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"Callan Publishing" sues Polish copycats



delphiandomine 57 | 15,334    
16 Jul 2011  #1

Callan Publishing Limited, the United Kingdom publishers of world famous Callan Method of teaching English has today filed claims in the Polish courts against Direct English Publishers for plagiarism and breach of copyright. Callan Publishing is seeking an injunction to stop Direct English Publishers from printing and distributing their Direct Method books and will be seeking substantial compensation.

callan.co.uk/en/news/

Interesting development - it's old news, but I don't think I've seen it mentioned anywhere.

Anyone that's seen these books knows that they were a very poor rip-off of Callan - and at least one national chain (Leader School) has made their own (truly dire - the books were written by a 26 year old who has never lived in an English speaking country) version too. As I recall - the authors of these "Direct English" books made a huge push in Poland to get language schools to change to them over Callan.

The method(s) are dying in Poland anyway - but this is certainly interesting.


pawian 127 | 6,581    
22 Jul 2011  #2

The method(s) are dying in Poland anyway -

Let`s kiss goodbye to this one and wait foe another one. And then another. And so on.

At uni I had learnt about several main methods of FLT. Afterwards new ones were developed and abolished sooner or later.

The best method is a mixture of all methods, suited to students` needs as well as class conditions and atmosphere. Even the day`s weather should be taken into consideration. A FL teacher should be a good psychologist, then.
Seanus 15 | 19,750    
23 Jul 2011  #3

Avalon was another that pushed the boundaries of what constitutes a spin-off and what is downright plagiarism. I believe the test is 'sufficient originality' for a new invention. Avalon comes up well short from what I have heard. Sb who has never lived in an English speaking country should not really be writing books as serious teaching materials.
JonnyM 12 | 2,634    
23 Jul 2011  #4

another that pushed the boundaries

Almost every published language course, series of coursebooks etc is cobbled together from others. There are very few genuinely new ideas. The art is to make it look like something new.
Seanus 15 | 19,750    
23 Jul 2011  #5

That's true! However, if their PR departments were worth their salt, they'd come up with a Unique Selling Point (USP). Speak Up has been able to do that through their multimedia rooms. It'd be interesting to know how Speed were able to get the rights to teach Callan here in Poland. Surely they couldn't monopolise the whole method!
JonnyM 12 | 2,634    
23 Jul 2011  #6

That's true! However, if their PR departments were worth their salt, they'd come up with a Unique Selling Point (USP)

There are plenty of gimmicks, but the only real USPs I've seen are OUP with their English File course - short lessons, inductive grammar 60 (rather than 90) extendable to 120 hours, and the dreadful Reward serious, aimed at 'less-experienced teachers'.

Speak Up has been able to do that through their multimedia rooms.

Their method is interesting provided it's used well. It's possible to get up to upper-int without actually speaking, due to their way of dividing the courses into components and the multimedia assessment. If it's done well it's great, if it isn't it's truly dire.

It'd be interesting to know how Speed were able to get the rights to teach Callan here in Poland. Surely they couldn't monopolise the whole method!

AFAIK, they just buy and resell the books, the way Callan makes his money. I noticed they were calling themselves Speed Callan, so perhaps there was an additional payment involved.
Seanus 15 | 19,750    
23 Jul 2011  #7

I found Reward to be a bit lacking but not altogether unusable. Have you taught from Face 2 Face, Jon? It's a Cambridge publication, I think. I'm currently using it with an EMPIK student. I recommend it, the Intermediate version at least :)

Speak Up's (SU) skill is in using the 2 productive and 2 receptive skills. There isn't much use of listening, only the teacher. However, they have different teachers so there's variety.

Callan itself was lucky to get off of home base, having originally being designed to be used by the army to learn German would you believe? Having trained teachers in the method, I can say that you can see the benefits for students in the first four levels but, thereafter, the law of diminishing returns applies. Yes, levels 5 and 6 wheel out a lot of grammar but I far prefer the way I teach it at SU, putting flesh on the bones and allowing students to ask me questions at any time during the lesson. It's not wham bam, thank you mam as Callan tends to be. Teaching needs the personal touch.
JonnyM 12 | 2,634    
23 Jul 2011  #8

Have you taught from Face 2 Face, Jon? It's a Cambridge publication, I think. I'm currently using it with an EMPIK student. I recommend it, the Intermediate version at least :)

I've seen it and it looks interesting. For one to one I haven't used a book in years although I often lift ideas from books and re-present in my own format. Before I print it off, I often personalise a little. It isn't plagiarism, but it's quick and easy and the sts think you've been up all night making the lesson.

I can say that you can see the benefits for students in the first four levels

I once met a young lady in Poznzn who'd got to level 4 and couldn't ask "would you like a coffee". She showed me the Callan book and whe I read the foreword I was shocked.
Seanus 15 | 19,750    
23 Jul 2011  #9

The problem with Callan is scattiness. It's a major headache to teach if tired or, for some teachers, hungover. It's very jumpy, placing far too much emphasis on TTT. In SU, I always state 3 main objectives on the board and do a lead-in. That's almost impossible to do for a Callan lesson. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one to follow the likes of Harmer as he is OTT but a little methodology through guidance is, for me, a pre-requisite for having a good lesson.

What you are doing is not plagiarism at all. Look at Dave Sperling's ESL Cafe, he actively encourages teachers to share ideas and adapt them to their own visions for how the class will unfold. In an ideal world, we'd all have freer license to teach that which we wanted but life in establishments doesn't follow that logic.
JonnyM 12 | 2,634    
23 Jul 2011  #10

I always state 3 main objectives on the board and do a lead-in. That's almost impossible to do for a Callan lesson. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one to follow the likes of Harmer as he is OTT but a little methodology through guidance is, for me, a pre-requisite for having a good lesson.

That makes a lot of sense. Partly it's why I like English File so much - the objectives are clear and the student is sure he/she has achieved them.

I've always thought that there's scope for a 'non-branded' course in Word format that the teacher can adapt. But of course 90% of language schools would hate the idea.
Seanus 15 | 19,750    
23 Jul 2011  #11

That's what I actually insist on, clarity of purpose and objectives. A student who doesn't know what they want, waiting for a magic wand, is a thorn in your side as a teacher. There's no sense that you are aiming at anything.

Teaching schools don't hide their drive for profits too well. It really cheapens the process of learning. Playing to lame statistics rather than other ascertainable yardsticks of progress doesn't help either. It's all a game. I mean, what does 'lacking in vocabulary' really mean? For communication in a given level? If so then many aren't lacking in vocab at all.
JonnyM 12 | 2,634    
23 Jul 2011  #12

A student who doesn't know what they want, waiting for a magic wand, is a thorn in your side as a teacher. There's no sense that you are aiming at anything.

Exactly - it makes the job a hundred times garder.

Teaching schools don't hide their drive for profits too well. It really cheapens the process of learning. Playing to lame statistics rather than other ascertainable yardsticks of progress doesn't help either. It's all a game. I mean, what does 'lacking in vocabulary' really mean? For communication in a given level? If so then many aren't lacking in vocab at all.

In theory that's where the teacher comes in. But of course if they're nickel and diming the teacher in their drive for profits it doesn't really work. Even the quality training providers make it clear that initial and mid-way reports through an intensive course should be over-critical and the final one should show progress whether or not there has been any.
Seanus 15 | 19,750    
23 Jul 2011  #13

Plus, they have no comeback in the event that they find you are teaching them 'useless' things. They specifically requested sth or to work from a book so it's their call.

The promises they make are laughable. English in 3 months. English 4 times faster etc etc. They are all lies due to the fallibility of both teachers and the methods.

As for Callan, well, they will lose their grasp if they don't monitor closely as I know individual teachers wanted to work with their central concept and adapt it to make it more student friendly.
pip 11 | 1,662    
4 Jan 2012  #14

Merged: Publishing companies in Poland?

does anybody have experience with any publishers in Poland? I am writing a book and don't know who to pitch it to when I am done.



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