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Finns flock to Facebook research quiz

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Some seven per cent of the population of Finland took part in the recent critical-age study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a new analysis by the Gazette reveals.

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Point of View: Don’t be blinded by the big numbers

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ELT consultant Simon Cox stresses the importance of recognising the diversity and complexity in Chinese education

I’ve noticed that many articles about China begin with big numbers. Whatever the point of view of the writer – whether critical, admiring, or a bit of both – the go-to opening is often to start with scale.

It could be how many miles of high-speed train lines have been built across the country in the last 10 years, or how many millions of students are sitting gaokao (the college entrance examination) this June, or just how many clay warriors the first emperor of Qin had built for his tomb.

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Step into the linguistic boxing ring

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Don’t worry whether there’s a critical period for language learning, just do whatever works to achieve your goal, says Melanie Butler.

Stephen Pinker has well and truly thrown the MIT cat among the proverbial ELT pigeons. The celebrity psycholinguist is among the authors of a new paper based on a grammar quiz taken by over half a million learners on Facebook.

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Out of the box: Are exams a form of child abuse?

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Exams can be intrinsically unfair and do not allow many young people to flourish

I have a brother and we both had to sit our 0 Level exams in our mid-teens. Bernard slept badly the nights before the exams, he was sweating as he entered the examination hall and his writing hand was hard for him to control. He only passed one of his exams, English language.

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‘It’s not a freak show out of some dystopian novel’

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Ronny Mintjens tells the EL Gazette about his unique experiences teaching English to trainee tour guides in North Korea, and why he is now asking other teachers to join him.

When did you first develop an interest in travelling to North Korea and why?

In 2007, I got the opportunity to join a small group tour to North Korea and we visited Pyongyang and Kaesong (including the Demilitarized Zone).

During these four days we had very little interaction with the local people and I was left with more questions than answers.

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