Teaching English for Dummies

I was searching the web for something the other day and was horrified to come across across the book, Teaching English as a Foreign Language for Dummies. Yes, there is a Dummies book for teaching English! Frustration grew to annoyance which grew to indignation. How dare they shrink the profession in which I have spent the past 21 years of my life down to the level of a Dummies book!

After I had calmed down, I started to think about it a bit more. I remembered that in almost every consulting project that I have taken on in the last ten years, I have inevitably ended up telling the teachers, "Keep it Simple! You are making things too complicated for yourself and your students." I have the "Keep it simple!" speech down to an art. There is something to be said for simplicity, especially for people who naturally tend towards detail-orientation and complexity, as language teachers often do.

You will find several Dummies books in my library mostly for technical subjects such as using Joomla (for web design), Moodle (for e-Learning), e-marketing and search engine optimization. There is a reason I picked up those books. They took very complex subject matter and concepts and translated them into language that I could understand. Having that complexity explained to me in plain language was like having the sun come out on a cloudy day - finally I could see the subject matter clearly.

Yes, having a Dummies book out there about your profession is a bit insulting, because it implies that anyone can do it if they just read the book. But the reminder to keep things simple and speak clearly in plain language is not such a bad message to give our detail oriented, complexity-driven teachers from time to time.