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EFL News From Around The World

EFL News From Around The World

Welcome to our weekly “EFL News From Around The World” news section, bringing you the latest happenings from the world of English language teaching.



August 11th, 2016

The British Council recently released a new report claiming that English education is vital for refugees displaced by fighting in Syria and elsewhere. Access to education, and in particular English education, is a major predictor of success and quality of life for refugees.

Schools in Israel catering to Jewish students have begun hiring ethnic Arabs as English teachers. In the past, these jobs have been mostly closed to Arabs due to the conflict between the two groups. Changing attitudes and difficulty finding qualified teachers has led to a breaking down of barriers.

The Korean TESOL association has opened up registration for their conference this year. It will be held October 15th and 16th, and will have a topic of, “Shaping the Future with 21st Century Skills.”

VIPKID is an online service in China that connects students learning English directly with teachers in a one-on-one video lesson. The service has recently raised $100 million to expand and improve its services and reach.

A government program in Malaysia to improve the availability of English language education to adults has met with overwhelming support. A recent test program was just concluded, with the government determining to renew and expand the program.

Conference News

The 7th annual International TESOL Conference will be held in Quy Nhon City, Vietnam. The theme this year is, “Innovations in English Language Teaching and Learning.”



28th of July, 2016

Refugees in the Middle East are experiencing an educational crisis. Most refugees value education, but hundreds of thousands of school age children are unable to attend, and get the education they need to improve their situation.

Duolingo has launched it’s English Language Certification service, as mentioned in our interview with Luis von Ahn. The service uses a mobile device’s camera and remote proctors to prevent cheating. The app also costs only $50, a small part of many other certification test’s fees. Duolingo is planning on expanding and adding to its test and app.

The US Embassy in Pakistan is hoping to expand its remote teaching program. After reported success with its current pilot program, more teachers will be recruited to offer additional training. The program has targeted Pakistani teachers, helping them to improve their English and English teaching skills.

An American teacher working with Iraqi refugees from the Yazidi ethnic group recently passed away. In addition to teaching, Leland Scott also organized sports, and served as a surrogate father for many in the camp. The Yazidis buried Mr. Scott in their shrine at Sharfadin, the first non-Yazidi to be so honored.

Conference News

The first TESOL conference of its kind will be held in Vietnam from July 28th to 29th. It will be held in Danang, and be part of Vietnam’s National Foreign language project.

The Peru TESOL association will be holding its annual meeting from July 28th to August 2nd. This will be Peru TESOL’s 25th anniversary.



14th of July, 2016

The UK’s vote to leave the EU may drive more graduates from English universities to seek employment abroad.

Pilot programs have begun using new methods to teach English to non-English speaking students. The techniques focus on conversation with other learners. In California, nearly one quarter of students do not speak English as their first language.

In Ho Chi Minh City, a precocious 13 year old is teaching English to younger children. The classmates introduce themselves and sing English songs in a free English class.

International schools in China are seeking more foreign teachers. Some schools are interesting in doubling the number of foreign teachers they hire.

Macmillan Education has launched its new line of materials aimed at English Language Education in India.

Conference News

The 15th Braz-TESOL International conference is being held from July 14th to 17th in Brasilia DF. The focus for the conference this year is, “The learner’s voice: creating a participatory culture.”

The National Conference for Community Languages and ESOL will also be having its 15th conference, though this one will be in Hamilton, New Zealand. Their focus is “Learners in Context: Bridging the Gaps.”



27th of May, 2016

In Malaysia, despite moving toward a compulsory pass for English language ability, the education minister admitted that neither the students or teachers are ready for such a step. The new requirement is being postponed while teachers are given additional training.

Cambridge education experts have advised teachers in Malta that their English education should focus more on English as a foreign language. While student’s language proficiency is high, they still qualify as “non-native speakers.”

The uncertainty of the UK”s status in the EU going forward has led to a drop in student enrollment in British language schools.

Surprisingly, some Sicilian police in remoter parts of the island are taking English lessons from recently rescued refugees. English is being used as a common language between the Italians, and the many different nationalities of the asylum seekers.

The Peace Corps will head to Vietnam for the first time this year. Their activities will focus mostly on English education.

Conference News

TESL Toronto will be holding their annual conference from the 27th to the 28th. The conference includes TESL Toronto’s 40th anniversary.

Venezuelan TESOL will be holding their 2016 convention May 27th at the University of Carabobo in Valencia. Their theme this years is, “Excellence and Beyond: Best Practices in English Language Teaching.”



19th of May 2016

A new survey reveals that more than two thirds of Chinese children begin learning English before school age. The same survey also showed that three quarters of Chinese children study English at least one hour daily.

New York implemented a range of new regulations to help find and assist students learning to speak English. Now schools are struggling to comply.

The Spanish Supreme Court has recognized the Cambridge First Certificate in English as having legal status. This new status allows the certification to be counted in Spanish civil service examinations.

Conference News

The Congresso Bett Brasil Educar 2016 conference is being held from the 18th to the 20th, in Sao Paulo. The theme this years is, “Better education, better society!”

From May 19th to the 21st, the Asian Associate for Language Assessment is holding their 3rd annual conference. The conference is being held in Sanur, Bali, Indonesia, with a theme of, “Meeting new challenges in language assessment.”

The JALT PanSIG conference is being held from the 20th to the 23rd in Okinawa, Japan.



5th of May, 2016

A new non-profit has recently been started with the goal of accrediting online teaching courses. has worked with a variety of partners to create a framework with which to evaluate online teaching curricula.

A young Syrian refugee in Canada has taken on the role of English teacher. Though only a teenager himself, Mohammed Ajeel has been helping English educators by translating for his fellow students, and dedicating himself to learning English.

Nik Peachey, a prominent English educator and occasional contributor to EFL Magazine, has recently launched Peachy Publications. The new company is a small press, with a few titles available to start. Some free material is also available.

A teacher in Southern California is using an after school program building robots to help teach students English. In particular, she is focusing on areas it can be difficult to cover in a standard class, such as math and engineering.

A couple months ago our founder, Philip Pound, interviewed Duolingo founder Luis von Ahn. Now, Duolingo is participating in a study to replace the standard practice of English certification with a shorter, cheaper, digital based alternative.

The growing prevalence of English education in Iran may be a sore point between that country’s religious and political leaders in the near future.

Conference News

The 2016 conference for the European Association of Language Testing and Assessment begins today and runs until may 8th. The event is being held in Valencia, Spain this year at the Universitat Politecnica De Valencia. The theme is, “Assessment of What…?”

The 8th Virtual Roundtable on language learning technologies will be held from the 6th to the 8th. The Keynote Speaker is Paul Driver, and there is a number of discussions and online events planned for the weekend.

InnovateELT will be held for the second time this year in Barcelona, Spain, from the 6th to the 7th. The theme this year is, “Power to the teacher.”



14th of April, 2016

A Canadian EFL teacher is heading to local refugee camps to teach Syrians English. Using simple vocabulary and plays, he has had great success teaching basic skills to refugees.

Argentina has the best English ability in the region, according representatives of Cambridge and the British Embassy. This was part of a special event hosted by the Embassy and the Cambridge Assessment body, meant to highlight the potential for continued English education.

Chinese officials are raising the requirements for non-Native English teachers. To qualify for teaching positions, under this new rule teachers from countries where English is not a native language would have to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree and two years experience teaching.

A YouTuber finds that his goofy viral videos are perfect for helping Chinese students learn English.

Conference News

The 50th IATEFL Conference will be held from the 13th to the 16th of April, in Birmingham, UK. Check out Marjorie Rosenberg’s summary of the event for more information.

The GlobELT conference will be held from the 14th to the 17th of April, in Antalya, Turkey. The conference hopes to bring together researchers and educators for a promote connections between theory and practice.



7th of April, 2016

The College of William and Mary, in Virginia, is opening a new center for international students, specifically to help them learn English before moving on to university studies. Language studies at the center will combine traditional grammar and vocabulary study with partner conversation practice and work outside the classroom.

A Chinese entrepreneur has started a company to teach English online. Cindy Mi actually taught herself English, then turned to help other students learn. Her efforts at language education have grown into a new company.

A lack of qualified English educators remains a problem worldwide. In Japan, a majority of middle school teachers, and half of high school teachers, are unable to get passing scores on tests such as TOEFL iBT. The Japanese government has plans to up those numbers, however, by the end of next year.

Conference News

The 50th annual TESOL convention will continue in Baltimore until this Friday, the 8th.

The Australian Council of TESOL Associations’ conference will be held from April 7th to the 11th, with a theme of: Diversity, exchanging ways of being. It will be held in Perth, Australia.



30th of March, 2016

A US veteran who had been stationed in Thailand in the 70’s recalls spending his off days teaching English to the local children. The veteran, George Martinez, has published a book recounting his experiences.

With problems plaguing brick and mortar schools, many students are turning to the internet. Teaching online has become more popular in China, but concerns about standards and credibility may slow the acceptance of online instructors.

A report by the Center for Popular Democracy states that teaching English to newcomers to the US can help address income disparity. More funding for teaching English could potentially impact tens of thousands of immigrants’ ability to speak English.

In Ghana, the Minister of Education is proposing to remove English as an instructional language. Minister Agyemang believes that studying English has actually hurt Ghana’s development, and that a return to indigenous languages would be more helpful in providing opportunities for upward mobility.

In Spain, an American ex-patriot has turned his English teaching career into a world spanning business, using the internet and YouTube.

Conference News

In Austria, the Graz Connexion conference will be held the 1st and 2nd of April. Keynote speakers include friends of EFL Magazine Lindsey Clandfield of the round and Marjorie Rosenberg, as well as Peter Medgyes.

TESOL Italy Val d’Adige is holding a workshop in Bolzano, Italy, also on the 1st and 2nd of April. The presenter is Donald Pardew, who will focus on statistics for language research.

The TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo will be held from the 5th to the 8th of April in Baltimore, Maryland. This year is the convention’s 50th anniversary, and a wide range of events and workshops are planned.



24th of March, 2016

English teachers and students from Syria who had fled that country are using the opportunity to further their education. The Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan is now the size of a small city, and one of the paths to success, and a route out of the camp, is English language ability.

In Malaysia, a planned compulsory pass in English fluency for a standardized test is being delayed. The reason for the delay is a lack of qualified teachers, and the government estimates that 15,000 are unqualified, lacking the necessary skill.

The Malta Independent posted a long and thoughtful interview with a leader in the Moroccan ELT field. Among other topics, training as an essential part in teacher, and the virtue of working with a teaching cooperative.

Also in Morocco, the Minister of Education announced that, in the future, teachers would be required to show competency in English, French, and Arabic in order to be employed by his ministry.

While the Mexican government had made English education a priority, recent tests show little improvement. Still, statistics for students going abroad for English studies are rising, indicating an improvement in educational opportunities may be on the way.

Egypt has long had creating students fluent in English as a national education goal. However, a report released by the British Council shows little trust in public education. As a result, private English lessons are gaining in popularity.

Conference News

On Thursday the 24th, a webinar on combining cultural fluency with English education will be held by Led by Darla Deardorff, it will focus on a research based approach to cultural competency.

In Fairfax, Virginia, USA, the Conference on Language, Learning, and Culture will be held, hosted by the Virginia International University’s School of education. This years conference will focus on interdisciplinary approaches to teaching English.

On the 29th and 30th of March, Oxford University Press will be holding a webinar on how attitudes towards teaching English have changed in the past 30 years. The speaker will be Donald Freeman, a professor of education at the University of Michigan.




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2 Responses

  • Graham Jones

    Umes has put together this great photo reflection of FAB8: