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Lionel Billows (1909 – 2004): in memoriam

By Richard Smith and A. (Alan) Maley


Lionel Billows, who died earlier this year at the age of ninety-four, was a pioneer of\ud what came to be known as ‘situational language teaching’, the mainstream approach\ud which preceded communicative language teaching in the British ELT tradition. He\ud was best-known for his book Techniques of Language Teaching (1961), whose\ud humanism and continuing interest value Maley (2001) has recently highlighted.\ud Billows’ most notable practical achievement was his work as Education Officer for\ud the British Council in South India between 1954 and 1960, when he conceived and\ud initially directed a ‘campaign’ for the wholesale retraining of 28,000 Primary School\ud teachers. This project has entered ELT mythology as the ‘Madras Snowball’, due to\ud an article by Billows’ successor which unaccountably fails to mention his contribution\ud (Smith 1962), but Billows himself disliked the term, preferring to call it instead the\ud ‘MELT (Madras English Language Teaching) Campaign’

Topics: LB1501, P1
Publisher: University of Warwick
Year: 2004
OAI identifier:

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