About ten years ago, my editor passed me a book that she had commissioned and edited for OUP’s applied linguistics list. The author had done some very practical research and, from my perspective, the book was essentially about time management. She had understood a major problem we face when we’re learning and teaching a language: there’s so much to do and there aren’t enough hours in the day. So she’d set out to discover where our time and effort would best be spent and help us prioritise our work.
The book was a refreshing read. The author didn’t tell us to strive for the unachievable. She pointed out that most of us could never reach the standards we were aiming at. Her solution was not to lower our standards, but to re-examine them. For many of us, to achieve our goals there were things we had to do and others that made no difference. She worked out which were which by studying conversations between non-native speakers and noting what worked and what failed. In this way, she identified what really mattered for most learners of English, so we knew where our energy would be best spent.
• What was the book?
• Who was the author?
• What were the unachievable standards we were all striving for?
• What were the things she identified that really mattered?
• Did you like the book too?
(Please post your answers in the comments and I’ll post mine on Saturday!)