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‘Devon is heaven for language students’

devon interview

In 2014, Kevin McNally decamped from London to sleepy Devon to take the helm of the Torquay International School. He tells old friend Melanie Butler how he discovered welcoming host families, surfing lessons and beautiful countryside.

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It all starts with dreams in English

People Mary

Claudia Civinini asks Dr Anne-Marie Connolly about her research into the positive effects on the brain of being a late bilingual and why bilingualism is a precious resource for Ireland

Your research found that the brains of those who learnt a second language later in life find it easier than early bilinguals or monolinguals to complete tasks involving switching and focusing attention. 

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Don’t stay consonantally challenged


Many varieties of English lack some of the consonantal sounds of RP, but it’s crucial to teach them all, says Peter Trudgill

Non-native learners using English as a model are normally taught Received Pronunciation (RP), and encouraged to master RP phonological contrasts.

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Point of View: Beware the pong of debunked theories


Much education research can be inaccessible from the classroom, but used effectively the good stuff can set you free, writes Carl Hendrick

The gap between education research and classroom practice is well documented and has led to calls for teachers to actively become researchers.

But there is, of course, a world of difference between doing research and using research. A champion Formula 1 driver doesn’t need to know the intimate workings of an engine in order to be a winner, any more than an engineer needs to know how to drive the car.

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When reading is not as simple as...


Expecting all English language students to learn to read and spell in the same way as they do in their native language is misguided, writes Melanie Butler

We need to talk about spelling. It is, after all, the single most difficult thing about English, at least according to a survey of second-language speakers at Cambridge Assessment. They would agree with a comment I saw on social media recently: ‘English is a simple language with a simple grammar and a psychotic spelling system.’

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