reviews

Review: The Routledge Handbook of Teaching English to Young Learners

This review of The Routledge Handbook of Teaching English to Young Learners by S Garton & F Copland (Eds) first appeared in IATEFL Voices Issue 276.

This handbook provides an overview of teaching English to young learners across a wide variety of international contexts. The editors state that this 540-page volume outlines the key issues in young learner teaching and offers a ‘plausible research agenda moving forward’. It achieves this for the most part, although there will inevitably be gaps given the scope of the book. (more…)

PGCEi Module 1: Educational Aims and Values

I’ve written a bit about why you should do a PGCEi but not much about the course content. So, here it goes…

The first module of the PGCEi (Nottingham) was on the aims and values of education in international contexts. The module covered some fairly broad topics like ‘the purpose of education, the nature of knowledge, the concept of a curriculum’ and so on.

The module was assessed based on process work and an essay. After you’ve done all the reading and module tasks, you write a 1000-word piece of process work outlining your own educational beliefs and values. Then you complete a 4000-word assignment in which you critique a model of schooling based on those values. (more…)

Review: Rosenshine’s Principles in Action

Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction (POI) is a list of research-based strategies which teachers can apply in their practice. The list of 10 principles (whittled-down over time) could be considered ‘core skills’ for teachers. They’ll no doubt be familiar to CELTA/Dip grads, although Rosenshine’s POI itself might be new for you. Here are the principles (actually the longer list of 17, from Rosenshine 2010):


I’ve just read a book by @teacherhead (Tom Sherrington) on Rosenshine’s ‘Principles in Action’ (John Catt Publications). It’s a pretty good resource, the first half is Sherrington’s take on the Rosenshine’s principles and how to apply them. The second part is the original pamphlet that outlines those principles. (more…)

Review: How Global Capital is Remaking International Education

The full title is … How Global Capital is Remaking International Education: The Emergence of Transnational Education Corporations.

In this Springer Brief publication from 2019, Hyejin Kim considers the impact of corporate interests in the international education sector. Kim focuses on how private equity groups such as Transnational Education Corporations (TECs) have shaped the international education scene. Examples include how they capitalize on educational reforms, influence government policy, economize education, expand as an add on to other business interests (e.g. property development), and so on. Kim’s critique focuses on three or four major TECs, with the author having spent time working within the sector in admissions, marketing and as a managing director. (more…)

Review: Teacher Tapp

Teacher Tapp (TT) is a survey app for teachers. Every day at 3.30pm (UK time) teachers are asked three multiple-choice questions related to their professional life, practice, wellbeing, etc. Once answered, users can then see the results from the previous day’s questions. Users are also given a link to a useful site/blog for CPD. Occasionally the app also provides links to edu-related special offers as a reward for answering questions.

App users are usually educators, and TT questions are often commissioned by businesses, organizations, researchers, etc, in order to gain insights from those at the chalkface. The TT site says…

‘Whether you’re a business seeking insight into the products and services that teachers want and need, a researcher looking to recruit teachers or a policy specialist who needs to boost your advocacy position with teacher opinions, the Teacher Tapp app is for you.’

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Review: Barry Reinvents Himself

Barry Reinvents Himself is a TEFL-lit novel by C.Cotterill (aka Twitter’s @ContinuouslyT).

After being kicked out of a minor prog-metal band, Birmingham-based Barry looks to shake his old image and bounce back. Lured by images of an old college mate living it up in SE Asia, Barry opts to take a CELTA, dragging fellow band reject Russel along for the ride. Shady schools, dodgy colleagues, frustrating students and a series of bad decisions follow. Barry dabbles in/with politics, spirituality and live listening lessons. Russel’s development as a teacher is stifled by long hours and habitual drinking. The pair have no idea where they’re going or what they’re doing. Will the duo’s bond remain intact? Will Barry find himself? Will either of them find love? (more…)

Review: Silly Shakespeare for Students

Silly Shakespeare for Students is a new series from Alphabet Publishing. It offers simplified versions of well-known Shakespeare plays, making them accessible and fun for English language learners. You can read the blurb from the publisher here.

A few key points about the resources…

  • Each play in the series has been cut to about an hour
  • They’re all done in rhyming couplets – short, sharp and engaging
  • They include lots of humour throughout, regardless of the original genre
  • Plays include stage directions, some production notes, plus an explanation of how the play has been adapted.

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App review: Studycat

Studycat is a language learning app for young learners. It aims to ‘revolutionise the way kids learn a foreign language, by making it fun and engaging’. According to the Studycat website, the app has been downloaded by 11 million families, it is multi-award winning, and it provides opportunities to learn more than just English – Chinese, French, Spanish and German too.

The main approach is learning through play. It aims to ‘create gameplay that naturally leads to language acquisition’. This very brief video from the Studycat subscription channel should give you a feel for the app:

As with many edtech tools, Studycat is currently free to support home learning (Corona), so it’s a good time to check it out. It comes with a LMS and book resources, although I am reviewing this product based mainly on the app as it appears to be the driving force of the product. (more…)

Learn Thai Duolingo-style

Just a quick post for any Thai learners out there.

I’ve just subscribed to the Ling app. It’s basically Duolingo for Thai. If you like that format then is well worth getting.

There are 50 units to study, 10 units per level (beginner to expert). Each unit has 4 lessons, and then a speaking test, writing test and ‘exam’. Units look like this:

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