Wednesday, 27th April

1. NATESOL have very kindly made TEN FREE PLACES available for their annual conference on Saturday, 14th May, the theme of which is TESOL Today: Local, Global, Equal & Open

Here’s their blurb: “Our focus is on how TESOL is rising to the challenges posed by the times. Should TESOL now be moving beyond teaching language? How do we bring social concern and fight for justice into our classrooms? Can we? Should we? What does a truly inclusive TESOL classroom look like? How do we address challenges of sustainability? How TESOL today be empowering for the future, in and beyond the classroom?”

Send me an e-mail at with <NATESOL> as the subject if you’d like to attend – this time round, it’s first come, first served!

2. A veritable plethora of country reports from South Asia on English language teaching, learning and assessment in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka PDFs of all five below.

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3. Using digital tools in learning and teaching means playing around to see what works is the honest title of Leah Henrickson’s piece for WONKHE

The past two years have shown Leah that active and inclusive approaches to learning – digital or otherwise – all include the following four elements: People; Play; Practice; People. I think that’s three, isn’t it?

4. This week’s phobia is ombrophobia – nothing at all to do with item 5 below!

5. And, finally, Michael Rosen’s radio programme, Word of Mouth is usually good listening: search the archive here

Monday’s programme was on Weather Words

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Climate Tuesday, 26th April

1. ‘The French town where the lighting is alive’ is one of many pieces on the BBC Future site

There’s a Future Planet section Try this one, ‘The Caribbean mangrove forest that defied destruction’?

2. Here’s the videos and learning materials that the Climate Action in Language Education team launched on World Earth Day last week

How about ‘Making our school green’?

The Climate action in language education: Activities for low resource contexts ‘materials bank’ can be found here PDF below as well.

3. Plenty of lessons in here, too, but not ‘oven ready’ ones, the OECD Environment at a Glance Indicators

Here’s some of the headlines from the data

4. At 14:00 UK time this Friday, 29th April, Kath Bilsborough is running a session for Green Action ELT on Green ELT Materials

Registration here

and here’s Kath’s own site, Creating ELT materials

5. And, finally, here’s the onestopenglish Environment word list PDF below, but please do register in your own right, to access much more free stuff!

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Monday, 25th April

1. Another free book from Cambridge University Press in their Elements in Language Teaching series, Reflective Practice in Language Teaching by Thomas S C Farrell

One of the author’s intentions is to call “attention to the importance of emotions in the process of reflection for language teachers”. PDF below.

2. Also from Cambridge, a good clear publication on what they understand by Digital Literacy PDF below.

Find out how digital literacy fits into the Cambridge Life Competencies framework here

3. “The HLT Digital project aims to digitise and preserve a body of knowledge on Humanistic Language Teaching (HLT) as an approach to language teaching (which) places the ‘whole person’ at the centre of the learning process”, and it will be discussed at 16:00 UK time tomorrow, Tuesday 26th April, by Susan Holden, Klaudia Bednárová, Rod Bolitho and Alan Maley.

Registration and more info here

4. Scroll right down for the free option on this one: Exploring English: Shakespeare Two hours a week for six weeks, which might work for (some of) your students? It’s aimed at B1 CEFR level.

Here’s the course blurb: “This course will look at the life and works of William Shakespeare and take you from his birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon to the Globe Theatre in London, from where he secured his central place in English literature. We will look at five of Shakespeare’s plays (Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest and Macbeth) with the help of actors and experts from around the world. They will explain and explore the universal themes Shakespeare addressed in his work.”

5. And, finally, there’s theory, and there’s practice

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Friday, 22nd April

1. The River Thames is now considered one of the world’s cleanest ‘city’ rivers, but only sixty years ago, it was declared “biologically dead”. Here’s the story of its resurrection

 2. At 16:00 UK time on Tuesday, 26th April, Tony Capstick will be giving the next University of Reading Applied Linguistics Research Circle’s weekly talk, on Non-formal education and ELT in Iraq.

As ever, please contact for the Zoom link. PDF of abstract below.

3. Time for another trawl through the LSE events calendar? Probably!

Topics include ‘Cannibal Capitalism’, ‘The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck’, ‘The Design of Communication Strategies’ and ‘Evacuating Women Judges in Afghanistan’.

4. April is Autism Awareness Month here in the UK. Here’s the Autism Education Trust’s website

One of the resources it offers is Top Tips, Strategies and Resources for Parents PDF below.

5. And, finally, I feel a bit of a charlie recommending this not so very good reading of a very good poem by Louise Gluck, Figs But I do think it’s a very good poem!

Here’s more of her poetry for you to read to yourself well

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Multi-lingual-cultural Thursday, 21st April

1. An older piece (2019) from The Conversation that I chanced upon the other day, Why are so many languages spoken in some places and so few in others?

Before you read the piece, why do you think it is that far more languages are spoken in tropical regions than in temperate areas?

2. Thanks to (proud teacher) Beth Erling for this one from (talented student) Anita Ghoreshi, Translanguaging and the Need for New Pedagogical Practices

It’s a very useful survey. I had no idea that the term translanguaging was first used by Cen Williams to refer to “pedagogical practices in which English and Welsh were used for different activities and purposes”.

3. No fewer than four webinars in the course of the next week that may be of interest:

i) a School Education Gateway event with Ilse Derluyn from the University of Ghent and Helen Cowie from the University of Surrey at 15:00 UK time tomorrow, Friday 22nd April, Supporting the mental health and well-being of refugee children in school More info and registration here

ii) an event jointly organised by the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum here in the UK (NALDIC) and the UK Chartered College of Teaching at 16:00 UK time on Monday, 25th April, Linguistic Challenges of EAL: Normalising Difference in Teacher Education with Linda Harklau from the University of Georgia in the USA and Angela Scarino from the University of South Australia. More info and registration here

iii) a Bath University Centre for Research in Education in Asia research seminar with Viniti Vaish from the National Institute of Education in Singapore at 10:00 UK time on Wednesday, 27th April, Linguistic Distance and Translanguaging More info and registration here PDF of abstract below.

iv) a UCL Centre for Applied Linguistics research seminar at 12:00 UK time on Wednesday, 27th April with Chris West from Verbal Identity (“widely regarded as the leading verbal brand consultancy in the world”), What just happened to brand language More info in the flyer below; registration here

“There are more than 115 million companies in the world today. How many ever said anything you could remember?”

4. The European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) in Graz launched a new website today: Supporting the (linguistic) integration of refugees from Ukraine Stacks of stuff, and clearly more widely applicable.

5. And, finally, a discussion of Marcelo Bielsa’s magical, recently-ended spell (pun intended) as manager of Leeds United and Pied Piper to the whole city of Leeds Listen for the accents if you’re not into football!

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Wednesday, 20th April

1. On the face of it, developed countries were much more generous with Official Development Assistance (ODA) aid in 1960 than they are today, with 0.54% of GDP spent on aid compared to 0.33% in 2020

2. A fair bit of the current issue of Language and Education is currently open access

including English as an additional language: a close-to-practice view of teacher professional knowledge and professionalism by Constant Leung (PDF below)

and Tony Liddicoat’s afterword on Teacher education for diversity (PDF also below)

3. Clearly prompted by the current conflict in Ukraine but of wider relevance, Is Ukrainian a language or a dialect? That depends on whom you ask and how the war ends

4. Suggested by this evening’s riverside walk, cygnophobia is this week’s phobia!

5. And, finally, something a bit different: a short video of Sonia Boyce’s UK pavilion that opened today at the Art Biennale in Venice, music included

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Climate Tuesday, 19th April

1. It’s Earth Day this Friday, 22nd April, and the Climate Action in Language Education team are celebrating with a special event at 11:00 UK time, “to launch a new research publication, ‘Climate action across the global English language teaching (ELT) sector’, as well as a range of new high- and low-tech free resources for English teachers looking for innovative ways to integrate climate change issues into the classroom”.

More info here

and registration here

Here’s the Earth Day home page

2. Just found this, the United Nations Climate Change home page

Here’s Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa’s address to the recent ‘Our Ocean Conference’ in Palau

and here’s Palau, where sea levels are indeed existential, on the map

3. Here’s an OECD ‘snapshot’ of Climate-Related Official Development Assistance (ODA)

One finding is that there’s been scant increase in the proportion of ODA devoted to climate change mitigation or adaptation since 2013. PDF below as well.

4. And, finally and non-climatically, three 3 National Geographic Learning events coming up in the next week on Facebook:

i) Thursday 21st April at 14:00 UK time, with Lora Agbaso Forced displacement. Trauma. Can ESOL provide an effective relief?

ii) Saturday 23rd April at 09:00 UK time, with Emily Wilson Teaching Learners in Refugee Camps

iii) Monday 25th April at 10:00 UK time with Polly Akhurst Providing high-quality learning to refugee youths globally

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Multilingual Thursday, 14th April

Back online on Tuesday – it’s Easter weekend here in the UK.

1. First of two from Language Magazine: A Superpower Hidden in Plain Sight, a piece by Adeola Whitney about viewing linguistic diversity as an asset rather than as a problem

2. And the second, UNESCO Sees Role of EdTech in Multilingual Learning, a piece about “the potential of technology to advance multilingual education and support the development of quality teaching and learning for all”

3. And while we’re talking about UNESCO, here’s a piece (with an introductory video) about Darla Deardorff’s Story Circles methodology for developing intercultural competencies

You can find Darla’s Manual for developing intercultural competencies here and in PDF form below.

[file x 1]

4. Another piece from The Conversation (I must be their ideal reader), Can we ever fully separate our work and home lives? My wife and family will testify that this something that I’ve never managed to do.

5. And, finally, ‘The Peanut Vendor’

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Wednesday, 13th April

1. Assessing learning, with Carolyn Westbrook and Richard Spiby, is the title of a new, six-part series of English Teaching Talks videos

Introductory video here

Other subjects in the series so far are

Integrating ICT with Nik Peachey

and Taking learning outside the classroom with Claudia Rey

2. Good title to this piece in the EDUCAUSE Review by Perry Samson: Students Often Prefer In-Person Classes . . . Until They Don’t

EDUCAUSE was new to me. Their mission is “to advance higher education through the use of information technology”. Here’s their homepage

3. Alexandra Mihai’s latest blog post, Reflecting on identities in educational development, discusses what it means to be an ‘educational developer’. (I think the alternative term she uses, ‘faculty developer’, actually makes her meaning clearer, and I can remember the time when we had a ‘staff training department’.) As ever, a good reading list.

4. Trypophobia is this week’s phobia. Can be triggered by any of the following, apparently: sunflowers, honeycombs, sponges and seedy fruits.

5. And, finally, I found this diagram of the world’s living languages by Lex Fridman from MIT on LinkedIn PDF below. See if you can spot what’s missing (as many people quickly did)?

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(Climate) Tuesday, 12th April

1. Black Mountains College are organising a ‘climate careers fair’ at 10:00 UK time on Saturday 30th April, to “explore the impact that the new era of climate and ecological crisis will have on the concept of a career and what the future may look like in 2030, 2040, 2050 and what this could mean for your chosen career”.

More info and registration here

2. Here’s the OECD’s Climate Change website

Lots of good stuff, including a good short video, Climate action: How to tackle 90% of emissions

3. Here’s today’s weekly Teacher Tapp blog post, which among other things asked teachers if their profession should be a graduate profession, what adjectives best described the last half-term (‘hard work’, ‘tiring’ and ‘manic’ were top of the pops), and whether secondary school teachers would be willing to swap places with a primary school teacher

4. And, finally, here’s two bits of follow-up to yesterday’s Guardian piece comparing state and private school pupil satisfaction with one’s lot later in life:

first, a graph showing The Relationship Between Money and Happiness, courtesy of my colleague Steve, who admits he doesn’t fully understand it (nor do I, but it’s certainly thought-provoking)

secondly, a Bobby McFerrin song that seems to sum up the argument very well, Don’t Worry, Be Happy

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