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January 30, 2012

The Week in English Language Teaching: Cartoonist Feels Cold, Murphy Gets MA, Megan Fox Motivates


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Grammar Books Not Implements of Torture But Humanitarian Aids
Raymond Murphy, the author of the ubiquitous English Grammar in Use has received and honarary MA from Cambridge University. In a press release the University recognized Murphy's contribution to ELT but also honoured him for -- through his grammar books -- being "a quite exceptional humanitarian". The fourth edition of English Grammar in Use is out in February and you can read the interview with Murphy from last year here

Week 4 of the Kameoka Diaries by Lars Martinson
Lars Martinson is still teaching in Japan on the JET scheme and is very cold. Follow the Japan teaching adventures of this award-winning graphic novelist on his site.

40% of Universities Mull Shifting Aademic Year
More than 40 percent of the national universities are warming to the University of Tokyo plan to shift the start of the undergraduate academic year from spring to fall, a survey found.

"Only" 11% of Japanese Middle School Students Want to Get a Job Using English
The Daily Yomiuri reports: "Seventy percent of middle school students think English ability would be useful for obtaining a job in the future, but only 11 percent want to get a job that requires English, according to an education ministry institute survey, with 43 percent asserting, "I don't want to get a job that requires English skills," up from 36 percent in the previous survey.Kenji Miyauchi, head of the research and development section at the institute's Curriculum Research Center, said, "[Students] are keenly aware of the importance of English in this age of globalization, but at the same time, they don't seem to want to study English or they think it's troublesome to do so."

Clearly the students haven't been made aware of the dire consequences of not speaking English as outlined in the following story...

Megan Fox and Mike Tyson selling English in Brazil
Transformers star Megan Fox, and boxing bad boy Mike Tyson team up to explain to the youth of Brazil the consequences of having the atttitudes of their Japanese counterparts in this interesting video sponsored by an English school chain.

Yes, English is Crazy
If you think English school ads are weird, then blame it on the language. A poem makes the rounds:

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren’t invented in England.
We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
We find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
And a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

and much more...

TOEFL has YouTube Channel
If the Megan Fox/Mike Tyson video has your students desperate to learn, then they might be interested in the TOEFL YouTube site with hints and tips on how to pass the test.

English is an Optimistic Language
We'll leave on a positive note and see how English predisposes its speakers to be positive and pro-social. Or is that the other way around?

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