Thursday, 27th April (Richmond)

1. Just in time, I hope, this one: Creativity and 21st century skills in English language teaching is the title of tomorrow’s mini-event from TeachingEnglish which features four webinars with ELT experts from around the world, with the first one starting at 11:00 UK time. More info and registration here

2. ‘An astonishing regularity in student learning rate’ is the title of a new research article published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the research question for which was ‘(Why)  do  some  students  learn  faster  than  others?’ “Much to our surprise”, the authors say, “we found students to be astonishingly similar in estimated learning rate (..) These findings pose a challenge for theories of learning to explain the odd combination of  large  variation  in  student  initial  performance  and  striking  regularity  in  student  learning rate.”

Here’s a summary from Futurity

and here’s the article itself, which is pretty readable as long as you’re able to take the byzantine formula in Figure 1 on trust – or understand it! PDF below.

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3. Here’s a piece from History Today by Erik Linstrum, It’s Not Just Cricket: did the British Empire have a culture? “Like so much else, the modern idea of culture is an invention of the Victorians. In fact, they invented it more than once. Poet Matthew Arnold famously opted for an elitist definition – ‘the best that has been thought and known’ – because he feared the flattening and dehumanising effects of mass society.”

Two other pieces by Linstrum here Legalised Lawlessness: the British empire’s playbook of force and Boredom and the British Empire: the promise of exotic thrills in distant lands built up expectations which inevitably collided with a mundane reality.

4. And, finally, courtesy of The New Yorker, a new novella by Joyce Carol Oates, ‘The Bicycle Accident’

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