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Andy Walker

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I rarely look in any other sections, but I tried quite hard to stimulate interest in the English section because I believe in the theory of sharing resources and discussing teaching issues - but I see that there have been hardly any posts in there since Xmas .. (tho the Lang List email /newsgroup thing still flourishes)

I am a veteran user of other forums and there seem to me to be a couple of key reasons why elements of this one have floundered - but you wont like what I have to say !

firstly the structure here is far too complex - there are too many subdivisions, so it is very hard for passers-by and inexperienced users to find a niche --- but I dunno how easy that is to unpick now? Obviously loads of work went into it, but without enough awarness of new end-users

Also - sad but true - some posters are too fond of their own voices or pet themes, and long posts that are guaranteed to alienate casual users ..

(and usually with no white space either --- if you MUST write reams, allow ppl to scan it and leave a line! )

Then there was the overspill of conspiracy theories into real-life which led to a sudden surge in the verbosity of posts from here, and the compexity of log in process that killed off a few ppl who were fledging users - including myself for a while ... (tho I seem to have managed it today!)

I would suggest that this time of year is a good one for recruitment, as we have a bit less stress in this term hence I was browsing about and popped back in

But this is probably the biggest issue: I heard on the grapevine that ppl prefer to use the TES site, so maybe they dont need this one for English? I just had a quick look and it is immediatly easy to see that it is clearer and more user friendly, and there is just ONE forum for English, so you can sift through threads, back over 52 pages and ones that ppl want to add to can be brought back to the top ...

*shrugs*

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I rarely look in any other sections, but I tried quite hard  to stimulate interest in the English section  because I believe in the theory of sharing resources and discussing teaching issues -  but I see that there have been hardly any posts in there since Xmas .. (tho the Lang List email /newsgroup thing still flourishes)

We are very dependent on forum section leaders. If that person is not very active in encouraging debate, that section tends to die. The forum has become unbalanced because some moderators are much more active than others. We are aware of the problem, but until we can persuade people to become much more active moderators, we will not be able to solve it.

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A few days ago, I asked Andy to take me off the forum. My reasons are very well stated by Susan (thanks!). I especially find the obsession with conspiracies troubling, primarily because much of what I've seen on those threads is tightly-held opinion, little tolerance for alternative points of view, and a lack of critical thought. Such things are horrible examples for educators and students.

I initially joined because John asked me to, based on my presence on his Spartacus site as a Vietnam veteran who was willing to be interviewed by students. I envisioned this site as an expanded version of that, with people sharing resources on various topics and exchanging ideas. While that has happened, much of it has been buried by CT.

If it was my site, I'd find a way to spin off all the CT stuff and leave the rest of the site for the rest of us. And I agree with Susan; the site is overly complex (even w/o CT).

I do appreciate the amount of work that's gone into this, but until the site becomes more about education, I'll say "so long".

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I tend to agree with Susan and with Mike. The conspiracy theories sections have dominated this forum to such an extent that teachers coming in from disciplines that have no interest whatsoever in conspiracy theories may well be put off joining and contributing to the forum. And the structure of the forum is a bit complex. It's not easy to locate individual sections or to browse the archives. I have tried to enliven the modern languages section, but discussions either fail to start or die within a few days - which is not very encouraging. It's not that teachers in my discipline have no interest in education issues in general and no interest in ICT in particular. I am a member of the Linguanet Forum and the Languages ICT forum, both of which are active throughout the year and both of which have archives which are easy to search:

http://www.mailbase.org.uk/lists/linguanet-forum

http://www.mailbase.org.uk/lists/languagesict-forum

Teachers of foreign languages have a lot to discuss. Our subject is in real danger of dying out in secondary education in England, as a direct result of a goverment policy that no longer requires a foreign language to be studied by children over the age of 14. We are all very p*ssed off by the way the government treats our subject.

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