Monday, 21 November 2011


What is today's BE lesson must-have?

The sine qua non of the pedagogic encounter?

It certainly isn't the course book.

Often enough, it's not even a room - at least a physical one.

No, the  indispensable piece of kit for every BE encounter seems to be the iPad.

Specifically, it is the learner's iPad.

But why?

Speaking to some colleagues about this the other week, it may have something to do with power.

Many BE 1-2-1 learners are from senior management or owners of their own companies.

They are used to being in charge, giving orders, and generally being the top dog with all the answers.

However, in a BE lesson, particularly at the elementary/pre-intermediate end of things, these self-same industry titans are suddenly on unfamiliar ground.

They not only don't know all the answers, they very often don't even understand the questions.

And to top it all, someone else seemingly does - someone sometimes half their age.

Which is where the iPad comes in.

With the right application, such as the ubiquitous speaking dictionary, the learner can reclaim their authority and stand on an equal footing with the teacher, challenging them, for example, on usage, spelling and pronunciation.

For the teacher this is an annoying habit, to be sure, but, from anecdotal evidence, not one that lasts once the learner realises that the teacher is there to help, not exercise their own power-mad ego.

The iPad is then a kind of balm to be applied to the rash of unsettledness which besets the Alpha (fe)male in an Omega situation.

(Image: Apple)

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