Category: ELT

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.
Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Do you speak English? It’s complicated.

“Identifying the gaps in language proficiency for each individual is only the beginning”

Kate Bell is co-author of the EF English Proficiency Index. In this blog, Bell examines how subtleties in employee proficiency affect the types and depth of language training that employers must provide.

From the outside, foreign language proficiency looks simple—either you speak a language or you don’t—but anyone who grew up receiving calls from grandparents abroad or who has worked for a few years in a foreign country knows that most people’s linguistic terrain is more of a swamp than a soccer field.

This is because our language skills develop over the course of decades as a result of inclination, exposure, education, and practice.

Read More

Time for a rethink on English language competency levels for international students?

“[There is a] real concern that we seem to be making it too hard for international students to thrive”


As the year draws to a close, it is a good time to review the news that made the most impact.
Funnily enough, it’s not a Brexit story that has stuck in my mind, but the drip, drip of news stories about accusations of cheating, directed against international students in general and Chinese students in particular.

In January, for example, there was the notorious email from the University of Liverpool international advice and guidance team about exam conduct, which translated the word “cheating” into Chinese but no other foreign language, on the grounds that Chinese students were “usually unfamiliar with the word” in English. A student petition condemned the email as “racially discriminative”.

However, underlying these headline stories is a real concern that we seem to be making it too hard for international students to thrive when they come to the UK to study…

Read More

Five Reasons Why Swedes are the World’s Best Non-Native English Speakers

“Swedes are eager to reach people outside of their country, and they benefit economically and linguistically from this”

As Sweden aims to internationalise its higher education sector and attract more foreign talent, one of its advantages is the country’s high English proficiency.

For the fourth time in the past eight years, Sweden ranks number one on the 2018 EF English Proficiency Index . The EF EPI is the largest global study of English skills based on test data from 1.3 million adults who took the EF Standard English Test  in 2017.

Since EF is a Swedish company, we asked 100 of our Swedish colleagues why they think Sweden has been so successful with English language education. Here’s what they told us:
Read More

Which are the easiest and hardest languages to master?

“The average learner would take four times as long to learn Mandarin as they would to learn Spanish”

For most people, mastering another language is no easy feat. However, it is broadly accepted that some languages are easier to learn than others.

It’s a topic that is discussed often and in depth within the translation services industry, as well as by everyone from military personnel to expats. As such, let’s take a look at contenders for the easiest language to master… and the hardest!
Read More