I liked this argument that clearly explains why language teachers are needed. Although efforts to learn a language just by immersing yourself can help, it’s no guaranteed method to give you perfect command of this language.
Last term my friend Mr Hicks tried to get me sacked. Tried to get all Modern Languages teachers sacked in fact. He didn’t put it quite like that when he gave his WellingTen talk on why we should stop teaching languages and teach linguistics instead – but the implications were hard to ignore – we are superfluous. Much better just to send the kids to France for a year so they will pick the language up by immersion, and teach them the good stuff – how language itself works.
He was very good and sent a copy of his talk to us beforehand, so we knew what was coming, and we are still friends. But I have been mulling over his talk for a while, searching for the hole which surely had to exist in his logic. Otherwise I should really stay in France and not come back. Well…
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