Academic research has its place

Academic research has its place

While acknowledging the majority of stuff published in academic journals is useless, academic/scientific research has a long tradition and is one of the reasons for the dominance of Western cultures around the world and one of the reasons native English speakers can travel around the world and teach their native language.

Academic/scientific research can take a fundamental form where we learn just for the sake of gaining knowledge or in an applied form, the two work together. Without hundreds of years of studying the fundamental nature of electricity, applied researchers would not have found a way to create the devices we are using to communicate right now. Without the centuries of studying viruses the medical researchers would not have been able to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 in record time.

We can make an argument that these principles might not apply in the social sciences, such as TEFL teaching. But I think the evidence does not support that position. Academic/scientific research into education in the Western world is likely a contributing factor to millions of students around the world going to study in Western universities while only a handful (like me) have left the Western world to study in a non-Western environment.

It is believed our current teaching methods are superior to the ones used 50 or 100 years ago, and academic/scientific research and writing in the field of education (not my field) is likely had a part to play in this improvement. Academic writings in educational journals are not really aimed at the 'on the ground teacher', but more so to the writers of textbooks and those developing TEFL programs. I am not sure taking an anti-scientific stance against gaining knowledge is the proper attitude for an educator, although it is easy to make a good argument academic/scientific research in Education and TEFL teacher could be reformed and made more useful.

Jack


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