“Let’s agree to disagree:” Controversies and contradictions in language teaching

Research output: Other contributionOther contributions


Why isn’t English teaching easier? We know so much about language, but helping students to learn English well continues to confront teachers with layers of difficult choices. To make it worse, much of the advice and training teachers receive is contradictory, confusing or even irrelevant to their teaching situation. Tradition suggests that spending time and effort to learn is the most important part of learning English well. But applied linguistics tells a different story. There are numerous factors that determine how well students learn a language or whether they learn at all. These factors include age, context, culture, practice and motivation. They constantly interact, making the learning scenarios endless. This talk will explore the ever-shifting controversies about how students learn English best. We’ll explore such issues as the role of grammar, the relevance of reading, the importance of IT, and whether “communicative language teaching” is a teaching fashion or a necessity. We’ll consider many sides of the debates and contradictions surrounding English teaching and try to find a way through the maze of alternatives.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Taylor, T. (2015, May). “Let’s agree to disagree:” Controversies and contradictions in language teaching. Sharing sessions conducted at the Public Lecture Series 2015: The English you didn’t learned in school III, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.


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