We were at a conference in Poland last year and a teacher we got talking to mentioned how excited he’d once been about the Lexical Approach and how discussing the ideas behind it had energised his teaching. He then shrugged wistfully and asked “Whatever happened to it, I wonder? It just seems to have vanished.”
That conversation provided the seed for this website. While mainstream publishing has generally resisted attempts to put out lexically oriented materials, the ideas that Michael Lewis and Jimmie Hill condensed and popularized remain among the most influential to have emerged in English Language Teaching in the last twenty-five years. The Lexical Approach has had a profound impact on the way thousands of teachers worldwide approach language and, as a result, language teaching.
At an organic grassroots level, countless practitioners have long been experimenting with ways of ensuring their classroom practice tally with their own understanding of the tenets of a lexical approach and debate and discussion has occurred on blogs, at workshops, in bars and cafés and in staff rooms.
As classroom EFL teachers, we have both been involved in crafting our own version of a lexically-rooted pedagogy, while as materials developers we were among the first writers to attempt to present lexical material to the market – first with Innovations and more recently with Outcomes.
We hope Lexical Lab will reinvigorate the debates around lexical teaching. We will be blogging here on areas of interest to ourselves. We will also be featuring guest posts from teachers around the world in which they share their own practice, air problems, raise questions and outline ideas.
We hope to create a community of practice – and a shared space for like-minded teachers (and just the curious) to come and talk.
We look forward to getting to know you as the site progresses – and to hearing your thoughts and feelings about what we’re doing here.
I’m so glad you’ve started this space to keep reflecting, discussing and sharing experiences based on the lexical approach. Teaching lexically was my first online course back in 2005. It was in fact a pilot course I was invited to join.
Looking forward to reading more from you.
Thanks for the kind words, Carla. Glad you found your way here. We’re really hoping that the site does start to drag these issues slightly more into the mainstream than they have been thus far. Please pass details of the site on to anyone you think may be interested – and looking forward to seeing you around as we get going.