An A-Z of Dysfunctional ELT: D is for Desks

#6: D is for Desks

This month we move from tables to desks. Here, though I refer to real desks not desks-as-simile. Real, solid, rectangular teacher’s desks.

Evil...pure evil

Evil incarnate

A desk is such an innocent thing, a flat top and four legs, sometimes a draw to forget things in. But I rage, rage against the using of the desk (sorry, Dylan). I want to find an axe and hack away until all that remains is a pile of splinters and sawdust gently settling in the air. What is it that creates such bilious deskogyny within me? Not the poor desk, I have to admit, but the user of the desk. But if I were to take my axe to the user, I would get into a bit of trouble, methinks.

Let me clarify my destructive tendencies so that you won’t completely avoid me at the next conference. Have a desk, do, please –  but put it to the side against the wall, perhaps, out of the way. But don’t sit behind it for the majority of the class. When I see a teacher sitting behind a desk in the classroom, for most of the classroom time, it gives me the screaming willies. This is a real bugbear of mine, which I hold with the evangelical fervor of a fundraiser for Solomon’s Temple.

Why? Why do you do it? What on earth makes you think that sitting there, in a communicative-based classroom, isn’t creating an enormous barrier between you and your students? What is it that you are afraid of? Do you feel threatened if you are not authoritatively-furnished? Are you worried that students will judge your trousers? Do you really need to keep looking at the book all the time?

Help me out here, I need to know. Why does anyone in an ELT classroom need to sit behind a desk?

Dennis Warren

I'm a teacher/trainer but I have a background in computational linguistics, and am interested in virtually everything. I hold a bachelor's degree in Linguistics and a master's degree in Cognitive Science.

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