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Going Out Of Style

people talking

By Claudia Civinini
What does an alligator lost in NYC sewers have in common with the theory of learning styles? They are both urban legends, according to a 2013 article by Dr P. A. Kirschner and Dr J. G. Merriëboren. The article argues that education is pervaded by beliefs that ‘do not really concur with the body of research in educational psychology’, the most important one being that ‘learners always know best’. Various myths were explored.

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Truth wrapped in humour

comic strip 2

Malachi Rempen, creator of web comic Itchy Feet, tells us about the humorous side of the English language and the educational value of mistakes.
Growing up I always had a language-sized hole in my heart. My dad is German and my mother, though American, speaks fluent German – but they didn’t pass it on to my brothers and me as kids. I was jealous of other bilingual kids, and that’s why I ended up moving to Europe: I wanted to fill up on foreign languages.

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Terry’s Tricks Of The Trade


Management consultant, trainer and coursebook writer Terry Phillips reveals four things he wishes he’d known before he started his language school. I entered my first ELT classroom in the summer of 1974, and a mere ten years later started my own language school with my wife, who had only been in language teaching nine years at that time. The school was in the Sultanate of Oman.

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How Safe Is Your School?

p22 Pic courtesy Martin Cooper

by Melanie Butler
One of the biggest concerns for the students and their families when choosing a language course is safety. Contrary to popular belief, the UK is actually an extremely safe country. For adult students, the main safety concern is crime. It is very difficult to compare violent crime across countries because the crimes are defined differently: in Sweden, for example, all prostitution is counted as rape. In England and Wales a crime against a person, rather than against their property, is a violent crime even if no physical violence was involved.

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Learning from the children left behind?

Dyslexia pic credits Daniel Friedman

Melanie Butler comments on the mixed messages emerging from Madrid’s bilingual programme.

For the last decade the largest language learning experiment in the world has been taking place in the state-run schools in Spain. The laboratory has been the regions which speak standard Castilian Spanish, rather than a local language. The intervention was the introduction of bilingual teaching of academic subjects, usually English and Spanish, in the school system from the first year of primary.

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