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'What do people mean when they say "learning styles don't work"?'

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Marjorie Rosenberg calls for a more nuanced debate around one of the most divisive issues in education

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EMI Special

Ernesto Macaro close up

‘EMI is not a grassroots movement’

Introducing English as a Medium of Instruction can be laced with pitfalls and institutions need to make sure staff, students and parents are all on board, a leading expert tells Claudia Civinini.

There are currently four models for EMI, says Ernesto Macaro, director of Oxford University’s Centre for Research and Development in English Medium Instruction. There is the preparatory year model, the institutional support model, and the pre-institutional selection model, he explains. The fourth, which he compares to an ostrich, is the not uncommon ‘bury-your-head-in-the-sand’ model.

As EMI spreads like wildfire throughout Europe and Asia, Macaro’s work is becoming all the more important to understand what can go wrong when it is introduced.

For Macaro, it’s all down to institutional problem avoidance. ‘Pretending that teachers are all ok, that students are all fine and that you don’t have to put any money into the system. I am afraid it all comes down to money’, he says. ‘EMI works well when all stakeholders are being involved: students, teachers, managers – and head teachers and parents in a school.’

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Out of the box: The power of public speaking

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A few years ago, at the English language centre I was in charge of, our students would work on presentations quite frequently. But very often we felt those presentations didn’t benefit the students as much as we thought they would.

It seemed our students often treated those presentations as yet another classroom activity that needed to be completed before the lesson was over.

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Don’t worry, size doesn’t matter

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Parents who think good-quality teaching comes by paying over the odds for small class sizes are misguided, says Melanie Butler.

‘You can have it cheaper, you can have it better, or you can have it faster’ – the old adage goes. ‘Pick two.’

Yet when agents ask parents to pick the things they want in a classroom, they get the answer: ‘cheaper with smaller classes’ – with the proviso: ‘the teacher can be any old native speaker as long as they are white.’

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All pedants and correct

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Social media has created a huge outlet for predatory nitpickers desperate to correct bad English – but has it gone too far? Gizzelle Sandoval investigates.

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