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Are bilinguals now the new model teacher?

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A language school advert calls for teachers with at least a C2 level of English and fluency in the local tongue – but it might struggle to find many, argues Melanie Butler

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‘Don’t give up on Germany’s early start policies’, says academic


Prof Eva Wilden says there is not enough evidence to suggest the programmes will fail.

Early language learning in Germany has not failed its purpose – but more research is needed to understand why early starters lose their lead at secondary level, an academic has told the Gazette.

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Why Tefl needs the right kind of troublemakers


Professionalising language school management will help reduce the number of dubious teachers attracted by a sector lacking regulation, says Melanie Butler

I first came across the name Seamus Ruddy in 1986. As a freelance journalist in those pre-internet days I spent much of my time in the BBC World Service News Library searching among the news clippings held in a special file entitled ‘Britons in trouble abroad’.

Quite a few of the Britons in trouble turned out to be Tefl teachers. Around half were the troublemakers, drug mules mostly, trying to scrape together the plane fare home.

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China climbs amid the minus signs

Claudia Civinini analyses the latest gloomy (and not-so-gloomy) student number figures for UK English language schools

The weak pound has not saved the UK ELT industry from its third consecutive year of decline, figures from English UK show.
Increased competition between host countries, political uncertainty in Europe, Brexit and obstructive visa policies may have all conspired to cause the decline in 2016, the new report suggests.

Both student numbers and student weeks show a minus sign for private and state providers, and the same is true for staple source markets such as Italy and Spain.

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A continent of polyglots

Melanie Butler takes a closer look at the latest Eurydice data, which gives a detailed picture of school-based language learning in Europe

Primary languages boom


Figure 1: Starting ages at which the first and second foreign languages are compulsory subjects for all students, 2015/16

In Europe, language learning is seen as a basic skill, like reading or maths. Only two countries, Scotland and Ireland, do not make foreign languages compulsory in schools.

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