Apology

I’m at IATEFL in Belfast this week, so probably won’t get chance to write my daily message. If I can do the odd quick one, I will!

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Multi-lingual-cultural Thursday, 12th May

1. Here’s the latest TeacherTapp blog post, which I suggest you read through a ‘comparison of education systems’ lens. Unlimited colour photocopying will be a dream for many, and the policy on permitting mobile phones in class (if students have them in the first place) will vary widely between schools and countries. I’m less sure of coffee and tea policy worldwide! https://teachertapp.co.uk/can-you-colour-photocopy-can-kids-use-mobile-phones-who-buys-the-coffee-this-and-more/

2. Well worth another mention, I think: the Teaching for Success series of self-study booklets to download and work on in your own time, at your own pace https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/teaching-success-self-study-guides

If you’re still not 100% sure what 21st Century Skills are, try this one https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/promoting-21st-century-skills-self-study-booklet PDF below as well.

3. Next Wednesday, 18th May, sees the next event in the Education Exchange series, a panel discussion on Disability in education. More information and registration here https://www.britishcouncil.org/education/schools/education-exchange-digital-events/disability-education

The event will draw upon this report by Hannah Ware and Nidhi Singal, English language teachers with disabilities: an exploratory study across four countries https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/sites/teacheng/files/BC_English_language_teachers_and_disabilities_Screen_Reading.pdf

PDF below just in case that’s easier and a short introductory video here https://youtu.be/ZUMYZ9aGC1Q

4. And, finally, a Premier League football referee, Jon Moss, with all sorts of interests off the pitch https://www.whathifi.com/features/me-my-stack-my-record-shop-premier-league-referee-jon-moss

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Wednesday, 11th May

1. VERY SHORT NOTICE of this Multilingual Matters ‘meet the authors’ event from 10:00 to 16:30 UK time tomorrow, Thursday 12th May – mea culpa! More info here https://www.multilingual-matters.com/page/Events/ and registration here https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/7216510639185/WN_BezPJZhHR02cZzthMg0KNQ

You should feel free to pop in and out during the day.

2. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a very big thing for universities here in the UK. Here’s a good clear explanation of what it’s all about from David Kernohan of WONKHE which will be of interest to university staff in other countries, who may like to compare it to their own national equivalent and feel either relieved or jealous that they don’t have something similar, and to schoolteachers who want to take a look over the fence https://wonkhe.com/blogs/what-is-the-meaning-of-ref/

3. Seven hours sleep each night is all you need, say a team of scientists from Cambridge and Fudan https://theconversation.com/sleep-heres-how-much-you-really-need-for-optimal-cognition-and-wellbeing-new-research-181879

4. Not just one phobia this week – fifty of them on the Phobia Guru’s website here, categorised into animal, medical and situational https://www.phobiaguru.com/phobias.html But what if you have a phobia of shaven heads, I wonder?

5. And, finally, C’mon, Get Happy! https://choices.scholastic.com/pages/promotion/btsbacktogether/cmon-get-happy.html

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Climate Tuesday, 10th May

1. I’m not sure the pun in the title of this OECD publication quite works, The Short and Winding Road to 2030: Measuring Distance to the SDG Targets but what it has to say is important enough to survive a wobbly pun. Read online here https://www.oecd.org/wise/the-short-and-winding-road-to-2030-af4b630d-en.htm PDF of summary below.

2. The experiment by John Bumpass Calhoun (great middle name) described in the first part of this piece, The Mindset Gap, is a worrying one; I’m less sure about the argument that the author develops from it. See what you think. https://fs.blog/brain-food/may-1-2022/

3. Most (but perhaps not quite all) of us will agree with the following statement: “Climate change and biodiversity loss need urgent action and long-lasting, systemic change in attitudes, mindsets and practices. Education has a key role to play in shifting our behaviours and beliefs and achieving a fair, sustainable future.”

That’s the premise of GreenComp, the European sustainability competence framework, which “maps out sustainability skills and competences for learners of all ages, from young children to adults, and for all educational settings, formal, non-formal and informal”. More info here https://www.schooleducationgateway.eu/en/pub/latest/news/greencomp.htm and PDF below.

4. Here’s a short video which offers 5 Reasons to Bring Plants Into the Classroom https://youtu.be/aBIQDu5b5uM

It goes well with this podcast from Stephen Heppell on Greenhouse Classes in The Climate Connection series https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/climate-connection-episode-5-greenhouse-classes Notes on the podcast below.

5. And, finally, I assume that OECD title above was intended as a pun on this Beatles song, The Long and Winding Road  https://youtu.be/fR4HjTH_fTM Or am I showing my age again?

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Monday, 9th May

1. Philip Kerr has just written a new article for DLA (Digital Learning Associates) on Authentic Video and Empathy https://digitallearningassociates.com/whats-new/2022/5/5/authentic-video-and-empathy

“As an idea,” says Philip, “empathy suffers from a lack of clear definitions – it is perhaps this lack that has allowed it to become a buzzword.” Philip starts by defining his terms – what is empathy? – and goes on to ask, ‘Can it be taught?’.

His article refers to the following videos, all just three minutes long Volunteer Hairdresser (B1-B2 level) https://vimeo.com/281819909, Welcome Refugees (A2-B1) https://vimeo.com/302403306 and Shake my Beauty (A2-B1) https://vimeo.com/286508246

Lots more DLA videos to explore here https://vimeo.com/showcase/socila-and-emotional-learning

2. Here’s a WONKHE piece by Jim Dickinson comparing the two very different approaches to the funding of higher education to be found either side of the Irish Sea https://wonkhe.com/wonk-corner/lower-fees-more-student-grants-in-ireland/

3. NATESOL, who very kindly gave us ten free tickets for their annual conference next Saturday, 14th May, have asked me to give the conference one more plug: more info here https://www.natesol.org/event-details/natesol-annual-conference-2022-1 and PDF of programme below.

4. And, finally, I’ve just discovered The Blind Boy podcast, and I’m not quite sure what to make of it. Let me know what you think! https://play.acast.com/s/blindboy/the-anatomy-of-an-irish-wedding

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Friday, 6th May

1. The next Reading Applied Linguistics Research Circle talk is next Tuesday, 10th May, at 16:00 UK time. Tess Fitzpatrick will be talking about What word associations can (and cannot) tell us about the mental lexicon. Over the last fifty years, many claims have been made for the use of word association tasks – personality assessment and employment, to name just two – some solidly evidence-based, some less so. For the Zoom link, please contact r.h.jones@reading.ac.uk PDF of abstract below.

2. Here’s the Class Central list of MOOCs worldwide https://www.classcentral.com/report/mooc-platforms/ One to sit down and explore.

3. Three very listenable half-hour Radio 4 programmes on Wordsworth by Jonathan Bate https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000dqfg/episodes/player

Some weekend kitchen listening? Reminded me how good Wordsworth’s poems are when heard (rather than read inside one’s head).

4. Here’s a piece by Chris Arnade on walking as learning in cities, Why I Walk https://walkingtheworld.substack.com/p/why-i-walk-part-1?s=w

And here’s his follow-up piece with practical tips (for city dwellers), How to Walk (12 miles a day) https://walkingtheworld.substack.com/p/how-to-walk-12-miles-a-day?s=w

5. And, finally, how to say ‘Can I Have a Beer, Please?’ in 10 languages https://youtu.be/oAQSakrbHx4

Works for orange juice too, with minor adjustments!

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Multi-lingual-cultural Thursday, 5th May

1. The latest issue of the Teaching in Higher Education journal is a special issue devoted to Critical perspectives on teaching in the multilingual university, and it “transcends disciplines, fields of concern, and any single higher education context”.

The editors – Ibrar Bhatt, Khawla Badwan and Mbulungeni Madiba – “are delighted to include articles from researchers based across ten countries, with research insights from studies conducted within Pakistan, Timor-Leste, South Korea, Bangladesh, Somaliland, Afghanistan, Fiji, Columbia, and the UK (including Northern Ireland)”.

Available here (access interestingly provided by the British Film Institute) https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cthe20/27/4 PDF of the editorial below, and you can download any others that interest you. (Let me know if that proves a problem.)

2. Here’s the first of three blog posts by Silvana Richardson that summarise a panel webinar hosted by The Bell Foundation on the topic of Welcoming Refugee Children. https://www.bell-foundation.org.uk/news/welcoming-refugee-children-advice-and-guidance-for-schools-1/ There’s a link to the recording of the webinar at the end of the post, plus other useful links.

The second post is here https://www.bell-foundation.org.uk/news/welcoming-refugee-children-advice-and-guidance-for-schools-2/ and the third is yet to be published. The stimulus was clearly Ukraine but much more widely applicable – alas!

3. The IATEFL Research SIG has published a number of books in recent years https://resig.weebly.com/books.html

Here’s the latest, edited by Harry Kuchah Kuchah, Amira Salama and Ana Inés Salvi, Teachers Researching their Classroom Questions: Reports from Africa https://resig.weebly.com/uploads/2/6/3/6/26368747/teachers_researching_their_classroom_questions_-_reports_from_africa_-_digital.pdf There’s a very simple, irrefutable logic to teachers researching their own classroom questions. PDF below.

More information on the IATEFL Global Issues and Research SIGs joint project with Africa TESOL here https://resig.weebly.com/resig-gisig-project-with-africa-tesol.html

4. Slavenka Vukovic-Bryan has now been publishing her interesting podcast, Two Worlds, One Me for over eighteen months. In each episode, she talks to someone who has left the country of their birth to live and settle in another country. “Over a cup of coffee, we share feelings and life stories, and we learn from each other’s experiences.” https://twoworldsoneme.buzzsprout.com/1472578

5. And, finally, I think I could make a good case for this being both multicultural and multilingual, Sam Leith talking to Simon Kuper about his (Simon’s) new book, ‘Chums: How a Tiny Caste of Oxford Tories Took Over the UK’ https://www.spectator.co.uk/podcast/simon-kuper-how-a-tiny-caste-of-oxford-tories-took-over-the-uk

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Wednesday, 4th May

1. Here’s an interesting report by Jason Anderson from Warwick University, ‘Learning from Indian teacher expertise: A policy and practice report for educational organisations in India’, which examined eight experienced teachers’ classroom practice in detail and found “that their practices, cognition and professionalism had much in common, both with each other and with expert teachers studied in other contexts around the world” https://www.researchgate.net/publication/359921836_Learning_from_Indian_teacher_expertise_A_policy_and_practice_report_for_educational_organisations_in_India

PDF below and, I’d claim, lessons here for educational organisations beyond India.

2. Here’s a thoughtful post on the ReMaLIC blog by Saraswati Dawadi on the ‘Challenges faced by researchers when working with marginalised people’ http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/REMALIC/

Just how do you reach and engage with the people on the margins of society who are rarely reached or engaged with?

3. I used the expression ‘a sprat to catch a mackerel’ with a (much) younger colleague recently and was met with a blank look. Here’s a Payhip sprat from Nik Peachey with which he hopes to catch a mackerel – but the sprat is free! https://payhip.com/b/rDiph

4. A well-known phobia this week, the third most ‘popular’ in the UK. Here’s Kate Andrews’ account in The Spectator of a half-day course she took to cure herself of it https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/has-carole-the-tarantula-cured-my-arachnophobia

5. And, finally, who’s up for a virtual reality headset equipped with a phased array of ultrasound transducers that provide haptic feedback on the mouth? I’m not sure I am!  https://www.futurity.org/lips-virtual-reality-haptics-2733592-2/

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Partly Climate Tuesday, 3rd May

1. Heartbeat of the Earth is a new Google initiative ‘exploring rising sea levels, acidifying oceans, and more’ https://artsandculture.google.com/story/dAURnqK6udbDWA

2. Here’s more than twenty Environmental Issues Lesson Plans for English Language Teachers from eslflow https://eslflow.com/environmentlessonplans.html Don’t let yourself be too easily put off by the adverts!

And here’s the founder of eslflow, Peter Snashall’s blog-cum-newsletter https://eslflow.substack.com/

3. The Tony Blair Institute recently published a report on higher education (HE) that usefully restated the case for greater participation – ‘the more students, the better’ – at a time when it’s beginning to be the orthodox view in the UK that too many young people now go into HE https://institute.global/policy/we-dont-need-no-education-case-expanding-higher-education

The report says that young people “will increasingly require a combination of aptitudes such as critical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills, alongside technical knowledge, to prosper in the labour market of the future”.  PDF of the whole report and of the summary below, plus WONKHE commentary from Andy Westwood of Manchester University on some of the ad hominem criticism of the report here https://wonkhe.com/blogs/targeting-blair-we-ignore-calls-to-address-inequality-and-improve-productivity-at-our-peril/

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4. Very much on the same theme, there’s an OECD webinar at 13:00 UK time this Thursday, 5th May, exploring How does higher vocational and professional tertiary education differ across countries? More info and registration here https://meetoecd1.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_gwKWkUvNQHW48_DOqLZ4aw

5. And, finally, also this Thursday, at 17:00 UK time, Ethical complexities when researching motivation in language education is the title of the talk that Ema Ushioda is giving for Moray House https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ethical-complexities-when-researching-motivation-in-language-education-tickets-313238824757 Ema will be considering ‘whose motivations and interests are really at stake, and whose motivations and interests (should) ultimately matter’.

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Multi-lingual-cultural Thursday, 28th April

I have a day off tomorrow for my stepson’s thrice-Covid-postponed wedding and it’s the Early May Bank Holiday next Monday, so I’ll be back next Tuesday, refreshed – I hope!

1. Two from my colleague Ann to start with: The Study Group on Language at The United Nations are organising a symposium, Multilingualism and COVID-19: Lessons Learned and Looking Forward on 3rd and 4th May. Website here with a range of documentation https://www.languageandtheun.org/ and PDF of flyer below.

Register here before 30th April https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfAlM0K0ZqGHdhyzgbJo09sSDxFbJsqNUti-6GB77o3laRcFA/viewform

2. And here’s Ann’s second suggestion, the ‘joyously nerdy’ (Buzzfeed) Lingthusiasm podcast https://lingthusiasm.com/  They discussed language policy and official languages this week https://lingthusiasm.com/post/682191350734667776/episode-67-what-it-means-for-a-language-to-be

Here’s a list of episodes by topic https://lingthusiasm.com/topics

3. Next Wednesday, 4th May, at 16:00 UK time sees the next Birmingham University MOSAIC group seminar with Vally Lytra and Vicky Macleroy from Goldsmiths College talking about Language Education Collages and their recent book, ‘Liberating Language Education’; PDF of abstract below; more info and registration here https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/education/research/mosaic/events/vlytra-vmacleroy-language-education-collages.aspx

Is that language education that liberates or the liberation of language education, I wonder? Only one way to find out!

4. Next Thursday, 5th May at 10:30 UK time, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) invite you to a talk by Diane Pecorari from City University in Hong Kong on Understanding and supporting academic integrity in the educational experience of second-language users of English. More info and registration here https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/academic-integrity-from-the-second-language-users-perspective-tickets-310972385777

“These students are often said to be particularly vulnerable to academic integrity violations (or accusations thereof); at the same time, a small but growing body of research on academic integrity challenges this widespread belief. So, what do we really know about the extent to which questions about academic integrity present unique contours for second-language users of English?”

5. And, finally, how about giving the Babbel YouTube play list a whirl? https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuqhmu8Eu8-niCKVTI2tJ4FjvytzSPmMs

It includes four engaging short videos with one of Babbel’s linguists, Jennifer, on “some of the most interesting facts about language that you’ve never heard of” – with what I suspect is a carefully composed living room backdrop. Or maybe some people live in rooms like that?

Multilingual Manhattan – The Polyglot Tour is another good one https://youtu.be/Q0r0eUSqWVI

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