A couple of weeks ago, we blocked access to the forum from all IPs from South Korea. The forum had been under attack by some organised spammers for a few weeks, and it was ruining the forum. The attack was, presumably, using something like a botnet as there was a seemingly unending supply of different IPs used. Day after day, hundreds and hundreds of posts were being made and it was impossible to keep up with deleting and banning the accounts posting the spam. This was affecting the forum- people were complaining, and many were simply put off by finding page after page of nonsensical messages. The spam filter was not catching a lot of the messages as most didn't contain links but text pointing towards sites that were probably full of malware.
I was having lunch a few months ago when I suddenly struggled to get to the end of what I was saying- my voice dipped and wouldn't come back. Within a week or so, I couldn't produce any noise and was forced into a soundless whisper. If I strained a bit, I could just about make a sound that could possibly be heard at very close range. My first medical consultation did nothing, and I had tickets to go abroad that meant going with just this silent croak.
A few years ago we used to host some pieces written by Martin Wolff and Niu Quiang about their experiments in trying to teach English in new ways in China, which have since evolved into the China Holistic English site (link broken).
There have been a number of articles about the growth of ESL teaching in the Philippines like this, but some of what they are stating don't strike me as right. The Philippines does have potential and in the drive to reduce costs, it is clearly a place to watch out for.
I have English Teacher X's obra prima to read next and have enjoyed the other ebooks - they include a lot of sensible and realistic advice - but I didn't enjoy Speaking Activities that Don't Suck as much.
I was sitting in a restaurant with a friend - who has a Master's, the DELTA and a PhD in ESL- and mentioned something from EnglishTeacherX- you're paid to turn up, regardless of anything like a hangover. He said that the guy's professionalism put him in the shade. ETX has produced two of the golden rules of ESL, though To Travel Hopelessly shows that he learned one from another teacher. Other than turning up however bad you feel, he also says that you must have your fare out of a country. If you don't you can be exploited.
According to the China Daily, some sudents from China are getting IELTS ghostwriters to take the IELTS test for them, as IELTS in Hong Kong is run separately and they can circumvent the lifetime ban back home if they are caught cheating. It's a growing business with a lot of people willing to pay someone to take the exam for them.
According to this article in Elt News, Berlitz in Japan has seen 40% of its teachers become unavailable since the earthquake and tsunami in March, and is looking to change its provision through online lessons.
I have been taking a Japanese course that is taught through the direct method or the audio-lingual method. We spend our time on decontextualised drills focusing on a grammatical or lexical item, building up sentences of increasing complexity and surreality.
When I was living in Japan, it was virtually impossible to avoid Nova advertising; they were all over the subway, in my newspaper and on TV. For the last few months, the company, the largest of the eikaiwa schools in Japan, has been in free-fall, ever since they got into trouble over their refund policies. The company now seems to be in its death throes.