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Are questions about how best to teach the English language welcome here? For example:

  1. "Is this text/word/structure appropriate for students of this level?"
  2. "How do I break down this rule of grammar to students of this level?" (Alternately, "Is this a good way to explain this to students of this level?")
  3. "Where can I find sample texts to use for this purpose?"
  4. "What textbooks do you recommend for this purpose?"

I am asking as a new member of the TEFL community, but I imagine this is relevant to all teachers of English. I did read this discussion but it didn't answer my question directly.

  • Here is a related Area51 proposal, though for Math and Science. – Nick Chammas Sep 1 '11 at 20:17
  • You may be interested to join Educators – Theta30 Sep 2 '11 at 2:57
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My initial thoughts are that yes, these questions are welcome, but I cannot speak on a general level. For example, there is this question on explaining accent variations to students. However, there are questions in which have been turned into Community Wikis or closed.

I think the potential problem with these questions is that there may not be "one right answer", which is a characteristic that most questions here have. For example, questions like "what textbooks are there for X" could be viewed as off-topic because they are so subjective.

My best advice for you is to try to word your questions so that there is a right answer (e.g. "Is this text/word/structure appropriate for students of this level?") and then put it out there. If it is closed, then the community will either help you reword to be on-topic, or will explain why it thinks your question is not a good fit for the site.

For questions that are clearly open-ended (where can I find textbooks), I would bring it up in chat. Another option is to make it a community wiki, but it seems like the opinions are changing on these (as in, they mean that there is a subjective question so they shouldn't be there).

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    -1 for your initial thought, +1 for the rest. Well, really, no, any kind of EFL topic is -off- topic here. But if it can be reworded to -not- be bout EFL but as about English itself than sure. – Mitch Sep 2 '11 at 2:11
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Questions about resources are generally off-topic on SE sites. The reason is that the answers would be valid until a more recent resource is available; this means there would not be a definitive answer to those questions.
Questions about resources tend to be subjective, when they are phrased to ask for the best resource.

The other questions are on topic, if they are phrased to be questions about English in general.

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I would say that no, questions pertaining to pedagogy are not appropriate here. This is not a forum about how to teach English, it is not really intended for teachers per se, rather it is about the language itself from etymological and linguistic perspectives, and overall seems to prefer questions about more sophisticated uses of English. Still, that leaves quite a bit of room for some basic questions, which can be deceptively simple, that pertain to using English more generally.

However, that should not discourage teachers from participating. There's a lot of expertise in this community and as a teacher they've helped me to gain valuable insights into the sometimes very complex issues regarding grammar, syntax and semantics, linguistic concepts and descriptive vs prescriptive grammar. Conceptually, there's a big difference between what is needed to understand and use advanced language (etymology, linguistic analysis, advanced vocabulary, syntax and semantics) and what is needed by second language learners (really broad and comprehensive grammatical concepts that are easy to understand and apply but that also remain linguistically coherent).

I've found that in order to accomplish my aims as a teacher I really need a deep understanding of English from a linguistic perspective and I've found the members of this forum to be helpful, well many of them, anyway. But it does seem that there are members here that quite a bit more particular about what they think this forum should entertain.

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