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Mastering the art of motivation

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International programmes keep academics in touch with ‘realities on the ground’, Dr Martin Lamb, senior lecturer at Leeds University, tells EL Gazette

Tell us a little about your early career, your VSO experiences and what led you finally to Leeds University.

After a disastrous early foray into the business world, I did a PGCE in history. But then I thought I’d put some distance between me and my future school pupils by teaching English abroad for a while. I didn’t return for seventeen years!

First I was in Sweden, then I joined VSO and was sent to Indonesia for a couple of years and stayed on for four more with the British Council. I did a masters degree at Lancaster in 1990–91, then spent five years in Bulgaria, again with the BC, before a further three years working on a big ADB-funded language centre development project in Sumatra.

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The hitchhiker’s guide to the (Tefl) galaxy

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Dodging bullets in a civil war was one of the scarier moments in a long and intrepid career, veteran Peter Harris tells Claudia Civinini

Are you embarking on a Tefl adventure? You may not need to bring a towel, but sound qualifications, open-mindedness and a sense of humour are essential, says EFL industry veteran Peter Harris, who has spent forty years in the game.

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Teach in Bahrain

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This oil-rich country is seen as more socially liberal than other Gulf states, but what gainful employment can it offer English teachers? Olga Kravchenko investigates

Bahrain, an oil-rich collection of 33 islands, has become a modern state and home to expensive malls and hotels. Known as a more ‘relaxed’ Arabic country, the kingdom has gained popularity among many expatriates from around the world attracted by its salaries and beautiful coasts.

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Languages influence perception of time

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by Claudia Civinini

How you perceive time depends on the language you speak, a new study suggests.

The research adds to growing evidence that shows ‘the ease with which language can creep into our most basic senses, including our emotion and our visual perception’, researchers said.

In an experiment on Swedish-Spanish bilinguals, linguists Professor Panos Athanasopoulos and Professor Emanuel Bylund observed that participants understood time duration differently according to the language they used.

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Not-so-bright and early

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by Claudia Civinini

Education policy makers have been emphasising the importance of starting foreign language learning early…but could it be a waste of time?

When it comes to learning a foreign language, the earlier, the better – right? Think again.

This common assumption may join the ever-growing group of edu-myths unless policies for introducing early language learning in schools have a stronger evidence base, research suggests.

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