1. The December issue of HLT (Humanising Language Teaching) https://www.hltmag.co.uk/dec22/ includes a ‘video article’ by John Hughes, Cuisenaire Rods Today https://www.hltmag.co.uk/dec22/cuisenaire-rods-today which sent me off on a trip down Memory Lane to the time when, as a trainee teacher, I had an argument with Mario Rinvolucri during his demonstration of the Silent Way to my course, using Cuisenaire Rods.
As my memory has it – and I’m increasingly unsure about anything my memory may think it ‘has’ – Mario was teaching us Modern Greek, which involved us asking in Modern Greek for, for example, ‘two red rods’ or ‘three green rods’. I wanted to know how to say ‘thank you’ in Modern Greek when I’d been given the rods I asked for. For reasons I still don’t understand more than forty years later, Mario was most put out and refused to tell me, despite my digging my heels in with the support of my fellow trainees. I grew to love Mario, though!
Here’s a good short summary of the Silent Way https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/abs/approaches-and-methods-in-language-teaching/silent-way/75639151C49CFB9FECC02814BDE9200B
here’s the Wikipedia entry on the approach, which was developed by Caleb Cattegno in the 1960s https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Way
and here’s a selection of articles from the TeachingEnglish site on the Silent Way https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/article/silent-way
2. I’m just back this evening from the European Centre of Modern Languages (ECML) in Graz, which is a ‘partial agreement’ of the Council of Europe (CoE) – a ‘partial’ agreement because not all member states of the CoE are members of the ECML. (The non-members include the UK, sadly, but I’ll save my rant about the disgraceful manner in which we left for another day.) The CoE now has a much smaller languages department than it used to have in the days of John Trim and Joe Sheils, but it still produces some good stuff. Here’s two recent videos on plurilingualism: Plurilingualism/Pluriculturalism and (Language) Education with Enrica Piccardo https://vimeo.com/user82789672 and Engaging learners’ plurilingual and pluricultural competence with Angelica Galante https://vimeo.com/user82789672
3. Two videos about politics, democracy and a free press here in the UK:
i) the 2022 Leveson Lecture by Chris Bryant, The Truth Algorithm https://youtu.be/GTfRwxeEa8o With a bonus introduction by Hugh Grant ….
ii) the Hansard Society’s journal ‘Parliamentary Affairs’ 75th Anniversary Lecture by The Lord Speaker, the Rt Hon the Lord McFall of Alcluith, on The Future of the House of Lords https://youtu.be/wKS2R8GGaGc You might be surprised how informal, despite his grand title, and candid John McFall is.
4. And, finally and gleefully, the best piece of research ever, which endorses the habit of a lifetime https://theconversation.com/procrastination-the-cognitive-biases-that-enable-it-and-why-its-sometimes-useful-195845