Teaching and Learning English in the 21st Century

ELT is currently in a state of evolution as it adapts to the high demand for English-language teachers all across the world and the strong influence of technology on the way people learn and therefore the way we teach. 

Teachers are needed everywhere there is science, technology, and medicine and this mass call for teachers is facilitating a ballooning of the industry. But at what cost?

As governments, schools and recruiters scramble to fill positions worldwide there appears in some instances in which teachers are held in the same bracket as backpackers, a stance brought about by the wrong turn we took in  conflating ‘native’ English speaker with quality teaching. Technology has firstly affected our learners and given them new and creative ways to engage with and produce language, usually in a relatively authentic manner (if we can now call digital media authentic).

As teachers we face the challenge of not only acknowledging these changes but finding ways to ensure we have the appropriate teaching methods to be effective teachers. Considering the relative success in previous decades of the Communicative Approach while bearing in mind the developments in learning and research into how we learn — is there a best way to teach, and if so — what is it?

These pages and posts represent an opportunity to engage and an attempt to stimulate discussion around these key issues which surround ELT at this moment.

Richard Fielden-Watkinson is involved in English-language teaching, and works as a Director of Studies in Italy.