Deliciously and delightfully
provocative and contentious
All these essays make serious points
1. UCAS discriminates against multilinguals.
Anyone applying to study as an Undergraduate in a British University has to apply through a centralised system called UCAS. Here is what I think of their evaluation of foreign languages.
pdf version: File: ucas.pdf
2. Practical original solutions to the low level of Foreign Language learning in Britain.
pdf version: File: french.pdf
3. The CEFR, diglossia, and ESP
4. AGAINST continuous assessment and modular examinations
FOR undivided final summative examinations
In recent years continuous assessment and modular examinations have become very
popular. Here I argue that continuous assessment is totally unfair and wrong since
it measures ability before the end of the course -
5. Why is a spider not an insect?
This is NOT a question of biology, but goes to the heart of a highly contentious philosophy which is very popular in the field of ESP, namely, that facts are ‘socially constructed’. Realism and Constructivism are compared, and a call is made to establish where Constructivism is useful and true, and where some form of Realism rules. File: spider.pdf
6. Constructivism: a case in point. An interactive critique of Parkinson J and Adendorff
RD (2004). The use of popular science articles in teaching scientific literacy. (English
for Specific Purposes 23(4):379-
First Published 27 May 2009. Minor changes 11 December 2009
To avoid talking in the abstract I have chosen an article in the flagship journal
of ESP, which is readily available free of charge online, and I have interacted with
it and showed up some of the absurdities of taking a Constructivist position. En
route I many times criticise the authors for making sweeping statements -
See also “The nature of science and the effects on attitudes and language” File:
7. In defense of footnotes
Footnotes have received a bad press in recent years. Many people dislike them and frown on their use in theses. Yet it is difficult to write a long piece of clear uncluttered academic text without them!