The ICAL TEFL Blog

© <a href='http://www.flickr.com/mpclemens/' target='_blank'>mpclemens</a>The ICAL TEFL Blog is an informal collection of articles written by ICAL staff on all aspects of TEFL/TESOL in the widest possible sense. It includes news and comment as well as posts about grammar and language. We welcome posts by guest bloggers; if you would like the opportunity to post here, please see here.

The views expressed here are the individual views of ICAL staff or guest bloggers and do not necessarily reflect the views of ICAL as a training provider.

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Bad Reporting of the Day: All Commas will Die!

Well that escalated quickly.A professor of comparative English at Columbia university said that commas should be abolished. He said we should get rid of them and no one would care. He says we should kill them. Destroy them. Take each one and murder it in cold blood.

And the reaction? Pages of internet newsprint devoted to the story and angry responses from members of the public leading to personal attacks on the man.

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Apostrophes Return to Cambridge

Scholars Walk road signEarlier in the year we reported on how Cambridge city council in the UK had decided not to use apostrophes in street signs and how examiners for Cambridge Assessment (the ones who do all the TEFL exams) had supported this idea.

It was, of course, ridiculous of them to do so.

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The Lifespan of Words in English

Man with a lifespan chart.Did you know that even words have a life span? This ranges from 1,000 years to 20,000 years.

A word like "throw" is expected to have a lifespan of about 1,000 years, while words like "I" and "who" are likely to reach the 20,000 year mark.

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Student for a Day

Man in a school uniform.What an excellent idea this is!

I came across this blog article the other day on how several teachers in Vermont, USA, spent the day as students in their school. As it says on the tin, they simply went into school as students instead of teachers and spent the day sitting in class listening, queueing for lunch, hanging around lockers, smoking in the toilets (well, maybe not that last one) and doing all the things students do.

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A First Time English Teacher in Italy

People jumping in the air in GoriziaLiving in Italy had been my dream for years, but I never wanted to go down the usual trodden paths – Tuscany, Umbria, Rome, Naples. Instead I really wanted to experience the Italian lifestyle far from the madding (and maddening!) crowd, and in less glamorous areas. So after finishing my TEFL Certificate course I jumped at the opportunity a small English school gave me in Gorizia, North East Italy.

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Are MOOCs Dead?

MOOC 2.0 - that escalated quicklyA recent article in the New York Times has highlighted a number of disturbing statistics that shake the current craze for those free online educational courses known as MOOCs.

Basically put, an appalling number of students are dropping out. MOOCs are being abandoned in droves. But why is this happening and how can it be reversed?

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Can we trust the English First Rankings?

Book entitled: Statistics & TruthEnglish First (EF) have just released their EPI or English Proficiency Index. Essentially it is an analysis of English language ability in countries around the world. But how truthful is it? After just a quick look there are some real concerns that what they've done is incredibly unreliable.

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