Wednesday, 4th August

1. Ample notice of this event at 14:00 UK time on Thursday 12th August as you may wish to do some prep for it with your students: the Global LEAD #WatchOurImpact Dialogue, a partnership between UNICEF’s Generation Unlimited and USAID’s Global Lead programme. More info and registration here

More on Generation Unlimited here

and on Global Lead here

Might be hard to keep track of the abbreviations and acronyms!

2. The Coding Mindset is the most recent edition of the Pearson English Podcast. A new term to me, ‘coding mindset’. Podcast and explanation here

Direct link to podcast here (so you don’t keep clicking in vain on the forward arrow, as I did, but maybe that was a practical illustration of the coding mindset?).

3. I’d not come across this UNESCO list of the 1,154 World Heritage Sites before Lots of fun to be had exploring!

Used to be 1,155 until Liverpool lost its World Heritage status recently, alas.

4. Here’s a grim but well-written piece from Gerry Hassan for The Scottish Review on Scotland’s struggle with drugs-related deaths, which “has earned Scotland the unwanted moniker of ‘the drug death capital of Europe’”.


5. And, finally, this week’s phobia, suggested by my colleague Steve, is igniterroremophobia. Steve says, “It’s hard to tell if some of these are just made-up nonsense…”

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Tuesday, 3rd August

1. “There is a very long way to go for us all to fight against racial discrimination and hatred”, says Professor Li Wei, appointed earlier this year as Dean of the University College London Institute of Education. At one level, Li Wei has clearly been successful in his own fight against racial discrimination; as he explains in this piece for tesol journal, he now wants to help others win their fights PDF below.

2. “Those in charge often have no experience of the problems they’re trying to solve and so are slow to find effective solutions.” This episode of the BBC Radio 4 series Equitable Leadership is an interview with Baljeet Sandhu, a pioneer of the Lived Experience Movement and founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Knowledge Equity here in the UK, who believes ‘knowledge equity’ can make policy-making more progressive

3. Last Monday, I mentioned the debate, Is Privatisation of Education Really a Solution? Here’s one contribution to that debate, Public Education Works: Five Lessons From Low and Middle-Income Countries–sYuyzixgzDgVSuiE220EIMueZGkqsHayu5UEHTWSNWxed1lZx2TiNY2FhOCoZdKWpHexLX5cH4UegDlXve-pVulb5dmqJ2TNwNLqAElRZE5qi2P-JuVRj0x8_R6ynHPeq5LbzZ0YWxwAcFg3n_CMFJHIDgcnp7nH_8cEwtS6CNAuUP4JXEbMQUazrq8I=?nonce=9oishsc949o4u&user=102819316364724173377&hash=u3juvv0v0gtmpiu0mptp1r3q1kj4gh4k

That’s a horrendously long link which probably contains information on what I ate for lunch as well as the length of my inside leg, so there’s a PDF as well, below.

4. And, finally, here’s a simple recipe which – wonderful typo – makes ‘four sandwishes’

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Monday, 2nd August

1. And, firstly, just for a change this evening, an extraordinary exercise in patience and skill Deeply depressingly, one of the comments on the tweet where I first saw this said, ‘Why bother?’ ….

2. I mentioned Richard Smith’s ELTJ article, A brief history of ELT Journal back in March. I’ve just discovered Richard’s short introductory talk on his article

Slightly strangely, it’s the first item in this Oxford University Press YouTube playlist on Grammar and Vocabulary

3. The sixth podcast in The Climate Connection series is out, on Global Schooling

Here’s the direct link to the podcast itself

PDFs below of show notes and transcript.

4. And while we’re on the subject of climate, here’s The Guardian’s compilation of one month’s worth of extreme weather This link works for nearly everyone, it seems, but not for me – my YouTube profile is in a tizzy over ‘restricted mode’.

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Friday, 30th July

1. This one’s nothing to do with English at all, as it works with the three most common modern foreign languages in the UK (French, German and Spanish), but it will I hope be of general language learning and teaching interest (and in the meantime I’ll look for one for English) – the MultiLingProfiler from the UK National Centre for Excellence for Language Pedagogy (NCELP)

2. I’ve included a couple of pieces on the uses of AI (Artificial Intelligence) in education recently. Here’s a blog post on the same topic from Nick Saville of Cambridge Assessment

Nick claims that “there is a huge opportunity to improve learning outcomes with the appropriate use of digital technology, such as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) that is specifically designed for educational purposes.”

3. The next in the Queen’s University Belfast Centre for Language Education research seminar series, at 13:00 UK time next Friday, 6th August, is A primer on second language English pronunciation assessment with Dr Talia Isaacs from the University College London Institute of Education. More info and registration here

4. Something a little different from the Finborough Theatre – an online performance of Masks and Faces which includes a cameo performance from a well-known theatre critic that suggests they made the right choice of career!

A little more info on play and production here

5. And, finally, two video tours of the city of Edinburgh. Subtitles instead of a commentary, which works quite well, on this first one

and here’s another starring two men in kilts and accents Subtitles available!

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Thursday, 29th July

This is the inaugural Multilingual Thursday weekly message. (I may need some help remembering, Ann!)

1. The OUP EMI & CLIL Toolkit, full of lesson ideas to raise awareness of all the languages and dialects available in almost every classroom, just arrived in my inbox. Link here and PDF below for convenience

2. And here’s the TeachingEnglish publication, Using multilingual approaches: moving from theory to practice – A resource book of strategies, activities and projects for the classroom. Three sections: first, some light-touch theoretical background; second, practical classroom activities; third, further resources. Link here and PDF below

3. The Arctic Council has just launched its Revitalising Arctic Indigenous Languages campaign How many indigenous languages are spoken in the Arctic? 20? 50? 100? Read the piece and find out! The United Nations Decade of Action for Indigenous Languages begins next year.

4. The Welsh Government measures national well-being using a sophisticated set of 46 indicators, two of which – numbers 36 and 37 – relate to knowledge of and use of the Welsh language

Ask your students what a similar set of indicators to measure national well-being – happiness! – in your country might be?

5. And, finally, a survey that I’m not entirely convinced by on the best city in the world to study

Here’s a note on methodology

and here’s the full list

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Wednesday, 28th July

1. Good old World Bank! The clue’s in the first three words of the title: LOUD AND CLEAR: Effective Language of Instruction Policies For Learning, which I take to mean “Let us say this loudly and clearly, so governments around the world can hear” … PDFs of summary and the whole report below.

Here’s a taste of the summary: In some countries, children with three years of primary education cannot identify a single written word and may only know one letter. Without consideration of language of instruction (LoI) issues, one might erroneously conclude that teachers lack the knowledge and skills to teach, or that students are too disadvantaged to learn. An alternative, plausible consideration is that teachers are required to provide instruction in a language that students do not speak or understand. The low test scores in some instances simply reflect this near-total lack of understanding of the language used for teaching and/or testing; they do not indicate any inability to learn under the right learning conditions.

2. Two blog posts from TeachingEnglish: one on Finding the Unusual in the Usual

and a second on Word Wall – an excellent vocabulary building technique

Several more here

3. Here’s a recommendation from a friend in Thailand, Doug Lemov’s talk on Strategies to teach like a champion for the Open University of Catalonia It’s quite long but dipping in and out and watching in instalments works pretty well.

4. This year’s Booker Prize long list comprises 13 authors from 7 different countries; no translations, all written in English. Best to click on the photo of each book in ‘The Longlist’ section halfway down this page

Here’s a short introductory video with Maya Jasanoff, the chair of the judges this year

and here’s a really good introduction to all thirteen books by Eric Karl Anderson – who’s been doing this for several years now, unknown to me!

5. And, finally, today’s phobia – very common, it’s said – is one that I’ve never suffered from: mageirocophobia!

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Tuesday, 27th July

1. A wealth of pieces from The Conversation today:

bears in South Korea

the influence of science fiction on real-world military strategy

is a ‘sugar rush’ a real thing?

and the return to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan

2. The finalists for the 2021 ELTons awards have just been announced: it’s a wonderfully eclectic international mix this year!

3. A heartfelt letter from one Eritrean writer to another on the English PEN blog, Transmissions

4. And, finally, three bits of jazz with women in complete control: two pieces – the second a whole mellow concert – from Sunna Gunnlaugs, the Icelandic pianist  & and a third from the Cuban bandleader, Benny Moré

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Monday, 26th July

Earlier than usual today, as I’m busy later on.

1. At 14:00 UK time tomorrow, Tuesday 27th July, Is Privatisation of Education Really a Solution? In the organisers’ own words: “Through short interventions, this roundtable will share cross-cutting lessons outlined in this brief in order to offer inspiration to donors and implementing countries alike to renew their efforts for free public education and move away from the policies of the last two decades focused on private involvement and partnerships, which have shown their failure.”

2. Two events a week through till the end of August from Pearson English Assessment’s Summer Camp. The programme started last week and runs every Tuesday and Thursday until 24 August. More info and registration here

Past session recordings are also available via the links in case anyone would like to catch up – sorry I missed this last week!

3. Why I hate you and everyone like you: Election hostility explained A short video and a blog post from Dr Sandra Obradović of the London School of Economics (LSE): video article

LSE research around the 2019 general election in the UK “identified an alarming level of animosity towards both politicians and fellow voters. Negative feelings about the electoral process, the people who represent the electoral system and fellow citizens who might vote differently have important consequences for the health of a democratic system”.

For serious discussion with your more senior students?

4. And, finally, a little more on cheating online, with companies now not only offering to write essays for their customers but also to attend seminars on their behalf! (A comment below the article makes it clear that this problem is not related to only one country.)

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Friday, 23rd July

1. Here’s some reading for the weekend, this year’s ELT Masters dissertations ‘honours board’ The outright winner was Zening Yang from the University of Bath for her dissertation entitled: Motivational Strategies in an Online Learning Environment: L2 Teacher Cognitions and Practices

Special commendations went to Shehnaz Rafiq from Manchester Metropolitan University: Perceptions of Phonics Literacy Strategies in Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) for Non Literate Learners; Laura Nayeli Mendez Perez from the University of Bristol: Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of three Mexican national English Textbooks; Gui Afonso Henriques from St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London: A Study of CELTA Trainers’ Understanding and Operationalisation of CELTA Assessment Criterion 2g: “providing appropriate practice of language items”.

PDFs of those four dissertations below and you can download all the others commended.

2. From NESTA – EdTech usage during the pandemic: A story in four graphs

3. Try the Oxford Placement Test for free

4. On Tuesday, 27th July at 14:00 UK time, you can join a Global Education Summit Side Event: Meeting the Education Needs of Displaced Children and Young People More info and registration here A stellar line up of speakers, led by my favourite ex-prime minister!

5. And, finally, How to Write, a podcast from the UK National Centre for Writing You’d prefer to translate? OK! Many more here

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Thursday, 22nd July

1. I should have included this one yesterday – sorry! The Hay Festival’s free Book of the Month event for July at 19:00 UK time today, 22nd July, is Suzanne O’Sullivan’s The Sleeping Beauties (and other stories of mystery illness)

 2. This one’s not easy reading, and I should maybe have saved it for the weekend, but here it is anyway: a free-to-download collection of ten of the ‘highest impact’ articles from International Affairs I’ve presumed to download Joseph Nye’s article on The rise and fall of American hegemony from Wilson to Trump and you’ll find it below. Here’s the opening paragraph to give you the flavour: Americans often describe their place in the world as ‘exceptional’. As Stanley Hoffmann once pointed out, every country likes to think of itself as unique, but two stand out in their claim that their values are universal: France and the United States. France, however, was limited by the balance of power in Europe. Only the United States ‘has tried to develop foreign policies that reflect such exceptionalism’ and has had the scope conferred by sufficient power to take an original path in the international jungle.

3. Lots of captivating videos here of classrooms around the world from the OECD. Here’s one from Colombia on Starting the Lesson with an Energising Game and here’s another, from Japan, on Monitoring Students and Pushing them Forward Lots more here

4. And, finally, see what you make of this, The Sun Sets Eight Times A Day Scroll down for the instructions in English – if you need to!

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