The PGCEi was full of great reads. Here were the articles and chapters I most enjoyed from the course, all of which were part of the core content. I’ll find as many open access links as I can!
10 Roberts (2013)International Education and Global Engagement: Education for a Better World? (Google Books here)
What’s in a word? This book chapter scrutinises the term ‘international’, rants a bit about the concept of ‘international mindedness’, and outlines what it should mean in practice. I like this chapter as you can sense that the author has some beef, but also talks a lot of sense.
9 Bailey (2015)The experiences of host country nationals in international schools: A case-study from Malaysia (open access)
This was a small-scale study but I really like the insight it provides. I see this as research that could be replicated by teachers in a range of contexts. The important thing is that it focuses on student perspectives – and highlights how they differ from those of their teachers’ viewpoints.
I’ve just finished a PGCEi through University of Nottingham. I got a mark of 78 for each of the three modules, which basically means ‘your writing is okay, but your stuff’s not really a contribution to the field or anything; solid but unspectacular’. Spot on, I’d say.
Here are the macro indicators for assessment.
The differences between a Merit and a Distinction might seem subtle/subjective – things like ‘broad knowledge’ versus ‘broad and detailed knowledge’, or ‘originality’ versus ‘considerable originality’. However, based on the conversations I’ve had with PGCEi candidates from my own/previous cohorts, I can say there are three clear areas that set your 60s apart from your 70s. They are:
BICS and CALP was an idea first proposed by Prof Jim Cummins in the early 1980s. BICS stands for Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills, and CALP is Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency. Here’s what they are:
‘BICS refers to conversational fluency in a language while CALP refers to students’ ability to understand and express, in both oral and written modes, concepts and ideas that are relevant to success in school’ (Cummins 2008: 108).
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…)
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.’
I’ve been reading a bit about project-based learning (PjBL) recently. I had to write a critique of an approach used in my context as part of the PGCEi. Our Secondary course now follows a PjBL approach*, so I thought it was worth trying to understand the approach in more detail and evaluating whether it’s effective. Here’s some useful reading on PjBL in general.
Larmer et al (2015)seems to be a go-to resource for PjBL, and set out some clear design principles for the approach:
Late last year I read the Jordan and Gray/Hughes exchange on ELT coursebooks, which appeared in ELT Journal. It’s an interesting discussion if you haven’t read it yet. I generally agreed more with Hughes, but that’s to be expected; I write coursebook materials for publishers, I use coursebooks and generally value them as a classroom resource. I also tend to find more radical stances against coursebooks polarising and distant from classroom practice. A bit repetitive too. I’d like to see more research into learner perceptions of coursebooks, and direct engagement with publishers to explore the theoretical and pedagogical underpinning of these resources in more detail.
Anyhow, the exchange prompted me to consider my views on the use of coursebooks, I’m keen to write a few of these down so I can see how they evolve over time. There have been a few posts I’ve revisited on this blog that I felt were a good snapshot of my thinking at one moment in my career – thoughts that have since changed, developed, etc. There is only one post I’ve come to completely refute over time, my views on multiple intelligences. So much so that I deleted it! Nooooo! Never do that, it misses the point of a learning journey!
So, some of my current (10/01/2020) views on coursebooks. (more…)