When I was four, going on five, a TV show called Knight Rider premiered in the UK. I loved it and remained a fan for most of my childhood (OK, I admit it; I’m still a fan). There was The Hoff, of course – all leather jackets, open shirt buttons and swagger – but the real star of the show was K.I.T.T – Knight Industries Two Thousand – the ‘advanced, artificially intelligent, self-aware and nearly indestructible car’. Over thirty years later Apple and Google are in a head-to-head race to bring K.I.T.T’s spiritual successor – the driverless car – to market. And, as a little-known and hard-to-spot side effect, the ramifications for the teaching of languages, especially English, could be huge.
It often seems like a curious by-product of ELT ‘in action’; speaking out loud in English. Given that spoken interactions are scintillating moments of language in its most alive state, it’s remarkable how speaking (as a facet of the language learning process) is often subservient to the learning of grammar and vocabulary. As Scott Thornbury … Read more