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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 23, 2014


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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December 10, 2013


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 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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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 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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November 14, 2013


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 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 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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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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October 04, 2013

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 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


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 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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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 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 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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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 22, 2013


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 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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August 08, 2013

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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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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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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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 03, 2013


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 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 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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About Europe

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to ELT News in the Europe category. They are listed from newest to oldes.

Asia is the previous category.

Middle East is the next category.

Many more can be found by looking through the archives.

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