Do non-native English speaking teachers in China think that ELT innovation is of use to them and their students?This is a question I have asked myself this week as I have contemplated a number of ELT related things, such as the phenomenon of 'mute English' and cram schools in China using telephone English to improve speaking and listening skills for students about to take high stakes oral exam components in TOEFL and IELTS.There's a whole heap of rhetoric about innovation and inclusivity when it comes to the relationship between the ELT industry movers and groovers and the people they are trying to help with their products.An idea has been slowly germinating in my mind and it is this.Juxtaposition. Used as an implicit communication technique for centuries...rife in Shakespeare's plays....to succintly and powerfully demonstrate fundamental ironies and unarguable truths.Recently (well, the last nine years actually), I have been wrestling with the question of why there are so many English learners in the world who have spent so much money and time being taught English but still find it difficult to speak it.This issue seems to be a global one but appears to have much more educational, cultural (and individual) significance in Asia, more specifically Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China.So, without further ado do please consider and comment on the following which I hereby place in juxtaposition:Article and excerpts from Humanising Language Teaching:"Abstract: Mute English (ME) is a unique Chinese phenomena ignored by linguistic scholars but derided by Chinese students. It is a communicative language taught as if it were a dead language, like Latin. We explore the origins, as well as the cause and effect of this phenomenon.""Chinese teachers of English actually discourage the use of oral English in class because it does not help the student with the CET examinations and it constitutes a challenge to the teacher s poor English, which could cause the teacher loss of face."Niu Qiang, PhD, and Martin Wolff, J.D.Chinahttp://www.hltmag.co.uk/feb10/mart03.htmExcerpt from the British Council's ELTons 2010 winners webpage:"Teaching Unplugged BookBy: Delta PublishingThe Product: Teaching Unplugged is the first book to deal comprehensively with the materials-light, conversation-driven approach to English Language Teaching known as Dogme ELT. It challenges not only the way we view teaching, but also the way we view being a teacher.Part A provides a detailed explanation of the core principles behind Dogme ELT and invites teachers to reflect on the best way to learn a language and, consequently, to teach it.Part B contains a bank of activities that teachers can use right away and which help them unplug their teaching from the start. These activities involve little or no preparation, often requiring no more than pen, paper and the people in the room.Part C reflects on how Dogme ELT can be applied in different teaching contexts and shows how the approach works equally well for native and non-native speakers of English and how to use Dogme in a wide range of different classroom environments.Judge's comments: The approach is practical, simple, easy to understand. Focus on teaching the people, not the subject The Team: Scott Thornbury, Luke Meddings, Lindsay Clandfield, Mike Burghall"http://www.britishcouncil.org/learning-eltons-2010-winners-4.htmSome figures and statements I think most people know to be true:There are about 4m native speaker TEFL teachers in the world at any one time. There are about 2bn English learners in the world. Most English teachers in the world are actually non-native speakers of English.Being taught English by a native speaker teacher is usually the preserve of the financially better-off or involves a considerable financial effort and self-sacrifice by the person funding it.I received this message yesterday from someone via www.italki.com, an online language exchange platform:Peter (who is Chinese) wrote 4 days ago I am teaching Chinese to Dane , a nice guy from Utar,USA at the moment, it's so good to see that his Chinese if getting better everyday.at the same time ,I have a strong desire to help the English learners in China to get more chances to learn from native English speakers.as you may know that there is a large number of students who are learning English language hardly in China ,but few of them have the command of the language due to the lack of English environment ,a lot of students have been learning English for many years but they had never got even a single chance to talk to a native speaker of English! as a result of this kind of situation, few Chinese learners of English can express themselves freely in the language. no wonder that many students now would like to pay high tuition fee to a native teacher to get the authentic language learning. The good news is that with the fast development of the internet, their needs can be satisfied via Skype, MSN etc.If you are a native speaker of English, feel free to contact me ,I can find you a lot people who are eager to pay to learn, all you need to do is offering me your contact information and then just waiting for them to call ,you may talk to them in person and choose your own hours and work around your own schedule whatever it may be.My Tel: xxxxxxxxx404 Skype: peterxxxxxxx44 Email:email@example.com to get your reply. thank you .Peter.So, I have been wondering, do non-native English speaking teachers in China think that innovation like that described above is of use to them and their students?Is the ELT industry as we know it serving the customer, or merely serving (and preserving) itself?How can placing more emphasis on the English speaking skill of the teacher help a non-native speaker teacher lacking confidence in their ability to speak English?Surely the ELT industry should be rewarding innovation that seeks to level the playing field and enable more non-native speaker teachers and learners to improve their spoken English?I get the feeling that, as with any empire struggling to cope with change, looking inwards is much more reassuring than looking outwards.But that's just what I think. You might think differently.N.B. Personally, I have a lot of time for some of the thinking behind Dogme ELT, in fact, I think EOT is probably more Dogme ELT than Dogme ELT itself.