Multilingual Thursday, 18th November

1. Good notice of this UCL Linguistics Circle event at 10:00 UK time on Wednesday, 1st December with Emma Dafouz from Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain: Approaching English-medium Education in Multilingual University Settings through the ROAD-MAPPING framework. Registration here and more info in the attachment below.

ROAD-MAPPING is a very clever acronym … explained in brief here

2. Even better notice of this NILE Insights event on Bilingualism at 16:00 UK time on Thursday, 2nd December, so you can register – and submit difficult questions in advance! More info and registration here

NILE are confident that, “If you are a teacher of English, a learner of other languages or just a language lover you might have asked yourself this question: what makes someone bilingual?” – tune in to find out the answer(s).

3. The best possible notice of this whole-day symposium on EMI in emerging contexts hosted online by the EMI Research Group at the University of Oxford on Thursday, 9th December, so you can make arrangements to attend. More info and registration here Round the world in seven hours!

4. Five free events from the Hay Festival featuring Matt Haig, Steven Pinker, Bill McKibben, Siri Hustvedt and Damon Galgut, who’s just won the 2021 Booker Prize with his novel, The Promise:

5. And, finally, two pieces of music that (some of) you might not have expected me to like  and

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Phobic Wednesday, 17th November

1. First, a blog for Cambridge University Press and Assessment (never to be acronymised, I’m reliably informed, as it sounds like a lollipop) by Chris Sowton celebrating Paulo Freire

Blog home page here

2. … and second, a blog for Pearson by Jeanne Perrett  including 10 free worksheets to teach values inspired by Disney characters that might be fun.

That said, I can well remember the ‘fun’ we had a few years ago when a colleague decided to develop materials inspired by a young man whose initials are H and P, but I’d expect Pearson to have got it right on copyright!

Blog home page here

3.Thai blogs are like London buses – don’t think I need to explain, do I?

Here’s Richard Watson Todd’s blog summary of a forthcoming ELTJ article on The languaging curriculum

and here’s the accompanying website for the ‘hobby course’ which repays the investment of a little time.

4. Dorian Gray did not suffer from eisoptrophobia – or did he, maybe?

5. And, finally, another letter from The Times, this one bemoaning the decline of the apostrophe, attached below.

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Climate Tuesday, 16th November

1. I’ve mentioned Dave Reay before. He and I worked together when I was in Edinburgh and I certainly recognise him in this sentence, “Reay is probably enthusiastic about a lot of things …”, from this article in The Guardian the other day, ‘Carbon is my thing’: the climate geek trying to erase his footprint’. He’s bought his own farm on the Mull of Kintyre, with the intention of repaying his and his wife’s lifetime carbon debt

2. How can schools go carbon neutral? is the title of this Education Exchange webinar from the British Council at 16:00 UK time tomorrow, Wednesday 17th November, during which we’ll hear from educators around the world about the innovative ways they are reducing carbon emissions with the involvement of pupils and the wider school community.

More info and registration here:

3. I don’t apologise for mentioning The Conversation yet again. Here’s a really good collection of post-COP reflections

plus, at 17:00 UK time this Thursday, 18th November, they’re convening a panel discussion with climate change experts reflecting on the summit and on what needs to happen next. on You can join on Facebook here

More info in the PDF below.

4. And, finally and non-climatically, because it’s tomorrow and sounds interesting, the next in the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics series of webinars, Gijsbert Rutten talking on Language planning in Europe in a historical perspective at 12:00 UK time tomorrow, Wednesday 17th November. Registration link here and more info in the PDF below.

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ELTons Monday, 15th November

I had expected to be reporting live from the ELTons awards ceremony in London today but was knocked for six by the side effects of my Covid booster jab yesterday. So, here’s what I’ve learnt from the online version of the ceremony.

This year’s winner of the ELTon for digital innovation is CIELL comics

The winner for the ELTon for innovation in learner resources is Fiction Express

The winner of the ELTon for course innovation is Our Languages

The winner of the ELTon for local innovation is the Facebook Live Team Teaching for the Palestinian English Curriculum and The Hands Up Project (United Kingdom) with UNRWA (Gaza)

The winner of the ELTon for innovation in teacher resources is Teaching English to Pre-Primary Children

Lots of truly global co-operation there! There were entries from 55 different countries this year. You can find all the finalists here:  

There were two outstanding achievement ELTon awards this year:

1. N S Prabhu, whose name is perhaps less well known than it should be but whose influence has been (and is still) felt in classrooms right around the world, not least as the champion of task-based learning

2. The A S Hornby Educational Trust, 60 years young this year, who need very little introduction to most of the readers of this message and with whom I’ve worked closely and most enjoyably for much of my own career

And, finally, by way of something completely different, this popped into my inbox today: Stephen Fry will give this year’s MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) annual lecture tomorrow, Tuesday 16th November at 18:30 UK time I’m not quite sure what to expect but I’ll tune in to find out!

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Friday, 12th November

1. Dip your toes into The Language & Power Podcast, which focuses on some of the language in and around COP 26 in Glasgow?

2. Good stuff from Dee Rutgers and colleagues at Cambridge University on how multilingual students perform compared to their monolingual peers, Multilingualism, Multilingual Identity and Academic Attainment: Evidence from Secondary Schools in England

 Here’s the whole article (‘a bit technical’, Dee says; PDF below, nonetheless!)

and here’s the website of the MEITS (Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies) project within which the research was conducted

Another article from the Education team in Cambridge looks more specifically at the UK’s national failure to learn languages

3. Here’s a short video introduction to the UNESCO Futures of Education Report: Reimagining our futures together and below you’ll find copies of both the full report and the executive summary.

“Our world is at a turning point. We already know that knowledge and learning are the basis for renewal and transformation. But global disparities – and a pressing need to reimagine why, how, what, where, and when we learn – mean that education is not yet fulfilling its promise to help us shape peaceful, just, and sustainable futures.”

[file x2]

4. And, finally, you don’t need to be a graduate of Sydney University to listen to the talk by Daniel Kahneman that they’re hosting at 23:00 UK time on Tuesday, 16th November. Registration here

Kahneman’s previous book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, was a huge success worldwide. His new book, Noise, is “an exploration of systemic flaws in human judgment and offers a simple process for how people and organisations can make better decisions”. We’d all better listen to his talk, then!

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Multilingual Thursday, 11th November

1. First of all, an invitation from my colleague, Ann Veitch: “Please join our EME in HE research / publication dissemination event on Wednesday 1st December, 13.00-15.30 UK time. This is our ‘launch event’ for the British Council perspective on EME in HE, the global EMI in HE mapping study and the EME in HE current practice case studies in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Link for registration and more details:“ I’ll remind you a bit nearer the time!

2. Next Thursday, 18th November, at 18:00 UK time there’s an online café in the Being Human festival with a focus on accent biases, where they come from and how they can be acknowledged and avoided. The café includes an ‘interactive accent bias experiment’ and a lightning talk on accent prejudice. More info and registration here    

3. Scroll down this page for recordings of the recent University College London Centre for Applied Linguistics EMI/EME events with Beatriz Gonzalez-Fernandez and Ernesto Macaro.

4. And, finally, a short video from Ready to Run that maybe not all of you will feel able to use in class plus accompanying learning pack (PDF below as well)

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Wednesday, 10th November

1. Two opportunities next Thursday, 18th November, to join this OUP web event with Jane Setter, Pronunciation for a Global World, at 09:30 and 17:30 UK time. More info and registration here and below is another copy of the OUP position paper on the topic just in case. Three cheers for international intelligibility: hip, hip, hurrah!


2. Time for a Thai perspective on ELT, I think. Here’s the research blog of King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi in Bangkok Assessment, ASEAN, class size, attitudes to native speaker teachers of English – and much more.

3. I missed Climate Tuesday yesterday, so here’s The Conversation’s current page on COP 26 by way of reparation Articles including meat eating, transport, shipping, wave power and – to my astonishment – the endangered coral reefs of Scotland!

4. Can Our Societies Withstand the Pace of Technological Change? was the title of a NESTA event last week with Azeem Azhar, the author of the well-regarded Exponential View newsletter on the future of technology and society The recording of the event is here Azeem talks about his new book, Exponential, and outlines “four areas of technology that are accelerating at exponential rates: AI and computing, biology, renewable energy, and manufacturing. These technologies are getting cheaper and more widely available but our institutions, from legal systems to businesses, are struggling to adapt to this pace”. Not free, strictly speaking, but at present – here in the UK, at least – the Kindle version of Azeem’s book is available from Amazon for 99p.

5. And, finally, this week’s phobia, metathesiophobia, will sit uneasily with that last item on Change …

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Monday, 8th November

No message tomorrow; back on Wednesday!

1. Starting next Tuesday, 16th November, Teaching pathways: How to teach listening

Learn over four sensibly-paced weeks how to design listening tasks and improve the active and effective listening skills of your students.

2. There was a good piece in the old-fashioned paper Guardian on Saturday that took a long time to make its way up onto the web, but it got there today: Should we leave the classroom behind? by Laura Spinney

“My 21-year-old goddaughter”, says Laura, “a second-year undergraduate, mentioned in passing that she watches video lectures offline at twice the normal speed. Struck by this, I asked some other students I know. Many now routinely accelerate their lectures when learning offline – often by 1.5 times, sometimes by more. Speed learning is not for everyone, but there are whole Reddit threads where students discuss how odd it will be to return to the lecture theatre. One contributor wrote: “Normal speed now sounds like drunk speed.”

So I guess that means I sound permanently inebriated!

3. And here’s another good piece by Spinney, who clearly had a productive weekend, that I chanced upon while waiting for the classroom piece to appear, Can history teach us anything about the future of war – and peace?

Steven Pinker famously claimed ten years ago that violence is declining. Not all historians agree.

4. This Naomi Klein piece from the London Review of Books, Let Them Drown: The Violence of Othering in a Warming World, is available to non-subscribers for this week only

There’s also a recording of the author reading the piece, which originated as the 2016 Edward W. Said London Lecture.

Said once described environmentalism as ‘the indulgence of spoiled tree-huggers who lack a proper cause’. Klein takes him gently but firmly to task for doing so.

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Friday, 5th November

1. This year’s ELTons awards ceremony will be live online at 13:45 UK time on Monday 15th November

and the shortlisted finalists this year are a truly global collection: New Zealand, Japan, Russia, China, Brazil, Gaza, Belarus ….

2. I’m not entirely sure what to make of a report entitled ‘Building a more equitable, sustainable, peaceful world through international exchange in a post-pandemic world’ written by the following countries (only): Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States See what you think?

To be fair to my British Council colleagues, they do observe in their contribution that “ … tolerance for inequity in partnerships between developed and developing countries is wearing thin. Low- and middle-income countries are demanding to be at the table when international research projects are discussed, fully involved in their design and equal recipients of the rewards – such as enhanced institutional reputations”. PDF below.


3. Next Wednesday, 10th November, at 16:00 UK time, Christopher Hart from Lancaster University will be giving the first talk in this autumn’s GoldLingS series on ‘Animals vs Armies: Metaphors and Metaphor Resistance in Anti-Immigration Discourse’. More info and booking here

“Immigrants to the UK are routinely denigrated by mainstream media as part of longstanding campaigns for more restrictive immigration policies. Amidst this discursive context, public attitudes toward immigration are generally negative (…) In this talk, I consider two metaphorical themes characteristic of anti-immigration discourse: militarising metaphors and dehumanising metaphors.”

4. You might like to pop into the PEN blog, Transmissions, over the weekend

This post by Andrew Lownie, The Mountbatten Materials: Censoring an Archive, was a bit dispiriting, though

5. And, finally, this really can’t be right, can it?

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Multilingual Thursday, 4th November

1. Next Monday, 8th November at 16:30 UK time sees the Cambridge Annual Distinguished Lecture on Second Language Learning and Teaching by Alastair Henry from University West in Trollhättan (wonderful placename!), Sweden: Motivational Persistence in Multiple Language Learning: Identities, Vision, and Goal Self-Concordance

More info and registration here:

“Endurance is crucial to success in language learning. Along the often long road to fluency, diversions, hurdles, and setbacks can be many.”

2. Next Thursday, 11th November, at 09:00 UK time on the other side of the world from Trollhättan, is the next ‘Zoominar’ in Universitas Negeri Jakarta’s ‘Language, Society, Education’ monthly programme, with Fauzia Shamim from Ziauddin University in Karachi, Pakistan talking about the ‘Effects of digital multi-modal communication on language norms, conventions and use’.

Zoom meeting ID 9747372 6718 and password PASCAUNJ (I think that’s all you need, but I’ll check.)

“There has been an exponential increase in multi-modal communication mediated through digital media in recent years, especially during the pandemic. This study investigates how the use of various digital media platforms and apps by Generation Z has impacted the norms, conventions and use of language, including grammar, vocabulary and appropriacy in regard to purpose and audience. The findings have important implications for teaching-learning of English language in higher education settings, particularly in non-native English speaking countries.”

3. I’m reliably informed that ‘the NATESOL beast will awaken for the new academic year with a very interesting presentation for EAP practitioners’ next Saturday, 13th November, at 10:00 UK time: ‘Connecting language across the curriculum: inclusion, differentiation and access through EAP’ with Bee Bond from Leeds University.

More info and registration here

“In this webinar, (Bee) will begin by questioning the purpose and position of EAP in the curriculum. Drawing on practical and insightful case studies, (she) will outline the impact that ignoring language(s) in the curriculum can have on both students and staff.”

4. There’s a free event from the UK National Centre for Writing at 19:00 UK time next Tuesday, 9th November: Meet the World: Barcelona, written and translated will celebrate the recent publication of The Book of Barcelona, about a city which is ‘a melting-pot of cultures and (…) (a) myriad truths’.

Registration here:

5. And, finally, this year’s Being Human festival starts next Thursday, 11th November. See what you can find here that you fancy Pickles, Dickens, biohacking and accents included …

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