Chris Lima's ‘ELT and the challenges of the times’ (ELT Journal 63/3) is a well-motivated attempt to pour oil on ‘troubled waters’. Unfortunately, however, I do not think the current struggle for the heart and soul of ELT can be resolved quite so straightforwardly.

In her paper, it seems to be assumed that older and newer ELT ideas should be seen as equally valid, competing sets of alternative beliefs, and that, in due course, via a sufficient amount of critical analysis, a satisfactory resolution of the two will occur. But nothing is said about the main criterion to be used in this process. I would argue that this should be one of ‘fitness for purpose’, i.e. the extent to which there is evidence that teaching ideas are productive in terms of everyday pedagogical priorities.

Many recent innovations,...

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