Sunday, July 13, 2008

Attitudes to Change!

The world, especially related to technology, is changing so fast. Most of us are painfully aware that when we buy a new computer, mobile phone or mp3 player that it will be outdated very quickly. With that in mind, I've started thinking a lot about change and our attitude to this change.

Years ago, when writing the final paper for my MA in Organizational Leadership, I looked at the language school where I was teaching and how the trainers (including myself) resisted any change brought about by the management. I remember when they changed the reporting system and actually made it easier to report our classes as it was all on the computer and how much we complained. The language school also started working on writing curriculum in order to help the trainers so that we would not have to continually look for vocabulary lists (or reinvent the wheel) as it should all be there--boy, we complained and complained. Now those courses are the easiest courses that particular language school has to teach because there are folders full of material the trainers can choose from. Boy did we complain when the system started. Anyway, I wrote a paper about how we, as language trainers, resist change.

The last couple of weeks, I've been thinking about this resistance to change in regards to 'live online language teaching'. How many potential teachers and language trainers do we have in our midst who would be wonderful 'live onliners', but are resisting a change from a tried and true system of face-to-face training to live online? Did the industry face resistance when language trainers went from the grammar-translation method to the audio-lingual and on to the communicative method? Do we still have language trainers out there that have stuck to the grammar translation or the audio-lingual method because they are afraid to change? Personally, I believe that there are more students out there who would be willing to try live-online training, but they don't know about it. I do know that not all students would want this type of training, but do the teachers' resistance to change and fear of technology prevent many students from finding out about the possibilities that are out there? I'm just wondering and thinking outloud...