The Six Things Poll!

Which writers have the most influence on you as a teacher? Whose books do you have on your shelf, and whose writing do you hunt out most? Six Things is making a list of the six most influential voices in English Language Teaching today. Please click on one of the names in the shortlist above. If you think my shortlist is woefully missing out a very important person then add  his or her name in the “other” column. Unfortunately the poll-thingy I am using has it so you can only nominate ONE person each, and no multiple votes are allowed,  so choose carefully! I will publish the top six in September.

Here are the names of the shorlist. along with a very brief reference to their main work. The names are in alphabetical order.

Carter, Ron & McCarthy, Michael – authors of the new Cambridge Grammar of English, with a focus on spoken English. Very influential in the world of corpus study and language teaching.

Harmer, Jeremy – author of the Practice of English Language, a key text for in-service teacher education courses and popular keynote speaker at conferences around the world

Jenkins, Jennifer – author of the Phonology of English as an International language, big voice in the ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) debate

Larsen-Freeman, Diane – author of numerous texts on language teaching, including The Grammar Book and Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching. Well-known around the world, but more popular perhaps in North American circles.

Rinvolucri, Mario – author of classics such as Grammar Games and Dictation. Key teacher trainer at Pilgrims and frequent speaker at international conferences.

Scrivener, Jim – author of Learning Teaching, a very popular pre-service text for English teachers. Ex-Guardian Weekly columnist of teacher’s tips, and current head of teacher development at Bell Schools.

John and Liz Soars – These two have not written any books or articles for teachers that I know of, nor do they “do” conferences. But they are the authors of Headway, possibly the best-selling coursebook of all time. Selling that many books has to count for something, so they get on this list.

Michael Swan – author of Practical English Usage, a key language reference work for teachers. Frequent speaker at conferences.

Scott Thornbury – author of About Language, Uncovering Grammar, An A to Z of ELT and numerous other books. Co-founder of the Dogme movement in ELT and current series editor for the Cambridge Handbooks.

Penny Ur – author of several classic books for teachers, notably Grammar Practice Activities, Discussions that Work and Five Minute Activities. Has also written popular textbooks for language teaching courses.

Henry Widdowson – authority in the field of applied linguistics and language teaching, best known for his contribution to communicative language teaching. The only name on this list to warrant his own entry in Wikipedia.

This post has no comments feature – partly so as not to influence the voting! Comments will be back on the next post.


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Published in: on June 19, 2009 at 8:46 am  Comments (3)  
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3 Comments

  1. […] I noticed a few months into blogging that I could put on my blog, at no extra cost, a poll thing. How cool is that? After some thought I decided to do a poll of influential people in ELT in order to make a new list. I felt that I would be joining the ranks of all those great internet polls (World’s Sexiest Woman, Worst Pizza Place in America etc). I proudly announced my poll on Twitter and all hell broke loose. First came the indignation of people who were left out (I had disgracefully ignored the technology people, I had missed out hundreds of names from critical pedagogy, my shortlist was very Anglocentric, very white, very male or just plain “odd”). Then people pointed out that it lacked context, that you can’t just vote for ONE person and… oh I could go on and on about that fateful morning. I felt like ripping the whole thing down. But I decided not to be cowed by the roar in the Twittersphere. I will keep gathering results with my crude and vulgar little poll and intend on publishing the list in September (after suiting up with protective clothing). You can see and participate in the poll here. […]

  2. […] Yes, all this summer the votes have been trickling in and I’m just about ready to release the greatest of all controversial lists: the most influential people in ELT today. If enough people react strongly to this one (like they did on Twitter when I started the poll) then I may do other typical internet lists: ELT’s sexiest people, ELT’s greatest presenters … Anyway, there is still a little time to make your voice heard in this event, so vote now! […]

  3. […] The Six Things Poll! […]


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