In In what order to learn English? was raised the question whether questions about how to learn English where on topic or not.

My take at it is that questions which are specific to learning English should be on-topic, while general questions about pedagogy of course have their place elsewhere.

Dunno if that's worth splitting the question and my answer to it.

  • 1
    Could you give a few examples of questions you would consider "pedagogy" and questions you consider "specific to learning English"? Because obviously not all questions about learning English will be OK.
    – Cerberus
    Jan 24, 2013 at 2:52
  • 1
    “Stick or carrot?” is pedagogy, “Should English be taught in schools?” is specific to the English language and off-topic, “Is there a particular way, ideally a mnemonic, to teach this set of exception?” is specific to English and I guess on-topic. My question was broad and specific to the English language, somewhere in between. Jan 24, 2013 at 9:23

4 Answers 4


I agree that this site should include questions about pedagogy. I would argue that pedagogy should even be one of the major topic areas.

I also agree that the cited question should have been closed. It is asked much too broadly. I think questions like

What are the considerations/advantages/disadvantages to using this specific teaching method for this specific group?
Has this method been successfully adapted to do this specific thing of interest?
Is there an accepted practice for teaching this specific thing?

are all related to pedagogy and within our scope though.

  • 3
    I agree with your examples, and that the cited question was rightly closed. The OP is a bit vague about what she means exactly. I think whether or not a question is about pedagogy shouldn't really matter, as long as it is about English, and as long as it isn't too broad or unclear. You will probably agree, as the cited question was a bit to broad.
    – Cerberus
    Jan 24, 2013 at 2:57

This site, unlike ELU.SE, is about helping those who are not (yet) familiar with the language.

The help can be either direct, asking questions by yourself and receiving answers, or indirect, helping teachers (usually, non-professionals) to help others.

I clearly imagine a manager of a small professional team (e.g., an I.T. lead in India) who wants to deliver some explanation to his/her colleagues, but is unable to do it, both because he's not a native English speaker by himself, and because he's not a teacher.

Also, it should not exclude self-learners.

I believe, pedagogy must be an essential part of this site.
Again, unlike many other sites at SE.

  • Absolutely agree, just, I.T. lead in India would hardly not know English :). They all speak pretty good, maybe too fast though :)
    – MasterPJ
    Feb 6, 2013 at 9:37

The site needs to attract experts in ELL pedagogy to succeed, and it should therefore serve the experts by entertaining questions about pedagogy.


I personally agree with the closing of this question as it is very subjective, and there is little hard-evidence to support certain views. I believe these questions are off topic, and this was closed as Off Topic by all 5 voters.

However non-broad good questions about pedagogy do have a place.

  • There may well be controversy about how to approach teaching the language, but that does not make all questions about it subjective. Subjectivity is in the question, not in the topic. There can be many questions about pedagogy which are perfectly well suited to a Q&A format.
    – MetaEd
    Jan 23, 2013 at 23:38
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    The question you link to is basically "how to teach English". That question was rightly closed; it is much too broad.
    – MetaEd
    Jan 23, 2013 at 23:39
  • @MετάEd Fair enough, however it was the answer linked to by the OP. Jan 23, 2013 at 23:42
  • @MετάEd I revised it to add more detail, my apologies :) Jan 23, 2013 at 23:44
  • The question that @MarkRobinson referenced was closed due to being primarily opinion-based, not because every pedagogical question is inherently subjective. Jan 6, 2017 at 9:27

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