Paragraph Blogging–Sure, Demand High but Aim Well and Lower the Volume

It seems blogging battle lines have been drawn (at least in the ELT corner of the blogosphere with a few skirmishes spilling over onto Facebook) recently over the idea of ‘Demand High ELT’ (check the link for details). I’m not exactly sure where this has come from (no recent conference talk or article that I am aware of) but on the wagon I jump, tossing a couple of pennies on the way.

While I’m here, I thought I might as well jump on another bandwagon of ELT trendiness by trying out @AnnLoseva and @sprincait‘s idea of ‘paragraph blogging,’ which they almost literally put in the shop window for all to see recently (in case you’re wondering about my  seemingly ‘football speak’ use of ‘literally’ here, you should check out the photos on Anna’s original Paragraph Blogging post and Kate’s guilt-free offering).

Of course, @HanaTicha has already done the same thing on the same topic in her usual convincing style but we don’t have the same opinions so here I am. I am also aware that this introduction has already taken me far beyond a single paragraph but my real post doesn’t start until after this nice picture of a tall tree:

Image via Pixabay

I came across the idea of Demand High a couple of years ago when I reviewed a recording of Jim Scrivener’s IATEFL talk on this very blog. Several of the recent posts have criticised the whole concept of Demand High as being essentially nothing new, just two well-known writers and presenters in ELT circles almost desperately trying to start a trend or a movement of some sort. While I’m not inherently cynical enough to agree with the last part of that idea, I have found myself agreeing with the first bit. Reading back through my old post, I found most of the things I said I agreed with were things I already do and things I have been doing for a long time. Also, I agree with those who have been arguing that there is no need to go around conferences ‘introducing’ this idea to teachers. It is often a problem at such events that the attendees are keen teachers who push their students hard and try out different ideas and the speaker ends up preaching to the converted. I stand by the comments from my original reactions to the Demand High idea that we need to make sure teachers are expected to ‘cover’ a lower volume of material in class so they can do justice to a few key activities. That means this idea should be aimed at syllabus planners, materials authors, and decision makers – not the poor teachers who have to fit it all in and then be told that they are not demanding enough. Lower the volume of the demands and aim the identification of the problem and the offering of a solution at the right target.

Those other recent Demand High postings:
Enjoy reading!


  1. And sure enough, no sooner do I hit publish than another Demand High related post pops into my feed reader from Mike Harrison:


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