Radical Happiness

Originally posted on aplinglink:


In an attempt to convey a more positive, upbeat, sunny view of things than I usually do, here’s a summary of an article from the 2014 Summer issue of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Review (ASR) on happiness.

There’s a new orientation within psychological research called positive psychology which studies well-being, happiness, and other positive aspects of people’s lives (see, for example, Keyes and Haidt, 2003 and Fredrickson, 2009). Happiness is a tricky construct for researchers to define; they tend to use terms like well-being, satisfaction and flourishing, and to examine experiences such as engaging in relationships, developing skills and contributing to society. There are a plethora of methodological issues in play here, but, in the spirit of the piece, I’ll keep my doubts to myself.

The article begins the review of findings by examining factors which have a low impact on happiness, the most notable being income and possessions. The best studies here…

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Don’t do it.

Originally posted on Candy'Stripe:

This was going to be another fulminating rant about the status quo in EFL, but honestly, I’m too damn tired to summon up the energy. That’s not to say I won’t have wound myself up to a fine pitch by the end, but here at the beginning, the tone is one of profound weariness. I have worked for some 14 years in EFL and it has to be the most soul-destroying, thankless task ever. The actual teaching and the students are not what I’m on about here – although they too can be a royal pain in the nethers. It’s the whole sorry industry – and for all my 14 years in the business, it has taken just 6 months for me to come to that depressing conclusion. Because you see, during the first 13 years, I worked on a full-time permanent contract with all the things that comes with…

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ELT Hackathon

Originally posted on Language Moments:

Hackathons have become part of the professional lexicon in Berlin. The event, which can last anything from one day to a whole weekend and sometimes a whole week, is a place for like minded individuals to get together and create something to solve a problem. Hackathons have burst out of their techie bubble and are taking a number of industries by storm and are even being used to solve social problems in some sectors.

The concept is that a large group of professionals come together normally over a number of days to engage in collaboration. The general consensus is that each participant / group of participants can work together on whatever they want. Some view the importing of a concept or common goal or improvement as a bit of a bastardization, but others say it adds value with clearly-definable success criteria. For the purpose of playing around with the idea…

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Ms. Potts Presents the Present Perfect

Originally posted on aplinglink:


Here’s an hour and a half in the life of Ms. Potts the English teacher. The question is: Does she use the time well?

Just a bit of background information for you. Ms. Potts teaches in a private language school in Barcelona. Her students are adults, there are 12 of them, the level is upper intermediate; the 90-hour course started in January and finishes in June. Everybody has a copy of English File Upper Intermediate, but Ms. Potts says she uses it “judiciously” and that priority is given to oral communication, so most classroom time is built around a focal speaking activity. The week before, the class had done an exercise from the coursebook on the present perfect, found it confusing, and asked Ms. Potts to explain it from scratch. The presentation material would look a lot more attractive than it does here; the students and Ms. Potts get…

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The thing about a $hit observation

Originally posted on languagelearningteaching:

I had my first ever on-the-job teaching observation after I’d been in my first job for a while: long enough to garner a bit of confidence; to love my class; to feel that they at least liked me a lot; and long enough to be out of my probationary period. On-the-job observations of non-probationary teachers are meant to be ‘developmental’. In practice, teachers often seem terrified of observations, unable or not helped to see any underlying developmental purpose, and generally harbouring a quiet suspicion that their job may be on the line.

And so it was with me in my first teaching observation. I spent hours preparing every day, but I prepared this even harder. It was a grammar lesson on the past continuous vs. past simple, and it was my best CELTA rendition – I presented, I controlled practised, I freer practised and I was terribly winning throughout. I came out…

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13 things that happened in class, excuses provided

Originally posted on Ann Loseva's Space:

With a headache piercing savagely and incessantly through my brain, I’m commuting home. It’s stuffy and stinky in this metro car. I wish I could just close my eyes and enjoy the blank space of an empty mind, but images, scenes and conversations that took place today keep flashing by. The 5 ninety-minute classes I’ve given today provide enough food for thought, as any teaching day would.  This particular long teaching day has come to its end with the following thoughts:

1) I held a whole class in Russian. I gave instructions in Russian, gave comments in Russian, allowed conversations in Russian.

Excuse: the level of the group is very low, much lower than the material that has to be taught expects them to be. The majority of students struggle (and I mean it, struggle) with recognizing spoken English, even the easiest English of instructions. The conversations that I mentioned above…

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