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The suprising – and likely short lived? – success of the Duolingo English Test

While most of us involved in English language instruction have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, language learning apps have seen a boom. Duolingo saw its sales increase 67% in 2020. It then launched its English Test, which is aimed at the US university market. Cheaper and faster than the TOEFL (and capitalizing on the fact that many US institutions became test optional or test blind recently to help attract students), it has quickly made inroads.

But a number of factors make one wonder if this is a flash in the pan…

Read more in the EL Gazette.

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Positive energy: ELT edition

We are planning on making this year the positive energy year. We have some ideas we are working on and we will bring them to you over the course of the year, but we would first like to start by asking our readers what we can bring you that will make a happy and positive difference to you. Please take a minute to think and then ask us for speakers or information on any area that would bring some positive energy to you. The possibilities are endless, really, so don’t be shy to bring anything to us. We will do our best to use what connections and resources we have to make it happen.
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After you’ve gone big, you don’t need to go home… so diversify instead.

In 2014, the Canadian federal government set the objective to add 450,000 international students by 2022. In a rare example of a government succeeding in a plan, that number was actually reached by 2018!

A small problem with this great success story is that almost half of those students are from China and India. Given the tensions in relations with China lately (and historical lessons like those of ghost towns) and the comfortable position that Canada is sitting in at this moment, the feds have set some new objectives: diversifying the international student body, increasing the number of Canadian students who go to study abroad and improving the experience of international students. All sounds good.

Read more in Maclean’s.

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Pairing NESTs up with NNESTs for better outcomes (for students in China, at least)

The EL Gazette has an interesting article on a study that was recently published showing that student outcomes were better in Chinese classrooms when Native English Speaker Teachers (NESTs) and Non-Native English Speaker Teachers (NNESTs) collaborated and co-teach.

Read more in the EL Gazette. If you are a real nerd, read the actual study (paid).

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Group work makes local students unpaid tutors to international students

The EL Gazette reports on an Australian student, Meshal Laurie, who argues that with the group work projects they are required for their courses, the Australian students in her program are effectively required to tutor the international students in their groups in order to pass their courses. Similar stories have come out of the UK.

Read more in the EL Gazette.