The big buzz around the blogosphere this week is for Michael Port’s “Think Big Manifesto“. It’s not a new concept, it just says that thinking big is just as easy as thinking small, so you might as well think as big as you can!
The idea of the book is that it applies to anything, from being happy and relationships, to jobs and finance, or anything else.
I think it applies especially to teaching, and especially to teaching English. Because far too many people, especially schools, think too small. How many times have you heard teachers say that kids can’t do something? Or teachers moaning that parents want their kids fluent in 6 months? Or kids saying they have too much boring homework?
Don’t be “realistic”!
It’s all because too many people are aiming too low. Schools plan English lessons without a set end, “just come and take lessons every week”. But for how long and for what aim? A goal without a time limit means you’ll never get there. Some schools only do things for exams. Simply for the tests? A goal of passing a test means that’s all you’ll be able to do. Why follow the status quo? Why give the kids so much ineffective cramming style homework? Just because it’s always been done? Parents often want kids to be “fluent” really quickly, but teachers often urge them to be “realistic”. Why? What’s so wrong about that goal?
We know how to learn a language, and we know that millions of people already do it. We even know how to teach it with just one classroom hour a week in a foreign land. Stopping Swine Flu from becoming pandemic is tough. Rebuilding the world’s financial system so that it empowers more of the world’s poorest is tough. But we’ll do it.
In comparison, teaching one English theme a week is too easy, too small.
Now it’s your turn!
I’d say “think bigger”. What if your kids had to learn fluent English in 6 months, or 3 months, or even 1 month. How would you teach it? The old expression goes that if someone put a gun to your head you’d certainly find a way. So why not do it now without the gun?
From a business point of view you’d have hundreds of students, because everyone would want to learn from you. From a karma point of view you’d be helping millions of people learn things more quickly than they ever thought possible. And from a personal point of view you’d have tremendous satisfaction at having done something amazing. Your fortune and fame beckons!
So what goals would you set? How many lessons? How long for? What targets? What wasted class time would you cut? What materials would you use? Plan it out now, in your head if you like, or better still on paper or even in the comments here. What English would you teach first? What English would you teach last? What excuses do you have not to do this? School won’t listen? Can’t be bothered? Boss won’t play ball? It’s not possible? Even more reason to do it and prove everyone wrong, including yourself! How would you best use the resources you and your students have? What extra materials would you make? How would you design the perfect system to make kids fluent in months or weeks?
As I say, thinking big is just as easy as thinking small. You think everyday, so you might as well make it as big as you can in everything you do!