Parsnips in ELT: stepping out of the comfort zone (Vol. 2)
Simpson, Adam John and Howard, Rob and Veigga, T. and Lam, Noreen and Petrie, David and Wade, Phil and Smith, Mike (2016) Parsnips in ELT: stepping out of the comfort zone (Vol. 2). Smashwords, E-book (Published Online). ISBN 9781311803504
Official URL: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/604864
The PARSNIP is, as many of you will know, a reference to all those topics that are commonly left out of the standard ELT coursebook: Politics, Alcohol, Religion, Sex, Narcotics, -Isms, Pork. And it is easy to understand why these things are not included - in simple terms coursebooks are written for the largest possible market and therefore can only ever concentrate on the safest common denominator in terms of topics. You might be able to get away with a discussion on the differences between democratic governments and dictatorships in Portugal, but the chances are you might find it more difficult in Belarus. So if you want to sell a coursebook in both Portugal and Belarus, you have to make sure that the topics are not going to prove overly contentious or possibly lead to the arrest and deportation of the teacher and closing of the school. The result though, is what Mario Rinvolucri described as ““the soft, fudgey, sub-journalistic, woman’s magaziney world of EFLese course materials” - endless worthy discussions about the environment, the role of technology in life and how to have a healthy lifestyle. The Parsnips in ELT project is an attempt to provide resources and support for teachers who do want to engage their classes in more meaningful topics and discussions. Or at the very least to do something different! It is however, up to you and your own personal and professional judgment whether you choose to use these lesson plans in your context and with your classes, or even if you choose to read them at all! Inevitably, there will be some lessons that you will feel are inappropriate to use and some that you feel will really get the class engaged in the topic and the discussion.
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