Top 5 tips for learning about your new students when you can’t talk to them…

Every year, all around the world, teachers welcome into their classrooms students that they can not communicate with at all. While it's obviously extremely difficult for the students, it's also hard for the teachers. Every teacher wants to make their new students feel comfortable and happy and ready to learn. And that's really hard to … Continue reading Top 5 tips for learning about your new students when you can’t talk to them…

Identity language – what’s that? (Spotlight on Good Practice series)

To reject the child's language in school is to reject the child. Jim Cummins First language, home language, mother tongue, family language... all these terms are used in international education, to try and talk about the languages students bring into schools. But what is implied by all these terms, and how does that affect the … Continue reading Identity language – what’s that? (Spotlight on Good Practice series)

Raising Bilingual (or multilingual!) Children: 6 building blocks for success (May 18)

Next parent seminar in Amsterdam coming up! If you are raising your children with more than one language (or thinking about it), come along and find out the six building blocks for a successful Family Language Plan. This seminar has been developed over a decade of working with bilingual/multilingual families and packs in theoretical background … Continue reading Raising Bilingual (or multilingual!) Children: 6 building blocks for success (May 18)

Spotlight on good practice: Multilingual Poetry

    With respect to ELLs, there is undeniable and growing evidence that the home language of ELLs is of considerable benefit to their overall academic success. Fred Genesee (Professor of Psychology Department at McGill University, Montreal and  recipient of the Canadian Psychological Associate Award for Distinguished Contributions to Community or Public Service) This is the … Continue reading Spotlight on good practice: Multilingual Poetry

What is research and who is it for?

This is such an important issue – and this blog explains exactly (perhaps without meaning to) why few teachers engage in research, either actively or as a consumer. There is so much out there, from poor research to great, and from poor events to great, and teachers have such limited time (and budgets) that trying to weed the chaff from the wheat must feel overwhelming. Thankfully, there are more and more researchers now like Victoria Murphy who are making the bridge from research to practice and to make the critical work they are doing accessible and applicable to the teachers and schools it should be helping!

EAL Journal

In the last of our mini-series of research blogs, Victoria Murphy asks what counts as research and whether everything that teachers are presented with should be given equal weight.


Victoria Murphy

Research comes in many forms, from reading reports of previous studies to carrying out randomised control trials (RCTs), and everything in between. There’s often an implicit hierarchy at work, and we are told that only large scale studies are more reliable, for example, or that only action research can capture the truth of teachers’ everyday experiences. The truth, though, is that the quality of the research cannot be determined simply by identifying the nature of it. For example, a systematic review (which takes a well-defined, systematic approach to reviewing the research literature to address a particular research question) is very different from, for example, a study where teachers are interviewed to determine their thoughts, opinions, and beliefs about a specific issue…

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