Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

May 4, 2010

So, why the silence?

It’s been a while since I posted anything related to language and I must, in the first instance apologise if, by any chance you have missed those nuggets of information about grammar study or language skills.

So, what is the reason for my inertia during the past few weeks? (I have still been posting under the Edchat category so I have not disappeared totally!) Right, I will come clean. There are several reasons (aren’t there always) and they are not all under the too busy banner.

Yes, I have been busy mostly developing new online materials. I have also attended IATEFL in Harrogate (a whole week) and the Virtual Round Table conference. These have given me much food for thought about language teaching, latest techniques and the whole E-learning scene. Being able to stop and take a view is very powerful and I have done much mulling and pondering during the few idle moments there have been.

An overload of pondering can lead to brain overload and this is my second excuse (not difficult to overload my brain you may all be thinking!) However, joking apart. I have been struggling with a post on Business English that I began before IATEFL. I am still working on this and hope to see the wood for the trees very soon and get the thing posted!

I’ve also been thinking about prepositions and how such silly, little, insignificant-looking words are such a force to be reckoned with in English. I will post on this very soon!

Finally, having attended the session by Sir Ken Robinson a few weeks ago online and having taken copious notes I have been thinking about many of his comments which resonated very strongly with me. Are we wasting talent in the field of language training too? With adults as well as children. How far does a language barrier prevent both children and adults from reaching their true potential? How much do exam targets narrow exposure and stop skill development? There is a great deal to consider in all of this and this brings me back to my stalled post on Business English. Are we often just going through the motions and doing what we do because we’ve always done it like this? Do students join the language exam train (and other such exam trains) because other modes are not suggested or available?

This is becoming rather stream of consciousness and I like to be practical, so watch out for brisker posts soon!

As an apology for silence and rambling – here are a few nuggets from English proverbs, sayings and my family ‘idiolect’ about getting and not getting things done!


  • Look at the time and there’s not a bed made nor a po emptied! (my Grandfather’s saying)
  • He who hesitates is lost.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  • Get your act together!
  • Actions speak louder than words.
  • An early bird
  • An eager beaver
  • Get the ball rolling.

I’m sure you can work them out!



  1. Nice ideas. Looking forward to reading more specially about developing skills in business English. A few of my long-standing business English students have asked about exams in the past, as they do like to work towards something, and it looks good in the CV. But when we got right down to it and looked at the tests and books to work with, if they had any choice at all, they’d generally say, “Na, let’s do what we were doing before instead.” I’m just wondering: Why is that so?

    Comment by Anne Hodgson — May 5, 2010 @ 6:36 am | Reply

    • Thank you for your comments Anne. This also my experience. The brief is always ‘Business English’ but the reality is usually more vocabulary (not business) dealing with humour, topics for over lunch, before meetings etc.. and lots of cultural stuff (most of my stds are working in the UK). I’ve had several who wanted to look at poetry, talk about films (wonderful topic great fun and actually useful – get them to decide on the 10 best films ever!). My feeling is that the decision makers on these things are not language people and if the brief doesn’t have ‘business’ at every turn then there’s no relation to ROI. I also think that the students themselves (& their bosses) are the best judges of progress as they know if they are coping better but this can’t be measured. Just my observations.https://rliberni.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-form

      Comment by rliberni — May 5, 2010 @ 8:26 am | Reply

  2. Feeling the same as you and feel like most of the time in the last few weeks I’ve been running around chasing my tail… – perhaps sometimes Berni, like you said above, we bite off more than we can chew 🙂

    Comment by Karenne Sylvester — May 5, 2010 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

    • I think everybody probably does this, but in the tech world it is very easy to become overburdened mostly because it’s all so very interesting and new and we don’t want to miss anything! Creating stuff also takes a long time I always under-estimate the amount of time I’ll need to spend! Hey ho!

      Comment by rliberni — May 7, 2010 @ 10:20 am | Reply

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