Climate Tuesday, 25th January

1. Climate Questions is a weekly BBC podcast. Here’s all the full episodes and here’s a page of short clips, two- to three-minutes long, that might work quite well in the classroom

Here’s an audio clip from Behavioural changes that helped stop Cape Town running out of water

and here’s a video clip from Why are we still buying the world’s most polluting car? which ends with the question, Would you give up your car to save the planet? 

2. Here’s the food episode of the TILclimate (Today I Learned: Climate) podcast from MIT, Today I Learned About What I Eat Each episode of the podcast is about fifteen minutes long and is accompanied by an ‘educator guide’ (You can also download teacher notes and student activities separately.)

Two key take-aways? 30% of all food in the USA gets wasted and over 40% (!) of the land is used for raising livestock for food.

In addition, there’s a general guide to using TILclimate materials PDFs of both ‘What I Eat’ educator guide and general guide below.

3. Here’s an accessible fifteen-minute talk by Ros Rickaby from Oxford University, Can we remove carbon from the atmosphere? (The video starts three minutes in.)

4. Here’s a longer read from the new issue of International Affairs on Researching climate justice: a decolonial approach to global climate governance by Jan Wilkens and Alvine R. C. Datchoua-Tirvaudey PDF below as well.

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5. And, finally, if you tasted – survived? – some of those obsessive coffee videos last Tuesday, here’s a similarly detailed (written) account of fashionable ‘bean-to-bar’ chocolate from the Vittles food blog. Spoiler alert: much of it is far from bean-to-bar

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Monday, 24th January

1. ‘Embedding resilience’ is the title of the next British Council Education Exchange event, with speakers from Nigeria, Moldova, India, the USA and the UK. More info – worth following up the links embedded – and registration here See if you can spot which speaker wrote their own blurb!

2. Here’s Alexandra Mihai’s latest blog post, Time to reboot and start the new semester

In Alexandra’s own words: “At this point, it’s really difficult to talk about innovation and personal development. Most of us are simply hanging on and trying to plough through what feels like endless tasks, day after day. So, this week I’m not aiming to cover a new, exciting topic and lure you into adding something else on your list. Instead, I put together a list of 10 teaching-related things you could do at the start of the new semester. They range from very specific activities related to your course to broader pedagogical endeavours that you can of course continue throughout the semester. You can read this newsletter as a reminder, a “note to self”, a checklist and most of all a gentle nudge to reflect.”

As ever, a good list of resources at the end of her post, including this ‘Reflection Toolkit’ from Edinburgh University  

3. If words are what turn you (or a colleague on), you might like to take a look at the A S Hornby Educational Trust’s ASHDRA dictionary research awards “for research that leads to clear practical benefits for learners of English”

4. And, finally, some ‘visualisations’ of Which Values Children Should Be Encouraged to Learn, By Country from Anders Sundell

Some big differences between countries, not all of them ones you might have expected: who’d have thought that obedience would be least valued in children in Japan? Not me!

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Friday, 21st January

A little later this evening, as I’ve just driven home to Cambridge from Yorkshire, much enjoying BBC Radio 3’s ‘The Miser’ and BBC Radio 4’s ‘The Woodlanders’ en route!

1. I’m meeting Ben Knight in the pub in Cambridge next Tuesday evening, but not until after he’s given his talk on ‘Helping your students become independent learners’ at 13:00 UK time next Tuesday, 24th January I guess he thinks he might need a drink?

2. What makes a great novel? How is a novel woven together? How can we best appreciate works of fiction? Find out on this University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh International Book Festival FutureLearn course, How to Read a Novel

3. There’s a stellar line-up at 20:00 UK time on Thursday, 27th January for the Best and Brightest of English Language Teaching (BBELT) conference preview event: more info and registration here Those of you with long memories will notice that the BBELT acronym has been re-interpreted!

4. I very much hope that this UK Royal Society blog post, We are not powerless in the face of online misinformation, is right PDF of the full report, ‘The online information environment: Understanding how the internet shapes people’s engagement with scientific information’, here and below.

5. And, finally, some predictions from NESTA for 2022 to mull over over (MS Word didn’t like that repeated ‘over’) the weekend in their Future Signals series

Will your next avocado be grown in Aberystwyth? – probably not if you live in Bogotá – and The rise (and rise) of screen time for kids – equally probable if you live in Bogotá – are two of the nine think pieces currently available.

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Multilingual Thursday, 20th January

1. Thanks to Ann Veitch for this one: great new mini-site from the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) on Varieties of English

“The OED has always included words from across the English-speaking world. What’s changed – drastically – since the first edition (first published in fascicles – instalments – between 1884 and 1928) is the size and breadth of the English-speaking population.”

More on the history of the OED here

2. The new issue of Chatham House’s International Affairs journal is free to view, and it’s a special issue guest-edited by Jasmine K. Gani and Jenna Marshall on Race and Imperialism in International Relations: theory and practice

Here’s the editors’ introduction, ‘The impact of colonialism on policy and knowledge production in International Relations’ PDF below.

3. I’ve mentioned OASISOpen Accessible Summaries in Language Studies – before It aims to “make research on language learning, use, and education available and accessible to a wide audience.”

Try a search for ‘multilingualism[summary_general_research_area_sim][]=32&locale=en&q=&search_field=all_fields

or for ‘translanguaging

4. Eaquals are now running a series of webinars in languages other than English. Robert Martinez is opening the batting with Mejorando la interacción entre estudiantes en lecciones híbridas at 10:00 UK time next Monday, 24th January.

More info here

and registration here

5. And, finally, listen and read ‘On Pleasing’, read here by the author, Kimiko Hahn

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Wednesday, 19th January

1. Trinity run an interesting Transformative Teachers series of webinars; you’ll find both recordings and details of future events here Register for the next one, ‘Am I Good Enough?’ with Paula Medina, at 16:00 UK time on Wednesday, 26th January, here

“What does it mean to be a good teacher? This session will look at both the challenges and advantages of teaching as a non-native speaker of English.”

2. The partners in the European Language Grid initiative aim to establish it as “the primary platform for Language Technology in Europe”, and they seem to have made a pretty good start Explore? Explore!

3. The 2022 Hay Festival in Cartagena de Indias doesn’t start until 27th January, but you’ll need time to explore the programme, I think. It’s a hybrid (and bilingual) event: for most of us that will mean digital or – for a lucky few – in person

I’ve booked for a number of events, including Patrick Radden Keefe in conversation with Verónica Smink at midnight UK time (!) on Wednesday 26th January and Reni Eddo-Lodge and Djamila Ribeiro in conversation with Vanessa Rosales at (the more civilised) UK time of 17:00 on Saturday 29th January.

4. I wonder whether the pandemic cloud has had a silver lining for those of us who suffer from apanthropy (as I do occasionally)? All the book festivals one could possibly want and none of the crowds ….

5. And, finally, Alan Bennett, a ‘professional Yorkshireman’ a generation older than me and someone I can imagine suffers from at least intermittent apanthropy, reading extracts from his diary for 2021 for the London Review of Books podcast.

I’m never quite sure how well Alan Bennett’s whimsical humour travels outside the UK – let me know, please!

More LRB podcasts on an eclectic range of themes here

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Climate Tuesday, 18th January

1. ‘Teachers have their say: Motivation, skills and opportunities to teach education for sustainable development and global citizenship’ is the title of a report on a survey of 58,000 teachers worldwide conducted by UNESCO and Education International

The good news is that teachers feel they have the power to help learners develop the knowledge, skills, values and behaviours to address global challenges and contribute to the building of a more just, peaceful, sustainable world, and many feel motivated to do so.

The less good news is that a quarter of teachers still do not feel ready to teach themes related to education for sustainable development (ESD) and global citizenship education (GCED).

Here’s a blog post summarising the main themes of the report PDF below.

2. Education International have also recently marked the climate homework of 95 countries, in terms of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as of September 30, 2021. NDCs are countries’ national climate action plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change.

The pass mark was 60% – and all 95 countries failed. Report summary and download here PDF below.

Only three countries scored 50% or more, and it might surprise you who they were:

C@@@@@@@ scored 58%;

the D@@@@@@@@ R@@@@@@@ scored 51%;

C@@@@@@@ scored 50%.

3. Lots more material to explore on the Teach for the Planet home page

4. Two short New Yorker videos on serious themes:

‘Reckoning with Laughter’, directed by Amber Fares, follows the Israeli comedian Noam Shuster as she returns home amid the COVID pandemic and quarantines with both Palestinians and Israelis;

‘Your Street’, directed by Güzin Kar, tells the story of Saime-Genç-Ring (street) in Bonn in Germany, named after the youngest victim of an arson attack in which neo-Nazis killed a Turkish family of five

Lots of other New Yorker videos here Frustratingly – here in the UK at least – a fair number of them are not available, though; see if you have better luck – or a VPN!

5. And, finally, how about some coffee? Perhaps an espresso? More on espresso here and here, verging on the obsessive some people might think, and lots more coffee videos here on James Hoffmann’s YouTube channel, which has 1.15m subscribers

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Monday, 17th January

1. Is Big Brother watching you watching (or not)? The next UCL Centre for Applied Linguistics Research Seminar is at 14:00 UK time this Wednesday, 19th January: Understanding the role of attention in second language acquisition: Empirical contributions from eye-tracking with Aline Godfroid from Michigan State University. Abstract below; register here

2. This coming Saturday, 22nd January, at 11:15 UK time, IH World are offering a Free Training Day for ELT Academic Managers and Trainers with:

George Pickering – ‘The principled manager: leading with the head and the heart’

Marie Willoughby – ‘Shifting sands: Causes, impacts and strategies to manage Trainer Trainer Imposter Phenomenon’ and

Lucie Cotterill – ‘Stepping into the Unknown – Future-proofing your Language Teaching Organisation’

More info and registration here

PDF of programme and talk abstracts below – just in case, like me, it’s not immediately clear to you what Marie Willoughby is talking about. NB: you need to register by Thursday 20th January.

3. The second in the TESOL Master Class series from China is at 11:30 UK time this Wednesday, 19th January. Lixian Jin from the City University of Macau will be talking about Approaches for Teaching Intercultural Communication Skills in ELT. More info and registration here – scroll down the page a little.

4. The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) now has a Girls’ Education Department, and here’s a blog post by the head of that department, Emma Spicer, on Educating girls despite a global pandemic

Emma’s department leads on the implementation of the FCDO’s five year plan for girls’ education, ‘Every girl goes to school, stays safe, and learns: Five years of global action’ PDF below in case that’s easier to access.

5. And, finally, meet the Feelings Monster! More info, ideas and materials here

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Friday, 14th January

1. Here’s another free-access piece from the next issue of ELTJ, Decentring ELT: teacher associations as agents of change by Darío Luis Banegas, Deborah Bullock, Richard Kiely, Harry Kuchah Kuchah, Amol Padwad, Richard Smith and Martin Wedell

Some interesting thoughts on what exactly constitutes ‘the centre’ from which one would wish to ‘decentre’ oneself. PDF below.

2. Is decentring the same as decolonialising, I wonder? Probably not quite. Decolonial perspectives on English language teaching with Lorena Bustos from the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota and Katalin Egri Ku-Mesu from the University of Leicester is the title of an IATEFL ESPSIG event at 18:00 next Monday, 17th January. More info and registration here

More free IATEFL events here

3. The first Eaquals webinar of 2022 is at 10:00 UK time next Tuesday, 18th January and is also concerned with where things should be centred: Gillian Davidson & David Byrne will be talking about Visible learning: Putting teachers at the centre of their development. More info and registration here

4. Which three of the following things do most teachers in the UK take with them to school at the beginning of a new school term: a plant for the classroom; a supply of painkillers; a supply of coffee or tea; some spare clothes? Find out here

5. Have you tried Wordle yet? A new word at midnight UK time every day, and it’s now keeping me up a little later than I might like on a regular basis … NB! American English spelling – was ‘favor’ on Tuesday!

6. And, finally, the shape of your supermarket shopping trolley handles affects how much you buy, according to a recent study of more than 2,000 supermarket customers, says the German business paper, Handelsblatt. Carts with wheelbarrow-style handles prompt an average spend of 25% more than the traditional horizontal bar, because wheelbarrow handles activate your biceps, which are psychologically associated with pulling things you want towards you. The bars of traditional trolleys activate your triceps, associated with pushing away things you don’t want.

Here’s a link to the original (you’ll need to register)

So why don’t more supermarkets have wheelbarrow-style trolleys, I wonder?

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Multilingual Thursday, 13th January

  1. Thanks to Fraser Bewick – thanks, Fraser! – here’s Philip Kerr’s typically forthright take on ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) and translanguaging,  Out with the old, in with the new: ELF and translanguaging and here’s his previous blog post on Multilingualism, linguanomics and lingualism

2. So, in the interests of balance, here’s an ELTJ piece by Li Wei on translanguaging, Translanguaging as a political stance: implications for English language education

Several more interesting pieces listed in the sidebar on the right, some of which are also free-access (bravo, ELTJ!):

this one by Francesca Helm is, Exploring English as a ‘glocal language’ in online EMEMUS

and this one by Christa van der Walt, Training multilingual English language teachers: challenges for higher education

PDFs of all three below – maybe save some for the weekend?

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3. Looking back: if you missed Emma Dafouz’s talk for UCL on English medium education ROADMAPPING for UCL the other day and as a result don’t know what EMEMUS (or ROADMAPPING) are, you can find it here, on the UCL Centre for Applied Linguistics YouTube channel:

Looking forward: if you’re quick, you can still book for Eowyn Crisfield’s talk for NATESOL on Multilingualism in the Classroom: Productive strategies for supporting teaching and learning at 10:00 UK time this Saturday 15th January You need to book by 17:00 UK time tomorrow.

4. Thanks to Mark Henebury – thanks, Mark! – here’s A Reading from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales by Jess B. Bessinger Jr, whose Middle English accent lives on twenty-seven years after his death:

And here’s a nice legible text of The Canterbury Tales

and a bit more on Middle English

5. And, finally, Joelle Taylor is a major force in UK poetry and she’s just won this year’s T S Eliot Prize.

Here’s her reading three of her poems:



and Heaven, 1995

talking about her work

and her website

And one more for luck, a bravura performance-reading by Joelle that I’ve just stumbled over:

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Wednesday, 12th January

1. Something for your students or children, probably, on the (I hope reasonable) assumption that not too many under-30s read this message: Youthwise is the OECD’s ‘Youth Advisory Board’ and applications are now being accepted. More info here  and registration here PDF with more info below

and here’s more on OECD work with youth

Me, I’ve never quite come to terms with the fact that you can be 30 and still qualify as ‘youth’.

2. A treasure trove from King’s College London, Working Papers in Urban Language and Literacies

PDFs of one by Ben Rampton, Sociolinguistics: 50+ years in under 10 minutes, and one by Pippa Sterk, Navigating airport security as a Person of Colour, below. If you register with (for free) you can download them all and a whole lot more besides.

3. Two good recent pieces on the Cambridge University Press and Assessment website:

Diary insights into teaching during lockdown

and Why don’t we just put our high stakes exams on screen?

4. PMQs – Prime Minister’s Questions – was an especially bruising encounter for Boris Johnson today: Starts just shy of eleven minutes in.

5. And, finally, Pride or Prejudice: How we Read Now – three half-hour BBC Radio 4 programmes on Reading, Teaching and Writing Novels with Abigail Williams from Oxford University

Did Elizabeth Bennet or Fitzwilliam Darcy suffer from this week’s phobia, pistanthrophobia, I wonder? Or any other characters here?

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