The importance of meaningful conversation
Created: Monday, 15 May 2017 15:15
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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A lack of evidence is not my style
Created: Monday, 15 May 2017 15:05
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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