devoted to the story and angry responses from members of the public leading to personal attacks on the man.
Earlier in the year we reported on how Cambridge city council in the UK had decided not to use apostrophes in street signs and how examiners for Cambridge Assessment (the ones who do all the TEFL exams) had supported this idea.
It was, of course, ridiculous of them to do so.
A word like "throw" is expected to have a lifespan of about 1,000 years, while words like "I" and "who" are likely to reach the 20,000 year mark.
I came across this blog article the other day on how several teachers in Vermont, USA, spent the day as students in their school. As it says on the tin, they simply went into school as students instead of teachers and spent the day sitting in class listening, queueing for lunch, hanging around lockers, smoking in the toilets (well, maybe not that last one) and doing all the things students do.
Living in Italy had been my dream for years, but I never wanted to go down the usual trodden paths – Tuscany, Umbria, Rome, Naples. Instead I really wanted to experience the Italian lifestyle far from the madding (and maddening!) crowd, and in less glamorous areas. So after finishing my TEFL Certificate course I jumped at the opportunity a small English school gave me in Gorizia, North East Italy.
Basically put, an appalling number of students are dropping out. MOOCs are being abandoned in droves. But why is this happening and how can it be reversed?