Submarine English

EVIP (English for Very Important People)

Great story in the International Herald Tribune today about the growing market in luxury submarines for billionaires.

After I checked it wasn’t April 1st, got me to thinking…. With all these incredibly rich capitalist around, how come none of them are using or investing in some super-high-tech and super-effective language learning method that the rest of us can only dream of, eh?

The only possible explanation is that we (and our multi-millionaire masters) still have not found a language learning method that is the Ferrari to PPP’s Ford or the Silent Way’s cranky but strangely appealing Citroen. So your average warmer might be like push starting a Lada, but as flashy as an Alfa Romeo (Suggestopedia) may seem, it is no better than a kit car ‘cut anything out of a newspaper and discuss as a class’ lesson at getting your students’ level from A to B.

Leaving extended car metaphors aside for a moment, the best thing I can ever get from a newspaper, or living in a foreign country, is having my outlook broadened in the way my mind was opened when I suddenly realised the seaside by my hometown might not just be full of polluted fish, floating condoms and sewage washback, but might also have a couple of very rich Captain Nemo’s making their submarine way to the Costa del Sol.

One of the “well I never” surprises of living in Japan is reading lots of stuff from the LA Times, IHT etc. and realising that this (no doubt unrepresentative) selection of new stories is actually much better than I would get in the UK. That was quite a shock, I can tell you- it was lucky the American remake of “the Office” was so rubbish or I might have had no national pride left at all.

On the other side of the coin, the fact that Italy was everything I expected it to be (and loved) meant I tired of it after about 3 months. Even after nearly 4 years in Japan, it surprises me more every week than Italy could after 7 months. And long may it continue to shake my ideas about life, and teaching, up…

Any more car= teaching method analogies? Do you in fact have the Lamboughini of language learning methods? Please let us all know:

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