Thursday, 30th June

1. My tongue was slightly in my cheek – only slightly, mind you – when I shared that HBR piece on Tuesday about over monitoring workers and asked if it might apply to education. There was an article in yesterday’s Times Higher Education (THE) that asked, without its tongue in its cheek, Are universities over-assessing their students?

More than 10,000 undergraduate students took part in the survey reported on in the article, and on average each of them was asked to complete nearly seven summative assessments and four formative assessments each term. Seems a lot to me! Not sure whether ‘formative’ isn’t being used a bit loosely here, to mean assessment that doesn’t count towards one’s degree?

THE is also one of those publications that lets you sign up for free for a limited number of articles each month.

2. Here’s a piece from the EdTech Hub about A new research study on equity and SMS-based personalised learning in Kenya

Some sobering stats at the beginning of this piece, one of whose premises is that throwing hardware at an education problem is rarely successful.

3. Have you ever read a story originally written in Wolof? Maybe not. Now’s your chance! The latest short story from Words without Borders is An Ordinary Monday Morning by Boubacar Boris Diop, translated from Wolof by El Hadji Moustapha Diop & Bojana Coulibaly

4. I tucked this one away a while ago and forgot about it. It’s a PDF copy of a 1955 issue of Teaching English: A Magazine Devoted to the Teaching of the English Language in India

It includes a piece by Lionel Billows, Educational Aims in Language Teaching, which confidently proclaims that “(…) children, when they learned their first language, were helped by their isolation to an overpowering urge to communicate, and by the effervescence of their high spirits to utter sounds – if not words. This can be made use of in the learning of a new language by reproducing artificially the sense of isolation, in that no word of their first language is used in the classroom (my emphasis). Only in this way can they get the practice they need in learning not to feel bewildered in strange surroundings, to feel their way into a strange language.” We’ve come very nearly full circle since then in our attitude to the use of pupils’ first language(s) in the classroom! Might be fun with a cup of coffee over the weekend? PDF below.

And here’s a bit more about Billows from the Warwick ELT Archive Hall of Fame

5. And, finally, something that I hope works!

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