Saturday, 31 December 2022

So long and thanks for all the fish!

10 years ago I posted my first post on this blog. 

It was a criticism of people taking the word "literally" too literally. Now, 10 years later, this is my final post. 

A lot has changed in ELT in the last 10 years. Learning styles and some of the other weird practices I criticised seem to be on their way out. This would be cause for celebration but I am worried that new whacky ideas have rushed in to fill the gap. I'm not sure that ELT is any more evidence-based now than it was 10 years ago. 

A lot has changed for me too. Since starting this blog I have written a book which was nominated for an ELTon, a number of papers and I have been invited to speak in a number of countries. I couldn't have imagined when I started the blog back in 2012 that anything like that would have happened but it's been a (mostly) fun experience and I have got to meet some really great people.

10 years in numbers

In 2012 I wrote a post celebrating the fact the blog hit 1,000 views. Since then it has been viewed more than half a million times. The most popular nation for views was the US followed, rather curiously, by Russia. The most common search term that led to the blog is xxxxxx (no doubt related to this). 

This post will be the 152nd post on this blog. 

So after 10 years what were the most popular posts of all time? 

10. Chris Smith's guest blog on oral error correction 

9. Leo Selivan on Misapplied linguistics 

8. The Myth of neat histories (one of my favourite posts) 

7. 2018 wrap up post (a rather odd one for the top 10) 

6. Is Korea the worst place to teach English

5. Learning Styles: Facts and Fictions

4. Philip Kerr on left and right brains in ELT

3. Skimming and Scanning 

2. Swearing shows a lack of intelligence

1. MA or DELTA: which to do

If you want to explore other posts on this blog then there is an incomplete index here

Unwritten blog posts 

I have a bad habit of starting blog posts but never finishing them. At present there are about 60 half written blog posts that seemed doomed to stay half written. So here are some of the delights I never got round to finishing. 

1. A post defending learning styles, as an intellectual exercise. 

2. A post on language and religion, with specific reference to Mormons. 

3. Something about the number of rejections I have had when submitting articles to journals and some things you could do to increase your chances of getting an article accepted. 

4. A long post on Krashen 

Note: I did a poll and many people replied that Krashen has been proved "generally right" about most things. The post was looking at how wrong he is about so many things, like teaching reading (he is seriously anti-science in his views), input only approaches, rejection of error correction as useful, and some of the weirder things he has claimed such as his views on bilingual education and how he treats suggestopedia as a serious approach. Krashen is charismatic, funny and persuasive and the closest thing in ELT to a real cult-of-personality Guru and I'm a little surprised academics give him as much credit as some do. 

5. A post on cancel culture in ELT

6. A post on creativity and if it can be taught

7. A whole series of posts on testing

8. A whole series of posts on Chomsky 

Note: I have so many notes but no complete posts. Chomsky is endlessly interesting but if you want to know more I suggest reading "The Linguistics Wars" edition 2 which is excellent on the subject OR Christina Behme's book on the subject which is an exceptional piece of writing.  

9. A post on bad science for good causes

Note: This will probably appear somewhere in some form. 


I want to say thank you to the few people who have approached me over the years at conferences and other events and said they enjoyed reading the blog. It really meant a lot and I appreciate it. 

I've had a strange relationship with twitter over the years. I have met some great people there and it's a great resource for academics to find each other and share work. It can also be incredibly toxic and has some bad incentives programmed into it. 

I will likely keep my twitter account but these days I find myself checking it less and less. I will lurk so feel free to send me a DM but don't be offended if I don't get back to you very quickly. 

Anyway, I am now off to work on a much bigger and more personal project that I expect to take up almost all of my time. 

Thanks for reading!

Russ Mayne