Where do interests and passions come from?

Peers. Plain and simple.

I’ve played guitar for 12 years and it is one of the most rewarding aspects of my life, besides teaching. Why? A random friend in middle school suggested that I play.

Why are immigrant’s children able to rid themselves of the accents of their parents?

Again, peers.

More and more, researchers are learning that the main factor controlling whether people become avid smokers or not…

is peers.

I have read that in countries like the Philippines and Singapore  students are actively encouraged to speak English with each other in and outside the English classroom.

This is not just the run of the mill, making jokes about the language by saying “Oh my god!” to each other or, mocking the language with the common, “This is a pen” gag.

But actually exchanging thoughts and ideas in the language.

If peers are able to exert such a tremendous influence on everything from a person’s speech to their social behavior, one would realize that this system is quite a breakthrough.

Students aren’t going to learn perfect pronunciation (on a large scale) from their ALT. They’re going to get it from each other.

They also aren’t going to become passionate about English (on a large scale) from just one person. No, they have to pass the idea to each other.

This is all the more reason for ALTs to concentrate their efforts on spreading passion and good pronunciation to several attuned English leaders at their school, so that those individuals, by their mere presence and example, can spread the word to their peers and make a real impact.