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October 15, 2015


Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary Ninth Edition Now Available in Japan

IMG_2072.jpgTo celebrate the release in Japan of the ninth edition of its world bestseller, Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (OALD), Oxford University Press held a launch party in Tokyo on 30th September 2015.

Patrick White, Content Director of the ELT Division and Reference Grammar at Oxford University Press, and Obunsha, co-distributor in Japan, gave presentations at the party, which also commemorated A.S. Hornby and other editors of the first editions, who dedicated their life to making the dictionary.

IMG_2068.jpgThe dictionary has sold over 38 million copies since the publication of the first edition nearly 70 years ago, and it currently has over 100 million users including the mobile apps. The new ninth edition has an increased focus on facilitating learners’ speaking and writing, and offers access to online premium content including updated iSpeaker and iWriter with extensive pronunciation support via videos with record and playback functionality.

Also in this edition, contemporary words such as 'Twitter' and ‘blogsphere' have been added, along with words of Japanese origin including 'shonen' and 'shojo'.

Click here to learn more about OALD9.
OALD9 is available at ELTBOOKS

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October 10, 2015

Japan | Teacher Development | Secondary Level | Primary Level

This week is Japan Teacher’s Week

To celebrate International Teacher's Day, NPO Teach For Japan, with the support of the Ministry of Education and others, has organised Japan Teacher's Week 2015.

The week started out with a discussion hosted by Yusuke Matsuda, founder of Teach For Japan. Items under discussion included: the life of the typical teachers in Japan; the experience of teachers in Japan vs that of those in other countries; career paths for teachers; and the impact of new initiatives from MEXT.

Other events happening during Japan Teacher's Week include:
- A free exhibition "Teacher's Voices" being held at MEXT in Tokyo until the 9th October and in Ebisu from 5th to 12th October;
- TEDxTokyo on 10th October with the topic "Igniting Curiosity".
All events are in Japanese only.

Also during Japan Teacher's Week, Japanese recruitment website DODA is also featuring education related job posts from 5th until 18th October.

More information on Japan Teacher's Week can be found here.

About Teach For Japan:
Teach For Japan is a non-profit organization founded by Yusuke Matsuda in 2012 with a vision to tackle education inequity in Japan by recruiting, training, and supporting teachers and appointing them in various schools to reach out to underprivileged and troubled children and inspire them.

To learn more about Teach for Japan, click here.

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August 19, 2015


Oxford University Press was selected to partner with Otsu City on developing a teaching methodology

Oxford University Press commissioned by the Otsu City Board of Education in Shiga as partner in the “Research and Development of ICT-driven Foreign Language Teaching Methodology” project.

Oxford University Press (located in Minato-ku, Tokyo; represented by Managing Director Kiyokazu Nakamura) has been selected to partner with the Otsu City Board of Education in Shiga on a project to research and develop an ICT-based teaching methodology for elementary school Foreign Language Activities classes. The Otsu City government, led by Mayor Naomi Koshi, will establish a leading English education programme for 37 public elementary schools, using Oxford University Press materials, customised lesson plans and teacher training. The project is scheduled to run until the end of March 2018.

Overview The Japanese government introduced Foreign Language Activities to elementary school education for fifth and sixth graders in 2011, with plans to incorporate English language classes into the official curriculum of elementary education by 2020, urging educational institutions as well as local governments in Japan to focus more on English language education for children. Since 2014, the Otsu City government has introduced several schemes to enhance English language training at public schools as part of a wider educational plan for facilitating international understanding, including employing more assistant language teachers (ALT), exploring English teaching methods that harness information and communications technology (ICT), and experimenting with foreign language activities for children in early elementary school years. In October of the same year, the Board of Education held an open tender to find a partner for their “Research and Development of an ICT-driven Foreign Language Teaching Methodology” project with a total budget of \161 million. The applicants were required to provide a detailed proposal for materials, training and assessment before being approved to conduct a nine-week pilot programme in a city school. Oxford University Press was announced as the winning bid on June 6th.

The project consists of a syllabus designed to not only help children improve their English skills, but to nurture their “ability to live”, as stated in the Ministry national curriculum guidelines for elementary schools. This “ability” encompasses communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking skills. The project also requires an extensive teacher training programme, created to help elementary school teachers conduct English lessons confidently and consistently.

The programme will be further developed in 5 model schools from September 2015 before being rolled out to all 37 public elementary schools in the city at the start of the 2016 academic year.

Through collaborating with teachers, technology partners and academic researchers at the University of Oxford, Oxford University Press works to create the best possible environment for learning and teaching. With a history dating back to 1478 and over 50 years’ experience in Japan’s educational industry, Oxford University Press is most widely known as a book publisher, however it also provides a wide range of educational services, working with institutions and teachers to meet the changing needs of students at all ages and levels. Oxford University Press is driven by its mission and belief that education changes lives and it strives to create vibrant classrooms which prepare students and teachers for the global stage.

More Details

[Contact] For more details, please contact us. Richard Attwood Business Development Manager, Japan Oxford University Press

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August 11, 2015


Tips for bilingual classrooms

Research has shown that learners perform more effectively and exhibit greater progress when they are immersed in the target language. Here are some tips on how we can make their experiences much more meaningful:

1 Speak English!

Undeniably, learners follow by example. You cannot expect them to produce the language if you are switching to L1 constantly. Be firm and provide learners solutions to their language barriers. Remember to adjust to their proficiency level.

2 Surround yourself

Every space in the classroom is a learning opportunity. Rules, quotes, learners` work and other visual material that stimulate learning is always a good idea. Periodic reference to such materials maintains a high level of awareness and motivation.

3 Cultural immersion

Languages carry with them a heavy cultural load that we often overlook. Some cultural aspects can be greatly exploited. Exposing them to this culture and talking about it may trigger an underlying enthusiasm or interest.

4 Social phrases

Students often find American or British phrases amusing, comical or perky. Identify some and suggest students to use them instead of typical lackluster language.

5 Functionality

Can I borrow a pencil? Make sure you address all their language needs on your first sessions. Everyday recurrent classroom interaction must be performed in the target language. Be firm on maintaining this requirement.

6 Role play daily

There are a number of situations that learners can associate with. Plan some of them your students can carry out throughout the course. Be flexible if they wish to do them again or perfect their dramatization.

7 Recognize and praise effort

As a teacher, we have to address both ends. Students who stand out from the rest due to their complete dedication should be recognized through a number of instances such as performance charts, top speakers, etc. Verbal recognition throughout the class is a must.

8 Acknowledge and reward

Constant motivational reinforcement guarantees future participations and compliance. Find tangible incentives students can touch or feel. Extra points, extra recess time, movie day, etc…

9 Remember Memory

Tapping our memorizations skills is not totally negative. Providing learners with language that is suggested to be memorized and understood enriches their vocabulary and enables the less proficient to feel a sense of achievement. Songs, poems, phrases, quotes, etc…

10 Prompts

Language learners often struggle starting to speak, Weekly exercises that prompt production and interaction should be established as a habitual task.

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March 19, 2015

Vietnam | Technology

Improving English Language Instruction with Innovative Solution

More Than 1,400 Teachers in Vietnam Develop Classroom English Language Proficiency Using National Geographic Learning’s ELTeach

Collaboration between Cengage Learning’s NGL and the National Foreign Languages 2020 Project provides innovative solution in ELT professional development

Boston, MA – February 24, 2015 – Demonstrating a shared commitment to providing quality professional development for teachers of the English language, National Geographic Learning (NGL), part of global education company Cengage Learning, and the National Foreign Languages 2020 (NFL2020) Project are working together to improve English language instruction in Vietnam. Using NGL’s ELTeach, an online, integrated professional development, assessment and certificate program developed in partnership with Educational Testing Service (ETS), more than 1,400 teachers and trainers in Vietnam have participated in professional development opportunities under the NFL2020 initiative. As a project by the Vietnamese government to build national foreign language capacity, NFL2020 provides initiatives to evaluate and improve English curriculum and English teacher education curriculum.

Through the collaboration, 600 teachers of English were selected from ten Departments of Education and Training (DoETs) across Vietnam to complete the ELTeach English-for-Teaching online course and assessment. Another 838 trainers also took part in a training of trainers (ToT) program using ELTeach, which included face-to-face training delivered by NGL to provide the skills necessary to train large groups of teachers moving forward. In September 2014, the participating teachers and trainers took the Test of English-for-Teaching (TEFT™) Assessment developed by ETS and received a score report and certificate from NGL and ETS upon completion.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with the NFL2020 Project to help Vietnam achieve its English language education goals,” said Dennis Hogan, executive director, National Geographic Learning. “Since its release in 2012, more than 10,000 teachers spanning 19 countries have successfully completed courses using ELTeach. These teachers, and the teachers and trainers in Vietnam, are joining a global community of leaders in English language teaching that are better equipped to teach English in English and are more confident in the use of educational technology. In fact, an interim efficacy report from the Vietnam collaboration notes that of those surveyed, 89% of teachers cited increased confidence in using English in the classroom and 98% of ToTs reported more confidence supporting and coaching teachers.”

"After this course, I have the energy and confidence to start a new school year and an eagerness to apply what I have learned from the ELTeach program,” said Ho Thi Phi Phuong, Bui Thi Xuan Upper Secondary School, Hue city. “I hope that in the coming years, the government could create more opportunities for English teachers to take part in professional development courses, like ELTeach, so that we will have chances to connect with native teachers, using updated teaching methods."

ELTeach is an online program supporting teachers of English through coursework and assessments in English-for-Teaching and Professional Knowledge for ELT. ELTeach is designed to ensure that teachers of English have the language and professional knowledge necessary to implement their national English curriculum successfully and confidently. It helps teachers to build professional confidence through learning and practicing language and concepts in the context of what they already know.

For more information on ELTeach, please visit To view other products from National Geographic Learning, visit

About Cengage Learning and National Geographic Learning

Cengage Learning is a leading educational content, technology, and services company for the higher education and K-12, professional and library markets worldwide. National Geographic Learning, part of Cengage Learning, is a provider of quality core and supplemental educational materials for the PreK‐12, adult education and ELT markets. Cengage Learning and National Geographic Learning distribute a variety of content from the National Geographic Society to the academic and library markets worldwide.

About ETS

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.

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November 21, 2014


Spoken English Practice To Enter Japanese Market

Premier Spoken English program Spoken English Practice, today announced the company is looking to enter the Japanese market in the first half of 2015. This announcement underscores Spoken English Practice's continued dedication to providing an innovative solution to thousands of non native English speakers who are trying to improve thier English skills around the world.

Spoken English Practice's unique approach is based on the core belief that the best way to improve one's ability to speak in English is to have real conversations with native English speakers. However, this is an extremely difficult thing to do if you are not living in a non English speaking country. Spoken English Practice provides a reliable platform where you can practice English speaking with native speakers over an extended period of time.

"90% of non native English speakers agree that the best way to improve Spoken English is to have real conversations with native speakers.You can learn all the grammar rules in the universe, you can memorize millions of words, but if you don't practice speaking English with native speakers, you will not become fluent" said Liam Walker, Program Director, Spoken English Practice.

About Spoken English Practice

Award-winning English speaker training program, Spoken English Practice have helped over 9,000 non native English speakers improve their English Speaking skills in over 40 countries.

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September 12, 2014

Japan | Events

National Geographic Learning Event to be Live-streamed

National Geographic Learning | Cengage Learning will be live streaming their mini-conference English, 21st Century Skills and Young Learners! on Sunday 21st September 2014 so you can join from the comfort of your own home. The event will feature a bumper selection of skills, games, and exercises to incorporate 21st Century Skills into your classroom. Global educator Dr. Joan Kang Shin, will share ideas on storytelling, cross-curricular topics and engaging activities that bring your classroom to life, and will give you the tools to help your young learners succeed as global citizens.

The event will be broadcast from 2:00pm Japan time on Sunday 21st September via the link below.

• Live Broadcast
• Read More

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April 01, 2014

Events | Japan

Cambridge University Press to hold tribute event for Robert Habbick

Cambridge University Press in Japan (CUP) has announced that there will be a tribute to Robert Habbick held on April 24th at the Gakushi Kaikan near Jimbocho Station in central Tokyo.

Robert Habbick passed away on September 30th, 2013. An initial tribute event was held at the JALT National Conference last year, but due to the timing, many people were not able to come.

CUP stated: "The purpose of the event is to share fond memories of Rob, be they stories or photos. There will be an open mic and projector. Everyone interested in participating is invited to submit photos either by email to the address below or by bringing a memory stick on the day itself." Those not able to come may send on messages for the condolence book to the same email address (below).

The party will start at 7.15 pm, there will be drinks and light food, and the party will close around 8:45.

The access details can be found here:

Everyone with friends or colleagues who were close to Robert is invited, and CUP has asked that friends and colleagues inform other friends and colleagues of Robert's about the event.

Anyone wishing to attend the the tribute party should contact the organiser by email at, by April 17th, with 'Robert Habbick' in the subject line.

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January 31, 2014

Canada | Business

Loyalist to acquire Study English in Canada

Private ESL school operator Loyalist Group yesterday announced its buyout of a major rival in the Canadian market. Below is their press release.

Loyalist Group Limited is pleased to announce that it has entered into a definitive agreement for the acquisition of Study English in Canada ("SEC"), a licensed English-as-a-second-language (ESL) school operator with campuses in Toronto and Vancouver. The proposed acquisition would also include Upper Career College of Business & Technology ("UCCTB") campuses in Toronto and Vancouver.

SEC had consolidated revenues of $9.5 million and net income of $1.16 million in the most recent 12-month period. Loyalist will pay $5.5 million for SEC, of which approximately $3.46 million will be paid in cash or cash equivalents and, subject to certain closing adjustments, $2.04 million will be paid through the issuance of Loyalist common shares, with $600,000 worth of such shares being held in escrow for a period of 10 months following closing as security for certain defined post-closing adjustments. The parties expect to complete the transaction on or around February 5, 2014.

"This acquisition adds a well-respected and highly profitable operation to the Loyalist family," said CEO Andrew Ryu. "It also increases our presence in the Toronto market and, more importantly, bolsters our presence in Europe, from which SEC attracts many of its students. I look forward to working with the SEC team as colleagues and fellow shareholders as we continue to build Loyalist."

Completion of the transaction is subject to certain conditions including, but not limited to, the receipt of all necessary approvals, including the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange.

About SEC
Study English in Canada is a prestigious English Preparation School. SEC offers highly tailored, results-driven programs at both its Toronto and Vancouver campuses. Its curriculum structure allows students to design personal, specialized schedules in order to reach their goals.

About Loyalist
Loyalist Group Limited owns and operates private English as a Second Language (ESL) Schools, Career Colleges and Community Colleges in Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Halifax.

Loyalist Group Limited website.

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South Africa | Education

British Council and South Africa sign DOI

bc-south-africa-sign-doi.jpgThe British Council has signed a Declaration of Intent to work with the South African government to raise ELT standards, reports the PIE (Professionals in International Education) News.

The British Council has signed a Declaration of Intent (DOI) to work with the South African Department of Basic Education (DBE) to improve the country’s English as a First Additional Language (EFAL) programming and delivery. The signing of the DOI comes following the meeting of UK Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove and South African Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga at last week’s Education World Forum.

A key component of the collaboration centres on improving the quality of teaching of English in schools through implementing two Teacher Training Courses, the Certificates in Primary and Secondary English Language Teaching (CiPELT and CiSELT).

The project will affect all state schools in South Africa and aims to reach 300,000 teachers and 10 million learners, which accounts for approximately 18% of the population.

Caroline Grant, English Language Advisor at British Council South Africa, commented: “As the late Nelson Mandela once said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world, so it is fantastic to see this Declaration of Intent formalising an important educative collaboration between the UK and South Africa.”

Read the full article from The PIE News.

Photo: British Council Chief Executive, Martin Davidson and Chief Director of South Africa Department of Basic Education, Carol Nuga-Deliwe sign the DOI. The PIE News.

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January 30, 2014

UK | Primary Level | Pre-school

Able readers damaged by phonics, academic says

english-childrens-books.jpgNot directly about English as a second or foreign language, but the BBC looks at the controversy about teaching pupils at British schools to read using phonics.

The interests of able readers are being threatened by an insistence primary school pupils are taught to read using phonics, an academic has said.

The Department for Education wants English schools to use the reading system, which requires children to blend common sounds into words.

But Durham University researcher Andrew Davis says those already starting to read are likely to be put off.

The DfE insists synthetic phonics is the best way to teach reading.

The teaching method encourages children to sound out words rather than recognising the whole word and reading it for meaning.

The government strongly encourages schools to use reading schemes based on synthetic phonics, and part-funds a range of books approved as meeting its criteria.

Read the full article from the BBC.

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January 29, 2014

Malaysia | Education

Malaysia: Cambridge working with Ministry of Education

Cambridge English Language Assessment is working with the Ministry of Education in Malaysia to carry out an in-depth study of the learning, teaching and assessment of English in Malaysian schools.

The large-scale project will focus on children and teachers in schools from pre-school to pre-university.

Hanan Khalifa, Head of Research and International Development and Martin Robinson, Assistant Director Assessment from Cambridge recently met with the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in London to brief him on the progress to date of the project, entitled "The Cambridge Baseline Project: measuring English language standards and establishing an evidence-based baseline for Malaysian schools."

The study is part of a programme which aims to ensure every child is proficient in Bahasa Malaysia and English and is endorsed by the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013–2025.

Deputy Director-General of Education (Policy and Development, MOE), Datuk Amin Senin, said Cambridge English was commissioned to undertake the study in May last year. Amin said the study will measure the English language proficiency of students and the teaching abilities and practices in schools.

The study will review the current national curricula, learning materials, examinations and teaching practices, as well as testing the language levels of students and teachers at the end of pre-school, end of primary school (Year 6), end of lower secondary (Form 3), end of upper secondary (Form 5) and end of Form 6.

The findings from the study will provide the Ministry of Education with baseline data that can be used to set realistic and achievable targets for future learning. Recommendations are expected to be submitted to the government in March 2014.

Martin Robinson commented “Malaysia is embarking upon a visionary education reform programme to ensure that every child will be proficient in Bahasa Malaysia as the national language of unity and in English as the international language of communication. We are very impressed by the rigorous approach the Ministry of Education is taking and it is especially commendable that the Ministry is employing such a ground-breaking, evidence-based approach to providing solutions to the challenges it faces. By undertaking such a comprehensive review of the whole English language education system, Cambridge English Language Assessment is helping Malaysia turn the visions and aspirations of the Education Blueprint into realistic and achievable targets. The Cambridge Baseline Project is the first step in helping Malaysia deliver lasting, genuine educational reform”.

Read the original post on Cambridge English Language Assessment.

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January 28, 2014

Saudi Arabia | Education | Business

Pearson wins key Saudi teaching contract

Pearson has been chosen to partner with a local firm to improve and monitor the quality of English language teaching in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia’s strategic education services company Tatweer has joined hands with top learning company Pearson to develop a new project aimed at developing the standard of English language providers in the kingdom.

The English Partnership Management Project is a flagship programme of the Tatweer Company for Educational Services (T4EDU) in implementing King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz’s Project for Development of Public Education, and forms part of Saudi’s broader education reform agenda to improve the quality of teaching and learning across the Kingdom.

The project aims to improve the English language proficiency of teachers in order to enhance the quality of English language teaching throughout the Kingdom.

Under the contract, Pearson has been tasked with ensuring that the quality of English language instruction delivered to teachers meets stringent, international standards.

Throughout this project, Pearson will monitor the performance of third party English language training providers who work with the Kingdom’s English language teachers, said the company in its statement.

The Tatweer programme will feature a number of initiatives affecting Saudi Arabia’s English language training providers, including:

Read the full article from Trade Arabia.

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January 24, 2014

Employment | Education | Opinion | Japan

Japan: Teachers tread water in eikaiwa limbo

In the Japan Times, Craig Currie-Robson looks at the often harsh reality of coming to Japan to become an English conversation teacher.

Every year, thousands of young native English-speakers fly to Asia in search of an adventure, financed by working as English teachers. They come from Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., Britain, Canada and elsewhere.

But it can be risky leaping into another country on the promise of an “easy” job. In Japan’s competitive English teaching market, foreign language instructors are treading water. “Subcontractor” teachers at corporate giant Gaba fight in the courts to be recognized as employees. Berlitz instructors become embroiled in a four-year industrial dispute, complete with strikes and legal action. Known locally as eikaiwa, “conversation schools” across the country have slashed benefits and reduced wages, forcing teachers to work longer hours, split-shifts and multiple jobs just to make ends meet.

Armed with slick websites and flashy recruiting videos, big chains such as Aeon, Gaba and ECC send recruiters to Australasia, North America and Britain to attract fresh graduates. New hires come expecting to spend their weekends and vacations enjoying temples, shrines and exotic locales. Newcomers may also be lured by the prospect of utilizing that ESL (English as a second language) diploma or CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) they’ve worked hard for. Yet from the start, they’ll effectively be customer-service staff, delivering a standardized product. Recruiting campaigns take full advantage of the prospective teacher’s altruistic angels. They look for suckers.

Read the full article from The Japan Times.

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Malaysia | Teacher Development

Malaysia: 1,022 teachers take Cambridge Placement Test

Malaysia's Daily Express reports on the country's latest measure to improve the standards of English language education.

A total of 1,022 English teachers are now undergoing the Cambridge Placement Test (CPT) in their respective districts in Sabah.

Education Director Datuk Jame Alip (pic) said on Wednesday the course is aimed to improve their English skills and teaching pedagogy methods.

"They are being trained by the British Council in their respective districts," he said.

CPT is a course introduced by the Education Ministry with the collaboration with the British Council in a bid to boost the implementation of the Education Blueprint.

Deputy Prime Minister cum Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in June last year announced that 9,000 teachers will be selected for the CPT course nationwide.

A special entity called Education Implementation and Performance unit (Padu) has been set up to monitor and ensure the success of this initiative.

Read the full article from the Daily Express.

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January 23, 2014

Japan | Publishing | ELT People | Business

Ryoji Fukada appointed as Chairman of CUP Japan

ryoji-fukada.jpgRyoji Fukada has been announced as the new Chairman of Cambridge University Press, Japan.

Fukada-san brings to the Press a vast wealth of experience in the international publishing industry, serving most recently as Chairman of international subscription agent, Swets Information Systems, Japan.

Prior to joining Swets, Fukada-san spent six years as Managing Director of Springer Japan, and before that, was Managing Director at Elsevier Science Japan, which included Elsevier’s Electronic Journals platform, ScienceDirect.

Tony Lund, Managing Director of Cambridge University Press, Asia, said: ‘Asia is a key area for future growth for the Press so we are delighted to welcome Fukada-san to the newly-created position of Chairman to unlock the potential in Japan. The role will help to provide strategic leadership to all the Press’s business in Japan and Fukada-san’s experience is a very good match for such a task.

Commenting on his new role Fukada-san said: "It’s an extremely exciting time to join Cambridge University Press as we seek to maximise the opportunities open to us in the important Japanese market. I very much look forward to working closely with Tony and hope that my experience, coupled with the Press’s rich portfolio of product, will help realise the full potential of the market in Japan."

Cambridge University Press in Japan provides academic and English language teaching materials throughout Japan. Based in Tokyo, Cambridge representatives work directly with libraries, universities and education professionals and also promote to booksellers – in turn allowing them to supply the many customers with some of the highest quality research and teaching materials available.

Read the original press release from Cambridge University Press, Japan.

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Qatar | Online

Qatar: mobile learning app to improve training

qa.pngThe PIE (Professionals in International Education) News reports on a new mobile app aimed at improving the use of technical English in Qatar’s oil and gas industry.

Academics at Athabasca University, Canada and Qatar University are developing a mobile learning application to help employees in Qatar’s oil and gas industry to learn technical English language terms used in the sector.

Learners will have unlimited access to specialised content delivered on mobile devices, enabling them to study at their own pace.

The ‘m-learning’ research project, led by Athabasca University’s Dr Mohamed Ally, is the first of its kind to be used for professional training in Qatar, according to co-lead researcher Dr Mohammad Samaka, of Qatar University.

“There is no history of mobile learning applications utilised to train employees in the workplace in Qatar. This project is novel,” he said. “During our most recent literature review, a hunt for existing applications yielded nothing, indicating that this could be the first mobile learning application under development in the oil and gas industry worldwide.”

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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Apostrophe free street names will not drive down standards

Removing apostrophes from street names in Cambridge is unlikely to have an effect on English standards worldwide, says a department of Cambridge University.

It was recently announced that Cambridge City Council will be omitting apostrophes in new Cambridge street names in line with national guidelines. The move, which has been seen in other cities and towns around the country, has sparked an interesting debate in the media about English language standards.

An expert from Cambridge English Language Assessment – provider of over 4 million English language exams each year around the world – comments:

“Dumbing down the standard of English is not the road we want to go down, but you have to put this decision into context,” says Roger Johnson, Acting Chief Executive of Cambridge English Language Assessment.

“Lots of people do struggle with using apostrophes, and it’s important that learners are taught how to use them correctly, but removing apostrophes from street names in Cambridge is unlikely to have an effect on English learning standards worldwide. Interestingly, we tend to find that students learning English as a foreign language master the apostrophe remarkably well. This is also true of some other complicated grammar rules, which is really encouraging. I’d be much more concerned if there was a proposal to stop teaching grammar in classrooms around the world.”

The apostrophe is a powerful punctuation mark that can have a huge impact on the meaning of a sentence. It was first introduced into English from French in the 16th century and is used to indicate either possession or the omission of letters.

Read the original post from Cambridge English Language Assessment.

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January 22, 2014

Malta | Business

EC Malta uses Italian “celeb” student to promote ELT

andrea-hirai-cocco-ec.jpgInternational English language school operator EC is promoting its school in Malta with the help of a YouTube video featuring a popular Italian actor, according the The PIE (Professionals in International Education) News.

EC Malta recently welcomed Italian actor, model and the 2011 winner of Italian TV show Big Brother to its student cohort. The school is using its celebrity student to publicise its ELT offer among its target student demographic.

Sophia Fergus, EC’s Marketing Manager, told The PIE News: “Of course this is wonderful publicity for EC, but what we are really excited about is that we think Andrea can be a real inspiration to other ambitious young Italians who are aiming for success on an international scale.”

Andrea Hirai Cocco visited Malta for the first time in December and enrolled on a short intensive one-to-one course to improve his English for future acting projects. Fergus added: “Andrea is an energetic and charismatic public figure who understands the importance of being able to speak English, so we think he’s a great role model for our current and potential students.”

EC, a chain of 17 English language schools worldwide, has capitalised on its glamorous alumni and released a YouTube interview with Andrea.

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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January 21, 2014

UK | Education

UK: Strip benefits from claimants lacking skills - Labour

Unemployed people who lack basic English, maths and computing skills should be stripped of benefits unless they take up training, Labour says.

Under the plans, all new claimants of Jobseeker's Allowance would have to sit a basic skills test within six weeks.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves also said people who have worked and then lose their jobs could get higher initial rates of JSA.

But the Conservatives accused her of copying their policies on skills.

In a speech to the IPPR think tank in London, Ms Reeves said: "We all know that basic skills are essential in today's jobs market, but the shocking levels of English and maths among too many jobseekers are holding them back from getting work.

"This traps too many jobseekers in a vicious cycle between low paid work and benefits.

"Government plans in this area just aren't enough. They're now asking jobseekers who exit the failed Work Programme to take up literacy and numeracy training, three whole years after those people first make a claim for benefits.

Read the full article from the BBC.

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January 16, 2014

ELT People | Japan

RIP Kevin Cleary

kevin-cleary.jpgWe were saddened to hear of the death of Japan Association of Language Teachers (JALT) President Kevin Cleary. We do not have any details. If anyone would like to write something via ELT News, we would be more than happy to post it.

A veteran of over 20 years in Japan, Kevin was an Associate Professor at Tokyo Medical and Dental University. He also taught accounting at the Meiji University Graduate School of Accountancy and "English through Cinema" at the Sophia University Community College. He was the author of more than a dozen works, mainly on the area of adapting scientific articles for language learners.

Kevin first got involved in the running of JALT when he became treasurer of the Tokyo chapter in 2003. He held a variety of other positions within the organization and was selected as president in 2010. He lived with his family in the coastal town of Kamakura, near Tokyo.

The above is from a brief profile of Kevin on the JALT website.

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Business | US

ILSC set to open New York school in April

ilsc-logo.gifThe PIE (Professionals in International Education) News reports that Canada-based language school chain ILSC Education Group is soon to open a new school in downtown Manhattan.

Global language school chain, ILSC Education Group is set to open its second US location in New York in April 2014, and will be fully accredited by CEA to offer I-20s to international students after acquiring a smaller school in September last year.

The company is currently building the school centre in downtown Manhattan with capacity to hold 300 students. The school’s director David Hughes said it will aim to be a “cultural experience” for students.

“New York is a unique kind of place so we’re looking to attract students who want to be in here but we also want to bring in creative, artistic and musical types to really make the school a cultural experience not just a language learning experience,” he told The PIE News.

Located in the heart of the financial district, Hughes says there will be a large appeal for business and executive students as well once the new building opens.

“Students learn quickly when they are able to really express their personalities and passions inside the classroom,” said Hughes. “I think New York’s rich culture and its significant place in the global financial world will offer students an exciting learning experience both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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January 15, 2014

Vietnam | Education

Vietnam: schools struggle to employ foreign teachers

Many schools in Ho Chi Minh City are facing difficulties in employing foreign English teachers due to the obstacles of high payment, and a lack of teachers and textbooks.

Several schools are struggling to raise funding to pay USD2,000 per month to English teachers from the Philippines, while the number of recruited teachers is still much less than the demand.

According to a plan drafted by the HCM City municipal Department of Education and Training, there should have been around 100 English teachers from the Philippines teaching at local primary and secondary schools by the end of 2012. To date, they have only recruited 13 who are working and 26 who have agreed to work in early 2014.

Under the plan, the municipal government would subsidise half of the funding and the rest would be covered by contributions by school fees. However, due to the lack of funding, schools now are forced to mobilise all the funding from students’ parents in order to pay a monthly salaries of USD2,000 to Filipino teachers each.

In order to ensure payment for teachers, students are required to pay VND120,000 (USD5,67) per month. However, the mobilised funding is not enough due to the variable number of students at classes, forcing schools to offset costs through other sources.

Read the full article from Vietnam Net.

Photo: April Gravette R. Miralles, an English teacher from the Philippines. (Vietnam Net)

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January 13, 2014

Japan | Opinion | Education

Japan: A course of action for English education

There is plenty of debate happening in Japan with regard to the government's stated plans to yet again overhaul the English language education system.

Last week’s Learning Curve column, “English fluency hopes rest on an education overhaul,” looked at the persistent mismatch between the education ministry’s stated goals and the actual outcomes of English language education in Japan.

With that in mind, this week’s article features scholars, parents and native English-speaking teachers offering their ideas on how to produce greater numbers of fluent English speakers in the country.

Top of the TEAP

Underlying the low levels of English-speaking ability in Japan is the administration of the university entrance exam — the National Center Test for University Admissions — which does not include speaking or writing. At present, the exam’s English portion consists of an 80-minute reading-based section and a 30-minute listening-based one. After the National Center Test, applicants take university-specific exams of which there are more than 1,000 (with varying levels of English requirements).

Because the Japanese education system is a “degree-ocracy,” in which the path to university acceptance and graduation is believed to determine any success thereafter, teachers teach to these entrance examinations. Absent the presence of speaking and writing sections, the general population of students are unlikely to learn these skills.

Professor Paul Underwood of Toyo Eiwa University hopes that universities will consider offering the Test of English for Academic Purposes (TEAP) exam in addition to their own. Created last year by the Eiken Foundation of Japan in conjunction with Sophia University, it is geared toward native Japanese speakers and includes speaking and writing sections.

Alternatively, Robert Aspinall, a professor at Shiga University and author of the 2012 book “International Education Policy in Japan in an Age of Globalisation and Risk,” believes that, like the A-level examination system in Britain, only advanced students should sit for English exams that test for all four English skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. This will ensure that at least a handful of students are “not just passively studying English like it’s a dead language.”

Read the full article from The Japan Times.

Photo: Yoshiaki Miura, The Japan Times

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January 12, 2014

Japan | Education

Teachers must nurture critical thinking, confidence in English

Regular Japan Times columnist Amy Chavez opines about the requirements for the Japanese government to achieve its stated goals in English language education.

Recently, it was revealed that Japanese public schools may start teaching English earlier (from third grade of elementary school), with more classes per week. The new “blueprint” for English education, to be implemented by 2020, even aims to have some junior-high classes taught in the target language. By high school, it is hoped, Japanese will be able to converse in English at a “viable level of proficiency.”

Uh-huh. It’s one thing to set lofty, desirable goals, and another to know how to achieve them.

As a native English speaker, teachers beg me to allow their Japanese students to practice English with me. As a former ESL (English as a second language) teacher, I am also pre-qualified for the task, since foreign language instructors in Japan are known to possess infinite patience along with the ability to speak artificially slowly and clearly. Furthermore, we are unlikely to surprise nescient learners with vocabulary or sentence patterns they haven’t yet studied.

If the students are high school age or below, they will introduce themselves with the predictable “My name is . . .” followed by “Nice to meet you.” Usually these two sentences are strung together and delivered rapid-fire as if they were one long 10-syllable-or-more word. While this method gets the task finished quickly for the student, I am rarely able to catch the pupil’s name among the garble.

Once the performer has finished, he retreats and the next classmate comes up to the plate to pitch the same scenario.

Sorry guys, but this is not English communication; this is memorizing English phrases.

Read the full article from The Japan Times.

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January 09, 2014

Canada | Business

Loyalist Group launches franchise program

loyalist-group-logo.gifLoyalist Group, a leading operator of ESL schools across Canada, has announced a new franchise program that aims to increase its global reach.

Loyalist Group Limited is pleased to announce that it has launched a program to licence its best-in-class English-as-a-second-language curriculum for overseas schools.

Under the program, Loyalist will offer its curriculum and grant its own diplomas to franchisees and their students in exchange for a combination of fees and royalty payments. Loyalist expects that franchising will create substantial high-margin revenues by allowing the Company to earn income from overseas students who choose to study in their own countries.

Loyalist is targeting four countries for the launch of the program: Mexico, China, Turkey and South Korea. Setup fees payable by the franchisee to Loyalist range from $0 to $100,000 while royalty rates range from 5-20% of gross revenues (or $50 per student per month).

Loyalist has already signed 5 franchise agreements, and expects to add several more franchise agreements per quarter over the coming years.

Read the full press release from Market Watch.

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January 08, 2014

Japan | Education

Japan: English fluency hopes rest on an education overhaul

A look at the problems facing Japan as it aims to improve the nation's English language skills in advance of the 2020 Olympics.

Ringing in 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has a dream: One nation that will actively re-engage with the global marketplace.

To realize this dream by 2020, it’s commonly accepted that the Japanese need to improve their English. So, what’s the problem? Unfortunately there are a few.

Though English has been a part of the official national syllabus since 1947 and many subsequent education policies have addressed curriculum reform — most recently the 2008 “Revisions of the Courses of Study for the Elementary and Secondary Schools” — there is widespread concern that few Japanese can actually speak fluent English.

Read the full article from The Japan Times.

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December 18, 2013

ELT People | Education | Iraq

The view from an American veteran teaching in Iraq

andrew-slater.jpgNew Orleans Public Radio interviews a veteran of three tours of duty in Iraq with the U.S. Army who later returned to the country to teach English.

Connecticut native Andrew Slater served three tours of duty in Iraq as a U.S. Army infantry and special forces officer. He came home. But then he went back to the country he fought in.

Slater now teaches English at the American University of Iraq in Sulaimani. That’s in the Kurdish part of the country, which has been more peaceful that the rest of Iraq, but even that area has been touched by the violence that has plagued the country this year.

Slater has his students read Faulkner, Melville and speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr. He joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to discuss his students, who are the future of Iraq.

Listen to the interview on New Orleans Public Radio.

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Teacher Development | Japan

Tokyo to boost teachers’ ESL for 2020 Olympics

The PIE (Professionals in International Education) News reports on Japanese government plans for its English language teachers to undergo 'Olympic' training.

As of next year, high and junior high school English language teachers in Tokyo will be required to spend three months abroad, in a bid by the Tokyo Board of Education to raise the standard of English teaching in schools as the city prepares for the 2020 Olympics.

Through the programme, teachers will study on a TESOL course, and live in a homestay in order to gain an understanding of different cultures. The project will launch with its first intake of 200 teachers in their third year of teaching in April 2014, provided the ¥600 million (USD$5.9 million) annual budget is approved by the Tokyo Metropolitan government.

Eventually, all of Tokyo’s high and junior high school English teachers will have to spend three months abroad, though the locations have not yet been decided. There are currently around 3,300 eligible teachers in the prefecture.

At the moment, there is no national study abroad programme for English teachers, and overseas study is not a prerequisite for teaching.

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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December 17, 2013

Japan | Secondary Level | Primary Level

Japan: English education set to get serious

Japan's education ministry recently announced its latest overhaul of the country's English language education system, reports The Japan Times.

Junior high school English teachers should conduct classes exclusively in English and be periodically tested on their skills in the language using a third-party proficiency test, and formal English instruction should start in the fifth grade of elementary school from 2020, according to a blueprint for education reform unveiled Friday.

As part of the plan for elementary to high school English education, more assistant language teachers also will be hired, education minister Hakubun Shimomura said.

“We want to raise the standards for English education at the junior high and high school levels by having teachers conduct classes in English in junior high school, and focusing on the presentation and debate aspects of English usage in high school,” he said.

The proposals are part of the “Execution Plan for the Reform of English Education in Response to Globalization,” the ministry’s blueprint for strengthening English-language education from elementary to high school.

Among other factors, the education ministry is hoping to take advantage of heightened interest in the language ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, which will draw large numbers of visitors to Japan.

Read the full article from The Japan Times.

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December 13, 2013

Canada | Adult Education

British Columbia colleges, universities to lose ESL funding

Ottawa expected to negotiate directly with community groups to provide English classes to immigrants.

B.C. colleges and universities that teach English as a second language to recent immigrants were told Tuesday their funding will probably end on March 31.

The province knew changes would be coming since the federal government announced in 2012 that it would be cancel the Canada-B.C. Immigration Agreement, which funded the training, said Amrik Virk, B.C.’s advanced education minister.

“We are still waiting for an official decision on how the federal government plans to deliver English language training on April 1, 2014,” Virk said in a statement. “However, it seems unlikely that the funding that flows through the ministry to institutions will be replaced.”

The cut amounts to about $17 million, which paid for more than 9,000 ESL students to learn English tuition-free last year. Vancouver Community College provided 46 per cent of the ESL training under the program, with Camosun College on Vancouver Island second at 14 per cent, according to the Advanced Education Ministry.

Read the full article from The Vancouver Sun.

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December 12, 2013

Israel | Education

Israel, UK team up to improve English education

New initiative will provide more training for teachers in Israel, but critic says the program won’t address fundamental issues

The Israeli education minister and his British counterpart signed a cooperative agreement Tuesday aimed at providing more training for English teachers in Israel, the Education Ministry announced Wednesday.

The initiative is not, however, expected to lead to a sea change in English-language instruction in the country.

As part of a five-year curriculum, the British Council has developed the Routes to Excellence program by which English teachers in Israel can take courses that will “improve their teaching and teacher training skills,” according to the council’s website. The program will include seminars and teacher training, and it will provide “skills for the English language tailored for the 21st century,” according to a statement from the Education Ministry.

The program does not constitute a major shift in Israel’s English education curriculum, but it will provide teachers with important resources, including language courses for teachers who feel they need to improve their skills, according to Chief Inspector for English Language Education Judy Steiner.

“We aren’t expecting a great improvement in students’ English specifically from this program, but we believe that better trained teachers with more tools they can use in the classroom will result in better teaching,” she told The Times of Israel.

Read the full article from The Times of Israel.

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December 11, 2013

China | Education

Job-oriented foreign languages teaching

The People's Daily speculates on the recent policy shift to de-emphasise the importance of English for young children and in college entrance exams in China.

A sea change is on horizon in the way Chinese people learn English. And along with it, a debate is growing among teachers and parents as to how foreign languages are to be taught and learned in this country.

In October, the Beijing municipal education authorities decided to lessen both the importance and proportion of foreign languages in the college entrance examination, or gaokao, of the municipality, starting 2016. Similar moves were reportedly being planned in Shanghai and a number of coastal provinces.

Since then, the policies on foreign language teaching in schools have been revised by the education authorities of one province after another. Children are no longer encouraged to start learning English at a very young age, say in their first and second years in primary school, or in kindergartens.

In the latest move, the Ministry of Education proposed that foreign language tests should no longer be part of the once-a-year college entrance examination. Instead, they should be offered as a social service, and be held multiple times in a year.

All these moves, both plans and suggestions - and presumably more will come - should not be seen as only a nationalistic whim. Nor should they be independent from the overall endeavor to reform the system and the ways in which many subjects, not just foreign languages, are being taught to Chinese students.

Read the full article from The People's Daily.

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December 10, 2013

Australia | Online | Third Level

ELT MOOC launched in Australia

The long-awaited first MOOC to offer a free online English language learning course was recently launched in Australia.

The first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for English language learners was launched in Brisbane, Australia on December 4. Fifteen colleges and universities in Queensland collaborated to develop the more than 50 lessons currently offered by MOOEC (the E is for English). Like all MOOCs, the course can be accessed free and the initial aim is for a high take-up within Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

Lessons are organised into established levels of proficiency and approved by a committee of professional English language practitioners providing quality assurance oversight of the content.

The MOOEC is an initiative of International Education Services, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of international education. They say an additional 100 lessons are planned for release over the next six months. Other Australian higher learning institutions have expressed a strong interest in getting on board.

IES Managing Director, Chris Evason said, “The movement towards free, online education is a key development in Higher Education and the MOOEC intends to play an important complementary role in bringing language learning to a wider audience. We are seeking to use our extensive network of 20,000 industry professionals worldwide, to help us reach learners in every country in the world.”

While a stated aim of MOOEC is "to reach individuals who currently have limited means to access high-quality, on-line English Language tuition" it will not replace face-to-face instruction. Indeed it is viewed as a means to encourage students to eventually enrol at one of the partner institutions and to do so with a "substantial learning profile."

The MOOEC website
The International Education Services website

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Cambridge recognizes Turkish school’s commitment to ELT

An Istanbul-based school has been awarded a plaque from a department of Cambridge University in recognition of its on-going commitment to raising English standards in the classroom.

This year, the Denizati school joined the Cambridge English School Network, a programme being run by Cambridge English Language Assessment and Cambridge University Press.

The school has been offering Cambridge English exams since 2002 including Cambridge English: Young Learners, Cambridge English: Key and Cambridge English: Preliminary. To qualify for membership of the Cambridge English Schools programme, Denizati has made a commitment to offering official Cambridge English exams and support materials. Christopher Baker – Regional Manager, Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Cambridge English Language Assessment said:

“It’s really encouraging to see Denizati join this important programme which will see them integrate the Cambridge English exams and support materials into their existing curriculum. This is good news for students as it will encourage them to improve their English language ability which will help them in their future studies and careers.”

Read the full post from Cambridge English Language Assessment.

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December 05, 2013

Education | ELT People | Tanzania

Teaching English abroad is about educating the people who really need it

Victoria Harris has taught English as a foreign language for almost 13 years and has set up a school in Tanzania for disadvantaged children.

Victoria Harris has travelled the world teaching English as a foreign language. Now her quest to make a difference through education has led her to start her own school in Tanzania.

My heart has always been in Africa. I taught in Hong Kong for three years, but although I loved the city, it was very materialistic – all about money and shopping centres. I just wanted to do something completely different so decided to become a volunteer. My parents had both been English teachers in Kenya and we lived in Africa for a couple of years when we were kids. I had always wanted to go back, so I found a small non-profit organisation called the MondoChallenge Foundation which sends volunteers to various countries. The original plan was to return to Kenya but they needed people more in Tanzania and they set me up with a placement there.

Improvisation is key to an ESL (English as a second language) teacher's survival. I came to Tanzania for three months, living with an African family and teaching at a primary school with 120 kids in the class. There was no electricity and no running water. At the time, I had six years teaching experience so I was ok. But I think if I had done it earlier in my career it would have been a struggle. You have to improvise. You have these huge blackboards, but the chalk is such bad quality that it just disintegrates. You would be writing something on the board and it just dissolves into powder. It's therefore important to find ways to get the kids involved. If you've got 120 children in the class with some sitting right at the back who can't even see the board, a lot of it is just about getting them to take part. So, I used songs and games where they had to come up and write something on the board.

Read the full article from The Guardian.

Photograph: EllyHarris Learning Centre

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December 04, 2013

Third Level | Europe

Europe: Shift in attitudes towards English-taught HE

role-of-emi-conference.jpgThe PIE (Professionals in International Education) News reports on a recent European conference on the role of English as a medium of instruction in higher education.

English as a medium of instruction in higher education across Europe provides marketing opportunities for non-native speaking countries and is becoming more widely accepted by governments and institutions, according to discussions in Spain last week.

A two-day event organised by the British Council and Madrid-based IE University brought together EU policy makers and university leaders to consider the role of English in institutions. While attitudes toward EMI are shifting, delegates concluded that further guidelines and principles are necessary to maintain quality standards.

English tuition is on the rise across Europe, with an increase of 30% in the number of degrees taught entirely in English in Spain alone, according to the Spain’s British Council director, Rod Pryde. He added that 52 of 89 Spanish HEIs now offer English-taught Bachelor’s programmes.

According to research by the Institute of International Education, fully or partially English-based programmes now account for almost a third of taught Masters courses in continental Europe. The number of English taught Masters programmes listed on the course listings website rose by 38% to 6,407 between December 2011 and June 2013.

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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December 03, 2013

Brazil | Business

Pearson buys Brazil's top ELT school for $720m

grupo-multi.jpgPearson continues its global expansion with the acquisition of Brazil's leading adult English language training company.

British media and education group Pearson has agreed to buy Grupo Multi, the largest provider of adult English language training in Brazil, as it invests more in its global education business.

The owner of the Financial Times newspaper will pay 440 million pounds ($720 million) in cash and will take on 65 million pounds of debt from the Martins family and investment firm Kinea.

Pearson Chief Executive John Fallon is reorganising the company to concentrate on fast-growing economies and digital services, rather than Europe and North America, where austerity measures have hit public spending.

Brazil is the fourth-largest English language market in the world, worth 2 billion pounds per year. Demand for English speakers in the tourism and hospitality sectors is expected to rise as the country prepares to host the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.

"Brazilians' appetite for learning English as a global language of business and trade shows every sign of continuing to grow rapidly as Brazil becomes a global player in commerce, travel and a host of other industries," Fallon said in a statement.

Read the full article from Reuters.
Press release from Pearson.

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November 30, 2013

Awards & Competitions | Turkey

UED Awards celebrate schools attuned to Turkish market

ued-awards-2013.jpg New awards from a Turkish association of education agencies were recently given to institutions and companies in 16 different categories.

Language schools and service providers from around the world were honoured last week with the first ever awards presented by a Turkish association of education agencies – the Association of International Educational Counselors Turkey (UED). Accolades were given to institutions and companies in 16 different categories.

The awards were organised to highlight the unique necessities the Turkish market has and recognise education companies who give good service to Turkish agents, according to UED.

“In the international education counselling sector, there are other awards but we always think the Turkish market and the Turkish agents and students have different needs,” said Gokhan Islamoglu a coordinator at UED.

The Best English Language School titles were given to leading institutions in top destinations. The London School of English was recognised in the UK, ELS Language Centers in the USA and Australia, ILAC in Canada, European School of English in Malta and Centre of English Studies in Ireland.

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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November 27, 2013

UAE | Education

Cambridge praises Abu Dhabi school for ELT achievements

ae.pngA school in Abu Dhabi has been praised by an expert from Cambridge University at a ceremony to mark the English language achievements of a group of its students.

Fifty students from the Al Murooj Scientific Private School in Abu Dhabi recently passed Cambridge English exams. They were presented with their certificates at a special ceremony attended by the students and their families, along with representatives from the school and Cambridge University.

Speaking at the event, Angela Wright from Cambridge English Language Assessment – a department of Cambridge University – said:

‘I’d like to congratulate the students who achieved excellent results in their Cambridge English exams. They have proved they can use English to international standards, which will put them in a really good position when they start looking for further study opportunities or employment. Their achievements would not have been possible without the support of the teachers at the Al Murooj Scientific Private School, who made sure that the students were well prepared for exam day.’

The Al Murooj Scientific Private School has been preparing students for Cambridge English exams for two years. The successful students took a range of school-age exams including Cambridge English: Young Learners and Cambridge English: Preliminary for Schools.

The ceremony took place on 24 November at Al Murooj Scientific School in Abu Dhabi.

Read the original article from Cambridge English Language Assessment.

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November 25, 2013

Australia | Education

Australia: funding changes hit ESL support program

adrian-piccoli.jpg Experts warn that education department cuts in New South Wales will have an adverse effect on ESL programs for immigrant children.

Vulnerable refugee and migrant children will be disadvantaged by the abolition of specialist support for teachers of English as a second language, academics and community groups have warned.

Ten academics from the state's top universities fear the changes are the beginning of the end for the English as a second language program in public schools across NSW.

"These changes are widely being interpreted as the beginning of a dismantling of the system-wide, targeted ESL program support infrastructure developed over the last four decades," their letter to NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said.

The academics said the NSW government plan to devolve control of school budgets from the Education Department to individual principals would also put the future of the state's 1600 specialist ESL teachers at risk.

The academics from the University of Sydney, University of NSW, University of Western Sydney, Macquarie University, Australian Catholic University and University of Technology, Sydney, said targeted funding was needed to sustain ESL teaching.

Read the full article from The Sydney Morning Herald.

Photo: NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli (

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India | Education

Quality suffers, English still 'foreign' for Gujarat students

gujarat-students.jpgExperts blame poor school teaching and diminishing reading habits for the low standard of English among students in the Indian region of Gujarat.

“Friends, our dear sister
is departing for foreign
in two three days,
and we are meeting today
to wish her bon voyage,”

The lines, written by Indo-Anglian poet Nissim Ezekiel in the poem ‘Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa TS’, decades ago throws open the clichés that plague English in our country even today.

And Gujarat is no exception. Is English still a foreign language to the country? Why is it that students, despite being trained in the use of the language, continue to falter?

Recently, Gujarati boy Pranav Mistry- alumnus of Nirma University and currently head of Think Tank team of Samsung Research America that designed the Samsung Galaxy Gear smart watch, faced criticism for his heavily accented English. This has once again raised the issue of quality of English teaching in institutes and colleges in the state.

Read the full article from DNA India.

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Teacher Development | Saudi Arabia

US experts to train Saudis in ELT

The Saudi Arabian government has invited specialists from Colombia University to train Saudi teachers in English language teaching.

The Ministry of Education has invited specialists from Colombia University in the United States to train Saudi teachers on methods of teaching the English language.

They will also visit public schools to elicit the views and opinions of students and teachers on the curriculum.

The specialists will conduct surveys during their visits to schools and interact with staff and students to gather information on the benefits they have derived from the present curriculum and methods of teaching.

This initiative has been taken within the framework of the Project of King Abdullah for Public Educational Development, for which international educational companies aim to develop a curriculum in schools for next year.

Sources said reports submitted to the Ministry of Education had stated that students were weak in the English language.

This prompted the Educational Services Development Company (ESDC), appointed to develop the English portfolio, to sign contracts with international universities specialized in training teachers and supervisors teaching English at school level.

Read the full article from Arab News.

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November 24, 2013

US | Business

TEFL Institute probed over "deceptive advertising"

tefl-institute-logo.jpg Only a month after protests by employees over "stolen wages", Chicago-based TEFL Institute is under investigation again.

The consumer watchdog Truth in is probing into the Chicago-based TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) Institute over alleged "deceptive advertising claims."

TEFL Institute offers an international 150-hour certification program that can cost more than $1,000,'s investigation shows.

TEFL Institute, located in Chicago's North Center neighborhood, wrote on its website that it is accredited by NATEFLAC, which is supposedly a “leading TEFL accrediting organization based in the U.S." The researchers at, however, found that the hyperlink provided for NATEFLAC doesn't work.

In response to questions about NATEFLAC's legitimacy, TEFL Institute president Ti Ron Gibbs's wrote in an email on November 21 to that "TEFL is undergoing accreditation. The information on our final accreditation will be made public once it is done. Please check back within two months."

When followed-up by phone with Gibbs the next day, Gibbs said the institute is now getting accredited through another agency, but would not provide specifics.

Read the full article from Progress Illinois.

Related story: Teachers Rally For Stolen Wages Outside TEFL Institute (October 24, 2013)

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November 22, 2013

Thailand | Education

Thailand - English teaching projects inadequate

A report on how Thailand should look to its Asian neighbors for ideas on how to reform English teaching. The country ranked last in a recent English proficiency index.

Thailand has implemented English-language learning projects to improve English skills for students over the past several years, but most of the projects demonstrated a lack of consistency and seriousness, a study has found.

The study also found that Thailand should learn from methods used in China to develop students' English proficiency.

There, Chinese students need to pass College English Tests (CET) as an exit exam before gaining college degrees.

The study on "English Language Teaching (ELT) Policies and Situation" in five countries _ China, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand _ was aimed at comparing the strengths of ELT in Thailand and enhancing the English abilities of Thai learners.

The study was conducted by Sa-ngiam Torut, a lecturer in the faculty of education at Silpakorn University.

The study findings were presented on Wednesday at a seminar titled "International Lessons: English Learning Reform," organised by the Quality Learning Foundation (QLF).

Read the full article from the Bangkok Post.

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China | Primary Level

Mixed reactions over cutting English classes

primary-school-students-china.jpg A decision to push back English-language classes for Beijing primary school students to the third grade has received mixed reviews from city teachers, parents and experts.

The Beijing Commission of Education decided on Tuesday that primary school students in the capital will not begin learning English until the third grade.

The decision will take effect in next year's fall semester. Currently, English classes begin in the first grade.

It is the commission's second major change to the city's education system in recent months. In October, it reduced the total score of the English-language portion of the gaokao, or China's college entrance exam, from 150 to 100. This change takes effect in 2016.

While some parents, teachers and experts said starting English classes in the third grade will add to an already heavy homework load, others said first- and second-graders are currently having a tough time learning both Chinese and English simultaneously.

"I think it's better for children to learn a language - including English - earlier," said Zhao Xingli, mother of a 9-year-old girl in Beijing.

Read the full article from Chinese news site

Photo: An English teacher helps Chongwen Elementary School first graders take an exam in Beijing last year. Liu Ping/For China Daily

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November 18, 2013

Pakistan | Education

Pakistan: 94% of teachers lack English skills

The PIE (Professionals in International Education) News reports on British Council findings that show ongoing educational reforms in Punjab still have a very long way to go.

Ninety-four per cent of Pakistan’s primary and middle school teachers lack the necessary English language skills needed for providing a quality education in English, due to what a report from the British Council’s Punjab Education and English Language Initiative (PEELI) calls a lack of “buy-in” to the government’s policy to expand and improve English medium education.

Of the 2,008 teachers sampled from Punjab’s 18 districts, 62% of private and 56% of government school teachers scored in the lowest possible band in the Aptis test – a computer based competency test used by the British Council– indicating an inability to use familiar everyday expressions and simple phrases.

“We are committed to continuing to work with the School Education Department of the Government of Punjab to improve the situation for both teachers and learners and ensure that English medium education is of the highest possible quality,” said Richard Wyers, Director Punjab at the British Council.

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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Japan | Teacher Development

Tokyo teachers to study abroad

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will send some 200 Japanese and other non-native English teachers to study at foreign universities for three months in fiscal 2014, Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose announced.

The capital will lead state reforms in English-language education in the run-up to the 2020 Summer Olympics, Inose told a news conference Friday.

The dispatch will cover junior high and high school teachers who have been working for at least three years. The city hopes they will learn effective teaching methods and everyday English while abroad.

Tokyo will also hike the number of full-time assistant language teachers at high schools to 100 in 2014 from just five at present. That number will rise to 200 in the following year, so that all of these schools are staffed with native English-speaking ALTs

Read the original article from The Japan Times.

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November 15, 2013


Teaching English in Germany – Top 10 things I learned

Teach English in GermanyOn her return home, Canadian Kristi Fuoco writes for the Vancouver Sun about the 18 months she spent living and teaching English in Germany.

Sometimes I think that my students in Germany taught me more than I taught them. Teaching is a funny thing and demands your all. You can’t have an off day as a teacher. You are always on, and you have to give intense amounts of energy in every moment. It is utterly exhausting and wonderful all at once.

As a language teacher in Hamburg, Germany, some days I felt like I was a complete and utter failure, and that no matter what I did in a certain class I couldn’t get my students engaged. Other days I felt like the entire class was energized and we were all inspired. Every day brings new challenges, new people and a whole lot of learning on both sides. So, in no particular order here are the top 10 things things I learned from my 18 months as a Business English Teacher in Hamburg, Germany, and incidentally, many of them can really be applied to life in general too.

1. You will learn more from teaching English to foreigners about their own language, than from any language class you will ever take.
This one really surprised me the most. When I first started teaching English in Germany my level of German was very basic, but each day, as students asked me what a word was in English, and I was forced to look them up or figure it out, I learned an endless amount of new vocabulary. My students always asked me how they could learn new vocab and really, the best way they could do it is to teach German to English speakers! You also learn so much about the structure of a foreign language by the mistakes that your students make in English. I can’t count how many times I made mental notes as my students placed verbs or other words in strange orders, and I realized, “oh, so that’s how you must say that in German.” It’s seriously the best kept secret to being an English as a foreign language teacher.

Read the full post on .

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Russia | Asia

Quality English expands missions to Russia

The PIE (Professionals in International Education) News reports on a recent successful mission to Russia by a marketing association for independent English language schools.

English language schools from Europe and North America met over 30 Russian agents at the Quality English mission in Moscow last month.

Quality English is a marketing association for independent English language schools that conform to universal high standards. Ten schools from the UK, four from Ireland and one each from the USA and Canada attended the workshop.

Representatives from the British Council and the Irish Embassy in Russia were also on hand to provide support and advice while the Association of Russian Education Advisors (AREA) shared market insights.

One of the mission’s sponsors Isobel Clarke from the Wimbledon School of English said the event facilitated interaction with quality agents.

“I really found it very useful to sponsor the event, as after the [Wimbledon School] presentation a lot of agents came to see me as they liked the look of the school,” she said. “I feel I got to speak with people that I wouldn’t have necessarily met had it not been for the presentation.”

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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November 14, 2013

Events | Japan

Tokyo - Oxford Day 2013

wine-cheese.jpgWould you like to explore some practical new techniques for your classes?

Oxford University Press Japan would like to invite you to a day of thought-provoking and practical workshops by international and Japan-based experts on a range of high-interest areas in English language teaching. Topics to be covered include blended learning, creativity, CLIL, testing, using tablets, “Can-Do” statements, critical thinking, and more.

Presenters include: Goodith White, Keith Morrow, Grant Trew, Malcolm Swanson, Chantal Hemmi, Ben Shearon, Shigeru Sasajima

Also on offer:

  • Lunch* (vegetarian option available)
  • Wine and cheese party*
  • 20% discount on books
  • "Early bird" prize draw

Cost: FREE, but pre-registration is required.
Date: Saturday, November 23rd
Time: 09:30-17:00 (Doors open at 09:00)
Venue: AP Shibuya Dogenzaka 11F
(three minutes from the "Hachiko exit" of Shibuya station.)

(* For pre-registered guests only)

P.S. If you can't make it for Oxford Day, you can still hear Goodith White talk about "Technology in the classroom" at a special event in Shinjuku on November 25th. For more information, click here.

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UK - English teaching projects awarded £6m

e3-project.jpgSix projects across England have been awarded £6m in government funding to teach English to the public using non-conventional methods.

They competed for funding with the aim of reaching 24,000 non-English speakers in so-called priority areas across London, the Midlands and the North.

The projects will be given funding initially but then encouraged to become self-sustaining.

Councils have been told they must encourage people to speak English.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles told local authorities in March they should encourage speaking English by not translating documents into foreign languages.

He said: "Speaking English is crucial to allow us to come together and be part of British society. People are unable to do this and are condemned to a limited life if they can't speak our language."

Jan Bros, director at one of the six projects, the London based e3 Partnership, said learning English was far more preferable to relying on translators.

She said: '"It is better to empower individuals to undertake things for themselves than encourage them to be passive.

"Our learners would rather be able to have conversations themselves than rely on family members to do everything for them."

Read the full article from the BBC.

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November 12, 2013

Oman | Teacher Development

Oman - 169 English teachers take knowledge test

One hundred and sixty nine Omani primary and secondary school English teachers attended a graduation ceremony at the residence of the British ambassador to the Sultanate on Monday after completing their Teacher Knowledge Essentials programme.

The programme was run by the British Council from September 2012 until April 2013 and the participants wrote the internationally-recognised Cambridge Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT) examination. Officials from the Ministry of Education and the British Council, who contributed to the success of the collaborative project, were present on the occasion.

The TKT project provides Omani English teachers with a valuable professional development opportunity and an indication of their current level of teaching knowledge.

Original article appeared in Oman Tribune.

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November 07, 2013


What we can learn from teaching English abroad

guardian-tefl.jpgThe Guardian asks whether the successful TEFL model of teaching English could be applied to the teaching of foreign languages in the UK.

Ellie Colegate spent five years studying French at school in Kent, but opted not to continue beyond Year 9. "Learning a new language was never something my teachers made appealing or entertaining. My experience was purely an academic one. My French teacher just made us copy and complete exercises from books. And this is a top set French class."

Colegate, 15, has taken some of her GCSEs early and is already looking ahead to a bright future at university, but it's clear that the British approach to language education has failed to engage her. "During lessons, my teacher spent little time speaking the language herself and she would only ever get a handful of the best students to speak in class."

After three years or more studying a foreign language at secondary school, the majority of British school leavers are unable to read, write, speak or understand more than a few phrases, pre-learnt and repeated until they can be said on command, parrot-fashion.

At the same time, the industry around Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is exploding with activity and seeing increasing success across the globe. TEFL teachers teach English abroad to people whose first language is not English. There are TEFL courses – sometimes also referred to as TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language) – across the globe, offered by a number of accredited course providers. The British Council estimates there are 1.55 billion English learners around the world, and at least 10.2 million English teachers. There are more than 100,000 native English speakers teaching in China alone.

How is it that the TEFL industry is booming while the British language learning system is in a state of crisis?

Read the full article from The Guardian.

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November 06, 2013


Canada: Teachers protest cuts to ESL programs

ESL teachers in Southern Ontario, Canada are protesting cuts made to English language programs for newly arrived immigrants.

While many immigrants choose the Peel region as their first home, there have been dramatic cuts to the English classes offered to assist them with the transition. Peel English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers say they want to know why the Peel District School Board (PDSB) is targeting ESL classes with these cuts.

Acquiring English language skills is essential to improving the lives of new Canadians, they say, and ESL training allows them to access education and work opportunities, and become integrated into Canadian life.

"Why is Ontario cutting ESL classes for new Canadians?" said OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "If this government is truly committed to ensuring immigrants are able to get decent jobs, these classes must be made a priority."

Since 2011, the number of Peel ESL classes has been cut by close to 50 per cent. While 127 teachers were employed by the Peel District School Board to deliver ESL classes in 2011, only 67 have been hired this year. Many full-time teaching positions have been reduced to part-time, and class size requirements have increased meaning it is more likely they will be cancelled.

Read the full article on Caledon Enterprise.

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November 04, 2013

Events | Bulgaria

BETA Conference in Bulgaria April 2014

Teach-English-in-BulgariaFor those of you who like to plan well in advance, the 23rd BETA Bulgaria Annual International Conference will be held next April.

 Theme: The English language classroom: Can research meet practice?

Date: 11 - 13 April 2014.
On 11th April (Friday), BETA will host the Annual General Meeting of the South Eastern Europe Teachers' Associations (SEETA).

Venue: South-West University in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

Plenary speakers: Terry Lamb (UK), Desmond Tomas (UK), Elisaveta Boyadzhieva and Gergana Apostolova (Bulgaria).

Topics: Applied Linguistics; Blended Learning; Content and Language Integrated Learning; Global Issues; Literature, Media and Cultural Studies in ELT; Teacher Education and Development; Teaching English for Specific Purposes; Teaching Young Learners and Teenagers; Testing, Evaluation and Assessment.

A programme of social events including a trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Rila Monastery will offer the participants the opportunity to combine their professional growth with delightful experiences.

Speaker proposal submission deadline: 12 January 2014

Contact BETA Bulgaria or visit their website for more info.

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November 01, 2013

Republic of Korea

'Mothers are best teacher for children'

Teaching English in KoreaYBM, one of the largest language schools in Korea, is promoting the teaching of English at home, by mothers.

Teaching at home is becoming popular among mothers interested in teaching their children English, instead of sending them to private institutes.

The English Teachers Academy (ETA) has been taking advantage of the popularity of this to run a program for mothers who want to teach their children at home more professionally and effectively.

The program was developed and is provided by YBM, one of the largest language schools in Korea. It is based on the belief that mothers can be the best language teachers for their children.

“Mothers spend most of their time with their babies, so they are the first person from who babies can learn how to talk,” said Eun Soo-jeong, a general manager of YBM during a recent interview with The Korea Times.

“They don’t just read books to their children in a passive way, but narrate the stories in them. They sometimes sing songs or use toys or props while doing this,” Eun added.

“We have developed the ETA program for mothers who want to gain professional knowledge for home teaching. It also helps them to find jobs. Most of them gave up or resigned from work to devote themselves to caring for their children,” she said.

Read the full article from The Korea Times.

Photo courtesy of YBM

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October 28, 2013


Malaysia's English language crisis

A shortage of competent English language teachers and a looming deadline that will affect all school-leaving students are creating a sense of crisis in Malaysia's education system.

In Perak on the northern Peninsular Malaysia, an English teacher uses textbooks meant for seven-year-olds to teach her Form One class of students, mostly aged 13.

"When I first taught them, they could not even tell the difference between 'when' and 'what'," the teacher, who wants to be known only as Yee, told The Straits Times recently.

"I had to put my planned lessons aside and start with the basics."

It is the type of story many English teachers in Malaysia share, but are reluctant to speak openly about because they worry about being sanctioned by the education ministry.

And so, when the ministry recently announced that from 2016 onwards, students in Form Five - the equivalent of a GCE O-level class in Singapore - must pass English before they can obtain their school-leaving certificates, it set tongues wagging.

After all, last year, almost a quarter of 470,000 Form Five students failed English, and only 16 per cent of them scored highly in the language.

"Without the school-leaving certificates, the students cannot further their studies or get jobs," said Lok Yim Pheng, secretary-general of the National Union of the Teaching Profession. "Is their future being killed?"

Part of the problem, educators say, is that there are not enough qualified English teachers. Recently, the education ministry revealed that 70 per cent of the country's 70,000 English teachers failed a competency test to teach the language.

The ministry is now working overtime to re-train thousands of English teachers around the country to try and meet the 2016 deadline.

"It is an ambitious goal, but we cannot tolerate students not being able to communicate in English any more," Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim, head of a new agency within the ministry, told The Straits Times in a recent interview.

"Something needs to be done."

In Malaysia, English is a |compulsory subject from Primary One to Form Five. Despite that, many school-leavers, especially in rural areas, cannot converse or write fluently in English.

It was not always this way.

Read the full article from The Nation.

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October 25, 2013

Japan | Primary Level

Required English from third grade eyed

The Japanese government is considering having children start compulsory English education two years earlier than currently.

The education ministry is considering moving up the starting year of obligatory English-language education in elementary schools to the third grade from the current fifth grade by around 2020, government officials said Wednesday.

The move would force the government to considerably boost the number and quality of English teachers and native-language assistant teachers at more than 22,000 six-year elementary schools with 7.1 million children across the country.

During his daily press briefing, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said children should be given more English lessons and at an earlier age in elementary school.

“(The government) will consider concrete (education reforms), including moving up the starting year from the current fifth,” Suga said.

The education ministry came up with the idea in response to a government education panel’s call for developing human resources needed in this age of globalization. The idea was included in the panel’s policy recommendation report published in May.

Under the current system, a 45-minute English lesson is held once a week for fifth- and sixth-graders in elementary school.

Read the full post from The Japan Times.

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October 23, 2013


Europe: Boom in English-taught Masters

europe.pngThe PIE (Professionals in International Education) News reports on a big increase in the number of fully English-taught Masters programs in Europe.

The number of fully English-taught Masters in Europe has increased by 42% since 2011 – growing at a faster rate than the number of overall Master’s programs in Europe – due to increasing demand for an English medium higher education, according to a new briefing paper from the Institute of International Education (IIE).

The growth in competitive Masters programmes that are attractive to both European and international audiences could have a significant impact on mobility flow in and outside of Europe the report claims.

Based on data collected through– a search engine providing information on around 90% of Europe’s English- taught Masters programmes- the brief shows the Netherlands and Germany had the largest offering of English-taught Masters programs from December 2011 to June 2013, while Denmark and Sweden added the most number of courses each growing by 74% and 73% in the same period.

“Europe still has a lot of potential in growing the amount and level of the international students they attract in their programmes,” said Edwin van Rest, the report’s co-author and CEO of StudyPortals,’s parent company. “Many European countries offer unique quality-for-money.”

The number of Masters programmes taught entirely in English rose from 3,701 at the end of 2011 to 5,258 in June 2013, while programmes taught partially in English only grew from 963 to 1,149 over the same period, accounting for a 19% increase in total.

Read the full post on The PIE News.

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UK | Events

Pearson to host UK growth strategy panel

pearson-logo.jpgThe PIE (Professionals in International Education) News reports on an upcoming event aimed to boost the ELT industry in the UK.

Stakeholders from the UK’s English language teaching (ELT) industry will convene next week to discuss the UK’s new growth strategy for international enrolments and its likely impact on the sector at an event hosted by education giant Pearson.

In July, the UK government announced the it wants to see 15-20% growth in overseas enrolments at its universities.

The plan includes exporting UK English language teaching standards as the global benchmark and promoting the UK as an English learning destination.

Maddalaine Ansell, Head of the International Knowledge and Innovation Unit for the Government’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills, will present the keynote address at the event on 31 October.

This will be an overview and explanation of the UK government’s International Education Strategy and Implications for ELT within its five themes including; international student recruitment, transnational education, education technology, partnerships, and branding.

Read the full post on The PIE News.

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Mexico | Awards & Competitions

Mexico: Winning teacher invited to Cambridge

mx.pngAn award-winning teacher from a Cambridge English preparation centre in Hermosillo, Mexico was recently invited to Cambridge for winning the global preparation centre competition organised by Cambridge English Language Assessment.

Ivett López – an English Coordinator at Colegio Larrea, part of the UNOi programme from Santillana – was awarded the trip for impressing the competition judges with an essay on the importance of English language learning. In her essay, Ivett wrote: “English is considered an international language therefore, it allows our students to have an unlimited access to information and knowledge in areas such as science, technology, and sports. With globalization, learning English has become an indispensable tool to have better career and job opportunities.” During her visit Ivett was invited to a series of talks and seminars at the home of the world’s most valuable English language qualifications.

As reported on the Cambridge English Language Assessment website.

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October 22, 2013


Malaysia: Furore over bill to train English teachers

teach-English-in-Malaysia.jpgThere is anger in Malaysia over the vast sums being paid to consultants, including McKinsey & Co and British Council, for the training of English teachers.

After the uproar over McKinsey & Co’s RM20 million bill to draw up the National Education Blueprint (NEB), Putrajaya is in the spotlight again for paying three other external consultants a staggering RM270 million to help teachers here improve their English.

Citing details from a recent parliamentary reply, DAP assistant national publicity secretary Zairil Khir Johari said the training programme, stretched out over three years from 2011 to 2013, was meant to train a total of 7,500 teachers from 1,800 schools nationwide at a cumulative cost of RM268.5 million or RM89.5 million each year.

The three handpicked consultant firms - British Council, Brighton Education Grpup and SMR HR Group - are each tasked to provide a total of 360 trainers or “English speaking mentors” over the three-year period, he said.

The firms’ responsibilities are divided geographically, Zairil added, with the British Council slotted to provide mentors for teachers in Labuan, Sabah and Sarawak, while Brighton Education Group will train teachers in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Malacca, Johor and Negeri Sembilan and the SMR HR Group will train teachers in Penang, Perlis, Perak, Kedah and Selangor.

“In other words, close to RM270 million is being spent to hire 360 English mentors. This breaks down to RM250,000 a year for each mentor, or an extravagant sum of almost RM21,000 a month,” the Bukit Bendera MP said in a statement here. - See more at: #sthash.YYFFPqxZ.dpuf

Read the full post on The Malay Mail Online.

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October 18, 2013


Phuket: more details needed for education visa

teach-English-in-Thailand.jpgLanguage schools will be required to fill out a more in-depth form for visitors applying for education visas from November 1, as part of attempts by Immigration to control the number of people working illegally in Phuket.

Education visas are required by foreigners who want to stay in Thailand to study.

Subjects that can be studied in Phuket range from teaching of English as a foreign language (TEFL) through to Thai boxing and mixed martial arts. However, some people use this visa as simply a way to stay in the country, do not attend language classes and often find work instead.

At a meeting at Phuket Immigration yesterday (October 17), it was announced that from November 1 staff at language schools will have to fill out a new form for every student enrolling who requires an education visa.

The form is more specific than previously, and now requires details of how many language classes the student will attend per week (including days and times) and what exactly they will be learning on every given day.

Authorities plan that this new form will make it easier to monitor students who are in Thailand on the education visa but who skip classes and/or work illegally.

Last week a post was made on ThaiVisa’s web forum, with the poster, “Phronesis” (a Greek word for wisdom or intelligence), informing forum readers: “There are 42 language schools in Phuket. They are being called to a meeting with immigration on October 17.

“Immigration want to do away with the student visa because of its abuse by Russians and other foreigners working illegally on the island. So … if you are like me … and are currently staying in Phuket on a ED visa … don’t get too comfortable.”

Read the full post on The Phuket News.

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October 14, 2013


Malaysia: Fulbright ETA programme grows bigger

teach-English-in-Malaysia.jpgThe Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) programme in Malaysia is set to become one of the world’s largest when it expands to 100 volunteers next year.

The successful programme now has 75 volunteers in rural classrooms in Johor, Pahang, Terengganu and Perak.

Expressing support for it, United States Secretary of State John Kerry said English was a global language and speaking it was an advantage.

He said the programme was an opportunity for students to boost their confidence in the language.

“It teaches confidence and changes lives,” he told reporters after meeting with local students and their American ETAs at a hotel here yesterday.

Kerry said the programme was also an enriching experience for American college graduates who volunteered to spend nine months teaching in schools here.

“I really admire these ETAs. Thank you for being part of this remarkable programme,” he told the volunteers.

New York native John Greisler, 24, who is based at SMK Slim in Batang Padang, Perak, said he signed up to continue teaching in Malaysia for another year.

He said his students, who included orang asli from the Semai tribe, were initially very shy but he eventually managed to get them to speak.

Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange executive director James Coffman said the Fulbright ETA programme, which started in Malaysia in 2005 with just 15 volunteers, became a federal programme funded by the US and Malaysian governments after a meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in 2010.

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October 04, 2013

Canada | Events

Record Ontario communities proclaim ESL Week, Oct. 20-26

teach-English-in-Canada.jpgThe upcoming ESL Week is part of efforts in Ontario to raise awareness of the importance of English language learning opportunities in Canada.

To date, a record number of 45 Ontario communities have proclaimed English as a Second Language (ESL) Week for October 20 - 26 this year. The annual celebration of ESL education and learning will take place throughout the province at this time.

Created by TESL Ontario (Teachers of English as a Second Language), ESL Week involves Ontario communities, thousands of ESL professionals, students of all ages, and many learning institutions and school boards.

For the past several years, ESL Week continues to raise awareness of the importance of ESL education for Ontarians and newcomers to Canada. According to Renate Tilson, executive director of TESL Ontario, "ESL Week enables us to thank the language training professionals who help new Canadians adapt to our culture. At the same time ESL Week acknowledges the determination of those new to our country to learn English."

Read the full press release from Digital Journal.

Read more about ESL Week on the TESL Ontario website.

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UK | Tests

UK: 69% of children pass new phonics test

uk-phonics-test.jpgThe latest results are out on a controversial phonics test introduced last year in the UK.

More children have passed the new phonics reading test for England's five- and six-year-olds this year.

More than two-thirds (69%) of pupils in state schools reached the expected level - up from 58% last year.

Nearly 180,000 pupils failed to meet the expected standard in the controversial new check, which is carried out at the end of Year 1.

Girls did better than boys - almost three-quarters passed - while about two-thirds of boys did so.

The statistics were published on Thursday by the Department for Education.

This is the second year that pupils have taken the test, which is based on "synthetic phonics", a system that focuses on children being able to identify sounds of letters and groups of letters so that they are then able to decode and read real words.

For the check, the children are asked to sound out 40 words, some of which are made up, such as "voo", "spron" and "terg" - to test their reading skills.

They need correctly to identify 32 out of the 40 phonic sounds to pass.

Read the full story from the BBC.

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October 02, 2013

Malta | Business

Malta: Call for measures to strengthen EFL sector

teach-English-in-Malta.jpgMalta's leading EFL organisation is asking the government to give the industry greater financial support in an upcoming budget, says the Malta Independent.

The Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations of Malta (FELTOM) believes that the budget for 2014 should be another step in strengthening the tourism and educational sectors.

The teaching English as a foreign language sector has grown considerably over the past years and last year contributed to over €135 million to the local economy. In addition, this industry is directly generating employment for hundreds of teachers. Thousands of host families also benefit directly from this industry which last year alone attracted over 81,000 students to Malta.

Looking ahead, FELTM is proposing that in education Government:

  • Strengthens literacy programmes in schools
  • Focuses on bilingualism in schools
  • Commences a postgraduate degree on teaching of English

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September 30, 2013

Philippines | Secondary Level | Primary Level | Pre-school

Philippines: Bill to reinforce English in schools

study-English-in-Philippines.jpgA senior Filipino politician is seeking to make English a teaching language from kindergarten right up to 12th grade.

House Assistant Majority Leader and Cebu Rep. Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. has authored a measure to restore English as medium of instruction in all school levels.

House Bill 1339 proposes the adoption of a new bilingual program in schools in which English, Filipino or the regional language may be used as the teaching language in all subjects from kindergarten to Grade 3.

“We have high hopes that our bill, once enacted, will go a long way in boosting the English competency of our future labor force participants, and build up the capability of our high school as well as college graduates to gain and maintain employment,” Gullas said.

“English is the world’s working language. It is also the language of technology. Young Filipinos with inadequate English skills may risk getting marginalized in the lucrative global labor markets of the future.”

According to Gullas, also House higher and technical education committee vice chairman, his bill proposes English as teaching language from Grades 4 to 6 in elementary school, and from Grades 7 to 12 in junior and senior high school; English and Filipino shall be taught as separate subjects in all levels of elementary and high school.

Read the full story from Manila Standard Today.

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September 28, 2013

Portugal | Education

Portugal: Confusion over English class

study-English-in-Portugal.jpgA community newspaper for English speaking residents in Portugal reports on confusion over the country's EFL system in public schools.

Confusion abounds over the teaching of English as a foreign language in public primary schools in Portugal as the Minister of Education has been accused of inconsistency when deciding whether to make the subject compulsory.

After announcing that primary schools were free to choose whether to include English as a curricular or extracurricular subject, the Minister of Education decided this week that English should, in fact, become compulsory in primary education and has called for a review of the law.

Nuno Crato has called on the National Education Council (CNE) to help the government review the law and draft a proposal. “We must introduce English as a compulsory school subject from primary education through to the ninth grade,” he told CNE on Monday.

Nuno Crato has since come under attack by both the opposition and parents’ associations which criticise his lack of consistency over the issue.

The background

It all started in 2005, when the José Sócrates government introduced English as a compulsory foreign language subject in primary extracurricular activities.

Read the full article from Algarve Resident.

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September 27, 2013

Asia | Education

English proficiency tops Thai student agenda

study-English-in-Thailand.jpgThailand's Education Ministry is set to overhaul English language teaching given a setback in the skills among Thai instructors and students.

Education Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng said English is vital in the digital era and a springboard to knowledge in many other fields.

Chairing a workshop on “How Thailand should reform English teaching,” he admitted that the country is short of qualified teachers for English language and urged the use of information technology in English language classes.

“We should rethink if the Ordinary National Education Test, or O-NET, is sufficient in assessing Thai students’ English proficiency. What is the indication of success?” said Mr Chaturon.

The education minister’s attempt to revamp Thailand’s teaching system--particularly the subject of English--is mulled in light of an international rating of educational proficiency in which Thailand was ranked last in Southeast Asian countries, behind Vietnam and Cambodia.

He said the teaching system should aim at enabling students to communicate like native speakers, instead of rote learning.

The 2009 assessment of English-language teachers’ proficiency was displayed in the workshop. It showed the proficiency of 60,732 teachers at medium level, 29,838 teachers at basic level, and only 3,701 teachers or 3.92 per cent at a high level.

The 2010-2013 strategy emphasises improving the proficiency of English-language teachers and increasing English communication classes more than an hour a week.

Read the original article from Pattaya Mail.

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English reinforces its status as Europe’s ‘lingua franca’

study-English-in-EUNinety four percent of upper secondary students learn English as a foreign language, according to new data published by Eurostat yesterday (26 September) to coincide with the European Day for Languages.

French, German and Spanish come next in the ranking but are way behind.

French is studied by 19% of pupils in primary and lower secondary education, and by 23% in upper secondary. It is followed by German (9% and 21%) and Spanish (6% and 18%).

The dominance of English begins at an early age, with 83% of pupils adopting Shakespeare's language in primary or lower secondary education, up from 73% a year ago, according to Eurostat.

English teaching in secondary education is now almost universal, reaching close to 100% in almost every country. Portugal (47%), Malta (66.5%), Hungary (78.5%) and Bulgaria (88%) are the only notable exceptions.

A similar trend appears amongst adults aged 25-64, with respondents mentioning English as their best-known foreign language in almost all 28 EU countries. Bucking this trend, in the three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Russian is more widely spoken than English, as is German in Luxembourg, and Czech in Slovakia.

Read the full article from EurActiv.

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September 26, 2013

Events | Online | Spain

Annual teachers' conference live online from Spain

british-council-logo-blue.jpgThis Saturday 28 September, the British Council in Spain holds its annual teacher’s conference with talks in teaching centres across the country, including Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia. You can follow the live stream of speakers between 09.00 and 14.15 UK BST on the British Council’s newly upgraded Livestream channel.

The streamed speakers this year are IATEFL President Carol Read (on Creativity in the Classroom), Samantha Lewis (on getting Teens to speak using games), John Liddy (on using literature to promote learners' creative writing), and Ali Smith (on making stories and storytelling interactive). The event concludes with a performance by professional storyteller Tim Bowley.

All talks are to be streamed via Livestream; the channel URL is: No registration is required to view the streams.

  The talks have been chosen to appeal to any teaching or teacher training staff, regardless of age range taught or level of experience. Please note that edited recordings of the talks will be available after the event, both on the Livestream channel and on the British Council's TeachingEnglish website.

For more information, see the British Council, Spain website.

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September 25, 2013

Costa Rica | South America

When should an ESL teacher come to Costa Rica?

teach-English-in-Costa-Rica.jpgIn his latest article about teaching English in Costa Rica, Andrew Woodbury offers some advice on the best time of year to head there.

The reasons a person decides to move abroad to teach English in Costa Rica are many. For some it’s a gap year after university. For others it’s a first step in retirement. Others simply like the idea of escaping the cold winds of winter for a few months. Whatever the motive, the time of year that you decide to take the leap to Costa Rica should ultimately depend on what end you expect for yourself once here.

Just like there are high and low seasons for tourism, the ESL industry in Costa Rica also has points that are much busier than others. These are the end of January and the beginning of July.

The end of January is when everything has finally settled down after the Christmas/New Years break. In Costa Rica, and all of Latin America for that matter, Christmas can be considered a five month affair. With Independence Day in Costa Rica on September 15th, as soon as the 16th you can see Christmas decorations going up in stores and homes across the country. Without a significant holiday between Independence Day and Christmas, the festive anticipation ramps up very early.

With the entire country essentially shutting down for all of December, the ESL market goes with it. It takes until the end of January for people to settle back in but, once they do, the market takes off. The third week of January means back to business and everyone brings their New Year’s resolutions of learning a new language with them. This peak goes strong until April, when the surge is interrupted by another significant holiday: Semana Santa.

Read the full article from The Costa Rican Times.

Read the ELT News guide to living and teaching English in Costa Rica.

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September 24, 2013

Events | Sweden

2014 Early Language Learning conference - call for abstracts

umea-university-logo.pngIn the year when Umea, Sweden celebrates its role as European Capital of Culture, Umea University is hosting a major international conference in June 2014 on the theme of young children, aged 3-12 years, learning second and foreign languages.

Theme of The Conference: Early Language Learning: Theory and Practice in 2014
Venue: Department of Language Studies, Umea University, Sweden
Date: 12 -14 June 2014
Colloquia submissions - 27th October 2013
Papers and Poster presentations - 24th November 2013

Plenary speakers
Dr. Annie Hughes, York University, UK
Prof. Marianne Nikolov, Pécs University, Hungary
Dr. Yuko Butler, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Prof. Jelena Mihaljevic Djigunovic, Zagreb University, Croatia

Read more on the Umea University website.

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First Cambridge English School confirmed in Kazakhstan

teach-English-in-Kazakhstan.jpgIn its centenary year, the Cambridge English School network has expanded into Kazakhstan for the first time.

A school in Almaty is the first school in Kazakhstan to join a new programme developed by experts in Cambridge which aims to help raise English standards in their school.

The Gymnasium #105 located outside Uraz Zhandossov, Almaty, Kazakhstan is the first school in Kazakhstan to become a member of the Cambridge English School network. It has achieved this status by committing to offer a range of Cambridge English exams to all of its pupils supported by high quality teaching and learning materials from Cambridge University Press. The school teaches children from 6-7 years old to 16-17 and specializes in teaching foreign languages including English, French, and Chinese. English is taught from the first grade. The school has experience of preparing students for Cambridge English: First, which it will now extend to the lower level Key and Preliminary exams and the Young Leaners English Tests.

The schools sees the introduction of these exams as an exciting opportunity to ensure students have an internationally recognised qualification at every stage of their studies, leading up to Cambridge English: First which will give students the passport they need to study at institutions both in Kazakhstan and abroad.

Staff at the school see Cambridge English exams as independent external assessment of what students know and of how teachers teach and are looking forward to working with the local Cambridge English authorised centre in Kazakhstan ‘Study Inn’ to ensure teachers have all the support required for success.

Read the full report by India Education bureau.

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September 20, 2013

UK | Business

Visa u-turn could mean £9 million for UK ELT

study-English-in-UK.jpgA recent article from The PIE (Professionals in International Education) News about the positive financial impact that a recent UK reversal on immigration might have on the country's ELT industry.

New immigration rules announced this month by UK Immigration Minister Mark Harper could boost the English language teaching industry by up to £9 million per year, based on estimates of potential business that had been turned away by a cross-section of English UK members.

A survey conducted of roughly 10% of English UK’s 470 member base at the beginning of the year showed that almost half of them were losing between 10% and 70% of total business by turning away students on visitor visas who were ineligible to study.

Coming into effect in October, the new immigration rules will now make it possible for visitors to come to the UK on a business, general or family visitor visas and to enrol on an English language course of up to 30 days.

Two centres in Oxford and London reported that they had to turn away 150 students with visitor visas in a six-month period.

“Even if the figures in percentages sound low, it’s still quite a lot of money,” said one anonymous respondent. “If we estimate that the 50 people would have spent £2000 each, then it’s £100,000. Our Executive Centre had to turn down one single booking of £12,000.”

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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September 19, 2013

China | Education

Modern English class inspires rural Chinese pupils

Teach-English-in-ChinaA look at the role of ELT within the Hope Project, which aims to bring schools to poverty-stricken rural areas of China.

Zhao Minghui, 11, is picking up English words through making faces. As a fourth grader of a rural primary school in Laiyuan County, north China's Hebei Province, Zhao, together with her classmates, is having a unique English class.

This was the scene on Monday, when a special language-learning program saw visiting volunteer teacher Liu Wei, a former member of a national English research group, use an avant-garde story-based approach to attract kids from Dongtuanbu Central Primary School (DCPS) to actively participate in the class.

Some 160 kilometres from Beijing, Laiyuan is officially classed as one of China's most poverty-stricken counties. With many people struggling for daily necessities, education in such rural areas is far less developed than in cities.

That is why the Hope Project continues to work to improve the situation. Initiated in 1989 by the China Youth Development Foundation and the Communist Youth League Central Committee, it aims to bring schools to poverty-stricken rural areas of China, to help children of poor families complete elementary school education. DCPS is covered in the project.

Read the full article from

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September 17, 2013

Pakistan | Opinion

Pakistan: The politics of language teaching

teach-English-in-Pakistan.jpgThis opinion piece from a lecturer in English at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University looks at the problems of outdated teaching methods and the continued perception of English as an imperialist language.

English Language is generally considered to be the legacy of British colonial rule in Pakistan and strangely, many political and religious leaders have time and again proposed the idea of doing away with English language and promote our own national language Urdu. They consider it to be the cultural invasion of Britain and America and all other English speaking countries in the world and make it a part of yet another of their conspiracy theories to contaminate the minds of Muslim youth with their literature and language.

What they fail to realize is that English is no more the Language of Britain as there are 750 millions of speakers of English(used as a foreign language) across the world as compared to 365 million speakers in Britain and all other English speaking countries, according to the British Council. English has grown in stature and importance with the advancement of Globalization, media and the internet. It is widely used in the world for business communication, political discourse and in academics. Roughly speaking, about 1428 books are daily published in the world, majority of which are written in English Language.

In Pakistan most of the people consider English to be a problem. One of the major hindrances in learning English is the traditional approach of teaching and unavailability of trained and qualified language teachers.

Read the full article from The Frontier Post.

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September 16, 2013

Malaysia | Teacher Development

Malaysia: All about change

malaysia-all-about-change.jpgThis is the latest of many articles in the Malaysian media recently about ongoing and high-profile changes to English language teaching in the country.

The winds of change have blown through various schools in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan over the past two years with the introduction of the British Council’s English Language Teacher Development Project (ELTDP).

Teachers who once found teaching the English language to students a challenge because lessons were teacher-centred, have developed new perceptions and changed their approach so that lessons are student-centred and engaging.

Now, members of the public can read about the teachers’ experiences in The Book of Change, a collection of over 100 short stories written by the project’s mentors and teachers.

The book along with a series of short films on the ELTDP were recently launched by the British Council in Putrajaya.

Read the full article from The Star Online.

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September 14, 2013

Cambodia | Education

Poverty poses challenge to learning English in Cambodia

cambodian-pupil.jpgPoverty poses a big challenge to English-language education in Cambodia, where quality English lessons are only available in expensive private schools. But not all hope is lost as individuals and NGOs are doing their best to help the country’s poor learn the language.

English will be the working language throughout Southeast Asia in 2015 when the ASEAN Economic Community is formed.

In Cambodia, however, poverty still poses a big challenge to the quality of English-language education, usually only available in expensive private schools.

Some 200 children take turns fighting for a space in a tiny unit in northern Phnom Penh, where they learn how to read, write and speak English once a week.

For these children, the small room may be the best English school they will ever attend.

English lesson is a great privilege in this Southeast Asian kingdom. Although it is commonly taught in public schools, teaching quality is usually very low.

To receive English schooling, around US$1,000 per year is needed. That amount might be affordable in developed countries, but not in Cambodia where one third of its 15-million population earns less than US$1 per day.

But at Tinath New Generation Academy (TNGA), poor children aged between six and 18 years old can enjoy that privilege for free.

Read the full article from Channel NewsAsia.


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September 13, 2013

Education | Malaysia

Malaysia: English teachers to come from India?

Teach-English-in-MalaysiaThe heated debate continues in Malaysia since a government decision to make English a compulsory must-pass subject for high schoolers by 2016, with the quality of the majority of English language teachers deemed well below the required standard.

PAS (Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party) demanded to know today if Putrajaya (the federal administrative capital of Malaysia) had already inked a deal to import English teachers from India prior to announcing the National Education Blueprint, noting the short three-year notice the government had given to turn every school English-ready by 2016.

The party’s information chief Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the decision to turn English into a must-pass subject seemed to come without any semblance of an action plan to address Malaysia’s stark shortage of qualified English teachers.

In a statement here, Tuan Ibrahim pointed out that while announcing its plans to improve English proficiency here, the government had in the same breath admitted that over 70 per cent of the country’s 60,000 English teachers had scored poorly in the English Language Cambridge Placement Test.

“This means at least two-thirds of our English teachers are considered ‘incapable’ or ‘unqualified’ to teach the subject in school,” he said.

“Is this likely to be resolved by 2016? What about the students, especially those in the rural areas, how would they prepare themselves to face a must-pass English examination from now until 2016 with the current quality of our teachers?” he added.

Read the full article from The Malay Mail.

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UAE | Employment

Expat teachers escape austerity-hit Europe for booming UAE

brighton-college-uae.jpgAusterity measures in Europe are forcing many language teachers to look further afield for work, and some are heading to the Middle East.

Teachers from austerity-hit Europe have been unpacking their bags and starting out in new schools in the Emirates this week, drawn by the promise of a booming economy.

Ruth Forsythe, a 35-year-old music and performing arts teacher from Northern Ireland is one of hundreds of men and women who have taken the plunge to move their families to the emirate from Europe in search of career opportunities and a new life.

Mrs Forsythe, who left her job as head of music at a school in Northern Ireland to come to the UAE, this week started her new role as director of music at Abu Dhabi’s Brighton College.

“In the UK and especially Northern Ireland teaching jobs have become very static with teachers staying in positions for longer, leaving fewer opportunities for those just qualifying,” she says. “As a family we decided on a life change and as teaching is universal, my career opened the door to Abu Dhabi.”

Her colleague, Andrew McLoughlin, a 36-year-old Canadian who has just taken up a post at Brighton College as an English teacher, agrees.

Read the full article from The National UAE.

Photo: Ravindranath K / The National

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Rwanda | Opinion

Effective teaching of comprehension stimulates reading culture

teach-English-in-Rwanda.jpgAn opinion piece from The New Times by a high school teacher in Rwanda on the importance of reading comprehension.

Reading is a very important skill. Learners are expected to read a lot in order to master the concepts that they are taught in all the subjects on the curriculum. They should be guided on how to comprehend the lesson notes and other reading materials like textbooks. Teachers of English Language are supposed to be at the center of equipping the learners with the techniques of effective reading.

I wish to share my skills and experiences with fellow teachers of English language on how effective teaching of reading comprehension stimulates the reading culture among the learners.

Reading is a life skill. Therefore, teachers should guide learners to develop their abilities of reading the various forms of written information. Learners should realise that the passages they read in lessons prepare them to revise their lesson notes of other subjects effectively.

When they acquire reading comprehension skills, they develop interest in reading textbooks, novels, written plays, poems, newspapers, notices, circulars, magazines, brochures, advertisements, autobiographies, biographies, journals and information on the internet. Teachers should enable learners realise the relevance of reading comprehension in the acquisition of knowledge and skills.

Read the full article from

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Events | Brazil

English language learning project for World Cup kicks off

teach-English-in-Brazil.jpgA new English language learning project will help prepare young people in Brazil for the world of work and encourage them to become volunteers to help tourists during the FIFA World Cup 2014.

The initiative is part of a collaboration between PlugMinas (Centre for Formation and Digital Experimentation), the Government of the State of Minas Gerais, Cambridge English Language Assessment and Cultura Inglesa (educational institution in Belo Horizonte). The project also has support from SECOPA MG (Special Secretariat for the World Cup) as part of its programme of social inclusion.

As part of the project Cambridge English exams will be taken by participants of a language course offered by the Cultura Inglesa. The students, aged between 14 and 24, are all current or former students from public municipal and state schools or colleges.

Rone Costa, Development Manager of Cambridge English Language Assessment in Brazil said:

“We support this project, as a good knowledge of English will certainly help these students both in preparing for the world of work, as well as communicating with the thousands of football fans from all over the world, who will come to Brazil in 2014.”

The project got underway earlier this year when a group of 60 students were selected to participate in the preparation course for the exam Cambridge English: Key.

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September 12, 2013


Call to reduce English lessons to ‘save’ Chinese

chinese-child-studying.jpgWhile urban China is rapidly internationalizing, one former official thinks teaching kids English is doing more harm than good.

A former senior education official has triggered heated debate after he publicly denounced the teaching of English to young children and called for more classes on Chinese traditional culture.

Wang Xuming, a former spokesman of the Education Ministry and now president of Language and Culture Press, wrote on his verified Sina microblog account that China should abolish English classes in primary schools and commercial English schools for children. Instead, it should increase the number of classes on guoxue, or national study, which refers to the study of Chinese traditional culture.

"[We should] free the children and save the Chinese language," he wrote.

In 2002, the Ministry of Education ordered primary schools across the country to teach English classes, starting from the age of nine in the third grade, but it is now common for first-graders to have English classes.

Wang, who boasts more than 1.8 million followers of his microblog, said he proposed more lessons on guoxue because the quality of Chinese-language textbooks and examination results were so weak, while English-language teaching materials and performance results were strong.

Read the full article from The South China Morning Post.

Photo: Reuters

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September 11, 2013

Malta | Events

ELT Malta conference inspires teachers

teach-English-in-Malta.jpgThe Malta Independent yesterday reported on last week's second annual ELT Malta Conference.

The English as a Foreign Language Monitoring Board organised the second edition of the annual ELT Malta Conference between 6 and 7 September.

Around 330 ELT professionals, working in both private language schools and the mainstream educational sector, attended the conference.

The audience was provided with the opportunity of attending talks by world-renowned ELT experts like Jeremy Harmer, Adrian Underhill and Ken Wilson. The conference had a total of six plenary talks and 21 workshops. A number of these workshops were led by local ELT practitioners.

In his welcoming speech, Education Minister Evarist Bartolo praised the EFL Monitoring Board’s initiative to organise an annual conference for teachers working in the local ELT sector.

He emphasised the importance of high English standards in Malta as a means of retaining a competitive edge internationally. For this reason the country’s bilingual status needs to be safeguarded at all costs.

Read the full article from the Malta Independent.

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UK: Short-term study for business/tourists OK

English-in-UKA recent change to UK immigration rules is good news for students and for accredited language schools, as reported by The PIE (Professionals in International Education) News.

In significant news for the English language teaching industry in the UK, Immigration Minister Mark Harper has announced that short-term language study would be permissible for those entering the country on a business or tourism visa from October 28.

Chief Executive of English UK, Tony Millns, applauded the news, which his organisation had worked towards, along with others, for some time behind the scenes.

Visitors will be able to use the study allowance flexibly, either doing a six-week course in a single block or in weekly sessions, but may only take courses at centres accredited by approved bodies, such as Accreditation UK for the English language sector.

As part of the immigration update, it will also now be possible for international students to take up corporate internships of up to a year once they complete their degree.

Tier 4 students will soon be able to apply in-country for one of the Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange Schemes (GAE) schemes, provided it directly links to the qualification they gained at a UK university.

Minister Harper, announcing the changes that benefit businesses and international students, said, “The UK is open for business: we are building an immigration system that works in the national interest and supports growth.”

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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September 09, 2013

Malaysia | Secondary Level

Malaysia: Spelling the blues over English ruling

Teach-English-in-MalaysiaIn this opinion piece, Leanne Goh looks at the implications of a government decision to make English a mandatory passing subject for Malaysian secondary school pupils.

Our SPM students do best in Bahasa Malaysia and worst in English.

Going by last year’s SPM results, 23% of the candidates failed English and this group risks completing 11 years of schooling without that final paper qualification come 2016 when a pass in the language is made compulsory.

They number more than 105,000 out of the 459,118 candidates who sat for the exam last year.

And to compound the problem, there will be another compulsory pass next year (besides BM) – History. This core subject saw the biggest decline in passes in last year’s SPM – 19.7% failed compared to 16.7% the year before.

So, in the near future, low achieving students have to overcome three “hurdles” to obtain that SPM certificate or join the workforce without paper qualification. And we are talking about potentially a six-figure number.

This puts tremendous pressure on everyone. And no one knows it better that the Education Ministry as the mastermind of the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 which was launched on Friday.

Read the full article from Malaysia Today.

Read a related piece from The Malaysian Insider on conservative reaction to the decision.

(Editor's note: The Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), or the Malaysian Certificate of Education, is a national examination taken by all fifth-year secondary school students in Malaysia. More from Wikipedia.)

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India | Primary Level

Punjab village teacher's 12-hour English class a big hit

Teach-English-in-IndiaA teacher in India takes a novel approach to help less privileged students see they don't need to attend a private school to master English.

Dispelling the notion that English is Greek to students of government schools, a teacher held a marathon 12-hour session on English grammar at Government Elementary School in Rahimpur village in Jalandhar district to mark Teachers' Day. Unlike the English learning class in the British television series of the seventies, "Mind Your Language", the class held by teacher Ram Krishan was a success. When the session ended at 7pm on Thursday, the students came out confident and visibly at ease with the language that had been their Achilles heel in the past.

Irked by the categorisation of students from government schools as poor in English language skills, Krishan decided to set the balance right. "Elementary schools don't have exclusive English teachers and teaching is left to social sciences tutors. The private schools use the English USP to attract students. Children in government schools are generally considered to be laggards in the language. I want to clear this misconception," Krishan pointed out.

Proving that a good teacher can hold the students' interest, most of the children stayed till the end though there were no curbs on their leaving the class. "It was so interesting. It was as if the curtain had lifted in our minds," said Romi Jassal, a Class IX student whose father is a driver.

Read the full article from The Times of India.

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Asia | Opinion

Asian academia faces language block

Teach-English-in-AsiaMalaysian political scientist and historian Farish Noor writes on the challenges faced by Asian academics who are not publishing their work in English.

The debate over the teaching of the English language continues, not only in Malaysia but also in many other countries across the world. While the form and content of the debate has been shaped by domestic political considerations and agendas, there are some pressing realities that we cannot escape from; and one of them is the simple fact that English remains the most commonly used language in global academic circles.

In order to circumvent the somewhat heated temperature of the debate here, allow me to offer some observations based on my experience teaching in some other Asian countries. In countries like India and Pakistan, the teaching of English remains a serious concern for many students, parents and educational institutions that wish to give Indian and Pakistani students a fighting chance in the ever-changing global economy. For many of the new industries that have emerged, including information technology, the working knowledge remains English - despite the linguistic nationalism that is articulated and foregrounded by some politicians and activists there.

One country that I have come to know rather well by now is Indonesia, where I routinely travel to do research as well as to teach. It has been my honour, and pleasure, to meet a wide range of Indonesian academics, who have become my colleagues and friends for more than a decade now. Equally rewarding has been the experience of supervising more than a dozen Indonesian post-graduate scholars, who have done their doctoral theses under my supervision.

It is no exaggeration on my part, I feel, when I say that the Indonesian scholars and students I have met and known are among the best academics I have come across. Indonesia today produces some of the best work in the humanities and social sciences, and in all honesty, I have to state that the quality of work I have seen in Indonesia matches the work I have seen in countries like France, Holland and Germany, where I have also worked and taught in.

However, there remains one stumbling block that hinders Indonesia's rise as a major centre for teaching, research and knowledge-production, and it is the fact that an overwhelming majority of the works produced by Indonesian scholars today is in Bahasa Indonesia. And, despite the fact that Indonesia's population numbers almost a quarter of a billion souls, Bahasa Indonesia is not widely known, spoken or read beyond the shores of Southeast Asia. It has always seemed grossly unfair to me that Indonesia's academic presence is not known or felt wider, but the sad fact is that English remains the dominant language of academia in both the social sciences and the hard sciences.

Read the full article from the New Straits Times.

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September 07, 2013


Okinawa teens practice English with Marines

camp-courtney.jpgA snapshot of the softer side of the controversial U.S. military presence in the southern Japanese islands of Okinawa.

The sound is unmistakable. Giggling, laughter and words being over-emphasized and articulated, followed by attempts to mimic, all with varying degrees of success. It’s a classroom.

“This camp showed me that Marines are nice and kind people,” said Rinna Ishikawa, a Maehara High School student and third year attendee of the annual Camp Courtney English Camp.

Ishikawa and 21 other students attended the camp Aug. 11-16 to learn English, with the help of Marine volunteers, as well as get to know their neighbors.

The camp was started by Ichiro Umehara, the community relations specialist for Camp Courtney, 13 years ago in response to requests from parents in the surrounding community.

Read the full article from DVIDS.

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September 06, 2013

UK | Events

IATEFL 2014 - Speaker application deadline

iatefl-conference-sign.jpgThis a quick reminder that the 48th IATEFL Annual Conference and Exhibition will be held at Harrogate International Conference Centre, Harrogate, UK from 2nd to 5th April 2014.

Plenary speakers at the event will be David Graddoll, Kathleen Graves, Michael Hoey and Sugata Mitra.

Conference registration for speakers and delegates has been open since mid June 2013. Here are some upcoming important dates:

  • Speaker application deadline - 19th September 2013 (you will be notified of the results by end of November 2013)
  • Speaker payment deadline - 12th December 2013
  • Early bird payment deadline - 30th January 2014
  • Online booking available until 19th March 2014 and existing orders can be paid prior to arrival at conference.

Full details at the IATEFL 2014 website.

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India | ELT People

From Anglophobia to master of English

munawar-zama.jpgThe head of an English-language training and personality development institute has been helping under-priviliged Indians to get life-changing opportunities.

In early 1985, a nine-year-old Muslim boy from a middle class family in Nalgonda, 100 kms from Hyderabad, sat glued to his transistor radio as Indian cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin prepared to score his third consecutive century against a formidable English team.

English-language cricket commentary emanated from the radio for 15 minutes, followed by commentary in Hindi. Every time the commentary went into English, the boy – who couldn't understand a word of it – became restless.

He impatiently waited for the Hindi commentary to hear how his hero Azharuddin was playing.

In those brief moments of excitement and restlessness, the Anglophobic boy made a decision: he must learn English.

In a posh New Delhi hotel in the August of 2013, the boy, Munawar Zama, now the CEO of an English-language training and personality development institute, was honored with the "Indian Youth Icon Award 2013" for his contributions to changing the lives of thousands of students across the country.

Read the full article from World Bulletin.

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September 05, 2013

Events | Indonesia

Indonesia: English teachers aiming to up their game

Teach-English-in-IndonesiaThe Jakarta Post seems to be a bit harsh in its sweeping statement about the abilities of Indonesia's English language teachers, in this report on the recent TEFLIN Conference.

As the majority of English language teachers in Indonesia lack competence, more than 500 teachers from all over the country are meeting in Jakarta to exchange knowledge and experiences, involving their counterparts from the region and native speaking countries.

“The speakers and presenters at the three-day conference are expected to offer input, based on their research and experience, on how to improve the teaching of English as a foreign language in Indonesia,” the president of the Association of Teaching of English as a Foreign Language in Indonesia (TEFLIN), Fuad Abdul Hamid, told The Jakarta Post after the opening ceremony of the conference recently.

The 60th TEFLIN International Conference, presented 10 main speakers in general sessions and 316 presenters in parallel sessions. The speakers and presenters come from various universities in Australia, the UK, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the US.

The conference was organized by the TEFLIN, in cooperation with the University of Indonesia’s (UI) Faculty of Humanities and Universitas Siswa Bangsa Internasional.

Fuad acknowledged that even though English language teachers in Indonesia were required to have teaching certifications, most of them were poor in English proficiency, making their teaching ineffective.

Read the full article from The Jakarta Post.

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Uzbekistan has chosen: English first, Russian later

English-in-UzbekistanTwo decades after independence from the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan has relegated the study of Russian as a foreign language in favour of English.

President Islam Karimov’s latest education decree mandates that English classes start in the first grade, with Russian classes starting in the second.

In a country that has just celebrated twenty-two years of independence from the Soviet Union, schools are mostly taught in Uzbek – with English and Russian considered foreign languages.

Non-Uzbek schools have also shifted their priorities from once commonly spoken Russian – which is still widely spoken throughout Uzbekistan – to English.

In Tajik, Kazakh and Kyrgyz language schools the number of weekly Russian lessons has been cut from two hours to one.

In Uzbek-language schools, Russian will continue for now to be taught for two hours a week.

In Russian-language schools, Russian language and Russian literature will be offered as a native language, and the amount of time devoted to studying the language will remain unchanged.

This year, as last year, all school teachers in Uzbekistan are required to participate in weekly English lessons.

Gulbakhor Iskanderova, a teacher of Russian and literature, reports that teachers – regardless to the subject they teach – are mandated to open each school day by saying “Welcome children” and having a five minute conversation with their students in English.

Read the full article from Uznews.

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India | Events

10th International Congress on English Grammar

English-in-IndiaYou are invited to submit papers for the 10th International Congress on English Grammar, which will be held in southern India in January 2014.

Sri Ramakrishna Engineering College, Coimbatore, India in association with Systemic Functional Linguistics, Hyderabad, is organizing the 10th International Congress on English Grammar (ICEG 2014) on 23-25 January 2014.  The theme of the conference is Grammar and Grammar Teaching: Changing Perspectives.

The Congress aims to support and uphold interaction and meaningful discussion among researchers from all over the world in the fields of English Grammar, Lexicography, Linguistics, English Language Teaching and Communication Technology in Language Teaching. The first ICEG was held in Hyderabad in July 1999. This world renowned Congress was subsequently hosted by some of the elite and premier institutions in India and abroad.

ICEG 2014 focuses on current topics in Language, Linguistics and Literature. The event creates a platform for scholarly interactions on the major changes in teaching of English. The Congress draws researchers from all over the world to present their research findings and to implement these language teaching techniques to the needs of the learners.

Participants are requested to send abstracts based on their original and unpublished research articles related to the above mentioned topics. The abstracts should not exceed 200 words and should envelop creativeness, scope, methodology followed, findings/observations and discussions. The names, affiliations, mobile, email address and full mailing address of all authors must be mentioned.

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 5 November 2013.

For more details, please  visit the ICEG 2014 website.

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September 04, 2013

Vietnam | Opinion

Why Asia needs white losers

teaching-english-in-vietnamVietnam's Thanh Nien News reports what it calls a "tongue-in-cheek look at 'racism' in hiring English teachers."

Last week this paper carried an article titled English teaching: Is White Right? The piece, written by Nazley Omar, made a pretty strong case that Vietnam uses racist hiring guidelines to recruit teachers.

I wholeheartedly disagree. It’s not that Vietnamese educators and parents are racist for overtly discriminating against Asian teachers. They just understand that their kids have a lot to learn from white losers.

In her piece Ms. Omar describes a Filipino teacher with a four-year degree in education, an English teaching certification, and a tough time finding a job. Meanwhile, she asserts that “any white person with a pulse and a degree” can net an English teaching job in Vietnam.

Hey. That’s just simply not true. It takes a bold, visionary type of white person to come over here and teach, especially those of us who have no background in education or formal training.

Read the full article from Thanh Nien News.

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September 03, 2013


Turkish English teacher refused UK entry over grasp of language

uk-immigrationThe Herald reports the latest of many similar stories of couples and families separated by the UK's stringent English language regulations.

The English-teacher wife of a Scottish academic has been refused entry to Britain because she could not provide proof she has a basic grasp of the language.

The decision by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has shocked the family who have written to the Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Alex Salmond in protest.

Dr Philip Clark, an assistant professor of pharmacy at an Istanbul university and Jilda, his Turkish wife of 22 years, and two children want to move to Scotland so he can be closer to his frail, elderly parents in Ayr.

Dr Clark, 54, who is based at the Yeditepe University Faculty of Pharmacy, wanted to return to working in the field in his home country where his wife planned to teach English to migrant children.

The family applied to have Mrs Clark cleared for entry to the UK under immigration rules that allow for "family life as a partner". But after the refusal they are likely to spend six months apart as the appeal takes place.

The UKBA made the decision after its visas and immigration section would not accept her BA and MA in English language teaching gained at the universities of Bosphorus and Istanbul and said she needed to pass an English language test at an approved centre.

Read the full story from The Herald Scotland.

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UK | Publishing | Online

Macmillan revises definition of marriage to include gay couples

gay-pride-march.jpgMacmillan's is the first UK dictionary to reflect the country's new law on same sex marriage.

The online dictionary has become the first UK dictionary to revise its definition of marriage to reflect the change in the law allowing same sex couples to marry.

The definition of "marriage" now reads: "The relationship between two people who are husband and wife, or a similar relationship between people of the same sex," with the second clause newly added.

The revision follows the marriage (same sex couples) bill through its crucial reading in the House of Lords on 15 July and accompanies other changes in a significant update to the dictionary. One that is likely to offend grammar purists is the inclusion of "of" as a preposition for use with "bored", as in "bored of". editor-in-chief Michael Rundell said the change to the definition of "marriage" might suggest a future redefining of the terms "husband" and "wife". "In a same sex relationship two men are probably not going to refer to themselves as 'wife', but if it's two women, they might, so we need to keep an eye on that."

The definition of wife is "the woman that a man is married to", and husband is "the man that a woman is married to".

Changes to the official definitions of words are guided by analysis of their usage. "We have a corpus of two billion words, a huge collection of text including books, magazines and recorded speech, which we analyse in great detail to understand frequent and common usage," Rundell said.

Read the full article from The Guardian.

Photograph: Lee Harper/Corbis

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August 31, 2013


Foreign teacher dances with students

english-teacher-china.jpgWhile I'm sure this program was enjoyable and beneficial for all involved, the post by the Chinese State Administration for Foreign Experts Affairs reads as much like propaganda as news. The headline is just so...understated.

The 2nd international English summer camp was hosted in Xiuwen international academy, at the city of Zibo, Shandong province, with support from the city’s human resources and social security bureau and the foreign expert affairs office.

There were 500 primary and secondary school students and 22 foreign teachers from Britain, Canada and Australia taking part in the 14-day camp, which started July 11, with a curriculum based on foreign teaching, which was flexible, humorous and interactive.

There were many activities held by the students, such as an English song program, evening campfire parties and dance parties, which helped the young people improve their English proficiency and their sense of self and practical skills, and gave the Chinese students a taste of foreign culture and history.

One international teacher, who was really impressed by the people of Zibo’s beauty and hospitality, commented, “The locals are very enthusiastic and their specialties taste delicious,” then added, “The students are quite smart, lovely and polite, and say ‘Hello’ to me in English every time I see them.”

Original article from State Administration for Foreign Experts Affairs.

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August 30, 2013


Nepal: English by Radio to air from today

learning-English-in-Nepal.jpgIn some remote parts of the world, the Web is not yet where it's at. The Himalayan reports on a new weekly radio show for English language learners in Nepal.

An English language programme, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu, will be broadcast on five radio stations from Friday.

There will be 52 episodes of the weekly programme, produced in collaboration with the Nepal English Language Teachers' Association (NELTA), according to the Embassy. Its coverage will span 60 districts across Nepal.

The English by Radio programme aims at helping teachers and students to improve their English language proficiency, the Embassy said in a statement.

In the first episode, the U.S. Ambassador to Nepal, Peter W. Bodde introduces himself and answers questions from a language teacher. Ambassador Bodde also talks about the U.S. Government’s support for improving the quality of English language teaching in Nepal.

Read the full article from The Himalayan.

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August 29, 2013

Tests | Liberia

All 25,000 candidates fail Liberian university entrance exam

All 25,000 candidates failed this year's University of Liberia entrance exam and are accused of "lacking enthusiasm and not having a basic grasp of English."

The University of Liberia. Number of applicants this year: nearly 25,000. Number gaining admission: zero.

The "epic fail" of every single candidate in the admission exam provoked bafflement, consternation and heated debate on Tuesday, with some convinced that flaws in Liberia's education system had been brutally exposed. A government minister likened it to "mass murder".

At first it appeared there would no freshers at west Africa's oldest degree-granting institution when the new academic year gets under way next month. But then an intervention by president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf forced the university to back down and give places to a lucky 1,800.

According to university officials, the applicants lacked enthusiasm and did not have a basic grasp of English. Spokesman Momodu Getaweh told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that the university stood by its decision and would not be swayed by emotion. "In English, the mechanics of the language, they didn't know anything about it. So the government has to do something."

Read the full article from The Guardian.

Photo: Ahmed Jallanzo/EPA

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US | Education

Why the alarm is going off about ESL students

ESOL-in-US.jpgAn article on the WRLN website looks at the growing sense of crisis in Florida's ESOL program, which caters to a tenth of the US state’s public school students.

Full disclosure: My wife is a bilingual teacher and my children grew up speaking English and Spanish. But you don’t need those factors in your life to have a vested interest in how well the school program commonly known as ESOL – English for Speakers of Other Languages – is faring in this country, state and community.

Latinos are now the largest minority in the US. Florida’s population growth today is driven largely by Latinos. And Latinos make up almost two-thirds of Miami-Dade County’s residents.

A quarter million Florida youths, a tenth of the state’s public school students, are enrolled in ESOL. The program accounts for a fifth of Miami-Dade’s public school pupils – and more than 25 percent when you include the system’s ESOL adults.

There are certainly Florida schools, like Miami’s Coral Way K-8 Bilingual Center, where ESOL is exemplary. But as a new academic year gets underway – and as classrooms face the more rigorous Common Core standards – there are nagging signs that too many Florida ESOL students are slipping behind. Or as El Nuevo Herald education writer Daniel Shoer Roth recently put it, an “alarm has sounded” among educators across the peninsula.

Read the full article from WLRN.

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South Africa

South Africa: Growth in EFL, sector unites to lobby government

teach-English-in-South-Africa.jpgThe PIE (Professionals in International Education) News recently reported on growth in the EFL industry in South Africa, driven by renewal in interest from traditional European markets and a boom from neighbouring African countries.

The English language travel industry in South Africa saw growth in both student numbers and weeks from 2011 to 2012 and providers are bullish about 2013 after a solid first half of the year according to the national association of English language centres, EduSA.

Improved numbers are driven by renewal in interest from traditional European markets and a boom from neighbouring African countries. But, while the industry supports 16,000 jobs and contributes R 2.5 billion (US$ 2.4 million) to the national economy, the sector is striving for government support and more widespread accreditation.

“EduSA schools are showing improved numbers for 2013 when compared to both 2012 and 2011,” EduSA Chairman and director of Bay Language Shaun Fitzhenry told The PIE News.

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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August 27, 2013

Pakistan | Teacher Development

Islamabad - ELT workshop for seminary teachers begins

pk.pngThe Express Tribune reports on an ELT workshop for Islamic scholars in Pakistan, led by international teaching trainer Don Johnson.

A two-week “Madaris Teachers’ English Training” workshop jointly by the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) and the US embassy, Islamabad, kicked off here on Monday.

Renowned international teaching trainer Don Johnson from the US and Dean Faculty of Language and Literature, IIUI, Dr Munawar Iqbal Gondal are the resource persons while Student Affairs Adviser Dr Safeer Awan is coordinating the workshop, said a press release.

Around 40 seminary teachers from Gilgit Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Peshawar, Mohmand Agency, Malakand, Islamabad and other areas of the country are participating in the workshop.

The workshop includes communication language teaching, teaching pronunciation, vocabulary, lesson planning, teaching writing skills, teaching grammar and reading skills and interactive sessions to improve English language proficiency and pedagogy.

Read the full article from The Express Tribune.

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Secondary Level | Guinea

Guinean government wants English taught in all secondary schools

gn.pngThe West African country of Guinea is to introduce English teaching for all secondary school students from October.

The Guinean government has ordered English teaching in all secondary schools across the French-speaking country in West Africa once the 2013-2014 academic year begins in October, Xinhua news agency reported.

English is already part of the curriculum for some students at a lower level of secondary education where the language is only an optional.

Guinea's Pre-University and Civic Education Minister Ibrahima Kourouma met with teachers of the English language on Monday to discuss their new assignment before classes begin.

Addressing the 300 or so teachers, Kourouma hailed the Guinea-South Africa cooperation which has enabled Guinea to introduce teaching of the English language in all secondary schools.

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August 22, 2013

Mongolia | Events

Mongolia TESOL International Conference, October 2013

teach-English-in-Mongolia.jpgThis year the 7th National TEFL / 3rd Mongolia TESOL International Conference will be held at the Mongolian University of Science and Technology, Ulaanbaatar. The conference will be held on October 4-6, 2013 under the theme "Sharing Language Learning Experiences." University and secondary school teachers, university students, ELT professionals and educators are invited to present and participate in the conference.

Founded in 1997, the English Language Teachers' Association of Mongolia (ELTAM) aims to develop English language teachers at nationwide level and promotes all kinds of English programs. It supports English language teachers' development and, therefore, one of its major activities is organizing an annual conference to bring teachers to share their teaching practices and experiences and promote their networking.

Those wishing to present at this year's conference should request a proposal form with the guidelines for those who are willing to share ideas, experiences and discuss some of the latest ELT innovations. There is also an opportunity to volunteer during the conference preparation and organization. Contact organizers by e-mail (, or telephone at 99-279-476.

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Language teaching federation backs raising drinking age

teach-English-in-Malta.jpgThe Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations in Malta (FELTOM) said today that it agreed with the proposal by the Children’s Commissioner to raise the drinking age threshold to 18 years.

"FELTOM has long argued that increasing the safety of minors should always be a priority. Increasing the drinking age threshold to 18 years is therefore a step in the right direction," it said.

It said that over the years it had taken a number of initiatives to limit the accessibility of minors studying English in Malta to alcohol at events and organises weekly non-alcoholic events at venues away from Paceville. These events are very well received by the students themselves, it said.

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August 15, 2013


Upward turn for English language teachers in Turkey

teach-English-in-Turkey.jpgAlana MacPherson of TEFL Org UK posted earlier this week on The Huffington Post about the ELT scene in Turkey.

Over the last while Turkey has emerged as a prominent and highly sought after destination in the TEFL market, with an enormous demand for native speaking English teachers.

Turkey has seen a dramatic increase in tourism over recent years, perhaps fuelling a demand for the English language. On top of this, the country is very eager to join the European Union so there may be political influences at work here, following the thought that boosting English language proficiency might help ease their campaign for membership.

Despite a shaky economic past which saw the country go through a period of instability - involving the devaluation of the Lira - things have very much taken an upward turn in Turkey and this is a very positive thing for TEFL teachers.

Read the full article from The Huffington Post.

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August 14, 2013

Journals | Nepal

Call for papers, Journal of NELTA 2013

np.pngThe editorial board of the Journal of NELTA (Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association) would like to invite contributions for the 2013 issue.

First published in 1996, the Journal of NELTA is a premiere publication of Nepal English Language Teachers’ Association (NELTA). This journal has been an integral part of NELTA’s mission for ‘enhancing the quality of English language teaching and learning through professional networking, supporting and collaboration’.

It is also a means towards achieving NELTA’s goal of providing a ‘forum for exchanges of ideas and experiences at national, regional and international levels’.

The editorial board would like to invite contributions for the 2013 issue of the journal. Contributors are encouraged to make their work relevant to classroom teaching as well as to serve the larger purpose of creating or promoting ELT discourses at local, national, and regional contexts. Contributions that deal with ELT theories and methods will serve the professional community only to the extent that they are situated in the authors' own practices and/or in the contemporary educational and social contexts. The objective of this volume is to gather the voices of teachers, scholars, and educationists who are best able to define and advance the conversation and practice of ELT.

Manuscript must be submitted as an email attachment accompanied by a well-written cover letter to the editorial address: or All enquiries and communication related to the articles for the Journal of NELTA should also be sent to the same email address.

The deadline for submission is September 30, 2013.

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India | Tests

CBSE ties up with Trinity College to train ESL teachers

teach-English-in-IndiaIndia Today reports on a tie up between the Indian board of education for public and private schools and Trinity College, London in a program to integrate English language in the curriculum.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will train teachers for the implementation of the Assessment of Speaking and Listening (ASL) skills in collaboration with Trinity College, London, an official said Tuesday.

ASL has been introduced in all CBSE-affiliated schools for Class 9 and Class 11 in an effort to integrate English language in the curriculum.

"Principals of schools need to identify senior teachers of English from their schools who are eligible to take the online screening test to qualify for examiner trainers in the ASL," said Sadhna Parashar, CBSE director, training research and innovation.

Read the full article at India Today.

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China | Crime

Shenzhen arrests visa-dodging English teachers

teach-English-in-China.jpgThe Shenzen Daily reports on a crackdown on English teachers working in the southern Chinese city without a visa.

Several foreigners who do not possess valid teaching certificates or working permits were arrested at English training centers in Nanshan District recently.

They were suspected of illegal employment and were taken away by the exit-entry management department of the Nanshan District’s Public Security Sub-bureau for further investigation, Shenzhen Economic Daily reported yesterday.

The bureau did not reveal how many foreigners had been arrested or give further details as investigations into the cases are still continuing.

At present, there are about 13,000 foreign residents living in Nanshan District, accounting for 42 percent of the expatriate population in the city.

Read the full article from Shenzen Daily.

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August 13, 2013


The language of social change

teach-English-in-IndiaThe Hindu reports on Vidyarambam Trust, which teaches English to underprivileged children in India and has also helped check dropout rates in government schools.

They are the children of poorly paid carpenters, electricians and daily wage labourers. Raised on the border of the poverty line, mostly in rural areas, these boys and girls have just one path to a better life – an education. But despite their talent and perseverance, this chance is compromised when they need to take an admission test or talk about themselves at a job interview. The bottleneck? Everything is in English.

“An urban child learns English as early as age two”, says Mr. V. Ranganathan, founder of the NGO Vidyarambam Trust, a non-profit organisation that provides free tuition and educational material to underprivileged children. “Until recently, government schools did not teach English at all. We’ve had teachers in these schools tell us that children are hesitant to even open their books. They don’t have the guts to attempt to read”. He believes that for the same reason, dropouts are common after Std. VIII or so, when English is abruptly introduced into their syllabus.

Vidyarambam’s strategy to put these children back on track involves logic that is simple, yet powerful – they recruit people who have completed Std XII and provide them with training on phonetic-based teaching of English (a far more effective method than conventional alphabet-based teaching), after which they are equipped to teach primary schoolchildren the basics of reading, writing and grammar. Older students (Std VI to IX) are taught by those with graduate degrees and the same training.

Read the full article from The Hindu.

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August 12, 2013

Uruguay | Chile | Argentina | Publishing

Cambridge English take anniversary celebrations to South America

cambridge-english-south-america.jpgCambridge English Language Assessment recently posted about a series of events held in South America to mark its centennial.

A series of events were held across South America in May to celebrate 100 years of Cambridge English exams. The events in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay highlighted the important part exam centres and key individuals in the region have played in the Cambridge English story.

The British Ambassadors for Argentina, Chile and Uruguay were guests of honour at VIP receptions in Buenos Aires, Santiago and Montevideo – with around 100 guests attending each event. The series of events also saw a regional meeting of Centre Exams Managers in Buenos Aires, with representatives from Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.

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Republic of Korea | ELT People

The $4 Million Teacher

kim-ki-hoon.jpgThe Wall Street Journal travels to South Korea to meet an English teacher who earns a "rock-star" salary and looks into the "shadow system" of after school tutoring.

Kim Ki-hoon earns $4 million a year in South Korea, where he is known as a rock-star teacher—a combination of words not typically heard in the rest of the world. Mr. Kim has been teaching for over 20 years, all of them in the country's private, after-school tutoring academies, known as hagwons. Unlike most teachers across the globe, he is paid according to the demand for his skills—and he is in high demand.

Mr. Kim works about 60 hours a week teaching English, although he spends only three of those hours giving lectures. His classes are recorded on video, and the Internet has turned them into commodities, available for purchase online at the rate of $4 an hour. He spends most of his week responding to students' online requests for help, developing lesson plans and writing accompanying textbooks and workbooks (some 200 to date).

"The harder I work, the more I make," he says matter of factly. "I like that."

I traveled to South Korea to see what a free market for teaching talent looks like—one stop in a global tour to discover what the U.S. can learn from the world's other education superpowers. Thanks in part to such tutoring services, South Korea has dramatically improved its education system over the past several decades and now routinely outperforms the U.S. Sixty years ago, most South Koreans were illiterate; today, South Korean 15-year-olds rank No. 2 in the world in reading, behind Shanghai. The country now has a 93% high-school graduation rate, compared with 77% in the U.S.

Read the full article from The Wall Street Journal.

Photo: Wall Street Journal

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August 10, 2013


ELT students injured rock jumping in Malta

blue-lagoon-malta.jpgThe PIE (Professionals in International Education) News site reports on a danger not normally associated with learning English in the Mediterranean.

A spate of injuries befalling English language students “rock-jumping” in Malta has raised safety concerns in the popular English language teaching destination, despite clear signs posted about the dangers of such activities, and re-focused the efforts of the ELT industry in safeguarding its clients.

Each year, thousands of young ELT students descend on the island of Malta to enjoy English language learning in a holiday environment, but the Times of Malta reports that eight people, including four ELT students, have suffered spinal injuries in July alone after jumping from high rocks in Cominotto, in the beautiful Blue Lagoon area of Malta.

“We’ve ended up like a cash-and-carry with the number of injured youngsters,” Emergency and Response Rescue Corps (ERRC) operations officer, Charles Micallef, told the Sunday Times of Malta.

Students aged 14, 15, 20 and 25 were among eight people known to have been injured by ERRC, which reported that some injuries sustained necessitated an operation.

Micallef urged tourist agencies to warn clients of the dangers of jumping into the sea, while pointing out that there is already a sign post on Cominotto warning of the dangers.

Francis Stivala, ELT Schools Representative on the Ministry of Education Monitoring Board, explained that the pro-active role of the board meant they had already been in touch with all schools to underline strict safety guidance following the incident, reinforcing advice given in a pre-season briefing.

Read the full story from The PIE News.

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India | Events

Call for papers - Teacher Educator Conference 2014

tec14-logo.jpgThe deadline is approaching to submit proposals for next year's International English Language Teacher Educator Conference in India.

The British Council, in full partnership with English and Foreign Languages University (EFL-U) Hyderabad, will come together again to host the International English Language Teacher Educator Conference in India with support from the English Language Teachers’ Association of India (ELTAI) and the International Association for Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL).

This event is considered to be the world’s largest English language teacher educator conference and is now in its fourth year. The conference will be held again in Hyderabad, Telangana (formally known as Andhra Pradesh), India from 21 – 23 February 2014.

The main theme of the conference will be 'Innovation in English Language Teacher Education' and the conference will be structured around following three sub themes - 'Innovations in Continuing Professional Development for English language teacher educators and teachers', 'Learning from Experience', and 'Technological resources for language education'. So far, the only plenary speaker announced is Simon Borg, Professor of TESOL at the School of Education, University of Leeds.

A call for papers has been announced and those who wish to present at this conference can submit their proposal online. The last date to submit a proposal is 30 August 2013. Only online submissions will be accepted for vetting.

More details and proposal submissions on the British Council website.

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August 08, 2013

Tanzania | Crime

Zanzibar: Acid thrown on two British women volunteer teachers

teach-English-in-Tanzania.jpgCNN reports on two British women who were the victims of an acid attack in Tanzania. The two were teaching English on the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar through i-to-i Travel.

Two British women were injured in an acid attack carried out by two men on a motorcycle on the east African island of Zanzibar, local police said Thursday.

The women, who were attacked in Stone Town, the island's historic center, had been working as volunteer teachers on the island, travel firm i-to-i Travel said. Stone Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site popular with tourists.

The attack occurred Wednesday night as the women were walking unaccompanied along a street, said police commander Muccadam Khamis. The attackers, who did not take anything from their victims, left the scene on the motorbike, he said. The women were taken to a local medical center for first aid treatment, he added.

British consular officials then helped them reach the city of Dar es Salaam, on the Tanzanian mainland, where they received hospital treatment, he said. A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are concerned to hear of an attack on two British nationals in Zanzibar on 7 August. We are providing consular assistance and are in contact with the Tanzanian authorities."

The women, who were in the final week of their trip when they were attacked, have now been discharged from the hospital in Dar es Salaam, i-to-i Travel said in a statement.

Read the full story from CNN.

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China | Business

STS signs English training deal in China

sts-china.jpgTravel company STS is to bring native English teachers from the UK to China for a pilot program at a Beijing language school, reports The PIE News.

Sweden-based study travel giant, STS, has agreed the terms of a pilot project to deliver English language training in China, to 720 students at Chaoyang Foreign Language School in Beijing.

The deal will see STS teach Chinese students for a seasonal summer course, delivered in a state-run institution, with the backing of China’s local educational authority.

It marks a new departure for the firm that operates language schools, offers high school placements, au pair and college studies. Once the course, delivered this summer, is over, STS will also help train the Chinese English teachers to improve their own skills.

James Crimp, Director for STS Language Schools, explained, “Our goal is not purely to educate, but to help provide confidence in speaking English. Once the course has finished, we will teach the Chinese English teachers how to further improve the students’ English skills and their ability to speak the language with confidence.”

Read the full article from The PIE News.

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South America | Events

Upcoming events in Latin America

latin-america.jpgAugust Academic Saturday "Back to School", Mexico City MEXTESOL local chapter
Date: August 31, 2013
Location: Instituto Progreso y Esperanza (Av. 5 No. 89 Col. Granjas San Antonio, Del. Iztapalapa), Mexico City
For further details, please check the Mexico City MEXTESOL Facebook profile or e-mail Bertha Gpe. Paulo Guerrero, Secretary-Treasurer, Mexico City MEXTESOL. Click here for a map or click here to register.

Panama Annual TESOL Congress
Panama TESOL is holding its Annual Congress on September 20-22 in Panama City. The theme of the congress is "Bridging Language, Heritage, and Culture".
Date: September 20-22, 2013
Location: Universidad Latina de Panama, Panama City
More information is available at the Panama TESOL website or by writing to Joanne Pyra or Joel Alvarez.

48th ASOCOPI Annual Conference, Bogotá, Colombia
The Colombian Association of Teachers of English - ASOCOPI, is pleased to invite professionals and college students in the area of English language teaching to attend the upcoming 48th ASOCOPI Annual Conference "ELT and Culture: Conceptual and Practical Perspectives".
Date: October 10-12, 2013
Location: Universidad El Bosque, Bogotá
For further details, please contact organizers through the ASOCOPI website or by e-mail.
Contact: Melba Libia Cárdenas B.
ASOCOPI Secretary, Universidad Nacional de Colombia
Phone: (57 1) 2115018 

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UK | Business

Redesigned UK school rethinks how to teach

language-in-london.jpgThe PIE News reports on an English language school in London which has had a facelift to put digital learning at the core of its offer.

A London-based English language school, which is part of a small school group, has redesigned its central London school with a focus on communication and digital innovation, confident its extensive facelift will result in more satisfied customers and ensure it is future-proofing its offer to its modern clientele of mostly young adults.

Language in London, part of the Language In Group, will monitor feedback from its clients and partner agents and take its redesign – which has digital learning at the heart of its ethos – to sister schools in Totnes, south England and Dublin, Ireland within the next six months.

“We want to teach our students skills for communication in the real world,” explained Director, Stuart Rubenstein. “We’re obsessed with the impact that environment has on learning.”

Each classroom is equipped with Apple TV and one entire wall that doubles as a whiteboard. Rubenstein observed that interactive whiteboards (IWBs) are not necessarily authentic learning tools, given that many of their clients will not use IWBs when back in their home countries.

Read the full story from the PIE News.

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August 07, 2013


Rwanda: English mentors improve language in public schools

teach-English-in-RwandaIn order to improve English proficiency among teachers in Rwanda, the Rwanda Education Board (REB) is seeking to recruit 1,000 mentors from the East African region to work primarily with primary and secondary level teachers.

The deputy director general in charge of teacher development and management at REB, Damian Ntaganzwa explains, "We are still looking for qualified mentors to gradually increase model lessons and we hope to hit the target in this financial year. We have dispatched 930 mentors to primary and secondary schools in various parts of the country."

Three districts, Kicukiro, Gasabo and Nyarugenge, have already received mentors and the final recruitment of 70 more mentors is ongoing.

The English language school-based mentors are mainly from Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya where they are categorized in two groups-ordinary mentors and secondary mentors. This year REB targets 1,000 mentors, with 40% of them Rwandan. 940 ordinary mentors will be teaching and assisting teachers in their daily activities. 60 senior mentors will be in charge of coordinating and supervising the ordinary mentors on a daily basis.

Read the full story from AllAfrica.

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August 02, 2013

Republic of Korea

Learning English in Korea - in the 1880s

korean-school-1880s.jpgThe Asia Society blogged yesterday with a brief but interesting glimpse of the English teaching scene in Korea at the end of the 19th century.

We all know that students have it rough in Korea. They go to school early in the morning and then after school spend several additional hours in private learning institutes studying math and English. These institutes are everywhere now, but they haven’t always been.

In 1882—just prior to Korea opening to the West—Koreans who desired to learn English had to travel to Japan. But not everyone viewed the study of English as a good thing. When one young Korean scholar confided to his friend that he wanted to learn English so that he could study Western books, his friend scoffed at the notion, declaring it was instead more acceptable to learn the Japanese language because “the Japanese were less barbarous than Western nations.” Learning English would turn this young scholar into a barbarian. When the scholar insisted on learning English, his friend threatened to kill himself as he could not bear to think of his companion becoming a barbarian.

Read the full post on the Asia Society website.
(Photo copyright Robert Neff COllection)

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July 29, 2013

India | Teacher Development

Delivering a jolt to India's teacher training

teach-English-in-IndiaThe New York Times reports on Muktangan, an organization that is taking a whole new - and effective - approach to teacher training in India.

Samidha Shetya, a mill worker’s daughter with a 10th-grade education, was among the first group of women to start working as teachers for a private group called Muktangan in 2003.

She is now among hundreds of teachers who initially had no formal training, much less university degrees in education, working with children from low-income homes.

When Mrs. Shetya began at Muktangan, she was given three months of training and told to find children she could enroll in kindergarten; she began with two classes of 30 students each. Having studied only in the Marathi language, she had to use a translator to get through Muktangan’s English-language curriculum.

Read the full article from The New York Times.

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July 26, 2013

Parents in HK riled over summer English camp

teach-English-in-Hong-KongA secondary school in Hong Kong wants new pupils to take a compulsory five-day English language summer camp, angering some parents.

A secondary school in Tai Po is insisting all first-year pupils attend an English-language summer camp at a cost of HK$880 per child, one parent said.

The enrolment violated the children's right to enjoy summer holidays, the parent said.

The five-day session will run from Thursday to August 2 and will be held at the campus of direct-subsidy Law Ting Pong Secondary School.

The school announced that attendance was mandatory in a programme brochure.

Camp instructors are native English-speaking undergraduates from Canadian universities, according to the brochure.

Read the full story from the South China Morning Post.

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Australian parents pressured to drop home language for English

immigrants-in-AustraliaAn article about the pressure on immigrants in Australia to teach their children English at the expense of their native language.

Migrant parents are under pressure to dump their own language believing it will help their children learn English, an academic said during a recent talk in Sunshine.

During the talk at the Sunshine Library, Successfully Raising Children in More Than One Language Professor John Hajek, said migrant parents were taught to undervalue their own languages, and to ignore their own histories in "a mistaken belief" that it was the only way for their children to learn English successfully.

"Learning one's mother tongue and English are not at all mutually exclusive - you can achieve both very successfully if you just know how to," Professor Hajek said.

Read the full article from The Herald Sun.

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July 25, 2013

Republic of Korea | Opinion

Cultural understanding key to English learning

English-Teaching-in-KoreaYoon Seon-joo, country manager of EF Education First Korea, writes this week in The Korea Herald about the role of culture in learning English.

When I was little, I had a great opportunity to live in the U.S. with my family for almost two years, which is when I first learned English and made foreign friends. I attended ESL or English as a second language classes at school with other international students whose parents were graduate students there like mine. During the first few days, the most difficult flash card to remember was “bread and butter” because, for me, “bread,” “and” and “butter” were three “unassociated” words instead of one like “apple” or “grapes” on other flash cards. Seeing others eat bread together with butter and doing so myself, however, I was soon able to remember this phrase, as eating bread with butter quickly became as natural as eating rice with kimchi. This was a 7-year-old Korean girl version of “living the language” and learning language by linking it to culture.

Read the full article from The Korea Herald.

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July 18, 2013

Chile | Events | Teacher Development

ELTeach aiming to boost teacher confidence in Chile

elteach-logo.jpgELTeach - a new teacher training and assessment initiative launched by Cengage Learning and ETS - will be the focus of a seminar for English language teachers in Chile next month. The 2nd Academic Seminar - Teaching with Confidence event will be held August 10, 2013 at the Hotel Crowne Plaza, Santiago.

The seminar will feature presenters Donald Freeman, ELTeach Senior Academic Advisor; Mary Jane Abrahams, Director TESOL CHILE; and Richard J. Tannenbaum, Ph.D., Senior Research Director for the Center for Validity Research, Research & Development, ETS.

The event is co-organized by local partner Seminarium Certificación. For more information or to register, get in touch by phone: (562) 2490-26-10/2490-26-15 or email.

Run by Cengage Learning, ELTeach is an online, integrated Professional Development, Assessment, and Certificate program, supporting teachers of English through coursework and assessments. Pilots program have been run in over a dozen countries worldwide in 2012-13, making it one of the biggest teacher training projects done on a global scale in the ELT industry. With more than 6,000 teachers involved, it's a significant move into the teacher training and assessment space by Cengage and ETS. Implementation programs are beginning now in several countries.

ETS is the company that develops, administers and scores more than 50 million TOEFL, TOEIC, and GRE tests annually in more than 180 countries.

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Australia | Linguistics

A Village Invents a Language All Its Own

lajamanu.jpgA fascinating look at the recent birth of a new language spoken only by the young in a remote village in Australia’s Northern Territory.

There are many dying languages in the world. But at least one has recently been born, created by children living in a remote village in northern Australia.

Carmel O’Shannessy, a linguist at the University of Michigan, has been studying the young people’s speech for more than a decade and has concluded that they speak neither a dialect nor the mixture of languages called a creole, but a new language with unique grammatical rules.

The language, called Warlpiri rampaku, or Light Warlpiri, is spoken only by people under 35 in Lajamanu, an isolated village of about 700 people in Australia’s Northern Territory. In all, about 350 people speak the language as their native tongue. Dr. O’Shannessy has published several studies of Light Warlpiri, the most recent in the June issue of Language.

Read the full story from the New York Times.

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July 17, 2013

Australia | Online

Navitas backs virtual English classes for migrants

navitas-logo.jpgTwo companies are teaming up to deliver virtual English language lessons for migrants and refugees across Australia.

Global pathway provider Navitas has teamed up with AMES, a provider of training and employment support to refugees, to deliver virtual English language lessons for migrants and refugees across Australia.

Director of the project, Iain Rothwell, said the scheme offered Australia’s first fully interactive virtual English classroom, and would replicate face-to-face lessons for those unable to attend classes in person.

“For new Australians living in rural and remote areas or those who are unable to attend face-to-face classes, the virtual classroom will allow the development of language skills to enable participation in and contribution to their local communities,” he said. Launched earlier this month, the programme is being piloted by several groups of students in Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory who are being taught by AMES and Navitas teachers based in Melbourne and Sydney. Organisers say the trial will eventually extend to 200 students and run for two years.

Read the full article from PIE News.

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India | Publishing | ELT People

Manas Saikia, MD of CUP India, announces retirement

manas_saikia.jpgManas Saikia, founding partner and Managing Director of Cambridge University Press India, has announced he will be retiring at the end of April 2014.

Manas has had a long 28-year association with Cambridge University Press, since he joined in 1985 as a sales representative. He created Foundation Books with his partner Vinod Vasishat, after an exchange crisis made conditions difficult for importing books.

In 2006, Cambridge acquired a stake in Foundation Books which then became Cambridge University Press India. Cambridge increased its share in 2009 and has now agreed to acquire the remaining shares to give it full ownership. Manas has announced his retirement from the Board, but agreed to stay on as Managing Director during the transition period until the end of April 2014. Recruitment for a new Managing Director will start immediately.

Cambridge University Press India has seen huge growth under Manas’s leadership. He has also facilitated the representation of both Cambridge International Examinations and Cambridge English Language Assessment in India.

Read the full announcement from Cambridge University Press.

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July 16, 2013

Online | Publishing | US

Death of the textbook—and the 50-pound bookbag

digital-evolution.jpgiPads and other devices are already in many classrooms, though they tend to supplement rather than replace the printed textbooks that weigh down the bags and backpacks of students the world over. But according to this USA Today article, not for much longer, at least in the US.

The Department of Justice and Apple are battling in court over e-book pricing, but that's not the only high-stakes brawl that's brewing in the publishing industry.

The multi-billion dollar textbook industry is also being shaken up by a slew of forces, from the publishers to tech startups, education non-profits, the government, university professors and, of course, Apple.

Textbook sales, for both higher education and K-12, will reach an estimated $13.7 billion in the U.S. this year, according to Outsell, a research firm. The overall market is expected to increase over the next few years as the student population is growing, according to Kate Worlock, an analyst at Outsell.

Just as with e-books, the shift comes as students turn to their tablets and smartphones for digital textbooks. Just take college student Clayton Brown, who carries an iPad to his biology class at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

Read the full article from USA Today.

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July 11, 2013

Vietnam | Teacher Development

Pygmalion effect unlikely to propel Vietnam's English upgrade plans

English-Teaching-in-VietnamAn ambitious government project aimed at churning out an English-savvy young workforce by 2020 has failed to enthuse experts who doubt Vietnam will be able to accomplish in 7 years a task that took its better-off neighbors several decades.

THANH NIEN NEWS: Hundreds of thousands of students sitting for their university entrance examinations this week would have been surprised to know that many of their teachers were sharing their acute anxiety.

“I just feel extremely nervous,” said Nguyen Duc Nghiem, a junior high school English teacher in Ho Chi Minh City. “The upcoming test is wearing me down,” he told Vietweek.

Nghiem is among some 86,000 English teachers across Vietnam who are taking European standard exams aimed at gauging if they are competent enough to churn out an English-savvy young workforce by 2020 as part of an ambitious government project. The tests for the teachers are being carried out gradually until 2015 and those who fail the screening can face dismissal.

“I only wish we had more time to get prepared for such tough tasks,” Nghiem said.

The timeframe of the project has been severely criticized by independent experts, who doubt Vietnam will be able to accomplish a task that took its better-off neighbors several decades. Other things about the project do not add up as well, they say.

Read the full story from Thanh Nien News.

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July 10, 2013

China | ELT People

Foreign teacher's different approach gets results

English-Teaching-in-ChinaA Chinese news website reports on an Oxford University graduate who is achieving great success as a high school teacher in the city of Foshan with his "different approach".

XINHUANET: Under China's college entrance exam system that is widely believed destiny-shaping, English teacher and form tutor Neil Porteous has amazed others with the excellent scores his students achieved in the test in June.

All 45 students in his class in Shimen High School in the city of Foshan, south China's Guangdong Province, passed with good enough results to access the country's key universities.

Six of them ranked among the top 100 in the province, where 727,000 students took the exam, also known as gaokao.

The 31-year-old Brit said the students were smart, while his pupils and colleagues said his teaching and tutoring methods were the reason for the success.

Read the full article from Xinhuanet.

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July 09, 2013

India | Teacher Development

Indian region teams with British Council to improve teaching

English-Teaching-in-IndiaThe British Council is teaming up with regional government to raise English teaching standards in Maharashtra, a state in the western region of India.

INDIA TV NEWS: Maharashtra Government has tied-up with the British Council to enhance English language teaching skills of teachers of the state-run secondary schools.

Education Minister Rajendra Darda said that his department in collaboration with the British Council would implement ‘English Language Initiative for Secondary Schools’.

“Specifically, teachers who teach students of VIIth to Xth class would be trained in English language. Around 20,000 teachers from the state will be trained by the government and British Council,” Darda said.

Last year, education department had signed an agreement with the British Council to train teachers from government-run primary schools.

Darda said that education department has opened a corporate social responsibility (CSR) cell, which will provide platform for corporates to invest in school development programmes such as upgrading school infrastructure, setting up libraries, laboratories and so on.

“We are not asking them (corporate houses) for money. We are just providing them CSR platform,” the minister said.

Report from India TV news.

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July 05, 2013

Malaysia | Employment

100 US grads to join 2014 Fulbright programme in Malaysia

Teaching-English-in-MalaysiaA total of 100 young American university graduates will be participating the Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETA) programme in Malaysia next year.

United States (US) Ambassador to Malaysia Datuk Paul W. Jones said one new state will be added in the 2014 programme but it had yet to be decided by the Malaysian government. Currently, the American teachers are placed in schools in Johor, Terengganu, Pahang and Perak. "This year, 75 young American university graduates are experiencing Malaysian hospitality, food and culture as they help teach English in schools across the states."

"Next year, 100 people will follow in their steps. This rapidly growing programme was extraordinary successful not only for our people to people ties but also for a lot of students who can practice English with the native speakers," Jones told reporters at the 4th of July reception in conjunction with the US Independence Day. He said many students in the participating schools had improved their English language skills and understood the vocabulary and grammar.

The Fulbright ETA programme is an initiative by the Malaysian and US governments to support English language education in Malaysia, which began in 2012.

(Story courtesy of Bernama, the National News Agency of Malaysia.)

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July 04, 2013

Republic of Korea | Tests

S Korea's new English test shows glitch, faces criticism

English-Test-in-KoreaThe Korea Herald reports on a technical glitch that prevented dozens of students from completing a recently launched national test of English language ability.

A number of students who recently took a state-administered English proficiency test complained that there were critical errors in the exam system.

They said that they were unable to complete the Internet-based exam because their answer sheet suddenly disappeared from the computer screen.

Fifty-eight of the 1,116 test takers cited the same error, raising questions about the National English Ability Test that the government developed with a reported investment nearing 30 billion won (S$33.3 million) over the last four years.

It was the first time students had taken the test after the Education Ministry announced it last year as an alternative to the current state-administered college exam.

Developing the NEAT, the ministry originally sought to substitute the English section of College Scholastic Ability Test from 2016.

But critics say the government is implementing the new test without careful planning. Teachers are concerned about lack of programs and teaching materials to prepare students. Parents also worry that it may drive more students to private education.

Read the full story from The Korea Herald.

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July 03, 2013


1m+ UK schoolkids don't speak English as native language

mail-online-classroom.jpgThe Mail Online reports on the rapidly growing number of schoolchildren in the UK who are not native English speakers.

More than a million school children now do not speak English as their mother tongue - up by nearly 54,000, new official figures reveal.

A survey of the nation's classrooms, which provides an accurate snapshot of the composition of schools in England, shows a radical transformations taking place. During the past five years alone, the number of pupils without English as a native language has increased by almost 250,000.

The figures also show an increase in the number of pupils in England who are classed as being from an ethnic minority background.

Now nearly three in 10 primary school children in this category.

In the last year, the numbers of children who speak English as an additional language have risen by almost 54,000, according to statistics published by the Department for Education (DfE).

Read more from the Mail Online.

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July 02, 2013

Asia | Education

More Pakistani schools to teach in English

Teaching-English-in-PakistanThe Pakistani government has announced plans to expand a program that is increasing the number of schools in far-flung regions of the country that teach core subjects through the medium of English, according to Central Asia Online. The report makes reference to security issues mentioning, almost as an aside, "violent attacks" and "bombed schools."

A recent move by the Pakistani government to have more schools in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) teach classes in English will improve the standard of education, officials say.

Fifty-two FATA schools in April started teaching in English, they said, following the lead of seven schools in Kurram and Khyber agencies that earlier started teaching their 3,642 pupils in English.

The new programme will affect schoolchildren in grades six and higher in general science, Pakistan studies and math, Abid Majeed, secretary to Khyber Pakhktunkhwa (KP) Governor Engineer Shaukatullah Khan, told Central Asia Online.

"Five schools from each agency were selected and three from each Frontier Region [FR]. Of every five selected, two were girls' schools," Majeed said, noting that only one school in FR Lakki Marwat was chosen because the main town had no other schools.

The initial switch, which occurred in April, affected 3,231 sixth-graders, he said, noting that the number of pupils affected will double next year and triple by 2015, as the new sixth-graders are added to the mix and the previous classes advance in grade but remain under the English-teaching programme.

Read the full story from Central Asia Online.

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Malaysia | Events

Borneo to host 2014 Asia TEFL Conference

Teaching-English-in-MalaysiaThe Borneo Post reports that Malaysia will host the Asia TEFL International Conference for the second time next year. The largest English language teaching event in Asia, it will be held in the city of Kuching, capital of the East Malaysian state of Sarawak.

Borneo Convention Centre Kuching will have the honour of hosting the Asia TEFL (Teaching English as Foreign Language) 12th International Conference 2014 on Aug 28-30.

This will be the second time it is held in Malaysia and the first in Kuching, said Asia TEFL president Professor Lee Hyo-Woong.

He said Asia TEFL is the largest English language teaching event in Asia and the international conference will focus on providing a regional platform for English teachers and trainers to connect with various English language institutes around Asia.

“The annual event is for English language teachers to meet and discuss ways to promote the use of proper English through present and new methodologies and opportunity to gain knowledge through the workshops and talks,” said Lee at a press conference yesterday.

Read the full story from The Borneo Post.

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June 29, 2013


Aso: Poor English saved Japanese banks

mt.pngJapan's deputy prime minister, no stranger to controversy, says the language barrier was what shielded the country's bankers from the excesses of the global financial crisis.

Japan’s banks emerged from the 2008 global credit crisis largely unscathed because senior employees did not speak English well enough to have got them into trouble, Finance Minister Taro Aso says.

Aso, who also serves as deputy prime minister, said bankers in Japan had not been able to understand the complex financial instruments that were the undoing of major global players, so had not bought them.

“Many people fell prey to the dubious products, or so-called subprime loans. Japanese banks were not so much attracted to these products, compared with European banks,” Aso told a seminar in Tokyo on Friday.

“There was an American who said Japanese banks are healthy, but that’s not true at all. Managers of Japanese banks hardly understood English, that’s why they didn’t buy,” he said.

Read the full story from Japan Today.

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June 28, 2013

UK | Third Level

UK policy makes foreign students ‘feel less welcome’

Studying-English-in-UKTimes Higher Education reports that the UK government's plans to reduce net migration are making more than half of international students in the UK feel less welcome, according to a new survey.

The survey of 510 students from more than 100 institutions, carried out by polling firm YouthSight for Regents University London, suggests that the public debate around immigration is harming international students’ perception of the UK.

Fifty-three per cent of students from Asia and 46 per cent from North America said the policy made them feel less welcome.

Aldwyn Cooper, Regents vice-chancellor, said that the migration policy “risks alienating overseas students in the UK”.

David Willetts, the universities and science minister, has repeatedly stressed that despite the overall target to cut net migration, there is no actual cap on the number of students who can come to the UK.

Read the full story from Times Higher Education.

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Japan | Education

Confusion in Japan over call for 'global human resources'

global-human-resources.jpgA recent feature in The Mainichi took a lengthy look at the confusion surrounding the term "global human resources' and its practical implications for English language education in Japan.

Recently, not a day goes by without someone proclaiming the importance of nurturing "global human resources." Bold proposals abound, including the use of TOEFL scores as a criterion for admission to college, and the introduction of English as a subject in lower elementary school grades. What, however, does "global human resources" actually mean?

At the Institution for a Global Society (IGS), a Tokyo preparatory cram school catering toward elementary, junior high and high school students who aspire to attend schools overseas, founder and CEO Masahiro Fukuhara teaches a class on "creating values."

"It doesn't matter what it is: just say what you think!" Fukuhara urges, nudging and encouraging the 15 high school students, who all appear to be at a loss. The topic of the day's lesson is: "Which do you support? The Syrian Armed Forces, or Syrian rebels?"

"You don't have to have the right answer. Japanese people are too worried about getting it right, which is the reason they are scared to speak up," he says. "This is the biggest news story on CNN. You have to know about it if you're planning to go to college abroad."

The students are constantly kept on their toes by Fukuhara's ongoing barrage of questions and prompts. Twenty elementary school students and 35 junior high and high school students attend the school, which was founded in 2010. There were only four students in the beginning, but as calls for "global human resources" increased, so did inquiries from families interested in the school.

Read the full story from The Mainichi.

ELT News interview with Kumiko Torikai.

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June 27, 2013

UK | China | Teacher Development | Business

TEFL Scotland seals China training deal

tefl-scotland-logo.jpgThe BBC reports on a Scottish company which "began life in a garden shed" and has won a million-pound contract to develop training courses for English teachers in China.

Under the deal, TEFL Scotland will partner Zhi Bo Hong Yuan Co - a wholly-owned subsidiary of the National Website for Primary and Middle School Teachers' Further Education.

It is one of China's largest online training providers for teachers.

The deal is worth an estimated £1m over three years.

TEFL Scotland and Zhi Bo Hong Yuan Co, which operates as, will jointly develop and promote TEFL distance and classroom training and international culture exchanges to English teachers across China.

Read the full story from the BBC.

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June 26, 2013

Japan | Events

FAB-4 Annual Brain Days in Nagoya

fab-4.jpgThe FAB-4 Annual Brain Days, a NeuroELT conference, is coming up on July 6-7 at Nanzan University in Nagoya. The conference explores how to use the connection between neuroscience and teaching in the English language classroom. Joseph Shaules of the Japan Intercultural Institute will join the conference for the first time with a plenary session called "Banana, Monkey, Panda: Cultural Neuroscience and Intercultural Education." The session asks which two of the three – banana, monkey, and panda – you would group together. Surprisingly, your response involves both your culture and your brain. For a teaser of Joseph’s talk, check out his video.

Other plenaries will be given by conference founders Robert Murphy (Practical NeuroEFL Pedagogy), and Marc Helgesen (DIY NeuroELT: Making Your Textbook More Brain Friendly).

There will also be over 35 additional presentations, workshops, pecha kuchas, and poster sessions by many presenters including Brian Cullen, Kim Horne, Lesley Ito, Nagisa Kikuchi, and Joshua Meyerson. Curtis Kelly, another one of the conference founders will be giving a presentation (via Skype). See the FAB-4 website for a full schedule and early bird discount preregistration, available until June 30.

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Vietnam province investing in ELT

Teaching-English-in-VietnamVietnam's TuoiTreNews reports on regional investment in English language teacher training.

A central Vietnam province plans to spend over VND176 billion (US$8.4 million) on a project to improve the learning and teaching of English from now until 2020.

The People’s Committee of Binh Dinh Province has said that most of the funding will come from the state coffers and the remaining will be raised from other sources.

This year the province will allocate VND24 billion ($1.1 million) for assessing the English command of 510 teachers, improving the language proficiency of 270 instructors, enrolling 30 teachers for improvement courses to be organized by the central government, sending 5 teachers to English-speaking countries for further training, and supplying learning and teaching equipment to schools at all levels.

Previously Long An, a southern province, had earmarked VND437 billion ($20.8 million) for helping its K-12 students to be able to speak English after graduating from high school.

Read the full story from TuoiTreNews.

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June 25, 2013

Australia | Publishing | ELT People

The pity of war

ELT-publishingThe West Australian reports on an ESL teacher who is creating a series of fiction books for young readers about children triumphing over adversity in the world's war zones.

Little Safiyo arrived in Australia with a lifetime of conflict and hardship already behind her. At the age of seven, she had never been in a school or even held a pencil - but she was desperate to learn how to read and write.

When Safiyo first arrived in Australia, having fled her troubled homeland of Somalia, the children at her school frightened her. They were aware of the differences. Today, she is a top student and has made many friends. She now enjoys the admiration and respect of her classmates.

As an English as a second language (ESL) teacher, Lyn White has taught many children like Safiyo.

"I have had the privilege of listening to some incredible experiences of refugee and newly arrived children who had been displaced and traumatised by conflict," she says.

A passionate primary school teacher-librarian as well, White knew the power of story and considered the idea of creating a series of fiction books for young readers that would pay tribute to the courage and perseverance of these children.

Read the full story from The West Australian.

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Malaysia | Teacher Development

Don't be hazy when it comes to English proficiency

Teaching-English-in-MalaysiaColumnist Satiman Jamin writes today in the New Straits Times about the issue of English proficiency among Malaysia's English teachers. The country's education minister was at a small university on Saturday for the launch of "Let's Talk and Let's Go Global", a programme to help raise the English language proficiency of secondary school students.

(Minister) Idris said similar programmes would be conducted by other universities and teachers' training institutes around the country.

However, his acknowledgement that English proficiency among students in schools suffered because of the lack of qualified teachers indicated that something must be done to ensure that the universities roped in to help the schools do not have the same problem.

"As reported in the newspapers recently, our 60,000 English teachers sat for the Cambridge Placement Test (CPT), and the results showed that two-thirds of them did not have the required qualification to teach English," he said.

Read the full article from New Straits Times

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June 24, 2013

China | ELT People

Famed English teacher's ex demands money

Teaching-English-in-ChinaThe high profile divorce dispute in China between "Crazy English" founder Li Yang and his American ex-wife, whose marriage was ended several months ago on the grounds of domestic abuse, is back in the news.

The former wife of a famous Chinese English teacher has asked him to give her the money he owes her according to the conditions of their divorce.

Kim Lee, ex-wife of "Crazy English" teacher Li Yang, submitted her application to the Beijing Chaoyang District Court on Thursday, demanding Li pay her 11.75 million yuan (about $1.9 million).

According to Lee, Li has paid 150,000 yuan in child support from July 2012 to December 2013, as well as 300,000 yuan in property distribution money.

On February 3, the court granted a divorce to the couple on the grounds of domestic abuse. According to the verdict, Li was ordered to pay Lee 50,000 yuan in compensation for her psychological trauma and a one-off sum of 12 million yuan in consideration of the property the couple shared, as well as an annual child support payment of 100,000 yuan for each of their three daughters until they reach 18 years of age.

Read the full story from China Daily.

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June 20, 2013


Silicon Valley’s immigrant janitors learning English at work

Teaching-English-in-USEmployees at the likes of Google and Facebook in California are increasingly taking on the role of English teacher to immigrant workers.

If the immigration bill being debated by the Senate this week becomes law, millions of immigrants eager to become legal residents will need to learn English. It's also currently a requirement for passing the citizenship exam.

But studying is a daunting task for people working multiple jobs, and budget cuts to adult education make finding a class difficult.

Consider the case of Daniel Montes. When he was 18, Montes moved to the Bay Area from Mexico. Everything was an adjustment, but nothing was more difficult than the new language.

“It would be equal to losing your voice and not being able to speak from one day to the next,” he said.

Montes found work as a janitor. He said he remained virtually silent at work for two years until he found an ESL class in a church in San Jose.

Read the full post from New America Media.

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Republic of Korea | Education

Instability for English instructors in Korea

Teaching-English-in-KoreaThe Hankyoreh today reports on opposition to the Korean government's policy of putting English conversation teachers on rolling 4-year contracts rather than permanent positions.

Four middle-aged women wearing funeral clothes stood in front of the Central Government Complex in Seoul at around 11am on June 19.

"The government’s inconsistent education policies have left all the powerless irregular workers out of jobs," they declared. The women, English conversation instructors for elementary and middle school classes, called for indefinite contracts. Ko Sun-gyung, who heads the Association for Professional English Conversation Instructors, blasted the Ministry of Education for "sending out an announcement to make it appear that this was lifetime employment, only to turn around and later backpedal."

"We’ve been trying to help advance public education by teaching English to children in farming and fishing villages who don’t have access to private education," she said.

"Now, 6,100 English teachers have ended up being cast aside like old shoes."

Read the full story from The Hankyoreh.

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June 19, 2013

Japan | Tests | Qualifications

TOEFL score to be requirement for teaching hopefuls

Teaching-English-in-JapanJapanese newspaper The Mainichi recently reported on a planned new English language test score requirement for university students hoping to become elementary school teachers.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is set to require college students studying to become elementary school teachers to obtain a specified score in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to graduate, an LDP lawmaker has told the Mainichi Shimbun.

An English-language course was introduced as a once-a-week foreign language activity for fifth- and sixth-grade students in the 2011 school year, but the course remains unofficial, and students are not graded on it.

Read the full story from The Mainichi.

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June 17, 2013

China | ELT People

ESF teacher's quest to visit every province in China

Teaching-English-in-ChinaThe South China Morning Post today reports the story of one English teacher's quest to travel largely unseen parts of China and the 600-page book that resulted from the journey.

The strangeness of English Schools Foundation teacher Chris Taylor's quest to visit every mainland province dawned on him as he sat down on a bench in a town square in Ningxia - an obscure northwestern chunk of China most foreigners have never heard of, let alone considered visiting.

Alone and nearly 2,000 kilometres away from his family in Hong Kong and his job as head of senior school at Sha Tin College, the 43-year-old suddenly found himself surrounded by a throng of locals. "They just sat really close to me and stared and stared," he recalls.

"As soon as I did anything like get my notebook out, everyone would be really interested and lean over and stare. I distinctly remember just wanting to be left alone and sitting there doing nothing until people finally dispersed and gave me a bit of space."

Read the full story from the South China Morning Post.

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June 13, 2013

Vietnam | Primary Level

Vietnam - Rising competition in primary English teaching

Teaching-English-in-VietnamThis article from VietnamBridge provides a snapshot of the private ELT school sector in Ho Chi Minh City. For reference, 1 million Vietnam Dong (VND) is approximately equal to $50.

Nguyen Hoai Chuong, deputy director of the HCMC Department of Education and Training, said that primary schools in the city have applied some programs of both local and foreign providers on a trial basis. They are still seeking most suitable programs for local pupils.

The most popular is the Cambridge’s English teaching program with monthly tuition at over VND3 million each pupil. However, this level is rather high compared to financial capability of most local households.

A survey of iSmart Education Joint Stock Company shows that only 1-4% of households in HCMC can afford to pay VND4-10 million a month for their children’s education.

These families usually send their children to high-quality international schools such as British International School, RISS and CIS with tuitions from VND20-40 million a month. Meanwhile, around 4-5% of households can spend from VND4.5 million to VND10.5 million per month and send their children to international bilingual schools with tuitions from VND3-20 million a month. Some 13% of families can spend VND2.2-4.5 million a month and the remaining pay VND2 million or less.

Given this situation, English teaching solution providers have stepped in, offering various programs such as Cambridge, i-Learn and Langmaster.

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June 12, 2013

Oman | Online | Teacher Development

Honoring E-teachers in Oman

Teaching-English-in-OmanThe Times of Oman reported today on a group of local English teachers who availed of an online programme by U.S. universities.

The US Embassy in Muscat honoured 24 Omani participants of its E-Teacher Scholarship Programme, at a function on Monday.

The E-Teacher Scholarship Programme offers English teaching professionals living outside the United States the opportunity to take innovative, online, graduate-level classes through the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the University of Oregon.

The courses explore major areas of the academic speciality of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).

During the ceremony, US Ambassador Greta C. Holtz congratulated the E-Teachers for their successful completion of the 10-week online courses and presented them with certificates.

Read the full story from the Times of Oman.

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June 11, 2013


ESL program for newcomers to Australia under threat

Teaching-English-in-AustraliaIn yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald, two Australian academics voiced their concerns about government plans they feel threaten ESL programs for immigrants and refugees.

While politicians proudly proclaim the achievements of our multicultural state at local community events, the NSW government is quietly dismantling a key plank of multiculturalism since its inception in the 1970s - the dedicated statewide funding and provision of English language services to migrant and refugee students in state government schools.

The English as a second language program provides specialist ESL teacher support to newly arrived and ongoing English language learners in public primary and secondary schools across the state. It now comprises 896 teaching positions staffed by about 1600 specialist ESL teachers, supporting more than 130,000 migrant and refugee students.

Under the government's Local Schools, Local Decisions (LSLD) reform, the ESL program is about to undergo a fundamental change. The NSW Department of Education and Communities is moving to replace these state-wide arrangements for ESL teaching positions to schools.

Read the full article from the Sydney Morning Herald.

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June 10, 2013

US | Linguistics

U.S. a country divided by a common language

us-language-map.jpgHere's what happens when tech geeks and language geeks get together: they produce fascinating visualizations of how "American English" is actually a series of dialects distributed across the continental US.

Joshua Katz, a Ph. D student in statistics at North Carolina State University, recently published a series of maps based on responses to a survey of more than 120 questions.

Based on the Cambridge Online Survey of World Englishes, a project carried out by Bert Vaux and Marius L. Jøhndal of Cambridge University that seeks to collect and analyse data on real-world English usage, the maps will tell you when it would be more appropriate to use "y'all" rather than "you guys" or whether you might could get away with using consecutive modals.

Click here to see the maps.

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June 07, 2013

Japan | Employment

Temple, Sophia to hold English career fair in Tokyo

Teaching-English-in-Japan"Temple University Japan and Sophia University announced this week that they will hold a joint career fair in English later this month. The Tokyo English Career Fair event, which will be English-only, will be held on Wednesday June 19 at Sophia University. Students can attend free of charge but registration, through the Sophia University website, is required for non-TUJ and Sophia students.

As one of the selected universities of the internationalization project (Global 30) pursued by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Sophia University offers English-based degree programs and promotes active exchange between 180 partnering universities in 40 countries world-wide. At TUJ, all classes are taught in English and 60% of the undergraduate student body is non-Japanese. Both institutions are committed to supporting job placements of foreign nationals and Japanese students with global career aspirations, and therefore started working together and held the first joint career fair in English last year.

The event is designed to attract a wide range of internationally-minded students with advanced language skills. Last year’s fair attracted 10 companies and approximately 300 students from over 40 countries studying across Japan, making it a very international fair. Most participants requested the event be held on an annual basis.

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June 06, 2013

Israel | Asia

Mysterious pitfalls of teaching English in Israel

Teaching-English-in-Israel"If teaching English in Israel is on your horizon, you may want to read this teacher's story.

Schools and the ministry blame each other for the current state of affairs; I have only experienced a similar level of chaos in third world countries limping along on non-existent economies.

After volunteering as an English teacher in various schools for several months I was hired by a Druse school and a school in the Arab sector. The staff and children were welcoming to the point that I felt like a rock star most days.

Teaching English to such eager students, surrounded by mostly supportive staff should be pure joy. Unfortunately, month after month there was no sign of pay – instead more and more random paperwork was thrown at me by the schools and Education Ministry while I was patronizingly told to be patient. It was not until I started a mandatory six-month college course (about teaching English in Israel), where I met fellow (Anglo and Russian) English teachers that I realized we were all in the same sinking boat with no life jackets or preservers.

Report the full story from The Jerusalem Post.

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June 05, 2013

Republic of Korea

English teachers save drowning woman in Korea

Teaching-English-in-Korea"Blogging report from Korea tells of a foreign couple, both English teachers, saving a drowning local woman.

Heartwarming expat news is coming out of Daejeon, at the moment, as local news reports are indicating that a pair of native English teachers saved a drowning Korean woman. The married foreign couple were taking a walk near the Expo Bridge in Mannyeong-dong of Daejeon's Seo-gu district, when they heard a sound coming from the water. After seeing the woman floundering in the water, the foreign husband immediately responded by diving in and brought her to the shore, where the wife also tended to her until emergency responders arrived on the scene.

The humble couple declined wanting to reveal their names or images to the public, and merely stated, “We just did what we had to do.”

Expats from that region seem to be good swimmers and life-savers, as some of you may recall in 2009, the foreign teacher from America who saved 2 drowning college kids in the ocean near Mokpo. The Missouri native was experienced with CPR and was able to resuscitate one of the Koreans and aided him until medical help arrived.

Report courtesy of

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China | Publishing

New edition of English-language textbooks unveiled

Teaching-English-in-China"The People's Daily Online recently reported on a new version of a popular series for primary and secondary learners of English in China.

A new edition and a larger-print version of Good English, a famous series of English-language textbooks from the United Kingdom, was unveiled at a news conference in Beijing on May 29.

The books, originally called Oxford Reading Tree and published by Oxford University Press, are English-language teaching materials for native speakers in the United Kingdom, and are used in over 80 percent of primary schools in the UK.

They are also used as English-language textbooks by more than 133 countries around the world, and were welcomed by teachers, parents and children after they were first introduced to and reprinted in China in 2008.

To better meet the needs of young Chinese English-language learners, China Youth Publishing Group, publisher of the books in China, said it decided to release the new edition and the larger-print version on the eve of International Children's Day, which is June 1.

Read the full article from People's Daily Online.

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June 03, 2013

Tests | US

Teacher Assessments Extending to Art and Gym (and ESL)

Teaching-English-in-US"The New York Times reports today that students and teachers in the state face new evaluations and assessments in a wide range of subjects, including English as a second language.

New York City students have grown accustomed to the restless routine of state tests in math and reading every year. But soon they will face assessments in subjects typically spared from standardized testing, including art, gym and foreign languages.

A new system for evaluating educators, announced by the state on Saturday, will reshape how teachers are hired and fired in the city. It will also have a profound effect on students, who will take part in a series of new exams designed to help administrators grade teachers in specialized subjects.

Read the full story from the New York Times.

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Pop culture helps students learn English

Teaching-English-in-China"An article today about Hong Kong teachers who are using pop culture to help students from less privileged backgrounds learn English as a second language

We are learning A, B, Cs
A, B, Cs are not easy
Our class name is 5D
5D also means "fai dee"

Composing bilingual rap with puns like these has helped students in a Band Three school in a working-class area build bridges between their Chinese mother tongue and English. By identifying more closely with hip hop and rap artists as role models for their own language learning, students develop identities as English-speakers, says Angel Lin, associate dean at the HKU faculty of education.

A pioneer of innovative interdisciplinary approaches to second language education, particularly for young people, she advocates entry points like these to create a fun, meaningful context for the use of English among students.

Read the full article from the South China Morning Post.

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Maths still best taught in English

Teaching-English-in-South-Africa"A recent article by Dr Anthony Essien, a lecturer in mathematics education in South Africa, addresses the issue of English as a non-native language of instruction.

When the use of other languages in the teaching and learning of mathematics is debated, it is not uncommon for people to ask: Why don't we stick to using English? Has English failed? Why do we want to go through the trouble of teaching maths in an indigenous language that is not fully developed to cater for all the mathematics vocabularies in English?

Yet, before the 16th century, these same questions were being asked about the use of English for teaching and learning mathematics because at the time mathematics was done only in Greek and Latin, which enjoyed privileged status in scholarship. It was only in the 16th century that the first mathematics book was written in English.

Read the full article from the Mail & Guardian.

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Japan | Primary Level

Practicality, cultural literacy must be heart of elementary school English

Teaching-English-in-Japan"Saturday's edition of The Mainichi ran yet another editorial on the plans to make English a formal subject in Japan's elementary schools.

The Education Rebuilding Implementation Council, overseen by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has proposed that English should be made into an official subject for elementary school fifth- and sixth-graders, as well as an unofficial subject for fourth-graders and below.

While public interest in the proposal is quite high, the Central Education Council -- an advisory panel to the minister of education, culture, sports, science, and technology -- will face numerous challenges in creating a framework for enhancing English-language education at elementary schools. In order to create an effective system for elementary school-level English education, therefore, the panel should hold in-depth discussions on the issue.

So far, elementary schools have taught English conversation as part of their "integrated studies" classes, falling under the heading of international understanding. In 2006, the Central Education Council proposed that English should be made into a compulsory subject for elementary school children. Thereafter, one English lesson is now given to fifth- and sixth-graders per week as a "foreign language activity."

Read the full editorial from The Mainichi.

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How to get the weaker communicators in class really talking

Teaching-English"Communication expert Jean Gross says it's time to adopt and adapt second-language strategies for use with socially-disadvantaged students in the UK

A couple of months ago an article in the Guardian described the successful communication strategies used with pupils at Gladstone Primary in Peterborough. The school made national news as the only school in the country where none of the children speak English as their first language.

When I read the article I was struck by the fact that exactly the same strategies are also needed for children who have English as their first language but whose language is limited as a result of social disadvantage.

These children too need help in making the transition from the everyday conversational language we use when the speaker and listener share a context, when they are both looking at the same thing. For example, to the more formal language we use when there is no shared context.

Read the full story from The Guardian.

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May 30, 2013

Online | Japan

There's an English doctor in the house

Teaching-English-in-Japan"Japanese company Mosuke Inc. today issued a press release to announce the launch of its new English language training website.

Local company Mosuke Incorporated has launched a new website targeted for the Japanese businessperson interested in improving his/her English. The new website is called Eigo ( ) and is designed for use with a PC, tablet computer, or smart phone. “Eigo” is the Japanese term for “English”.

Compared with other Asian countries, Japan ranks consistently in the bottom quartile in English language ability as measured by TOEIC and TOEFL language scores. Businesses have repeatedly implored the Ministry of Education to raise the standard of Japan’s English teaching quality and its teaching staff to little avail, while major businesses themselves continue to resort to “Engrish” (grammatically incorrect English) for their multi-million dollar marketing campaigns. Ignominious examples abound.

Read the full press release. (bilingual, Japanese and English)

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May 29, 2013

Malaysia | Education

Malaysian royalty all for English-medium schools

Teaching-English-in-Malaysia"The New Straits Times reports on royal support in Malaysia for schools that teach through English.

Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah, the consort of the sultan of Johor, said yesterday that she would support any Education Ministry plans to set up English-medium schools.

Speaking after opening the 22nd International Conference of the Malaysian English Language Teaching Association (Melta), where she is the royal patron, she said, "Having an English-medium school will serve as an alternative for parents who want their children to be proficient in English." She cited her own experience when she went to England to study after completing her education at a national-type primary school in Malaysia.

The three-day event was held in the southern city of Johor Baru, just across the Johor Strait from Singapore, and saw the participation of 450 educators from 28 countries. Melta was formed in 1982 to promote the teaching of English in Malaysia.

Melta president Associate Professor Dr S. Ganakumaran said the focus of the event this year was to evaluate the changes in the national education system and help teachers cope with the changes.

Read the full story from the New Straits Times

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China | India | Nepal | Pakistan

1,000s of English teachers from Britain to teach in Asia

Teaching-English-in-US"Malaysia's The Star reports today on a plan to bring teachers from Britain to teach English in Asia.

Business conglomerate Melewar Group has joined forces with a British education recruitment specialist to send out native speaking English teachers from Britain to 14 countries in Asia to teach the language.

The first batch of teachers are expected to arrive in these countries in the third quarter of this year under an agreement signed between English Learning Group Ltd, a member of the Melewar Group, and STC Consortium Ltd here yesterday.

The teachers would be sent to South-East Asia as well as to Bangaladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Read the full story from The Star Online

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May 28, 2013

US | Education

Nevada eyes English language learner education

Teaching-English-in-US" reports on ELT in Nevada, home to 31% of English language learners in the US.

It’s early one Thursday morning at Jay W. Jeffers Elementary School in Las Vegas, and Lisa Cabrera-Terry’s voice is spilling from the first grade classroom where she’s reading about an illiterate grandma who surprises her family by learning to read.

Cabrera-Terry takes a fat marker to a sheet of poster paper and adds to a wheel-shaped diagram of words that describe feelings.

“If your face beams, you’re sooooo happy,” she said. “Why are they so happy about grandma reading?”

To the untrained eye, the lesson is nothing unusual. But Cabrera-Terry is at a school where 83 percent of incoming kindergartners don’t speak English, where you take every picture book page slow and where you tell students exactly what “astonished” means and explicitly that it’s a word to describe a feeling.

Read the full story from the Reno Gazette-Journal

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May 27, 2013

Events | Germany

Register for 4th ESP Conference in Germany

Teaching-English-in-France"Online registration is now open for the 4th English for Specific Purposes (ESP) Conference at the Hochschule (University of Applied Sciences) in Ulm, Germany on 4th/5th October 2013.

The expansion of scientific, technical and economic activity on an international scale has created an increasing demand for learning English not for pleasure but because the language is the key to technology and commerce. The demand for English courses tailored to specific needs is rapidly growing not only in areas such as law, medicine, and finance but also aviation, the automobile & automotive industry, military & peacekeeping and many more.

In order to help English language trainers keep up-to-date with the latest developments and trends in ESP including students’ and companies’ specific needs, the next ESP Conference will be held at the Institut für Fremdsprachen und Management, Hochschule Ulm on Saturday 5th October 2013. The plenary speech will be by Ian Badger, "Business Critical ESP Training."

Early bird registration fee rates apply until 30 June.

The pre-conference seminar on teaching technical English on Friday, 4th October is being sponsored by the International Association of Technical English Trainers (IATET). The seminar is free for IATET members.

Find out more about the event or register here.

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May 21, 2013

Events | Singapore | Republic of Korea

Upcoming events in Korea, Singapore

Teaching-English"A quick reminder of two major events coming up in Asia in the next week.

The Korea TESOL National Conference 2013 will be held this weekend, May 25-26, at the Korea National University of Education. The conference brings together several key concepts in contemporary TESOL (including professional development, second language acquisition, theory informing practice, classroom-centered research projects, and pedagogy) into a meaningful theme, Developing Professionally: Plug-and-Play SLA Pedagogy, which seeks to provide teachers with practical ideas that can be readily applied in their classrooms.

The international plenary speaker is Dr. Keith Folse, an internationally renowned scholar and lecturer. Perhaps best known for his many books on grammar, he is an Associate Professor of TESOL at the University of Central Florida. Invited guest speakers include Dr. Kim Jeong-Ryeol (President of the Korea Association of Foreign Languages Education) and Robert S. Murphy, a leading voice for “neuroELT” in Asia.

KOTESOL website

Teaching-English"At the National University of Singapore, the CELC Symposium 2013 will be held between May 27-29. It is the fourth international symposium for English language teachers held by the Centre for English Language Communication, and combines classroom-based research paper presentations, workshops, demonstrations, poster sessions, and colloquia to give presenters and participants an enriching professional experience. This year's theme is Alternative Pedagogies in the English Language and Communication Classroom and the keynote speakers are professors Christopher Candlin (Macquarie University), Ulla Connor (Indiana University), William Grabe (Northern Arizona University), and Ann Johns (San Diego State University).

CELC Symposium 2013 website

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May 17, 2013

Vietnam | Primary Level

Lacking money, teachers, English program goes at snail’s pace

Teaching-English-in-Japan"VietNamNet Bridge reports that in the 2012-2013 academic year, only 20 percent of first graders in Hi Chi Minh City could learn English in accordance with the 2020 national foreign language teaching program.

To date, the national program still cannot be implemented in the districts of Binh Tan, Phu Nhuan and district 6.

Le Ngoc Diep, Head of the Primary Education Division of the HCM City Education and Training Department, said the city hopes to raise the proportion to 50 percent in the 2013-3014 academic year, but admitted that the program is facing too many difficulties.

If the difficulties cannot be settled, the city’s targeted plan of having 100 percent of primary school students accessing to the English teaching programs -- either the intensive learning program and national program, would fail.

Read the full story from VietNamNet Bridge.

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Japan | Primary Level

Enhanced English education sought in Japanese elementary schools

Teaching-English-in-Japan"The Japan Times reports on the latest government proposal to boost English language learning

A governmental panel on education reform will propose enhancing English-language education in elementary schools by making it an official subject for fifth- and sixth-graders.

As a way of nurturing people who can play an active role amid intensifying international competition, the panel headed by Waseda University President Kaoru Kamata will suggest boosting English-language education in elementary schools, according to a draft proposal.

Teaching English in elementary schools has been mandatory for fifth- and sixth-graders since the 2011 school year. But English is not treated as an official subject and is taught only once a week, mostly by homeroom teachers who have not had proper training in the language.

Read the full story from The Japan Times.

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May 16, 2013

Czech Republic | Third Level

Native-speaking English teachers in decline in Czech Rep.

Teaching-English-in-Czech-Republic"The Prague Post recently reported on the diversity of language teachers disappearing from state schools amid budget cuts.

Kirsty Mooney, 40, was fresh out of university when she decided to leave her hometown of Rochdale, in north England, and move to the Czech Republic.

Mooney quickly found work teaching English to Czech students. But for the better part of two decades, her career, like those of many native-language teachers here, has been fraught with difficulties. She sums up the current state of foreign-speaking language teachers at Czech state schools as dire, leaving many to contemplate a career change.

Read the full story from The Prague Post...

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Denmark | Third Level

Teaching in English creates problems for Danish universities

Teaching-English-in-Denmark"Danish universities are increasingly teaching in English in order to remain attractive to international researchers and students, but the development presents challenges for the teachers and students for whom English is a second language.

To address these challenges, a collection of Nordic researchers have been studying the effect of increasing English-language teaching on university education in their countries.

According to the researchers, one of the major problems is that while most students adapt to being taught in English within a year, the introduction of English often makes students more passive during lessons and less willing to communicate in a language that is not their mother tongue.

Read the full story from The Copenhagen Post...

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May 15, 2013

France | Third Level

Mais non! French academics say No to teaching in English

Teaching-English-in-France"A recent article in The Guardian looks at the issue of teaching through English at French universities.

Socialist ministers have been accused of sabotaging the French language by relaxing a ban on English being used in French universities.

Jacques Chirac once stormed out of an EU summit because a French business leader was speaking it, Nicolas Sarkozy lamented his lack of it and François Hollande makes small talk in it but is conscious of his accent. The global spread of the English language has long been a sore point in Paris politics. Now a new battleground has appeared in the linguistic war as the Socialist government wants to allow English to be used as a teaching language in French universities, sparking a rift in academia.

Read the full story from The Guardian...

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Mandatory ELT training for Colorado teachers?

Teaching-English-in-USA"A recent article in The Denver Post looks at the increasing need to address the needs of non English-speaking children in the Colorado public school system.

Three kindergartners waited gleefully as Heather Christman showed them a clear plastic bag filled with miniature cars and blocks. The children, all English-language learners, had just finished reading the book "My Car." They would use the blocks and the cars to give examples of words they learned: faster, slower, ramp, bridge, over and under.

Christman teaches at Denver's Goldrick Elementary School, where about 70 percent of the students are learning English. She had no experience working with English learners when she moved to Colorado from Alabama eight years ago to begin a teaching career.

But when she was hired by Denver Public Schools, Christman was required to take two years of training to work with English learners.

Read the full story from The Denver Post...

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ELT news from Tanzania

Teaching-English-in-Tanzania"A couple of recent related stories about plans to improve English teaching in Tanazania.

Plans Afoot to Boost English Teaching
The Tanzanian and British governments are embarking on an ambitious project of English Language improvement to help address education quality in primary and secondary schools. The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, the British Council, the Volunteer Service Organization (VSO) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) have pledged to develop the project.

Read the full story from

British Council Launches English Teaching Course
The British Council in collaboration with the Tanazanian Institute of Education will launch a programme to support teachers in learning English language teaching methodology. The programme would involve 34 government Teacher Teaching Colleges (TTCs) to improve English language teaching in Tanzanian schools. Addressing journalists in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, the British Council former Country Director, Ms Sally Robinson, said education should be given top priority.

Read the full story from

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About Regional

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to ELT News in the Regional category. They are listed from newest to oldes.

Publishing is the previous category.

Technology is the next category.

Many more can be found by looking through the archives.

Recent Headlines


Hedbanz / Charades
Helene J Uchida
Think Read Write
David Lisgo


Useful Links


  • ALTEThe Association of Language Testers in Europe
  • British CouncilInformation, resources, and links to other sites
  • Cambridge English Language AssessmentInformation on examination and qualifications for teachers and students
  • IALICInternational Association for Languages and Intercultural Communication
  • IALLTInternational Association for Language Learning Technology
  • IATEFL"Linking, developing and supporting" ELT professionals worldwide
  • TESOL IncPublishing, connecting, events and career development for teachers




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