Macmillan webinar coming soon…

It’s been a while since I gave a webinar!

And what better way to make a comeback than via Macmillan’s ‘Advancing Learning’ series, which is devoting the next few months to “celebrating Women Advancing Learning with a fantastic line-up of prominent female experts and authors from the education and ELT world“?

In my webinar for this series on 7 November 2018, we’ll discuss the issue of “Teaching English pronunciation for the real world”. It’s gonna be fun. In fact, it’ll be so much fun, I’m doing it twice! Once at 10:00 and again at 16:00 (GMT); so, whatever time zone you’re in that day, I hope you can make it.

[Update, December 2018: you can now watch a recording of this webinar or read a summary by ELT Planning.]

Did you know, for example, that…

  • …there are billions of people using English today – and most of them are not native speakers?
  • …there is no single accent of English which is most widely understood?
  • …teaching pronunciation can be both practical and fun?
  • …teaching pronunciation will improve learners’ skills in all areas, not only speaking?

In the webinar, we’ll discuss these points and more, plus try some practical activities for teaching pron. Attendees will get a certificate from Macmillan afterwards.

Sign up now via the Macmillan English website.

Laura Patsko Macmillan webinar 7 Nov

7 thoughts on “Macmillan webinar coming soon…

    1. Hi Mura

      Sources are:

      Graddol, D. (2006). English Next. Published online by the British Council, pp. 96 and 101.
      Crystal, D. (2008). ‘Two thousand million?’ English Today , 24/1, pp. 5-6.

      I believe that David Crystal is due to publish some new work in the next year or so, and have heard through private correspondence that the estimates in his 2008 paper may have been somewhat conservative.

      Of course, it is notoriously difficult to define what constitutes a “user” or “speaker” of a language, and this is something we will address in the webinar.

      Hope to see you there,

      1. hi Laura
        thanks if i recall correctly those publications refer to +learners+ of English? i.e. maybe it is true that most learners of English are also users? but that needs to be kept in mind!
        i guess there will be a recording?

      2. Hi Mura

        They refer to users. Graddol’s publication does talk about learners as well, but the “billions” refer to “users” in both publications. I’ve included page numbers in my references so you can find the specific sections I refer to.

        I’ll take this opportunity to note that when I consult a source and refer to it in my own work (or promotion of that work), I make a point of reading that source thoroughly and critically, and am always careful with citations and quotations so as not to mislead. There is enough misunderstanding and misguided criticism of English as a Lingua Franca already, without sloppy research and/or citation practice muddying the waters!

        Re: webinar recording, I’m not sure, but there may be more info on the Macmillan website.

        Best wishes,

      3. indeed!

        e.g. accepting Graddol’s predictions as is then do sheer numerical numbers (or influence) give a good picture?

        some work has looked at quantifying in addition academic and economic influence – Bouton, K. (2017). English as a Global Commodity. – []

        also there is argument that the numbers focus promotes an image that massive use of English as contact language is a recent phenomenon?

        ok will keep an eye out for a recording, thanks

      4. I’m not sure I understand your points – a “good picture” of what? And I don’t see the logical connection between large numbers and recency of a phenomenon. Why should anything being high in number lead people to infer that it is recent?

        That said, there has been a massive increase in the number of people using English (see the aforementioned publications) over the past few decades and this increase has taken place almost exclusively outside the “inner circle” (to borrow Kachru’s famous term). It’s not that the phenomenon is recent; it’s that the scale of it is recent and the demographics involved are different. And this has implications.

        To wit: the real relevance of “recency” to this discussion is the lamentable incongruity between who is actually using English with whom nowadays and the paucity of ELT materials available which reflect that reality.

        The fundamental premise of the overwhelming majority of published ELT materials — namely, that teachers should prepare learners to use English in a way that conforms to the norms and expectations of a particular group of people who use English as their first (and perhaps only) language — is certainly not recently conceived. This assumption has a historical basis which bears little resemblance to the modern world. The entire ELT industry is predicated on the learner’s imagined interlocutor being some ill-defined ideal “native speaker”; and yet the likelihood of most users of English nowadays ever using it to communicate with someone who speaks it as a first language is very low.

        That’s all I’ll say for now. Let’s save the discussion (and we’ll cover some practical solutions) for the webinar!

      5. yes i agree in general;

        i was picking up on the detail that the “users” of “English” is often conflated with “learners”; using one number i.e. 2 billion leaves out a lot of the picture of the social-political aspects – the paper i linked to could be one way of recognising this i.e. to also include say academic and economic numbers? (according to that paper this still puts “English” on “top” about 1.2 times the influence of “Mandarin”)

        the issue of “native” “speaker” maybe could be put in context in that yes more “non-native” “speakers” are “using” “English” but because of the academic and economic influence “native” standards are still sought after but at least with these additional numbers some light is thrown on why parents, learners, governments still pursue “native” model?

        i.e. to restate if using only amount of “users” and argument is that a “user” is more likely to encounter another “user” than issue of why use “native” models comes up against the fact that “native” models are still sought after.

        so adding in numbers for academic and economic influence could be useful?

        hope that makes sense?

        re: recency and numbers that is a side point not well made on my part! granted relatively large increase in “use” of “English” in recent times but not in nature of that “use”? i.e. is it very different in kind from other historical periods?

        thanks for engaging on this : )

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