The best of LinkedIn

I enjoy following this Twitter account that posts screenshots of ridiculous posts made by LinkedIn users. Some people on that social networking site share humblebrags and made up stories in order to get tons of likes. Fortunately, LinkedIn allows you to block them, so you don’t need to see that type of content.

In my post on social media, I promised to write an article on my experience with private messages on LinkedIn. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind responding to users who have read my profile and want to talk about my work or qualifications. However, there are many people who think it’s okay to send me irrelevant messages immediately after connecting. They obviously send the same stuff to lots of people and hope that at least some of them respond. Since I find it quite annoying, I just ignore the messages and never open the links.

The best of LinkedIn

Other LinkedIn users’ complaints about receiving this kind of spam inspired me to trawl through my inbox, and I would like to share some of the ‘best’ messages with you. My intention is to have lighthearted fun and not to focus on the individuals, so I have redacted their names and other data that could be used to identify them.

The Lazy Recruiter

Dear Martin,

I’m <NAME>, Senior Recruitment from <COMPANY>. We’re looking for a lead teacher will be a part of a team for online teaching and Learning Center in LATAM. I would like to provide you a warm welcome to the selection process for the vacancy. We were looking at your profile and we see that you comply with the required job description. I’ll share the profile link with the description: <URL>

This position requires the person to be from the USA or Canada. If you are interested to continue with the process please send your resume at: <e-mail> and your salary expectation.

Best Regards!

This is why I am reluctant to accept connection requests from recruiters. This one claimed to have read my profile and then offered me the option to apply for a position that requires the candidate to be from the USA or Canada. I have never even visited those two countries.

The Eager Improver

Hi this is my telegram channel for learning English

I would be so happy to teach you some skills for improving your level especially for international exams such as IELTS , TOEFL , GRE Please follow 👇👇

<URL>

What a flawless plan for making friends among teachers! I really appreciate the offer to improve my level.

The Aspiring Philosopher

Hello José. Good evening! It is a great pleasure to meet you here. I hope that we use this platform like a good seed that would make a good crop. As professionals, we could use this opportunity for mutual benefits as well as bringing our humble contribution to face the complicated situation the world has found itself following the pandemic. This three-headed global crisis that we are facing,namely the health, environmental and economic crisis, has revealed more than before the real world of unsustainability, injustice and inequity. We should all stand up and confront this collosal challenge to ensure that we leave a better world to the generations to come. How are you doing?

How do you see the situation of the pandemic unfolding?

Best regards

<NAME>

When I was fourteen, a classmate of mine copied someone’s homework and didn’t even bother to change the original’s author name. This copy & paste expert’s message reminded me of that situation. In addition, I have no idea what this person was trying to achieve with the pandemic stuff.

The Proud Pole

Dzień dobry. Nie znamy się i od razu proszę wybaczyć mi otwartość, ale chcę zadać Panu 2 pytania: Czy oprócz tego, co robi pan zawodowo, bierze pan pod uwagę prowadzenie dodatkowej działalności, by mieć dywersyfikację dochodów (branża e-commerce) i czy ewentualnie jeśli temat wyda się panu ciekawy znajdzie pan na niego czas? Szukam ludzi chętnych do współpracy. Nie chcę niczego obiecywać, ale może będzie to coś dla Pana. Pozdrawiam serdecznie 🙂

There is nothing wrong with being proud of your native language. However, sending that kind of message to someone who doesn’t mention Poland or the Polish language in their profile probably isn’t the best idea.

The Freeloading Writer

Dear Mr. Hajek,

I would like to write a series of letters in order to publish them in future.

I would be most grateful if you could help me in editing some long or short imaginary letters or real trip itinerary letters that I might send you sometimes.

Please let me know if you have free time.

Best wishes,

<NAME>

————————————-

Here is an example:

23 August 2017 an itinerary

It happened that my son and I received officially our Schengen Visas from the Italian embassy to visit Europe for 13 days in August 2017.

I found the situation new as I sensed I am entering a modern world to visit the collection of art of Europe in Rome, the land of Dante and Boccaccio. Arriving at the Isfahan airport at 11:30 pm, they checked us in and we finally went aboard the plane at 2 am. Istanbul was the first destination,then transfer would happen. The schedule was quite a bit different. My son’s seat was far ahead of me and my seat was behind . We asked the flight attendant to put our seats next to each other so as my son could take care of me and he agreed. We were happy to travel by Turkish Airlines. All was good so far. The speed monitor showed 1,000.00 km/h = 621.37 mph . Outside was quite dark except the cities which were shining brightly down like the spots of the pearls that gave me a feeling of void through space. It was like a Genesis dream. Only a gorgeous flight attendant girl was alert and almost all passengers around me were sleeping. 250 passengers were on board as the co_pilot announced.

To be continued

This is actually a pretty sound business plan. Do you want to publish something without paying for an editor? Just ask random strangers from the internet for free samples!

The Confused One

Dear Ms. Hajek,

Would you please fill out this questionnaire that applies to English language teachers.

I appreciate your contribution alot.

Best regards,

<NAME>

<URL>

I thought the combination of my first name and profile photo was more than enough to give a clear clue about my gender identity. I was wrong.

Mike Long: Second Language Acquisition and Task-Based Language Teaching

When you start teaching English in Colombia in an entry-level position, you are usually given a coursebook and told how many units you are supposed to cover. I assume this is common in many parts of the world because it’s the most convenient way to teach languages. However, it doesn’t seem to be the most effective approach. It’s definitely a good idea to explore other options, so I would like to focus on a book written by Michael H. Long, a proponent of Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT).

Long’s work deserves a lot of attention, and I recommend that you listen to this interview with him on the SLB Podcast. I had written a draft of this blog post about his book Second Language Acquisition and Task-Based Language Teaching several months ago, and this paragraph originally included more positive information. Sadly, Professor Long passed away in February this year. You can read more about this brilliant scholar and his impact on teachers around the world on this website created in his memory.

Mike Long: Second Language Acquisition and Task-Based Language Teaching

The first part of the book deals with second language acquisition (SLA). I find this topic fascinating because the fine details of our language learning process are still shrouded in mystery. Long does a great job of describing the main SLA theories and their practical implications. Even though I had previously studied ideas of well-known academics like Krashen and Prahbu, I learnt something new about their work. Right from the beginning, you will notice that Long is very diligent when it comes to referring to books and studies. In fact, there are no fewer than 56 pages of references at the end of Second Language Acquisition and Task-Based Language Teaching!

Long argues against treating languages as objects, and he is definitely not a fan of the synthetic approach. Dividing a foreign language into small pieces and teaching them one at a time doesn’t necessarily lead to good results. My own experience as a Spanish learner and an English teacher certainly confirms that assumption. Why do so many Colombian students say “he have” when the present simple is dealt with in one of the first units of every coursebook for beginners? I don’t think that we learn languages by simply imitating what the teacher or the coursebook says. Half of my students keep saying I am agree, but I have never taught them that and it doesn’t appear in the coursebook either. It seems that explicit teaching of individual items doesn’t always work well in real life.  

Obviously, Long proposes TBLT as a more appropriate way of teaching languages. What I love about his book is the fact that it’s not just about language. Long talks about the role of education and TBLT’s philosophical principles, and emphasises the need to treat students as rational human beings. Learning by doing, emancipation and egalitarian teacher-student relationships are one of the principles mentioned, and I think it’s difficult to disagree with any of them. I definitely feel more comfortable when my students see me as a communication partner rather than a person of authority who is meant to lecture them about the wonders of English grammar.

The book provides you with concrete steps for implementing Task-Based Language Teaching in a classroom setting. Long suggests abandoning coursebooks, which may seem like a radical idea, but there are pretty good reasons for that. If you want your course to be truly personalised and relevant, you need to conduct a needs analysis and design the course for your group of students from scratch. In addition to syllabus design, the book deals with materials, methodological principles and evaluation. It also provides useful advice related to focus on form and giving negative feedback to students.

Everything in the book makes perfect sense to me and I have no doubt that TBLT is very effective. Second Language Acquisition and Task-Based Language Teaching should be read by those responsible for the way English is taught in their organisation. That said, as Long himself admits, his version of TBLT is unlikely to replace traditional coursebook-driven teaching. To be honest, I can’t imagine many Colombian institutions spending money on needs analyses, course design and training teachers in TBLT when they can simply adopt a structural syllabus provided by a coursebook. It just doesn’t seem to be a financially viable option.

I would love to get a chance to work on a TBLT project at some point in the future. In the meantime, I plan to keep going beyond the coursebook as much as possible because I believe that my students benefit from using English in a meaningful manner. Even if your course ends with a discrete-point test of grammar and lexis, it’s perfectly fine to deviate from an externally imposed syllabus from time to time. Designing tasks and materials that are more relevant for your learners is undoubtedly more demanding than just following your coursebook, but it will lead to a more satisfying experience for both you and your students.