What are the new hot issues in EU funded teacher training courses? Melanie Butler explores what is on offer.
For this year’s listing of Erasmus courses, we have concentrated on including those designed specifically for state school teachers because the EU funds the scheme primarily with these teachers in mind. We have also limited the UK entries to accredited courses.
You can see our UK Language Centre Rankings 2017 supplement here
Our rankings are designed to be fair and informative. But how are they compiled?
How do we rank schools?
The EL Gazette rankings are based on the British Council inspectors’ summary statements. The inspectors assess centres on fourteen areas – plus a fifteenth area, ‘Care of Under-18s’, for centres enrolling this age group.
The inspectors can award a strength in any of the areas, and these areas of strength are noted on the summary statement. In our example (see below) the school has been awarded strengths in five areas: Staff Management, Quality Assurance, Premises & Facilities, Teaching, and Care of Students.
The inspectors can also note areas with a need for improvement. In our example above, a need for improvement was noted in one area: Publicity. To arrive at our score, we first take the total number of strengths, in this case five. We then subtract the number of areas that need improvement, in this case one. That gives this school a Gazette ranking score of four out of fifteen, the exact average score for British Council schools.
What is a need for improvement?
Every area assessed by the British Council is broken down into a group of mini-criteria. In the case of publicity there are nine criteria. The inspectors give one of three judgements for each criteria: ‘not met’, ‘met’ or ‘strength’.
In our example (below) the school did not meet expectations in three criteria. A school with two or more criteria that are not met will normally be given a need for improvement in the area. In our example, the school received a need for improvement in the area of publicity, which is noted on the summary statement (see above).
What is an area of strength?
If a centre meets and exceeds expectations in any criterion under an area of inspection, the inspectors may award a point of strength.
If it meets all the criteria in an area and is given a point of strength in 50 per cent or more of applicable criteria, the centre then receives an area of strength, which will be listed on the summary statement.
The example on the right shows all the criteria in the area of quality assurance.
As we can see, the school is marked as ‘met’ in all criteria and as ‘strong’ in two of them.
Point M16 is marked N/a for non-applicable, which means a strength cannot be awarded. This means that strengths are applicable in only four criteria, and our school has been awarded a strength in 50 per cent of them. It is therefore awarded an area of strength in quality assurance, which is noted on the summary statement (see below).
A petition calling on the UK's Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to reconsider its English language requirements for foreign nurses has gained nearly 5,500 signatures over the past four weeks, Claudia Civinini writes.
Congratulations to all those who passed their Cambridge English Language Assessment Delta modules in 2016. Under the UK Data Protection Act, Cambridge English Language Assessment can only release names of those candidates who have agreed they can do so by ticking the relevant box on the form. The Gazette can only publish the names that Cambridge provides. You can download the list as a PDF here. Results are for candidates who have signed an agreement giving Cambridge English permission to publish their names.
Key: P=pass, M=merit, D=distinction.
The Gazette’s up-to-date listing of Tesol and related MAs in the UK and Ireland
As regular as clockwork, here is the Gazette’s new listing of ELT-related MA, MSc or MEd courses in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. These include specialisations such as teaching ESP, teaching young learners, sociocultural linguistics, media-assisted language teaching, multilingualism and teaching bilingual learners.
While our listing is as comprehensive as possible, we apologise for any errors or omissions. We are happy to hear from any academics whose courses don’t appear in this issue and will retain their information until the next time we run the listing. We are, however, unable to publish apologies or updates regarding courses for which we have requested information but not received any.
The listing comes in three easy-to-download parts:
Click here to dowload the list (Part 1, A-L)
The Gazette guide to teacher training courses eligible for EU funding
British and Irish language centres are lining up to offer a vast array of courses for teachers next year, all eligible for Erasmus+ funding. So many, in fact, that we haven’t been able to fit them all in (entries marked * means there are more in this category). Alongside the old favourites like Refresher Courses and Clil there is a new emphasis on Special Educational Needs courses from Nile, Language Link and ISP, while Oxford International focuses on teaching children with Asperger’s Syndrome and autism – find them under Specialist Courses.
Minnesota state legislators have voted to require full disclosure on all university study abroad programmes from the next school year.
In a recent measure authored by senator Terri Bonoff, chair of the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, all post-secondary institutions in the state are being asked to report annually on the safety statistics of the programmes they offer.
‘We want to know how many deaths – if any deaths – occurred. We want to know if there were any hospital stays as a result of participating in the programme,’ Senator Bonoff said. The information will ultimately be available for public consumption on the secretary of state’s website.
One proponent of the measure was Minnesota’s ClearCause Foundation, a non-profit organisation started by the parents of a dead Minnesota student who studied abroad, which is dedicated to transparency in study abroad programmes.
According to the Minnesota Public Radio website, mothers of injured and dead students campaigned together for the changes.
Senator Bonoff described the state legislation a necessary first step, but insisted more changes must be made for regulating study abroad initiatives, which she described as ‘a wonderful opportunity for our young people’.
She added that she had ‘no interest in putting obstacles in students’ way in terms of being able to access those programmes’.
Other states are following suit in terms of disclosure, although not in safety information. New York state is currently working on legislation that would require study abroad programmes to offer clear price breakdowns.
It’s unclear whether similar bills will become federally mandated, though Senator Bonoff believes a nationwide trend will follow.
‘I think that we are missing something by not having federal accountability and transparency in regards to all study abroad programs,’ she said. ‘We often say, start at the state level and then a few more states pursue things and then eventually the feds tackle it.’
Although the bill has been approved, the committee awaits further recommendations for how to improve the measure in the future from the Office of Higher Education.