Summertime is here, ELLs are making headlines and some of the oldest shibboleths are being challenged, Melanie Butler writes.
Well, Betsy DeVos certainly seems to be enjoying herself, as our page 12 article suggests. When the US education secretary isn’t supporting guns in schools ‘to protect from potential grizzlies,’ she is busy watering down the federal regulations which hold schools to account for the education they give their English language learners (ELLS).
ELLs are making the news all around the world. In New Zealand, language schools are struggling to recruit teachers for refugees. A British school in Dubai, by contrast, has taken in seven Syrian refugee children free of charge.
In the UK, the Bell Foundation is also doing its best to help. Its EAL Assessment Framework scooped an ELTon at the recent British Council awards. Turn to our resources section for a full break down of the winners.
Even the world of methodology is hotting up this summer. As we report yet another US study claims to call into question Krashen’s input hypothesis.
Their findings? Students who were made to produce language performed better on comprehension tests than those who learnt through input only.
The Brits have never taken much notice of Krashen, but even here the methodologists are questioning some core beliefs. Terry Phillips, on our resource section, calls into question the dominance of phonics, arguing that it will not work as well with L2 children.
And for real fighting talk, go to our comments section, where Sarah Priestley and Tom Flaherty call into question the greatest EFL shibboleth of all: by challenging the notion that all lessons must be fun.
‘What about assuming that young learners can quite happily cope without the classic EFL fun and games?’ they say.
Don’t tell this to Timmy the Lamb, star of the new YouTube video series Learning Time with Timmy, produced by the British Council and Aardman animations. Designed to teach English to two to six-year-olds, it went down a storm with the bilingual children of our commissioning editor Irena Barker. But what did she think of its lively tones? Turn to our resources section to find out.
As the tennis fans gather in a leafy south London suburb, the Wimbledon School of English serves up an ace in its British Council inspection for the second time in a row, to find out the secret of their success go to our market special.
Residential summer schools are as much a part of the British summer season as tennis championships and cricket matches. However, as we report they may be under threat from the taxman.
If an appeal against payment for sleep-in shifts fails in the courts, summer schools may find they have to pay staff the minimum wage per hour, even when they are sleeping.
But, I can hear school owners shriek, we all worked long hours in summer, it’s the tradition.
Tradition it may be. But while rates of pay have gone up in summer schools recently, hours on call and on duty haven’t got any shorter.
So summer schools beware. If the tax man come, you may well be facing hefty fines.
And that wouldn’t be fun at all.