Le Baron wrote:I've been knocking around the language interwebs for quite a while (and also in the non-internet world for quite a while) and I've seen much less disdain for earning certificates than for taking official courses. The latter are characterised - especially on here - as people who teach you nothing and steal all your money in the process.
Apparently these institutions guiding students to pass exams (since these are usually part of and the end-goal of the courses), using the same CEFR syllabi designed for passing these exams, are tricking everyone, but the certificates themselves are worthy. However the very enthusiastic and the less enthusiastic alike seem to converge in saying they are mainly for CVs and jobs. No matter what some person might draw as a pre-ordained conclusion upon seeing someone holds a certain certificate.
When I was teaching and met students for tutorials, I would sometimes talk with one who spoke very good English or French, and later either see on a CV, or they would mention, that they had some certificate. Perhaps the Cambridge one or equivalent in French. And I would congratulate them on their achievement. Yet to me the core achievement was in speaking/writing the language well and it wouldn't have mattered to me whether or not they held the certificate. If no-one had mentioned it I would still be impressed, after all I had just spoken to the person! Had I seen the certificate beforehand I could only ever wait until speaking with the person to see any match. And unless the discrepancy was strikingly disappointing, it would again be irrelevant by that point. Being able to manage a discussion of e.g. Kalecki, in whatever language, only depends upon the ability to manage a discussion of Kalecki in whatever language; not a report from their certificate.
So it's pretty clear to me that certificates are 1) currency for officialdom, and 2) personal achievement receipts. Which is not a criticism, but a reminder that both of those are not a necessary condition for when you come to deliver the actual goods. Though officialdom may prevent some people ever getting to that point at all.
Quite eloquently put, i.e. well said. Thank you, Le Baron for sharing.