Hi and welcome to the ELT digest. In this monthly email we take a look back at what happened in the last month and what’s coming up in the near future. 

Looking Back

ELT Workshop events

This month we had two sessions. First up we were joined by Lina Gordyshevskaya who brought us a talk on foreign language anxiety. We had some trouble with recording the session and lost some parts. However, you can see a good chunk of it here and here

We also welcomed Zhenya Polosatova for our monthly ‘What’s going on with you these days?’ session. Zhenya was, as always, very thoughtful and had some interesting points to make about professional development, leaving comments on student work in a specific and sincere way. and asynchronous teaching and much more in a short time. Check out the video below:

A new type of ELT journal?

Something interesting is brewing over in Tokyo with the Ludic Language Pedagogy journal. Even if you’re not interested in using play as a part of your teaching, the way this journal is run is very interesting. It’s open access and has a very humanistic way of vetting proposals. It’s also the first academic journal to have its own discord (Hey Mike, maybe a certain ELT publishing house should try the same thing?)


A discussion on the state of ELT

Tim enjoyed reading this interview over on Steve Brown’s blog. Critical pedagogy concepts sometimes go a bit over Tim’s head, so he enjoyed having them explained in a down to earth way. A quote that jumped out was:

“The need to provide evidence of good practice in the form of key performance indicators such as test results means that people spend so much time making it look like they’re doing a good job that they don’t have time to actually do a good job”

The passing of a great

We were sad to hear of the passing of Mike Long. Mike was not only the titan of TBLT, but also had a huge impact on second language acquisition. His books have likely graced the curriculum of every applied linguistics and DELTA course and ELT will be a worse place without him about. There is an in memorandum page here.

Looking forward

Tim Thompson

On the 14th of March we’ll be joined by Tim Thompson, the author of ‘Teachers’ Toolbox: Presentation Based Activities’. This is what Tim had to say about his session: 

This talk will provide tips for training activities, syllabus design, common mistakes, and both teacher and peer feedback on students’ presentations. While the focus will be on how to teach a university presentation skills course, it should also be useful for teachers of any level who incorporate student presentations into their English classes.

We will, of course, also be back with a ‘What’s going on with you these days…’ session on the 24th of March.


Content consumer corner

Reply All replied to

Tim was left a little broken hearted this month by one of his favourite podcasts Reply All. They launched a miniseries of four podcasts about Bon Appetit, a food magazine that was revealed to have a racist work environment. The miniseries was really enlightening and did a great job of making the harm caused by cultural appropriation clear to people who haven’t experienced it. However, after two episodes, it emerged on Twitter that the environment at Reply All had been racist and cliquey in ways that matched what they were reporting on. As a result, the third and fourth episodes are not being released and two presenters have left the show. It’s always disappointing when someone you like turns out to have acted terribly and it reveals, again, how it’s possible for people to have quite a progressive personality on a show and be pretty awful behind the scenes. However, the series of two podcasts that were released are still worth checking out because, even if hypocritical, they’re very good journalism.

Long live the veggie burger

Tim had a good time doing a vegetarian January and has eaten far less meat in February too. He’s been working his way through the Superiority Burger cookbook. (Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35187167-superiority-burger-cookbook) This book is full of vegetarian burger recipes, great sides and some very tempting desserts too. What’s interesting is that they don’t really try to recreate the taste of meaty burgers, instead it’s all about letting the veggies shine on their own terms. It’s worth checking out for even the most committed carnivore. 

Monk of Mokha

Mike’s book of the year so far is the Monk of Mokha by David Eggers. It’s got it all including coffee, entrepreneurship, and a quixotic quest filled with ups and (many) downs. (Sounds like the story of The ELT Workshop – Tim).  

Crushing it

Not a whole lot to say about our musical recommendation for this month, but Tim discovered Julia Jacklin this year and her 2019 album ‘Crushing’ has had some heavy rotation on the workshop speakers. Go rock out. 🤘

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