Bovine TEFL

by Nick Kiley

Confused by all the different frameworks, methodologies, approaches etc. that are around in TEFL? Never fear! Bovine TEFL will clarify everything for you! (Based on the popular ‘Bovine Economics’ that was circulated a few years ago (source unknown).


The farmer shows you how to milk a cow, even if you already know quite a lot about milking cows. He then gets you to milk the same cow while he corrects you. Then you can milk any cow in the field, as long as it is a cow that you milk rather than another animal, and afterwards the farmer tells you where you went wrong. The farmer’s probably not that experienced.


The farmer gets you to milk a cow. You then tell other people how you milked the cow. You then watch an accomplished farmer milk a cow and notice how much better he does it than you. The farmer tells you why. It is the production of a pail of milk that is most important in this approach, not the milking process itself. The farmer then looks smugly at the farmer in the next field from the previous example.


The farmer gets you to milk a cow. He notes the things you do wrong, then shows you how to do them properly. He then gets you to milk the cow again. Sometimes it’s hard to see what this farmer is doing differently to the first farmer.


You can milk any animal that happens to be in the field, as long as the farmer didn’t bring it into the field with him. If you’d prefer to ride it, that’s also OK. The farmer helps you with whatever it is you want to do to the animal, then argues against the use of machinery.


The farmer makes you milk the cow until you can do it!

Grammar Translation

You sit with the farmer somewhere and he tells you how to milk cows.


The farmer hooks the cow up to a milking machine and shows you how to turn it on. The teenagers in the group shrug at this exhibition of normal behaviour, the middle-aged people in the group say ‘wow’, as they thought milking had to be done by hand, and the older people look longingly at the next field where the farmer is sitting and explaining milking. The farmer in this field, meanwhile, is tweeting about how great the milking machine is and how the Dogme farmers are idiots.


The farmer teaches you how to drink milk by getting you to milk a cow.


Some people watch how the farmer milks the cow, some listen to him describe what he’s doing, and some people are busy milking cows. Other farmers gather nearby and call this farmer weird.


The farmer gets you to milk the cow rhythmically while you chant “I love milking cows!” There’s a good chance you’re quite young and enjoying this more than the farmer.


The farmer puts you in a field with some cows. You’ll die of thirst if you don’t learn to milk them.


The farmer tells you it’s OK to be not very good at milking cows, as long as you get some milk. Your milk doesn’t have to be the highest quality, as long as it’s drinkable.

Blended learning

You read about milking cows, then once a week go to the field where the farmer gets you to practise.


For example, Milking for Cheese Makers, Milking for Yoghurt Makers etc. You might be asked to bring along your cheese so that you can discuss with the farmer how you could have made it better.


A lot of farmers gather together and nod sagely at other farmers (for example, Farmer Harmer) who are telling them how milking should be done better. The farmers then gather into factions and tell each other why all the other farmers are idiots.


Some farmers get together and decide how good you are at milking cows. You are then branded on the buttocks with, for example, A2 (Basic milker) or C2 (Proficient milker) so that other people know how good you are at milking cows.

Author’s Bio: Nick is Director of Studies at IH Tbilisi. He has worked for IH since 2001 in a variety of locations and has been in Tbilisi for just over three years. The proliferation of wine and food might help explain this. He also spends a lot of time engaged in teacher training and as such has an interest in methods and approaches to teaching. He has never milked a cow.