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The perils of using slang in the air


Headlines suggested that pilots who are non-native English speakers are to blame for aeroplane near-misses. But is this the whole story?

Claudia Civinini talks to the author of the report that hit the news

For Dr Clark, language and aviation are life-long passions. Once a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines, she then obtained an MA and PhD in linguistics from Queen Mary, University of London, and went on to become a researcher and a consultant.

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A lack of evidence is not my style

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Melanie Butler argues that learning styles are not the only problem. Most of British-style ELT needs a stronger evidence base

Howard Gardner is not a fan of ‘learning styles’. The Harvard professor of education confessed in 2013 that the tendency of many people to link the discredited theory to his own work on multiple intelligences drives him ‘to distraction’. Learners have different styles, he agrees, but the attempt to bunch them into neat groups is incoherent. Repeated empirical studies of the systematic use of the theory in the classroom have shown they make no measurable difference to learning outcomes.

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Fine words butter no parsnips


Melanie Butler argues the problem with text books is the text.

The endless reports of the death of the ELT course book have, like reports of Mark Twain’s death, been greatly exaggerated. General English text books make up 80 per cent of all UK ELT book sales and their sales have remained constant for decades. Though, as our graph shows (below), many of the best-sellers are looking rather elderly, on average the first edition of the first version of a current top ten series was published nearly twelve years ago.

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The secrets of a happy partnership


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by Claudia Civinini

Durham University’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP) department has been piloting a project which sees international students actively involved in shaping the curriculum.

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Bring the world into your class

global issues piece

Linda Ruas explains how global issues can inspire students
I asked one of my Esol students – a retired neurosurgeon from Syria – what it would take to make the world a fairer place. ‘Only through education,’ he said, ‘can we change the future. Only by discussing and understanding other people’s worlds can we find solutions.’ As his teacher, I was quite proud of his inversions! As a human being, I agreed with his words.

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