SOLE – does it work with adult language learners?

SOLE – does it work with adult language learners?

When Sugatra Mitra introduced the ELT world to his concept of the SOLE (self-organised learning environment) at IATEFL 2014, half of the audience stood up and walked out while the other half were still in the auditorium giving him a standing ovation. It was an engaging and thought-provoking talk which was followed by many blog posts and tweets accusing Mitra of having a neo-liberal agenda, of being an idealist and not an educator and anti-teacher. Intrigued, Varinder Unlu, Director of Studies at International House London, decided to actually try it out with adult learners and see what the results were.

Top-five posts of 2014

Top-five posts of 2014

Looking back at the blog over the past year we can see we’ve had some fantastic people contributing posts and comments. It’s really interesting to see which posts got the most views, sparked the most debate and kickstarted conversations that resulted in fully-fledged follow up posts. This Top Five shows we really couldn’t run the blog without all of you, so a big thanks to everyone and here’s a look at the biggest posts

Why we should be afraid of the big bad wolf: Sugata Mitra and the neoliberal takeover in sheep’s clothing

Why we should be afraid of the big bad wolf: Sugata Mitra and the neoliberal takeover in sheep’s clothing

The proliferation of blog posts that have followed in the wake of Sugata Mitra’s keynote speech at IATEFL Harrogate last Saturday morning is almost as remarkable as the fact that such a controversial figure was given the opportunity to deliver his barely concealed sales pitch to such a large and captive audience without having to submit to the usual plenary speaker protocol of then facing a more rigorous Q&A session. Even more astounding, though, was the ecstatic outpouring that greeted the end of Mitra’s talk: the mobbing, the autograph hunting, the eulogies. Which part of his message were people not getting, I fretted to myself? The answer, it seems on reflection, was pretty much all of it.