A wish list for ELT in 2016

I asked teachers, teacher trainers, Directors of Studies, materials and methodology writers, and the President of IATEFL to make one wish for the English Language Teaching profession. Here are their wishes:


“Can I have three wishes, please, like in all good fairy stories? (1) I wish we could shake free of the creeping colonialism of testing – help learners learn rather than preparing them for the test. (2) I wish we could restore more decision-making to teachers rather than trying to control them ever more closely. (3) I wish I could live long enough to see my other two wishes fulfilled.” Alan Maley, author

“I’d like language teachers to create stronger links with subject teachers, in order for students to do more cross-disciplinary projects, e.g. EFL and Arts, EFL and Science, etc. I also think it would be good if more teachers (of any subject) were trained in performance arts, improvisational theatre, voice coaching, creative writing, etc. Finally, and speaking more broadly, I wish ELT continues to develop its “T”, what it means, what it does – and does not.” Willy Cardoso, teacher trainer

“My wish is for people to stop arguing about whether we should use course books or not, and accept that, like everything else, they have pros and cons.” Rachael Roberts, teacher trainer, author

“My New Year’s wish for the ELT profession in the coming year is that it becomes more valued by our government, my fellow teachers who lack motivation and by most students who lose sight of the key life changing experience education represents.” Humberto Baltar, teacher, consultant

My wish for ELT in 2016 is that all of us – teachers, writers and publishers – don’t miss the wood for the trees: ED-Tech is a means to an end (maximizing learning), not an end in itself. José Luis Morales, author

“My wish for 2016 is that education is valued more (by governments, institutions, students and teachers), and that we teachers are appreciated more for our contribution to society. Education should not be seen as a luxury but should be free and accessible to everyone. And we teachers should feel and be more respected for offering our services and making an impact on our students’ lives, often for a very low salary.” Vicky Papageorgiou, lecturer

“My New Year’s wish for the ELT profession is that teachers are not considered professionals in name only. Schools, employers and educational authorities need to respect teachers’ professionalism by providing them with the necessary autonomy, valuing them as decision makers, and paying them a salary commensurate to true professionalism.” Daniel Xerri, teacher trainer, author

“My wish for 2016 is to stay in our centre , find and express the gems of love and light from within us. Let’s keep in mind that patience and endurance are virtues which help us all write our story in the book called life. After all, we may be the only book someone else is reading silently. Love, hope and bliss. Let’s evolve from human kind to kind humans.” Vassiliki Mandalou, teacher

“I believe that education must include global citizenship and ethical decision making, therefore my ELT wish is that educators should keep an eye on what is happening in the world today and – although this sounds like an oxymoron – find inspiration in the negativity that surrounds us. Recession, war and its aftermath, crises in civilization and values worldwide, the fear of terrorism, all could be used as excellent opportunities to raise awareness of social issues and help the students promote peace and social justice. My wish is for the ELT community to use creativity and human resources in a conscientious effort to substitute bigotry, intolerance and bitterness with respect, open-mindedness and hope; and I have great faith in our power as educators to achieve it.” Julia Alivertis, teacher

“My wish for the future of ELT in 2016 is a UK based one. I wish that ELT would be acknowledged as a profession crucial to our economy and reputation as a country. ELT in the UK currently generates £1.2 billion yet the situation in the UK at present means that genuine hardworking students keen to learn English and enhance their future careers are being caught up in immigration issues that do not belong to students.” Fiona Dunlop, Director of Studies

“I would like ELT to go beyond ELT. I would like to learn new and interesting things. I would hate to become like those eye-specialists who can only talk about the retina, the sclera and the optic nerve. I would like ELT to learn from advertising. I imagine myself leaving an ELT event, then going to the pub to meet my friends dying to share new, exciting stuff.” Nick Michelioudakis, teacher trainer

“I would like to see more friendly knowledge and understanding being shared between cultures around the world.” Graham Stanley, teacher trainer, author

Let this year just beginning be the year we quiet our urge to be right, set aside our professional differences, and remember that every teacher matters. In this coming year, let us work together in ways that support & encourage teachers everywhere.” Chuck Sandy, teacher trainer

“My 2016 suggestions are for non-native speaker teachers of English working in their own countries; in other words, the vast majority of workers in our profession: (1) If you get a chance to attend a presentation by some old native speaker guru, ask them how much they know about the working conditions in your school system. If they know nothing, enlighten them. (2) Engage in random professional development. Follow interesting trails on social media and see where they take you. (3) Try to read as many ELT-related blogs as you can. You may find some of them boring. If they are, don’t feel obliged to read them a second time. (4) Never EVER feel inferior to a native speaker. Research suggests that teacher enthusiasm is more important to students than ability with the language, so be more enthusiastic than your native speaker colleagues.” Ken Wilson, author

“My wish for 2016 is that we continue to support one another as best we can within the ELT community. Volunteering for a teaching association is a wonderful way to give back and the more people who get involved in this, the better. I hope that the work that has been started such as raising awareness of the importance of gender diversity within the profession, following anti-discrimination guidelines when posting jobs, giving first-time presenters a chance to speak at international conferences, providing a wide range of free-of-charge web events and live-streamed talks to global audiences, and carrying out programmes to provide training to teachers in their local contexts will continue to grow. Initiatives such as these make me very glad to be a member of the ELT community.” Marjorie Rosenberg, President of IATEFL


7 Comments on “A wish list for ELT in 2016”

  1. Thanks for putting this together JJ. It’s great to read about all the 2016 wishes from such a great group of educators and colleagues.

    • JJ Wilson says:

      Thank you for your contribution, Marjorie. On re-reading the wishes, I realized they are very representative of the idea that teaching is a caring profession. There are a lot of humanitarian sentiments expressed. And then I thought: ‘well I asked my friends in the field, and they wouldn’t be my friends if they weren’t caring humanitarians.’ So next year I’ll ask some rogues and Bad Apples. 😉

  2. Patty Salguero says:

    A very nice post with wishes from the heart. Thank you J.J. for sharing with us all of these ones. As a non native speaker teacher, Ken’s wishes were so deep and encouraged for all of us. Congrats once again J,J and I do hope with all my heart all these wishes become true and keep the human side in teaching goals and dreams! Well done!!!

  3. Vic says:

    A very nice and encouraging compilation of wishes which I truly hope they become true, for them and for all of us non-native students who are starting a career in the field.



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