An interesting post got my attention recently on the Dogme Yahoo group and after my reply the person commented that students are better doing exam prep online than with a teacher. This got me thinking.
Yes, the continual push into self-study and online learning means there are more good sites to use but if we just say “prepare online” and the exam isn’t online it seems a bit weird. This is where Cambridge come in, they are developing lots of exams to be taken online, similar to TOEFL and BULATS, coupled with online prep you have the perfect solution. Or is it?
Here are some comments from my students:
“If I have a question, there’s nobody to ask”
“I like learning with my friends”
“I’m not dedicated enough to study online”
“Most jobs will be online so studying and doing exams online prepares us for work”
This is kind of what I like about EFL in that it’s always changing but I still believe that a good teacher and some good materials can prepare a student far better than any software. Although both together is very good. At the moment, many EFL tests are still paper-based so it makes sense to study in the same way but as online versions increase and probably writing and speaking online marking (it will eventually happen, won’t it?) too then we teachers won’t be needed.
While I’m on an exam note, I still don’t understand why CAE and CPE are not offered more. These are the creme de la creme of EFL tests and have serious prestige and so surely could never be done online, especially as the speaking parts involve 2/3 candidates.
And then there’s the whole online CELTA question too.
So, will we EFLers stick to teaching low levels? Oral skills? Uni prep? Pron? Will all CELTA tutors become online ones?