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Seeing the sense in grammar

As methodologist Jim Scrivener launches his new student grammar, the Gazette asks how his experience as a trainer, teacher and language learner helped shape the book

You've written a grammar book for students – but you're a teacher and trainer rather than a grammarian. So are you a good language learner?
I'm actually a very poor language learner. There seems to be a fairly widespread assumption that language teachers must be good language learners. Well in my case I have always struggled. I think that this may actually be quite helpful for a teacher (and a writer) in that I can see more clearly what kind of problems a learner might be having and can empathise with the ones who are struggling, not just with the fast, successful students.

In a world where corpus linguistics has changed the face of grammar, do you worry about not being an 'expert'?
A little, but I think

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Mena Facebook phenomenon

Anmber Siddiqui describes how the British Council is using the social networking site to boost effectiveness of the region’s language learning

The British Council’s Learn English Mena Facebook page is revolutionising English language learning across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region and attracting more than 10,000 new fans every week. The Facebook page, specifically tailored to learners aged 18–35, is exceeding all expectations. It now has more than one million fans, an increase of over 200 per cent in less than eighteen months, and ranks 33rd in Social Watch List’s top Mena Facebook pages.

The page takes learning out of the classroom and into the social media world, and is part of a wider plan to engage learners and start to change attitudes and empower individuals to learn independently. It aims to draw learners into the wealth of interactive self-study materials the British Council has to offer and demonstrate how learning alone – or with virtual friends – can be fun and effective.


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