Online & Face-to-Face
I first met Jason West online at WizIQ. Jason is more than an English language teacher. He seems to know more about teaching than any of my colleagues. Jason is a great speaker who listens and is very open to sharing information.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jason West in London at the International Leadership Association conference in 2011. I invited Jason to be on a panel discussion I had organized for ILA on technology enhanced learning. Jason and I collaborated on a number of occasions online and I felt that Jason could contribute a great deal to the panel discussion on learning and technology. Jason and social learning go hand in hand as he talks about his students and the improvement they make as they follow his guidance to learning English as a foreign language. Jason added a great deal to the panel discussion on social networks and learning English through authentic real life ventures.
So who is Jason West in his own words?
My name is Jason West and I accidentally stumbled into English language teaching and starting a school in the winter of 1992. Now I want to change the ELT industry; but first some background.
I was born in the Surrey commuter belt but grew up near Liverpool. School was tolerated because I loved competitive sport and at the age of 15 I had my one and only career counselling session. It finished after about 30 seconds.
My distrust of authority may go back to a rugby match when I was 17. It was the north versus south final England trial and I had been picked to play for the north. Just before the game one of the selectors who was from Yorkshire gave my shirt to his player that I had been selected ahead of and told me I would play the second half. I never got on the pitch and that kid played for England.
I’ve never enjoyed being in clubs. Clubs pervert the truth by creating a version of the truth that serves only their members. Like a collective self-con job. So, I fall out with people from time to time.
ELT is a club, an old club and a closed club. It exists not to serve the world’s desire to learn English but solely to make money for the large institutions that control it.
- Ask yourself why there are only a few recognised qualifications and then they train you to teach EFL more like MeFL?
- Ask why there have been just four or five mega-publishers for the last forty years publishing content written by a small cadre of mostly poorly paid favoured sons and daughters who all hang out together?
- Ask yourself why TEFL teaching is so poorly paid and why learners in China pay a premium to sit in a room with twenty others to talk to a native speaker when with a little help they could do it one-to-one online for free?
- Ask yourself why the UK’s largest cultural NGO competes with the people and companies it is meant to be supporting and promoting?
- Ask yourself how many innovation award winners come from the big ELT publishers? (Eh, yeah, count them over the last ten years…makes no sense does it…IN-NO-VAY-SHUN)
There are so many more questions that need answering. But the fact is…The English language is a global post-colonial cash cow and when things come along that can rock the boat….
Since we started teaching EOT and telling people about it a lot of people have tried to rubbish or ignore it. And now….
We have a campaign we’d like you to support. It involves a big famous ELT publisher which is scary because they have lots of expensive lawyers and we don’t.
Oxford University Press (OUP) wanted to know about our amazingly effective social media English course materials (we can actually prove, with before and after audio, that we can get a beginner speaker to intermediate in six lessons). We’d developed our content over seven years with lots of teachers and students on the streets of London and online. We met OUP online in 2010, we answered all of their questions and then waited five months before they said “No thanks, just not our thing old bean”.
Then in late 2011 they saw we made the top ten formal uses of social media to teach languages in the EU and asked us to Oxford to talk about working together. We waited another five months, then they said “No thanks, really not our thing old chap”.
Another five months went by and then they launched a five book English course series that works exactly the same way our course does and promoted it with the words ‘the first’.
The future belongs to everyone now because through our PCs, Macs, tablets and phones we can click on a link and make a big difference, immediately. By signing our e-petition or donating a few dollars you will send a very strong message to OUP and others. The future is with the small guys now and is also at the end of your fingertips; use them wisely and help us to hold OUP properly to account.
Watch my video about what happened:
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