Czech EFL

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Letter to Thammasat University rector

Uff, this one took me a while:
Dear Sir

I am writing regarding the dismissal of one of your English teachers, Allen J. Hoge, from Thammasat University.

It appears that Mr.Hoge has been dismissed on the grounds of what he has published on his weblog at If this is so I have no other option but to deem your decision wrongful. Please, allow me to explain why.

There is no denying that the weblog in question contains a number of questionable remarks but there is also no denying that Mr.Hoge as a teacher is one of a kind. I have never seen any teacher that would strive for excellence with such passion. As the weblog clearly documents Mr.Hoge has been consistently working in his own free time only to learn how to deliver Thammasat University students the best English instruction possible. Through his continous research Mr.Hoge has amassed an enormous wealth of innovative ideas on English teaching which most English teachers have no clue about.

There is no doubt Mr.Hoge is a convinced innovator and it is understandable the system perceives his innovations as a potential source of threat and resists to change. However, from a long-term point of view, we have to ask whether it is better to expel a subversive element or to contain it with a view to thriving on diversity of opinions and thoughts.

George Bernard Shaw is believed to say: "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

Jesus or Copernicus, to name but a few, are today recognized as great teachers yet that has not always been the case. Like many other great teachers they were once regarded unreasonable men.

I believe Mr.Hoge is an unreasonable man too for how much he sacrifices from his personal life and devotes to his students. For this single reason he is unreasonable but the entire mankind has to rely on such 'fools' for any progress at all while the rest of us sit down and fold their arms.

The word about this case has been spreading on the internet for a few days now and from an international perspective, it sheds a very negative light on Thammasat University for how it handles the case and for what kind of message it gives: conform and sail through, try to innovate and get the sack. Doesn't it fly directly in the face of what leading universities all over the world strive to pursue?

I am convinced we are in agreement on most of the points covered in this letter. Therefore I should like to ask you to kindly instigate a thorough investigation into the matter.

Yours sincerely
Will you join in? Write to Thammasat University officials.


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