Thursday, 27th October (Richmond)

1. Two free online courses from Alison – a company, not a person! An introductory one on Digital and Cyber Security Awareness and another, a diploma level course, Diploma in Global Digital Literacy

Another 3,293 free online courses (and a few adverts in passing) here

2. ‘Managing the madness: Strategies to promote and protect language teacher well-being is the (slightly ominous) title of a very watchable and informative webinar Sarah Mercer recently gave for Macmillan Education ELT Also on YouTube here

“This webinar makes us realize that to teach to the best of our abilities we need to be in the best physical and mental shape possible. We look briefly at why teacher well-being is not an indulgent luxury but the foundation of good practice. Then the main part of the workshop considers practical strategies for teachers to use to manage their negative emotions and stress, promote positive emotions, and regulate their time and work-life balance.”

More Macmillan ELT videos here

3. I’m always a little wary of titles like this one, Student Preference for Online Learning Up 220% Since Pre-Pandemic – 220% of what, exactly? But the increased readiness of students to engage with online learning post-pandemic is nonetheless clear

Here’s the full Educause report that the article is based on, 2022 Students and Technology Report: Rebalancing the Student Experience

4. A thoughtful piece by Jay Caspian Kang on Chinese-language-immersion schools for The New Yorker, Why Oakland Parents Are Flocking to a Chinese-Immersion School

Let me know if you can’t access this one or the next one, please.

5. And, finally, a mock-plaintive (I think) piece from James Heale, Will anyone buy my Liz Truss book?

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Tuesday, 25th October (Richmond)

1. Another good piece from the New York Times on Artificial Intelligence, A.I.-Generated Art Is Already Transforming Creative Work “I typed in ‘carrot parrot,’ and it spit back a perfect image of a parrot made of carrots,” said Collin Waldoch, a Brooklyn game designer. “That was the immediate ‘aha’ moment.”

2. The education of children in the United States may have been more damaged by the Covid pandemic than in other countries or less damaged, I don’t know. In the States, though, the impact of the pandemic was profound, as a recent National Assessment of Educational Progress report shows

3. Supporting Survivors of Modern Slavery is a short video from The Salvation Army about a surprisingly widespread problem in the UK (and other countries) today One of those where I’d claim there’s a lesson in there somewhere if you sit down with a good cup of coffee and think it through!

4. And, finally, a piece from Words Without Borders by Elin Anna Labba, The Deportation of the Northern Sámi The migratory reindeer-herding Sami people’s problems began, it seems, with Norwegian independence in 1905.

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Thursday, 20th October (Cambridge)

1. Zoom evidently have an interest in this collection from the Harvard Business Review, Reimagining Work, which they claim will offer us “ways to reinvent how, where, and when we work; find more passion, purpose, and meaning in (our) work; develop personal and organizational resilience; create successful team dynamics in a hybrid work world; and more!” See what you think! PDF below.

2. Echo chambers are bad for you! Relational diversity in social portfolios predicts well-being is the title of this open access research article from The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) “Assessing the social interactions and happiness of over 50,000 people reveals that interacting with a more diverse set of relationship types predicts higher well-being.” PDF below.

3. And sleep is good for you! Here’s a BBC podcast, Sleep Well, from Michael Mosley  Maybe not one to listen to in bed, though?

4. And, finally, the title of Bob Dylan’s new book, The Philosophy of Modern Song, says the New York Times, “is, in a sense, misleading. A collection of brief essays on 65 songs (and one poem), it is less a rigorous study of craft than a series of rhapsodic observations on what gives great songs their power to fascinate us”. Review and recordings here

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Tuesday, 18th October (Cambridge)

1. Had AI (Artificial Intelligence) been available when you were at university, would you have used it for your least favourite subjects? Students Are Using AI to Write Their Papers, Because Of Course They Are is the title of this article by Claire Woodcock in Vice magazine:

“I still do my homework on things I need to learn to pass, I just use AI to handle the things I don’t want to do or find meaningless,” says one of the students interviewed for the article.

One of the lecturers interviewed “worries that products like OpenAI’s text generator will make essay writing a moot point. ‘We lose the journey of learning (..) We might know more things but we never learned how we got there. We’ve said forever that the process is the best part and we know that. The satisfaction is the best part. That might be the thing that’s nixed from all of this.’”

2. Sticking with AI, here’s a thought-provoking piece by Michael Feldstein on his blog, eLiterate, Seeing the Future: Developing Intuitions About Artificial Intelligence, in which he recounts the fun he had asking – literally – the DALL-E 2 AI programme to interpret Rodin’s famous sculpture, The Thinker, from various perspectives, including that of a third grader, an artistic eight grader, Van Gogh and Salvador Dali

Here’s DALL-E 2’s own site

Now that’s a programme I would have used for my school art homework!

3. Why are Brookings Institution articles like London buses? Because you wait for ages for one and then two come along one after the other! Here’s another Brookings Institution piece, Reading with a caregiver trumps reading an e-book alone

I’m delighted they come to the conclusions they do. (Is that a sentence?)

4. And, finally, I’ve just read with huge enjoyment Tim Cornwell’s selection of his father David Cornwell’s (aka as John le Carre) letters. Here’s a Guardian piece about them

Reading them had additional poignancy for me as I knew Tim when I lived in Edinburgh and had pre-ordered the book several months ago, only to discover a fortnight ago that he’d died in May this year from a pulmonary embolism, the same thing I was lucky enough to survive two years ago.

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Thursday, 13th October (Richmond)

1. Teachers can change the world: scaling quality teacher professional development is the title of a recent Brookings Institution blog post which raises a number of the issues to do with teacher impact, cost and supply and includes some useful links

like this Rand Corporation report, Teachers Matter: Understanding Teachers’ Impact on Student Achievement (PDF below as well)

and this very comprehensive World Bank piece, Teachers Be sure to click on the Strategy, Activities, Impact/Projects and Resources tabs at the beginning, too.

2. The October issue of HLT (Humanising Language Teaching) is out It includes

TESTING TIMES – A Special Boris Johnson Resignation Edition: The Boris Johnson Taxonomy of Failure Excuses from Geoff Tranter and

The Didactic Usefulness of Proverbs in ELT Classes from Azzeddine Bencherab & Cigdem Cetiner

One of my own all-time favourite lessons involved the comparison of English and Croatian proverbs: ‘Don’t prepare the barbecue while the rabbit is still in the forest’ in Croatian becomes ‘Don’t count your chickens till they’re hatched’ in English, and whereas ‘One swallow doesn’t make a summer’ in English, in Croatian the appearance of a single swallow doesn’t mean it’s spring!

3. I’m not on Facebook, so don’t always spot stuff there very quickly (or at all). Here’s a page of short and lively TeachingEnglish videos covering a wide range of professional development for teachers of English

4. And, finally, here’s Bernardine Evaristo’s Read Your Way Through London from yesterday’s New York Times

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Tuesday, 11th October (Richmond)

1. It’s The International Day of the Girl Child today. Here’s an UKFIET blog post which usefully brings together a number of the posts on the UKFIET blog on girl’s education

Lots of other topics covered here

2. The OECD have just published their 2022 ‘Education at a Glance’ report. You can search it online here and there’s a (big) PDF copy of the whole report below, plus a copy of the Executive Summary only.

It’s not yet very comprehensive geographically: pretty much all the European countries are there and there’s good representation from The Americas (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica & Mexico), but coverage of the rest of the world is patchy.

[file x1]

3. The French writer Annie Ernaux just won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Here’s two articles about her from The New York Times (that I think I’m allowed to share): an interview and a collection of articles and commentary which includes – scroll halfway down – a guide to her most essential work

Someone please let me know that these links are working?

4. And, finally, an engaging, short and sad (25”) documentary film from The Guardian about the mining boom in Mongolia, Lady of the Gobi

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Thursday, 6th October (Cambridge)

1. First up, PDF of a piece for Black History Month from Harry Kuchah, the immediate past president of IATEFL, plus a map of Africa he used to make his point that his continent is not one homogeneous blob-cum-village.

2. Next year’s BETA Bolivia Annual Convention will be held from 8th to 11th January in Cobija and the call for papers is now out. More info here and copy of conference flyer below.

3. A new TeachingEnglish course started this week, Professional development pathways: focus on professional development. More info and registration here

Free, twelve hours long – three hours a week for four weeks – and here’s the course blurb:

“Give your teaching knowledge and skills a boost by learning to take control of your professional development. Explore a range of developmental activities available to teachers and how to take advantage of them through collaboration and reflective practice.”

4. The next IATEFL webinar at 15:00 UK time this Saturday, 8th October with Andre Hedlund from BRAZ-TESOL sounds interestingly wacky, The Owl Factor: KNOW, SHOW, GROW More info and registration here

Andre’s personal blog is here

and the full list of IATEFL events is here They’re all free to join but I don’t think IATEFL would mind if you joined!

5. The next NATESOL webinar, ELT, 21st century skills, the climate emergency and you, with Christopher Graham, is also this Saturday, a little earlier, at 10:00 UK time. More info here and registration here You need to register by the end of tomorrow UK time.

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Tuesday, 4th October (Cambridge)

1. This Cambridge Element is free to download till this Friday, October 7th: Task-Based Language Teaching by Daniel O. Jackson PDF below just in case you have difficulty.

Is Daniel O. Samuel L’s little brother, I wonder?

2. The New York Times says my subscription allows me to share ten articles a month, so here goes with two to start with, to see if it works:

i) a piece on academic standards, At N.Y.U., Students Were Failing Organic Chemistry. Who Was to Blame?

On this occasion, New York University decided it was the teacher.

ii) a piece on accommodation in Tokyo, A 95-Square-Foot Tokyo Apartment: ‘I Wouldn’t Live Anywhere Else’

If I’ve done my sums right, 95 square feet is just under 9 square metres, so 3 by 3.

3. Here’s Scott Thornbury’s fourteen-minute opening plenary at last week’s InnovateELT conference

You must have time, mustn’t you?

4. And, finally, here’s Bernardine Evaristo’s reflections on Notions of Blackness in the Radio 4 ‘A Point of View’ series, prompted by a Labour MP’s description of the new UK Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, as (only) ‘superficially’ black

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Thursday, 29th September (Cambridge)

1. The novelist Hilary Mantel died last week. The London Review of Books have for the time being removed the paywall from the articles she wrote for them over the years

This one, Royal Bodies, in which she refers to Kate Middleton (now the Princess of Wales) as “a jointed doll on which certain rags are hung” got her into a certain amount of trouble

2. How many have you heard of? Here’s the bookie’s odds for the next Nobel Prize in Literature The author notes that the bookies usually get this one wrong, however.

3. I quite often find myself guessing at the meaning of the Oxford English Dictionary ‘Word of the Day’. I got this one well wrong, thinking it was something to do with pretension

You can sign up in a wonderfully simple, no-frills way for Word of the Day here – bravo Oxford!

4. And, finally, a local radio masterclass in not answering the question from the new UK Prime Minister, Liz Truss

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Tuesday, 27th September (Richmond)

1. There’s an Uzbek focus to many of the articles in the most recent issue of HLT (Humanising Language Teaching)

Try Principles of Teaching Karakalpak Students English Speech Etiquette by Zoya Sarsenbaeva and Zernegul Uteshova, which seems to me firmly and interestingly rooted in the local academic tradition PDF below as well.

2. Not quite round the clock but very nearly, and certainly round the globe, this year’s TeachingEnglish World Teachers’ Day Online Conference is this Saturday, 1st October, starting in Vietnam at 03.00 UK time and finishing in Mexico at 22.00 UK time. More info on the truly global programme and registration here

The title of Lama Atoui’s session completely threw me for a while, though: Ditch Boring CPD: Capacity Building Through Gamified Micro-training – I was thinking holes in the ground.

3. Fancy a complete change of perspective and topic? Try How Shinzo Abe Changed Japan Forever from the Asia Scotland Institute at 14:00 UK time this Thursday, 29th September. More info and registration here

4. And, finally, a thought-provoking post on Malcolm Gladwell’s blog, Princeton University Is the World’s First Perpetual Motion Machine: if you had a car that could run forever, would you still stop for gas?

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