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Guerrilla Fighters

Now I am finally getting it.

The daily reality of English study for many students is one of memorizing words and rules in preparation for a test and rarely if ever involves using English for communicative purposes.

For years of teacher training I have pontificated how wonderful the 'communicative' methods are, and how 'backward and limited' are the rote and drilling methods. I now realize that the concerned looks on my students faces was not of 'agreement' but rather 'trepidation'. They are the ones who would be going back to institutions that have a vested interest in focusing on formal accuracy and test-driven curricula. I did know that this situation existed in most of Asia, where many of my students are from, but I still taught them to suck it up and everything will be alright.

Now, I tell my students that they are 'Guerrilla Fighters'. They need to sneak in communicative lessons whenever they can. Slowly and strategically. I teach them that they need to also persuade other teachers-even the entrenched ones-to consider doing the same. I teach them to never be smug when a communicative lesson becomes popular and the talk of the school. Instead, they need to share their newly learned expertise to their colleagues. Generosity should be the buzzword not hoarding. I also teach my students still to never give up, and to find like-minded allies, nurture Internet liaisons for mutual support.

The quote above is from Don Snow from his stellar book, "More Than a Native Speaker" an excellent read for the veteran or the newbie.