Thursday, 1st July

1. You need to register on the National Poetry Day website to be allowed to download their learning materials; it’s well worth doing so https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/education/free-education-resource-downloads/ One example of (very) many lesson plans for all levels and ages built around a single poem here https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/NPD-2021-Resource-Poetry-By-Heart-7.pdf and attached below. Eletelephony ~“Once there was an elephant/Who tried to use the telephant …”

2. Fancy an intellectual challenge? Sign up for this year’s University of Birmingham Sinclair Lecture (in memory of Professor John Sinclair) at 18:00 UK time on Thursday, 8th July: Of wo/men and machines: an interdisciplinary take on language in use by Professor Dagmar Divjak https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/edacs/departments/englishlanguage/events/2021/sinclair-lecture-2021.aspx

Dagmar leads the Out of Our Minds project at Birmingham, which aims “to lead a step-change in research on language and language learning by capturing the linguistic knowledge adult speakers build up when they are exposed to a language in natural settings. These insights will help with the development of strategic language teaching materials to transform the way in which we teach foreign languages”.

There’s a short introductory video to the project here https://outofourminds.bham.ac.uk/ and an invitation to participate in their research here https://outofourminds.bham.ac.uk/participate/

3. I moved to Scotland in 2005, to work in our office in Edinburgh. Without any doubt, the biggest shock of my first few months was my first encounter with the strength and depth of ‘sectarian’ – Catholic vs Protestant – feeling, as expressed in very straightforward terms at a Dunfermline-Rangers football match. Here’s a piece by the eminent historian of Scotland, Sir Tom Devine, on what it means to be an Orangeman Protestant in Scotland today: https://www.scottishreview.net/TomDevine577a.html

4. And, finally, The Percussion Diaries by Bernhard Schimpelsberger, a story of rhythm and rumba drummers in Cuba, as shared by a colleague earlier today https://youtu.be/7S5C2cU1R9Y

I still blush when I remember the time my colleagues made me dance – arrhythmically – in public in Cuba …

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