Wednesday, 21st July

1. I’ve mentioned Oxford University Press ‘position papers’ before. Here’s one on The Role of the First Language in English Medium Instruction https://fdslive.oup.com/www.oup.com/elt/general_content/global/expert/oup-expert-english-medium-instruction.pdf?cc=us&selLanguage=en&mode=hub – PDF copy below – further below than I’d planned!

When I started teaching, the ‘direct method’ was at the height of its influence and the unthinking, evidence-free assumption would have been that there was absolutely no role for the learner’s first language in any foreign language classroom. But that was a while ago now …. Here’s a Wikipedia article (with ‘multiple issues’, alas!) on the Direct Method https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_method_(education)

You can find all the OUP ‘position papers’ and ‘focus papers’ here https://elt.oup.com/feature/global/expert/?cc=us&selLanguage=en

2. Here’s a short video from the REAL Centre (Research for Equitable Access and Learning) at Cambridge University on The Economics and Politics of Educational Reform https://youtu.be/DOYzIztjM6E It forms part of a book written in memory of Christopher Colclough, Reforming Education and Challenging Inequalities in Southern Contexts: Research and Policy in International Development. A Tribute to Christopher Colclough, and you can find more videos and more info on the book here https://www.educ.cam.ac.uk/centres/real/publications/reformingeducationbook/ Copy of the presentation at the book launch below

3. Admitting to anxiety is never comfortable. Here’s another piece from Cambridge, an interview with researcher Olivia Remes, who’s just written The Instant Mood Fix https://www.cam.ac.uk/stories/fightinganxiety and here’s her TEDx talk on How to cope with anxiety https://youtu.be/WWloIAQpMcQ

“Imagine”, she says, “there’s someone standing next to you all the time pointing out every! single! thing! you’re doing wrong. This is what millions of anxiety sufferers feel on a daily basis, and it’s awful.”

4. The week before last, I included what I uncritically described as a ‘thoughtful article’ on Artificial Intelligence and Education from the THE. Here’s an alternative view on that article from Michael Feldstein, which begins “This is an excellent article. I don’t mean that it is insightful or well-written. While it has its moments, overall, it’s an unenlightening mess wrapped in clickbait packaging. It is not good writing or good journalism. But it is a near-perfect illustration of how the popular representations of both artificial intelligence (AI) and cheating can be harmful” https://eliterate.us/ai-cheating-and-the-future-of-work/ And here’s that THE link again, just in case https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/does-rise-ai-spell-end-education

5. This week’s phobia? Porphyrophobia – not a good one to suffer from in the UK at present with all the lavender in full bloom!

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