In what I understand is an effort to sell more books publishers, institutes and some teachers alike have convinced students that their language learning process is tied to the completion of method books. Not only does this create a dangerous dependency, especially for teachers who work with someone else’s syllabus and are completely unaware of a student’s personal needs, but it also creates among students what I term ‘the ilussion of progress.’

A student believes progress has been made in his/her language development just because a book has been completed. There are no grounds for this, and in general it’s the institutes fault to promote this type of ‘safe methodology behavior’. If I finish the pre-intermediate book of whatever series I worked with during my semester, and I’m supposed to start working on the intermediate-level edition, that does not mean I’m able to communicate with indicators worthy of a person who has such a level. Sometimes it happens, I agree. But in general one is just pushed from level to level, purchasing book after book, without focusing on what is really needed– an ability to communicate in the four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

I’m afraid I’ve had to break more than a student’s heart when they claimed they were at this or that level of fluency just because of the book they were working on. I guess I’ve shattered their illusion of progress. Better be safe than sorry, because it’s now or never. Books and methods are great, but as with most things in life, they have to be managed with responsibility.