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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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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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Point Of View: ‘If you win, we all win’


Blair Matthews explains why Tefl teachers should unite to fight for better pay and conditions.

I’ve been a TEFL teacher for 16 years and in that time I have worked in a dozen or so schools. I’ve been made redundant twice, been on zero hours contracts, had my hours capped and generally been subject to the low status and poor pay that is too often typical in EFL. I’ve worked in places where bullying and bad management have gone unchallenged.

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Out of the box: Making education research more ‘digestible’

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A ‘blogstorm’ could help close the research–practice divide, says Anthony Schmidt, founder of the ELT Research Bites blog

There is often a wide gap between research and practice in education. Lack of time and access, as well as believing that research is neither practical nor generalisable, are among the reasons so many teachers fail to engage with it.

However, there is so much great research out there, very practical stuff with clear implications for learning and teaching. Far from being dusty and obscure, a piece of academic research could solve a day-to-day problem you have been trying to crack for years.

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The importance of meaningful conversation

The globalisation of English often focuses on doing business, but the language is a powerful tool for communicating across cultures and across ideologies.

Last month’s Iatefl conference in Glasgow I started my presentation using the evocative image of a campfire. I see this as a metaphor for meaningful group interaction. Whenever I engage in deep conversation with a group of people, I feel as if transported back to the roots of humanity, when the fire was the magnet bringing homo sapiens together, giving us warmth and being the bond that built communities. Whenever I see a circular formation emerging naturally out of a group of students waiting for a class to start, for example, I feel the pull of that imaginary fire.

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