Category: ELT

The global classroom: TEFL and the digital revolution

“As technology’s role in TEFL grows, so too does the necessity for teachers to be proficient in its use”

Teaching English as a Foreign Language presents an exciting opportunity to journey across cultures, facilitating linguistic proficiency while experiencing life in a foreign land. With the rising digitisation of education, technology is reshaping the global classroom, leading to dynamic opportunities for TEFL teachers and learners alike.

In this new age, TEFL has been enhanced by technological tools that enable remote learning, promote learner engagement, and ensure instructional effectiveness. Online language learning platforms, for example, offer an array of resources – grammar exercises, vocabulary quizzes, and pronunciation guides – that can supplement classroom instruction. This combination of traditional classroom teaching with digital tools has revolutionised TEFL, creating a blended learning environment that offers the best of both worlds.

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Complexities in the role of English in international students’ experiences in multilingual Hong Kong

“Simply stating English as the medium of instruction in the name of internationalisation leaves much room for disagreement and inconsistency”

Research over the past decade has unveiled the complexities of language issues both inside and outside the classroom. However, relatively few studies consider the experiences of students in non-Anglophone settings. My research fills this gap by examining the role of English in the multilingual context of Hong Kong.

Using interview data gathered from 24 full-time international students with little or no proficiency in Chinese, my research traces their experiences of using English in Hong Kong higher education. In particular, my work focuses on the ‘language ideologies’ of international students, especially what participants think should be the role of English in the university. The results offer food for thought.

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Mediation skills in the English language classroom

“If teachers are teaching real-life communication skills in the classroom, they’re probably already covering mediation skills”

We all have to take information, understand it, and then explain it to others. Although it may be second nature to many, it takes a unique set of skills to pull this off successfully.

Perhaps you’re at university and your lecturer has asked you to look at an English research paper and summarise it to your study group in your home language. Or maybe you’re at work and you have taken a detailed safety brief that you have to relay back to colleagues. Other common examples that require these skills include explaining a timetable to a new class or just passing on the latest gossip!

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Unlocking the Internet with English Language Teaching

“More must be done to enable people whose first language isn’t English to access the truth”

More than a quarter of the internet is written (and spoken) in English making it one of  the most popular languages online. And, given that 94% of the world does not speak English as a first language, it also means that reading English is often the first step to accessing robust, trusted information in a digital first society.

Our recent report, The Matter of Fact, revealed that two thirds of people (67%) globally turn to Google and other search engines when looking for factual information, while 37% turn to social media – rising to 44% of Mexicans, 43% of South Africans and 54% of Indians.

With our devices at our fingertips, we instinctively turn to the web, whether that’s to quickly fact check something we’ve read or to support our studies.

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EAP changes: notes from the front line

“The challenges and disturbances of the last few years are inspiring English Language Learning players to splurge on next-generation materials for a digital native cohort”

Students’ English language skills drive admissions and outcomes in the international education sector. The events of the last two years are triggering a re-set in approaches to English learning, even changing the language skills that candidates acquire, writes Stephen Haggard of Digital Learning Associates, a supplier of materials to the global EAP sector.

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Motivation: urgent for both students and teachers

“It is so important to develop strategies to increase both students’ and teachers’ motivation”

As someone who has worked in educational publishing for most of my career, I believe I have a good understanding of the challenges that teachers and learners face in the classroom. However, when, like millions of others, my children suddenly started remote lessons from home, I found myself confronting some of those challenges first hand.

One issue that stood out was the importance of maintaining engagement amidst the disruption of a pandemic and having to balance work, teaching, and domestic life under one roof.

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The link between language proficiency requirements and diversity

“Lower score requirements may be acceptable if sufficient English language support is offered”

Diversity is a core value of higher education institutions, and consequently an important consideration for admissions decisions colleges and universities make every year.

While international applicants can help achieve diversity goals, institutions need to decide whether such applicants can cope with the language demands of instruction delivered in English.

This decision is not straightforward because, although English-language proficiency is a key element for academic success, other factors including subject-related knowledge and non-cognitive attributes play a role in future academic performance.

Because of the complex nature of academic language proficiency, requirements for English-language proficiency test scores are essential to the admission process for international students.

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Young Learner operators ready to go with summer programmes when safe to do so

“More than ever now, we can all appreciate just how small the world truly is and the importance of coming together”

A letter on behalf of Young Learner operators to our friends around the world:

At this time of international crisis, we have all seen the huge impact COVID-19 has had on our lives and our industry. More than ever now, we can all appreciate just how small the world truly is and the importance of coming together to protect our global community in times of great need.
As the global situation changes, our plans may too. For now, we all continue to watch the unfolding measures that governments around the world are taking to stem the tide of the virus and get us back to normal soon.

As a sector of Young Learner English Language course providers a number of us have come together to work out how best to serve you, our valued clients.  It’s hard for us to navigate the unknown, but as we continue to better understand how to slow the spread of COVID-19 we want to do all we can to keep our partners, students, employees and our local communities safe. The wellbeing of our people and our students is always our number one priority.
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Standing #ApartTogether in times of crisis

“Keeping our communities safe, and focused on moving forward with hope and creativity, is our path through and out of our collective current reality”

It is vitally important to refocus on the importance of community and leadership, writes Tina Bax, Founder of CultureWorks in Canada.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer has tweeted her hope that we might stand #ApartTogether in this.  There’s arguably never been a more important time to be together.  To expand the concept of community that we continually build in our classrooms, to the rest of the world.

In the spirit of humility and service then, here are three communities to consider when we’re trying to take such great care in the coming weeks and months, not just of ourselves but of our world.

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The role of language instruction in learning performance

“Schools that fail to emphasise teaching foreign languages do their students a grave disservice”

Around the world, various countries espouse different attitudes toward language and learning, notes Alyssa Abel of education blog, Syllabusy. She points out that European nations, for example, begin teaching foreign languages in primary school or before while conversely, many American schools do not offer these classes as electives until high school, and several have even eliminated foreign languages as a graduation requirement.

Schools that fail to emphasise teaching foreign languages do their students a grave disservice. Researchers have found a strong relationship between language and learning and its positive impact on academic performance. How can educators motivate their students to expand their linguistic ability beyond their native tongue?

How Does Language Affect Learning?

Research indicates that foreign language instruction bolsters academic performance in many ways — including an upward trajectory in test scores.

In one study, researchers selected random third-grade students to receive Spanish lessons three times per week for one semester. The teacher instructed class entirely in the foreign tongue. The students who received this instruction scored significantly higher in math and language on the Metropolitan Achievement Test (MAT) than those who did not. Given the emphasis on these measures when it comes to funding, the practice offers a valuable means to improve overall scholarship.

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