OH BOY. I have never read this column before, but I see a number of serious problems here and for sound reasons.
“Conversation teachers” aren’t teachers, per se.
Someone has to start somewhere, but the lack of standards is an international problem due to the lack of US leadership in education. I blame the domestic politics of the “English-only versus bilingual” teachers in America for this problem of TESOL.
TESOL, Inc. is a tool of the politically-correct domestic teachers in the USA. It is a feud over budgets effecting the rest of the world, too.
American educators are not key innovators that they think they are, in general, because of their geopolitical vanity and ignorant bliss.
TESOL, Inc is a defacto tool of the National Education Association, the largest teacher union in the USA.
Read any non-US trade publication on TESOL, and they are rational, innovative, and competent. Read TESOL stuff and the bottom line is their politically correctness is lowering the standards for the rest of us Americans and fellow native speakers. Or they are constantly making those reasonable accomodations for the evolution of standards impossible.
For rationale standards and innovations, I would suggest looking to Australia’s ESL programs for comparable standards. Not only are they similiar to the USA, but they are streamlined, policy prioritized, and are just light years ahead of those bluddering leadership roles of TESOL, Inc. There are “alternatives” to TESOL, but they are ineffectual in the USA.
The ESLI USA Corporation used to be the leader in the field of innovation for TESOL, INC, but they were bought out in a corporate merger.
“Sylvan Schools” had a public offering in the last few years, but they spent it on acquiring Spanish-speaking universities in Spain.
Englishtown.com is a unique program but they are business linked to the “One China” lobby and such friends of China. They don’t see beyond the myth of 1 billion “Internet users” and they are very indiffent to Taiwanese interests and education.
The Taiwanese bushibans are indifferent to any CALL innovations as I have specifically promoted certain programs in Taiwan.
It got so bad that I had to look to France for a franchise to open in the Far East with acceptable standards. Some respected experts and coworkers of mine in Taiwan have long felt it was the best program ever made available. Hogwash. I spent two days in Las Vegas sifting this wheat from the chaff at the Paris Casino. Mostly chaff under the French snobbery.