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October 6, 2015

If you have been visiting this blog for a while you’ll have noticed the frequency of the posts has diminished greatly. In 2013, when I first started blogging properly, I published 49 posts. In 2014 I only published 18, and this year I’ve only managed 8. The main reason for me devoting less time to the blog is the fact that I’m now spending a lot of time doing other things. My college workload increased significantly with a new job last year, and the EdD course is starting to consume pretty much any other free time I might have when I’m not doing things with my family.

So, this is going to be my last blog post – for a while at least. I could have just left it hanging, intending to come back at some point and get into the swing of regular posts again, but I know that I won’t be able to do that for a while so I feel I should let you know not to expect anything new from me here. Of course, please feel free to add comments to existing posts, and I’ll happily respond. I’ve just had a look back and some of them have led to really rather interesting discussions – not always about what I had thought they would lead to, but I’ve discovered that this is often a good thing. Thanks very much to everyone who has contributed.

In case you’re interested, here are some stats about the blog and its contents, along with a bit of analysis:

In terms of the number of readers, the top 10 posts since the blog started (not counting the home page and the “about the blogger” page) are as follows:

  1. Don’t blame us: the real problem with ELT
  2. Why pre-selected language aims are a waste of time (and what we should be doing instead)
  3. Never mind the Bo**ocks – here’s the TEFL skeptic!
  4. He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
  5. EFL vs. ESOL: a false dichotomy
  6. There are no bad students (except there are)
  7. “Predomonolingual” classes – the worst of both worlds?
  8. The Matrix exposed (is Demand-High enough?)
  9. The big issues and ELT 1: Globalisation
  10. Concerning Coursebooks

I’m quite pleased that ‘Don’t blame us’ came in at number 1, as it encapsulates many ideas from previous posts in which I ranted about what I feel is wrong with ELT. The posts that came in at numbers 3 and 4 were both written immediately after IATEFL conferences and were about things that had happened there (and both feature Russ Mayne – thanks Russ!), so this might explain how they were popular at the time, though very few people have looked at them since. Number 6 and 7, on the other hand, weren’t read much at the time of posting, but have consistently attracted a trickle of readers ever since. Maybe something about the titles?

While these are the top 10 posts for readers, they’re not necessarily the ones I enjoyed writing the most. I think I enjoyed writing Imagine there’s no levels the best, though Language Selection: an evolution was also a good romp. There are a few really boring posts in here as well of course, but I’m pleased to say that you didn’t seem to like them much either.

The top 10 countries that readers came from were:

  1. UK
  2. USA
  3. Spain
  4. Japan
  5. Germany
  6. France
  7. Italy
  8. Malaysia
  9. Brazil
  10. Canada

I’m a bit surprised at the USA being so high up this list, as I got very few comments or likes from readers based there. Maybe it’s just that there’s a big ESL teaching community out in the States, I don’t know. Otherwise I don’t think this list reveals any big surprises – maybe you disagree…

Another stat that I’ve enjoyed looking at is the list of search terms that people typed in which led them to the blog. Unsurprisingly, the top 10 is mostly made up of my name, the name of the blog, or some variation of the two. But other popular search terms were “Globalisation” at number 2, “Bad students” at number 4, “Demand high ELT” at number 5 and “Preflection”, a word that I thought I had made up, at number 9. There were a few other interesting ones, clearly from people who had no interest in anything on my blog and who stumbled upon it by accident, such as:

  • matrix pod
  • sqa knitting
  • thought bubble
  • kids clothes wash label
  • sqa verifier photography
  • knitting school exams
  • learning to drive properly
  • cost of knitting own jumper
  • I know kung fu

…and these are some questions that people typed in and ended up on my blog:

  • where in bloomfield did Scottish immigrants gather?
  • where to get photocopying in Ulaanbaatar?
  • do you need to pass exams to be a gamekeeper?

These all seem pretty random search terms unless you know the content of all the posts. I’m sure the photocopying situation has improved in Ulaanbaatar since I worked there over 20 years ago, but I do find it kind of funny that only last year somebody felt the need to go online and ask this question.

Unsurprisingly, Twitter was the most popular referrer, with Facebook close behind. Quite a lot of visitors came to this blog via blogs written by other language teaching professionals though, such as Geoff Jordan, the Secret DOS (ah, remember the Secret DOS?), Juergen Kurtz, Scott Thornbury and Mike Griffin. Blogging traffic also went the other way, with visitors from my blog clicking on links to a similar collection of interesting blogs and websites.

For me, being part of this ELT blogging community has been immensely satisfying, and I hope I can manage to stay in touch with the wonderful people I’ve made contact with over the last couple of years. Maybe I’ll manage to get back to writing my own posts in the future. In the meantime, I’ll continue to read with interest what other people are writing. It’s hard to know where change originates, but a lot of what is being written out there suggests there is an appetite for a major transformation in our profession. Geoff Jordan recently asked if we’re on the verge of a paradigm shift in ELT. He concluded that we aren’t, but then maybe for ELT to change the whole world has to change; as educators we have a responsibility in this regard as well.

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10 Comments
  1. Steve, it’s such a shame you’ve decided to take a break from blogging. I’ve always enjoyed reading your posts. The ELT world has indeed a wealth of innovative teachers, ‘old’ and new. Just when you think you’ve seen and done it all, someone pops up on Twitter or posts a comment somewhere which forces you to rethink your ideas. I’ve done that many times after reading your posts. Alors, mon ami, we look forward to the social media fanfares when they announce your return. Until then, well, I guess I’ll see you at the office!
    PS I did have a little smile on my face when I read the popular search words of ‘knitting jumpers’. Not much changed there.

    • Thanks, Daljit – I suppose we’ll have to just talk to each other about these things now! When we’re not knitting jumpers, that is.
      Steve

  2. Russ permalink

    gonna miss your blog Steve.

  3. geoffjordan permalink

    Thanks for some very interesting discussions, Steve. Good luck and keep dodging the lightning.

  4. You’ve been a source of practical, pragmatic advice. Sorry you’re too busy to blog for a while.

  5. Hasta pronto!

  6. Ken MacDougall permalink

    What is Patrick going to do?

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