Multilingual Thursday, 2nd December

1. The next event in Universitas Negeri Jakarta’s monthly Zoominar series is at 09:00 UK time next Thursday,  9th December: Tony Capstick from Reading University on Using case studies to understand language and migration.

In Tony’s words, “In this talk, I explore the relationship between language and migration by drawing on real-world case studies from across the globe. I focus on how we can use examples from different multilingual settings to explain language use and language learning and I end the talk with opportunities for participants to reflect on their own language use in an era of global interconnectedness”.

The Zoom meeting ID [945 7096 2427] and password [PASCAUNJ] are all you need – I was sceptical last time, but it worked!

2. Three different ways of joining the Hornby Trust’s sixtieth anniversary conference in collaboration with the Association of English Teachers India (AINET – not so much an acronym as an anagram!)  and the Centre for English Language Education at Dr B. R. Ambedkar University, Delhi, Decentring ELT: Opportunities and Challenges, at 13:00 UK time tomorrow:

the most informative is this Eventbrite link, which also has the programme

but you can also join via the AINET YouTube page  or their Facebook page

3. What is rapport? If you’d like to find out, there’s a ‘multidisciplinary core concept paper’ by Helen Spencer-Oatey free to download here PDFs of Helen’s explanatory note and the paper itself below.

4. And, finally, a chance to join the remote virtual audience for BBC Radio 3’s The Verb I hope it hasn’t booked up already!

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Wednesday, 1st December

1. Straight question: Should education leaders be listening to children? That’s the title of this OECD blog post that reports that children are overwhelmingly positive about their early learning experience. So what goes wrong later, then?

2. Here’s the latest issue of The Teacher Trainer which remains free to read for this issue. I’d like to think – as does Phil Dexter, no doubt! – that reading this issue will encourage you to subscribe. “Our different realities in this edition are situated in a number of countries – Venezuela, Sri Lanka, Italy, Spain, Cyprus, Poland, Hungary, France and the UK.”

3. My own (admittedly limited) experience of teaching in a mainstream school definitely endorses the conclusions of the research reported on in this piece in The Guardian, Children harmed by school streaming into lower ability groups, UK study shows

“Primary school children who are placed in the bottom ability group in their class go on to show increased levels of hyperactivity and emotional problems throughout childhood and early adolescence, ground-breaking new research shows.”

4. I’m not sure whether this week’s phobia is good enough: atelophobia.

5. And, finally, Does Your Sense of Authority Fluctuate Throughout the Day? Here’s a ‘tip of the day’  from the Harvard Business Review – PDF below.

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Climate Tuesday, 30th November

1. So this is what it’s like to be on the front line of climate change, is it?

2. Our new headquarters building in Stratford, to which I’ll be making what is still at present a rare visit tomorrow, is very ‘green’ And now I know the real reason why the water in the toilets is the colour it is!

3. Here’s BBC analysis of some of Greta Thunberg’s criticism of UK government claims regarding its reduction of greenhouse gas emissions policy: Is Greta Thunberg right about UK carbon emissions? Do you know the difference between a country’s ‘territorial’ emissions and its total annual emissions?

4. And, finally, Colombia through National Geographic and Disney eyes, respectively, as yet little influenced by climate change and

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Monday, 29th November

1. “Rather than closing the dialogue between teachers and researchers (…) we hope to widen the door and increase the amount of dialogue” is the avowed ambition of TESOLgraphics: TESOL research at your fingertips, launched earlier today I’ve not yet had time to explore.

2. Steven Pinker has a new programme on BBC Radio 4, Think with Pinker, described as ‘a guide to thinking better’

and the UK Open University have a matching ‘Pinker Page’ which includes two intriguing tests for you and your students to try, to assess how rational you are: Who is Linda? & The Four Cards. Scroll down the page for the tests.

3. A reminder that this Wednesday, 1st December (already!), at 13:00 UK time, there’s a wide-ranging discussion on English in higher education – challenges, opportunities, current practice and future trends chaired by Kristina Hultgren, Professor of Sociolinguistics and Applied Linguistics at the Open University  

4. And, finally, prompted by listening to Yard Act last Wednesday, two versions of ‘Damaged Goods’ by Gang of Four & I like them both but I know which one I prefer!

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Friday, 26th November

1. I’ve sometimes wondered whether I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), given my eagerness to line up all the jars in the fridge with the labels to the front, but I’ve never felt it necessary to get myself assessed. Here’s the OCD UK website, which suggests, on the one hand, that whatever I may or may not have is at the very mild end of the spectrum, but, on the other hand, more of us and our students may suffer from OCD than we appreciate

2. Two pieces on social mobility: a report from the UK Department of Education on which university degrees enable social mobility the most

plus commentary on the report from the wonks at WONKHE, which also explores issues of access to higher education

PDFs of both the whole report and the executive summary below.

3. One for a careful, well-prepared class discussion, perhaps? A post on the NESTA blog which looks at obesity and eating disorders, Healthy lifestyles: beyond single-issue thinking

4. And, finally, here’s some stories from ‘champion teachers’ from Mexico, skilfully edited by Deborah Bullock and Paula Rebolledo I’d like to think that all teachers are champion teachers! PDF below.

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Multilingual Thursday, 25th November

Bit of a focus on spoken language this week.

1. Practical Advice on Teaching English Pronunciation for a Global World: Teaching Towards International Intelligibility is the title of a webinar by Robin Walker for Oxford University Press at either 09:30 or 17:30 UK time next Wednesday, 2nd December. More info here

2. Two TeachingEnglish webinars in broadly the same area as Robin Walker’s above with colleagues from British Council Sri Lanka next Monday, 29th November, one at 11:00 UK time and the other at 12:15 UK time, Teaching Early Years Online and Phonics for teachers of Early Years More info and registration here

I rather doubt that my colleagues in Colombo (or anywhere else) teach Received Pronunciation; here’s more on that topic, including a wonderful recording of Lady Silvia Beatrice Coke!

3. Here’s the cover story from the new edition of Multilingual about the founder of the ‘language data network’ TAUS, Jaap van der Meer I willingly admit to being slightly intimidated by seventy-nine-year-olds who “frequently bike 70 kms to work”, if ‘bike’ means ‘cycle’.

One of the other pieces looks at something I’d not heard of before – that’s unusual, I don’t hear you say! – the Inglehart–Welzel Cultural Map Here’s the map itself Click to enlarge.

Rest of the new issue here

4. And, finally, I mentioned this FutureLearn course back in August, Multilingual Learning for a Globalised World but I think it merits another mention, as it’s available at present (in a self-access version) and a number of people have said they enjoyed doing it

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Wednesday, 24th November

Tonight’s message is clearly fated: two events I was going to include are either cancelled or sold out! I’ve made enquiries about the sold out one.

1. All That She Carried – The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles is this year’s New York Times non-fiction book of the year (Can someone let me know that review is available to non-subscribers, please?)

The inscription on Ashley’s sack, which she was given by her enslaved mother Rose, was embroidered two generations later by Ashley’s granddaughter, Ruth, and reads as follows:

My great grandmother Rose

mother of Ashley gave her this sack when

she was sold at age 9 in South Carolina

it held a tattered dress 3 handfulls of

pecans a braid of Roses hair. Told her

It be filled with my Love always

she never saw her again

Ashley is my grandmother

Ruth Middleton, 1921

2. This one’s a bit niche – read the eligibility criteria carefully – a scholarship on an ALTE Introductory Course in Language Testing next March

ALTE is the Association of Language Testers in Europe, who “work together to promote the fair and accurate assessment of linguistic ability across Europe and beyond”.

3. I’m unsure how this story might be spun by conspiracy theorists. Maybe they’d say we should neither be vaccinated nor clean our teeth?

4. Bit of a stretch, this week’s phobia: daknophobia. It is actually one I suffer from, following an encounter with a friend’s Alsatian dog many, many years ago when visiting for tea. Rumour has it, clearly in shock, I said, “I’m awfully sorry. I think your dog has bitten me”.

5. And, finally, my favourite act from The Selector birthday show tonight was Yard Act

Some of the guitar (and the politics) reminded me of another group from Leeds, Gang of Four; here’s two of their songs

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Climate Tuesday, 23rd November

1. Here’s a report by the Chatham House think-tank here in the UK on COP26, with a 500-word summary of key findings and a link to the full report PDFs of both summary and full report below.

2. Here’s a brand-new podcast from Chris Sowton and Kris Dyer for TeachingEnglish: Episode 1 is How can I integrate global issues into my teaching? Links to podcast, transcript and teacher’s notes all here Direct link to podcast here and PDFs of both show notes and transcript below.

3. Richard Everitt asked me last week what does the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) in Cambridge do, when we were sitting just around the corner from it. I think he knows the answer – the clue is in the name.

Here’s a film they’ll be showing and discussing at 14:00 UK time this Thursday, 25th November, Utuqaq ‘Utuqaq’ in the Greenlandic language, Kalaallisut, means “ice that lasts year after”, “ice with a memory”. I think the discussion will be online and I’ll post the link once I’ve found it, but the film speaks – beautifully – for itself.

Here’s the SPRI site too, for Richard’s benefit

4. And, finally, here’s one of Selector Radio’s ‘green sessions’, Louis VI performing ‘Orange Skies’

Selector Radio is celebrating its 20th anniversary at 17:00 UK time tomorrow, when it will be live here

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Monday, 22nd November

1. Next Monday, 29th November, sees the launch of TESOL Graphics, an ‘online repository of infographic summaries of secondary research in TESOL’. More info and registration here

I take this to mean quick, at-a-glance, visual summaries of research: look at it once and get the gist, without having to read the research. I think that’s a good thing …

2. Let’s talk about diversity in the classroom! is the title of Alexandra Mihai’s latest blog post, which offers not only a list of ten challenging questions to help us explore our unconscious biases but also a list of ten tips to help us incorporate diversity into our teaching meaningfully. Plus her usual excellent list of references!

3. Here’s a ready-made discussion for a class of older students

4. And, finally, I’d forgotten all about this section of the TeachingEnglish site Stacks of audio, video and print stuff:

try Francesca Beard

or China Mieville

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Friday, 19th November

1. I hadn’t realised that registration for this series of three workshops curated by Swansea University closes next Monday, 22nd November – sorry! Our first years in academia: Managing applied linguistics research alongside teaching and other tasks.

Registration and more info (in quite small print) here

2. Do you tell your students not to use Wikipedia? Why?

3. Do you understand what this paragraph is about? “Despite the multi-receiver sets, the spread option is a run-first scheme that requires a quarterback that is comfortable carrying the ball, a mobile offensive line that can effectively pull and trap, and receivers that can hold their blocks. Its essence is misdirection.” I wasn’t sure!

All will be explained here ‘Why background knowledge about the world can increase reading comprehension – even for facts you can just Google’

4. This was such a disappointment! This year’s European Poetry Festival in London is all face-to-face, with nothing at all online It’s all free, but I don’t think that’s quite right. I’ve been well and truly spoilt by my lockdown experience. And I realise that London is not where most of you are going to be next week, either: I’m just indulging myself by complaining!

5. And, finally, online poetry from both sides of The Atlantic:

three videos about Hannah Lowe’s poems about teaching and learning in London

and later today, at midnight UK time, readings by the members of the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of Poets in the USA – they look less grand than they sound!

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