It’s an Anniversary!

Some of you might be wondering why I have suddenly changed the layout of my blog.

Well, it’s been a year.

Courtesy of #ELTpics. Photo by @mkofab

April 30th 2011.

The day I started blogging. The day I started this blog.

I started this blog because I love writing.

Through writing, I am able to organise my thoughts because I am given the opportunity to articulate them.

Through the banter you provide me with, I am able to decide on what I believe in because I am allowed the chance to challenge the attitudes and views that I encounter.

Through the support of my PLN (Personal Learning Network), I am able to find the courage to say the things that are not necessarily popular or cool, to write about issues I really care about, and to express a part of me.

I would like to thank all the people who have viewed these pages and watched the videos, the people who have read, commented and like the posts, the people who have tweeted, shared, and used the ideas and articles here.

Thank you all for your support.

Courtesy of #ELTpics


To celebrate, here are some facts and figures to help recap the year:

Total hits: 62,950

Views on Busiest Day: 976 (25th April, 2012)


The Top 5 Most Commented on Posts are:

1.    The Teach-Off – My reaction to coursebooks and Uncount nouns  (51)

2.   Why are Business English Teachers paid so badly?  (50)

3.   10 Things Teachers Should Never Forget  (48)

4.   Devil’s Advocate versus Vicki Hollett on ELF  (42)

5.   The Teach-Off – Coursebk Day 1  (36)


Aside from myself, the Top 5 Commenters (and their respective twitter handles) are:

1. Phil Wade @phil3wade                 (53)

2. Chiew Pang @acliltoclimb                      (27)

3. Varinder Unlu @varinderunlu             (26)

4. Dale Coulter @dalecoulter             (23)

5. Mike Hogan @irishmikeh                (20)

Thank you so much for taking time to comment. You have contributed more than you can ever imagine!


Excluding the Home Page, The Top 10 Posts (according to hits) are:

1.   Intercultural Dining Etiquette and Table Manners

2.   Devil’s Advocate versus Phil Wade on Exams and Testing

3.   Why I brought back the foreign language lesson to the CELTA

4.   Learning English Through a TV Series

5.   Dogme in Exam Preparation Classes

6.   What is Systemic Functional Grammar (Part 1)

7.   What is Systemic Functional Grammar (Part 3 – The Experiential Metafunction)

8.   10 Things I do with my mini-whiteboards

9.   What is Systemic Functional Grammar (Part 2 – The Interpersonal Metafunction)

10.   What is Systemic Functional Grammar (Part 4 – The Textual Metafunction & Conclusion)


The Most Watched Videos (according to hits) are:

1.   IATEFL 2010 Presentation on Dogme

2.   BESIG 2010 Interview on SFG

3.   BESIG 2012 Interview on Politeness and Pragmatics

4.   Chiew’s 2011 interview with me on IaskU

5.   IH DOS Conference 2012 Presentation on ELF


My top 5 personal favourites are:

1.   In defence of Callan (and other behaviourist methodologies)

2.   Making student-centred Dogme student-friendly

3.   11 things I learnt in London – a pseudo-ethnographic exploration of British vs Singaporean culture

4.   Gaellic – To save or not to save?

5.   Cringing at Cheese this Christmas?


There has been 4 series on this blog thus far.

The first was a series inspired by a conversation with Mike Hogan, and still continues till today.

Devil’s Advocate is now at its 6th instalment and they are:

1.   Devil’s Advocate versus Mike Hogan on Business English Teaching and Training

2.   Devil’s Advocate versus Dale Coulter on Dogme for Newly Qualified Teachers

3.   Devil’s Advocate versus Phil Wade on Exams and Testing

4.   Devil’s Advocate versus Anthony Gaughan on Lesson Aims & Plans in Teacher Training

5.   Devil’s Advocate versus Vicki Hollett on ELF

6.   Devil’s Advocate versus Rakesh Bhanot on Non-Native Speaker Teachers of English

There will be more Devil’s Advocate instalments to come right after the Teach-Off is over!


The second was a series of posts about my Pre-Advanced Dogme classes:

1.   MLearning, Mini-Whiteboards, and Emergent Stuff

2.   Only in a Dogme Class

3.   All Because I Hoped I Didn’t Fall in Love with You

4.   I left my head and heart on the dance floor

5.   Wham! Vroom! And things that jet setters do…

6.   And then my students said…


The third was a series of posts about the IATEFL Glasgow conference 2012:

1.   My IATEFL Glasgow Diary Part 1

2.   My IATEFL Glasgow Diary Part 2 – PCEs

3.   My IATEFL Glasgow Diary Part 3 – Adrian Underhill’s Plenary

4.   My IATEFL Glasgow Diary Part 4 – Dave Willis on Grammar

5.   My IATEFL Glasgow Diary Part 5 – Anthony Gaughan on the Se7en Deadly Sins of ELT

6.   My IATEFL Glasgow Diary Part 6 – Jacket Potatoes, MLearning, ELearning & Skype

7.   My IATEFL Glasgow Diary Part 7 – 52 Subversive Activities & lots of parties

8.   My IATEFL Glasgow Diary Part 8 – Diana Laurillard’s Plenary

9.   My IATEFL Glasgow Diary Part 9 – A Smorgasbord of Prezi, Metaphors, Drama and the Passive Voice

10.  My IATEFL Glasgow Diary Part 10 – Willy Cardoso on Sociocultural Perspectives to Teacher Training

11.  My IATEFL Glasgow Diary Part 11 – Steven Thorne’s Plenary  THE ONE THAT GOT ME MY BRITISH COUNCIL AWARD!

12.  My IATEFL Glasgow Diary Part 12 – Digital Devices, Digital Storytelling, and the NNS Teacher

13.  My IATEFL Glasgow Diary Part 13 – Pecha Kucha Evening


And the fourth, as many of you might know, is the Teach-Off that is taking place as we speak:

1.   The Teach-Off – The Premise

2.   The Teach-Off – Dogme Day 1

2.   The Teach-Off – Dogme Day 2

3.   The Teach-Off – Dogme Day 3

4.   The Teach-Off – Dogme Day 4 

5.   The Teach-Off – Dogme Day 5

6.   The Teach-Off – Dogme Day 6

7.   The Teach-Off – Dogme Day 7

8.   The Teach-Off – Dogme Day 8

9.   The Teach-Off – The Dogme Observer’s POV

10. The Teach-Off – Introducing the Coursebook Round

11.  The Teach-Off – Coursebk Day 1

12.  The Teach-Off – Coursebk Day 2

13.  The Teach-Off – Coursebk Day 3

14.  The Teach-Off – Coursebk Day 4

15.  The Teach-Off – My reaction to coursebks and Uncount Nouns

15.  The Teach-Off – Coursebook Day 5


Thank you so much for reading and for being a part of this blog…even during times when I was unable to blog regularly.

Thank you for an amazing year.

And here’s to the next!


Now, pardon me while I go off and sing Happy Birthday to myself…

Author: Chia Suan Chong

I am a writer, communication skills trainer and a teacher trainer based in York, UK. I have been English Teaching Professional's resident blogger since 2012 and have a regular feature in their bimonthly magazine. My book Successful International Communication was published in Dec 2018.

40 thoughts on “It’s an Anniversary!”

    1. Thanks Vicki! This means a lot!
      Did you notice that the Devil’s Advocate we did had some of the most comments! ELF is a divisive topic, eh? You should have heard Ian McMaster’s final plenary at the English UK Business Trainers’ Conference this weekend! He was all over ELF…! ; )


      1. It’s just that your birthday post seems to break that pervasive image of information flow – it’s here, it’s gone on.
        No you stick your heels in 🙂 Like a true intellectual I would like to add (since they are highly respected people on my side of the channel)

  1. Ahem!!!Do we get some cakes too??

    Well done on everything, we look forward to many more posts, talks, webinars, articles and…whatever else you put out there.

    1. Phil, Phil, my man Phil,

      Top commenter, eh? And the gap between you and the next person is so significant that you might as well be my co-writer, Phil!
      Speaking of co-writing, I think the article we co-wrote for Business Issues is out. Fancy working together again some time?
      BTW, that Devil’s Advocate with you is formidable. It still gets like at least 50 hits every single day!


  2. Congratulations, Chia!! Happy Anniversary!! 🙂

    And, well done! That’s an impressive list of posts. I’ve a lot to catch up on and I’ll look forward to doing so.

    I may not have been reading you for the year but I’ve learnt a lot from this blog and reading the posts, and the quality comments and discussion they attract, is helping me to clarify what I believe too.. well what I believe at the moment anyway.

    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Carol,
      Thanks for the birthday wishes, both here and on Twitter!
      It’s been great getting to know you and meeting you in Glasgow, and I sincerely hope that we get to clarify and refine our beliefs and attitudes together as we continue the exploration and banter.
      Thanks for being part of the PLN, Carol.


  3. Hi Chia, congratulations! I had no idea all of your blog had been done in a year! I’ve only recently discovered your blog, so still plenty catching up to do though I’m chipping away at it. Looking forward to your being even more prolific this year. I find your posts very well written and the ensuing comments make interesting debates to follow. Of the video clips, I’ve watched the Dogme 2010 one and the IH DOS panel one; both of which I found well worth watching. Oh and congrats on the British Council award, you have certainly earnt it!

    Keep the posts coming! 🙂


    1. HI Lizzie,
      Thank you for your birthday wishes and your lovely comments. I wouldn’t dare say ‘prolific’, but I am secretly happy you think so…!
      I am really glad that you like following the debates because to be provoking thought and discussion is the only to define and redefine, to reflect and to understand our own thoughts and beliefs.
      Once again, thanks for the support, Lizzie.


  4. Happy happy blog birthday, Chia! Here’s to many many more years and posts! So happy for you – see you in Zug with a chocolate cake and a candle to blow out ; )

    Hugs and congratulations,

  5. Happy e-birthday to you! Haven’t commented much(I lose patience trying to write long comments on a smartphone…), though I do lurk about from my mobile and have enjoyed the immensely relevant stuff here! Here’s to another year of great blogging! And yes, we want some cake too!

    1. Thanks Christina!
      You are welcome to lurk anytime! Glad you find the stuff here relevant!
      When will we get to see each other? Attending any conference soon?
      Maybe we can share some cake then?


  6. Congratulations Chia on not only keeping your blogging momentum up, but for constantantly coming up with new and thought-provoking topics and series for us all to get our teeth into! Your British Council award, total blog hits, and the huge number of comments your posts get are testament to the quality of your writing and relevance for our profession.
    As Christina wrote above, I tend to lurk from my mobile and share her frustration in writing comments from it, although maybe my new iPad will change that 😉
    Thanks again, keep up the great work, and enjoy your cake!

    1. Thank you Mike, for your constant support and encouragement, and for being a source of inspiration.

      Devil’s Advocate would never have seen the light of day if not because of you.

      As for the thought-provoking part of things, it’s something I really relish doing (I like a passionate argument and the ability to learn from it), but that would never have been possible on my own.
      Credit must be given to all those that have participated in discussion through their comments.

      And considering that you are one of my top five commenters,
      I must say a big THANK YOU!

      Thanks for always taking time out of your busy writing schedule to engage and participate in the discussions here.

      You have such an ability to change the way I think, and to push me to see things differently, no matter how much I may seem to resist initially.

      I’m finally beginning to see…
      Socrates was indeed right.


      1. Thanks for the thanks Chia,
        It’s always worth taking a break from writing to challenge my assumptions and see things from a different perspective – I hear writers are good at finding any excuse to distract themselves! And I’m delighted to have been instrumental in the creation of the Devil’s Advocate series with you. I’m looking forward to the next installments.
        And yes, Socrates was right when saying that the one thing he knew was that he knew nothing. I learn a lot from your posts and the discussions which follow. So, we must continue to talk, discuss, debate and challenge our assumptions, and I’m more than happy to keep pushing you…
        Resistance is futile

  7. Happy anniversary, Chia! What an amazing record after a year! I have been following you since Chiew’s interview but I see I still have to catch up on a lot of reading.

    If colleagues ask me why they should start using Twitter I could just show them your blog.
    It’s is that great mixture of the big theories, serious debate, practical ideas and the person behind all this.

    We can only look forward to more of the same or who knows what you still have in store for us;-)

    My son in that pic is 25 now. Let’s hope you too will have many blog anniversaries to celebrate….


    1. Thanks so much, Mieke!
      For your really sweet comments. I couldn’t ask for better compliments than that!

      And for letting me use your son’s picture too! Is he 25 now??? I can’t believe you have a 25-year-old son!


  8. Happy Blogaday, Chia!
    I’m a huge fan of the devil’s advocate series though that’s really not fair to say – the “teach off” isn’t over yet and I’m addicted to it!
    The new picture is certainly lovely but I have to admit that I miss the previous one…
    Looking forward to year two!

    1. Thanks so much, Naomi.

      You’ve been a big commenter on this blog since Day 1 and I must thank you for your constant support throughout the year!

      I’m really glad you like the Devil’s Advocate series because it’s my pet project (well, me and Mike’s pet project, to be honest), and I really enjoy doing it. I get to meet lots of people and learn lots of new things…and I get to be all disagreeable too…and have an excuse for it! hee hee…

      I actually have a few DA instalments in backlog at the moment because I wanted to focus on the Teach-Off for now…but don’t worry, DA will be coming back in full force very soon!

      Oh, and I’ll be running a workshop/presentation in Paris at the BESIG Summer Symposium in June based on a few of the DA topics. And the presentation will be streamed live online. Hope to see you there?

      I love the previous picture too but thought it’s time for a change…

      I look forward to reading more of your comments in the coming year!


  9. a fantastic blog and in only one year! the teach off must be the pinnacle for me as well as many others am sure.
    keep on rolling!

    1. Thanks Mura!
      The teach-off seems to be attracting quite a lot of attention and churning out quite a lot of discussion, debate and reflection. It has all been absolutely amazing and I can only hope to progress from here.
      Thanks for the support!


  10. An Ode to Chia

    Imagine there’s no course books
    It’s easy if you try
    No photocopies in our hands
    Above us only skype
    Imagine all the people learning more today 

    Imagine there’s no mcnuggets
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to sweat or rant over
    And no useless rules too
    Imagine all the people learning life in peace

    You, you may say 
    She’s a dreamer, but she’s not the only one
    She hopes some day we’ll join her
    And ELT will be as one

    Imagine there’s just Apple
    IPads and twitter chat
    No need for paper or resource packs
    A staffroom without that
    Imagine all the students sharing experiences

    You, you may say 
    She’s a dreamer, but she’s not the only one
    She hopes some day we’ll join her
    And ELT will be as one

  11. Hey Chia

    Congrats on your first annivesary. Do we get some chocolate cake?? (although I don’t know about you but I could with a double gin after this teach-off!!). Seriously though it’s a wonderful blog and a great developmental tool for all teachers.

    It’s also a great way to challenge thinking…

    Varinder xx

  12. Only blogging a year? Wow. You have crammed a lot of unbelievable quality into that year.

    Congratulations and I look forward to reading your posts many more times over the coming years.

    1. Yes, only blogging for a year…with a big break in between when I was working on my MA dissertation.
      Thanks for your encouraging comments and support!
      I hope to be able to keep producing better quality posts in the coming year!


  13. Congratulations, Chia!! I`ve been learning A LOT from your blog, so thank you for sharing your teaching experience and reflections!

    1. Thanks Camelia,
      I’m so glad that it is encouraging learning and reflecting.
      Look forward to hearing more from you especially when you do your CELTA at IH in Sept!


  14. Late I may be, but I’m here nonetheless 😉

    Happy anniversary! A year packed with goodies. I must admit that I haven’t followed all of the posts – too many for my little brain!

    You know that your video on iasku is the top post, beating the queen of ELT, Shelly Terrell by almost double? That’s looking at the direct hits, of course. I can’t tell how many it would have got coming from the home page.The hits of iasku are nowhere compared to yours, so I won’t bother mentioning the count. A lot of these might have stemmed from your inclusion of the link on your blog, so, thank you!

    Congratulations, once again! Great to have you among us.

    1. Thanks Chiew, for your well wishes, and for always being there to support, encourage and help!
      Really pleased to hear that the video on IaskU is so popular…I have to update the content perhaps? ; )


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