11 from ’11 – aborted posts


December 15, 2011 by Willy Cardoso

So here’s something.

Inspired by the 11 from ’11 challenge proposed by Adam @yearinthelifeof, I present you 11 bits of drafts that I didn’t want to finish, publish, think about, etc – in other words aborted blogposts.

A word of warning: there’s nothing so good here. If they were any good, they would’ve been published.

But maybe I’m wrong, so feel free to leave a comment saying which of these you would like to see a full post about, and maybe I can do it if there’s enough encouragement 😉  and inspiration.


1. January 27

The title was The non-native English teacher’s accent. Being a non-native speaker I always worried about how my accent would influence learners’ language development. An idea that actually might need even more attention from native speakers.

It’s been five months I moved to London and very often I find myself fighting against my mutable accent.

Some people think it’s funny that I have (or had, I don’t know anymore) a little American accent if I’m from Brazil.


2. March 2

This was a post about social capital; and how many of us are educated to invest more in certificates than in building a strong professional (and learning) network.

TEFLboy liked his first two years as a teacher of English as a foreign language and is now considering what the next big move is.

His best friend and mentor ELTgirl always pictured the fortuitious future of TEFLboy, all the potential he had to become a super teacher, even maybe one day to become the president of WAFFLE, their local teacher’s association. She didn’t know whether to advise him to invest in a diploma or to spend his money going to international conferences.


3. March 2

I always wanted to write about ‘frozen futurity’ – no, it’s not a new verb tense. It’s how ideas like lifelong learning can give the impression that we’re never ready, thus limiting what we think we’re able to do in the present. It’s about a bunch of other things really that I don’t know how to explain – yet. But it’s fascinating.

Have you ever heard a student replying to a teacher’s question by turning to peers and saying ‘Does anyone know the answer to that question?

Have you ever heard of a student who takes notes on remarks made by other students in the class?

Maybe you haven’t. Because the organization of  our teaching makes it clear that what students say is not the ‘content’ of instruction. Therefore, it will not be tested. And as such, it can be ignored.


4. March 21

A criticism of How to teach… books. Aborted because I realized I learnt a lot from them.


teach when you don’t like it            teach when you’re sick          teach in the summer

teach when you’re hungover         teach when you’re happy      teach when there are better things to do


5. March 23

What was to be a number of ideas for professional development activities that could be done in 60 minutes became something else, as you can see below.

A closer look at the whole ELT workshop idea might show that in fact it is one of the least efficient forms of professional development. Because

– it’s short-term.

– it’s top-down – if not in performance, in planning at least.

– it lacks continuity – in the social aspect of it as well. The experts come, talk, sometimes eat, and leaves; there’s no follow up.


6. April 8

Kind of a reflection post that would mark and celebrate the end of my delightful 8-month break from having a job.

Moving away a bit from a focus on English teaching I wanted to understand where my profession was situated in a broader aspect. Although briefly, I sailed the seven seas: Philosophy, Sociology, Psychology, Economy, Pedagogy, Research and ..erm… well six seas. In fact, it’s was more of a great aerial journey, and it’s now time to revisit these places on foot, I’m convinced that English teachers can benefit from studying education just as much as studying how the language works.


7. April 24

New Teachers | Reform | Subversion

This was gonna be a good one, but got shy after some ELT big fish started a blog-brawl over the relevance of Neil Postman.

In 1972 Postman and Weingartner wrote a book full of potential epitaphs for the yet upcoming death of the ‘teacher-on-a-pedestal’. Nearly forty years ago, they were talking about our changing world and how schools lacked means to keep up with modernity. It seems many educators are still talking about it. Current discourses bet high on technology for learning as a way to improve our paleolithic educational system, and promote learner-centeredness for lack of better remedy against teacher-dullness.


“Why did you decide to study to become a teacher?”

“I want to make a difference.”

“But if you want to make a difference, shouldn’t you be doing something different?”

8. May 18

the year is 2002.

student: I want to go home!

teacher: Why?

student: Why do I have to learn this??

teacher: Well, you don’t actually. You don’t HAVE to learn anything.

student: No?

teacher: No.

student: OK… good.

teacher: But you can go home if that’s important.

student: Nah, nevermind.


9. May 20

A revised and improved version of a comment I left over at Chia Suan’s blog that never happened. The core was how I learned the English that made me a teacher, even though I was taught through a methodology that is considered to be highly ineffective today. The original comment can be found at http://chiasuanchong.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/in-defence-of-callan-and-other-behaviourist-methodologies/


10. Sep 23

This turned out to be an ugly unreasonable series of questions to conference organizers, with the main point being that a great conference is made by those who pay to be there, which I’m not sure about and that’s why this idea is as an unpublished idea.

With increasing awareness of active learning (meaning anything from experiential, affective and learner-centered; to critical, creative and collaborative), I have a question:

Why are education conferences themselves centered around keynote addresses? (that is, plenary speeches by ‘experts’)


 11. Nov 2

This is actually something I will come back to and finish. The bottom line is that you can’t climb too high as a teacher and although it’s the most important role in education, it’s way down there in the pay scale. Also this post is a criticism to the just released British Council can do-like statements for teacher development with a rank and some very upsetting conceptions.

Along with some other thousands of teachers, I have noticed that the ‘next’ in a teacher’s life, when it involves willingness to make more money, is to get out of the classroom and do other stuff.

This is sad. They [the rank mentioned above] give the idea that in the professional ladder, great teachers should become trainers, managers and writers.



13 thoughts on “11 from ’11 – aborted posts

  1. Adam Simpson says:

    A really great addition to the ’11 from ’11 series’. I think it’s really interesting to see why people never get round to finishing posts that they presumably thought would be a good idea at the time. I’ve got a folder on my desktop with draft posts, some of which are getting on for a year old. I’m scared to look in there because of wht I might find.

    • thanks for the little push!
      It was more fun than scary to open the drafts box, maybe you should try. And if there’s something really embarrassing, well, no one needs to know.

      An interesting fact about my post is that there were 12 pieces in the drafts box, but the last one is going to become an authentic post. So, it was not difficult to choose at all which 11 would appear here.

  2. phil2wade says:

    Some great ideas and it’s nice to see into your mind so to speak. I agree about the ‘moving side ways’ thing in ELT. If you aren’t in an EFL school you’ll be a teacher forever but if you are and don’t want to be DOS/ADOS then what else is there?Senior teacher or ADOS lacky as some call it?

    The real action happens on the ground but the people in offices typing up registers don’t always appreciate it.Not to mention the ‘just follow the plan/do the worksheets’ thing.

    I feel my own rant coming on.

    I work at one place that’s got rid of teachers almost all together as students enrol online then read 10 units and submit a test. No teacher required!


  3. katia shimada says:

    Most of them above.. It seems to me .. teaching .. or trying to solve any problems.. in or during the classes..

  4. Your ‘discarded ideas’ are worth much more than many bloggers, erm ‘carded’ ones. IMHO.

  5. Natália Guerreiro says:

    lots of interesting ideas in your draft box, but pleeeease do develop that last one into a full post!

  6. Hmm. They may not be the ones that you felt good enough to continue, but you never know what they may inspire. One man’s trash and all…

  7. phil2wade says:

    I just remembered something….I recently read a discarded book unit which was edited out/censored and it was fantastic. All this is sort of like the film Lost in LaMancha by Terry Gilliam where the process is more interesting than the outcome, sounds like our writing lessons Willy.

    I do like your open views.There’s a lot that needs to be said or brought out into the open for discussion in EFL, like many industries. Closing ourselves, our methods and our views is the opposite of what we want from students, well in theory.

    Merry Xmas Willy and I look forward to more great posts/ideas/thoughts next year.

    • Thanks for both comments, Phil.

      I found writing a blog is enriching both in its process and product. The former is pretty much guaranteed, the latter can be tricky as it ultimately depends on reader’s reaction, but it’s a good thrill, sort of a positive anxious expectation.

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