Get Ready for the Canal Walk!

untitledAs part of our activity week for our lovely students, we will be getting the train to Stroud on the 10th May, and walking to Ebley, in order to complete a very busy year, here at the University of Gloucestershire.

Here is the link to the Canal and River Trust’s website, in case you want to have a look at the stunning waterways we have here in England.

We will not only be experiencing the natural beauty of the canal and its surroundings, but also looking at the place names and thinking about their linguistic origins, as well as the phonological changes they have undergone over the years!

Watch this space for photos and news.


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Students get involved in Language and Gender interviews

Level 5 students in the Gender and Language module (HM5205), taught by Flora Derounian, have produced a series of interviews with participants from the local community. The aim of the interviews was to see how interviewees engage with discourse around gender. Students rose to challenge, selecting a fascinating range of interviewees, from participants who identify as non-binary and pansexual to those born in the 1930s. This exercise is an outstanding example of the university engaging with the wider community and bringing academic analysis to the real world.

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Raise your glass! Students give Communication for Leadership presentations

Throughout our final year, every Tuesday, we have been inspired to make a change. Whether that be for the environment, for our peers or for ourselves; we’ve not just been asked but we’ve been persuaded to make a change towards a better world. From considering donating to animal rescue centres, showing the impact of coffee on farmers, to finding out Sophie Williams is a secret black belt in Karate; every week we have learnt new things about each other, but also understood what mattered to each individual.

So why on earth were we standing up, every week, like a barrel of nerves to persuade one another? I’d love to say we volunteered happily. But this isn’t quite true, in fact, Arran made us! For our 3rd year module: Communication for Leadership we needed to deliver 5 speeches in our group. I can still remember my eyes widening, lip quivering and thinking ‘WTF is he asking of us?’.

But this was the point. Not to make our pre-existing anxiety towards public speaking worse, but learn and expand on rhetoric skills; so that we can be more comfortable in the inevitable upcoming scenarios like job interviews! I can honestly say it worked. As Megan Evans said “this has really helped me towards my future profession, as soon I’ll be needing to stand and talk to the younger generation everyday”! So you’re probably wondering, what were the topics of the speeches, if they’re so life affirming?

The finale today, had a range of topics. Ben kicked today’s session off with a visual presentation on History of Rugby. The humble beginnings of Rugby; how it went from only just becoming a professional sport in 1995 to potentially taking over Football in the next 20 years or so.The anecdotal stories of his own experiences, growing up as a rugby player made the topic warm and was certainly relevant with this years Six Nations dominating our weekends! Another visual presentation was Megan’s, who used metanoia, to exhibit her doubts about her parents’ taking in a rescue dog. She revealed to us, that although the RSPCA are initiating change by creating welfare acts to protect animals; they also destroy half of the animals. Her message was that every 30 seconds people are refreshing social networks, when they could stop being oblivious and donate, fund-raise and show vigilance as a potential solution!

Charlotte Ball composed a Metaphorical speech on future jobs and success, she delivered it as an Easter egg hunt; filled with heart-warming and delicious similes, where each ‘egg’ was represented as a job! Her light-hearted approach not only made us want to devour a packet of mini eggs, but also inspired us to apply for ‘eggs’ that at a level achievable to us, where we can also adapt to our environment. Most importantly, she taught us not to put all our eggs in one basket! Jessica decided to recycle her old metaphorical speech, next to cardboard boxes of passata and “self-pity”; she believes in second chances and ‘do-overs’; a chance to change the past if you will. Her speech was full of self-correction which is the purpose of second chances; these metanoias’ went from her own experiences as a mother, to ‘pinching the spinning  top of resentment’. She finally concluded on when life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade, exchange them with the grocer for juicy apples and pears to make a crumble!

Following this was Sophie’s take on a Graduation speech; filled with lots of advice about how to tackle future situations weaved in with lovely anecdotes. From £1 jaeger bombs, napping in MooMoos bathrooms, Sophie summed up how her University experience has only made her more ambitious to teach future generations about the ways of the world. Charlotte Haines persuaded us that in a selfish world, we need to carry out spontaneous acts of kindness, her repetition of ‘paying it forward’ engaged us want to shake the pillars of our society. She reminded us that we should think more about what we can do for others, than what they can do for us. These acts of kindness aren’t constrained to class stratification, it can be as simple as smiling more, to giving back our time!

Matthias, always contradicting the norm, ironically he delivered an opening speech for the finale! His speech was a narrative of his journey, how he set sail as writer but lost his way, bumping into rocky poets, but eventually arriving into the port of play writing! This journey has been rewarded with plays showcased the Everyman, his pieces are coming to life and I’m sure we’ll be seeing this life-long learners’ work in West End theatres. I also must mention that this rock metal fan, has a burning passion for Justin Timberlake, I hope to one day see a ‘Can’t stop this feeling’ metal mash up!

Now, we must raise a glass or two, and congratulate all the students’ who delivered such passionate speeches. As Charlotte Ball says: “none of us could ever think, standing up in front of an audience can be a natural and normal thing”. But hats off to Arran, as he has made such a nerve-racking situation a truly fun experience, converting awkward silences into comfortable pauses perfectly timed for rhetorical persuasion.

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In the press: student publishes article in the Gloucestershire Echo

Rewind back to November 2016, and you may recall seeing glistening lights along the Cheltenham Promenade and a hint of mulled wine in the air. Christmas was approaching. For many this is an exciting time, the prospect of being home with our families and indulging on the Christmas festivities, is something we all share.

However, for one our students, their time was spent supporting Teams4U. A charity that encourages children to fill Christmas shoe boxes; which are then gifted to underprivileged Eastern European children. This is all in the hope of putting a smile on the child’s face during the festive season.

Charlotte Haines, a 3rd year studying BA English Language enrolled in work experience with Gloucestershire Echo throughout November. This is something encouraged by the University of Gloucestershire, and is certainly essential for those wishing to venture into the competitive industry of Journalism. Charlotte was hoping for insight into the world of editorial work, shadowing journalists as they found local news and gathering experience towards this career. She was far from expecting her own written piece to be in the newspaper!


In her article, ‘How a show box helps this Christmas’, she discusses how Evesham Warehouse has been collecting boxes from Gloucestershire since 2006. They’ve previously worked with the Samaritan’s Purse but have recently been working alongside smaller, local charity Teams4U, promoting their Shoebox Appeal. In a world full of negative news, it was refreshing to see such a warm piece, encouraging readers to donate to those less fortunate over Christmas.

The English department are certainly proud of Charlotte’s accomplishments and can’t wait to see her name in more articles to come.Charlotte’s achievement is an example of how insightful work experience, volunteering and internship programmes can be. We encourage other students’ to get involved with the Future Plan team, to not only further your career but also make a difference!

-‘How a shoe box helps this Christmas’; By Charlotte Haines

-Future Plan

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Graduation Day

The Class of 2016 English Language and Linguistics students graduated on the 24th of November at the Cheltenham Racecourse. Despite the cold, everyone was very excited to be there. Hats flew into the air, and people caught up with each other’s news. Congratulations to Shannon O’Connor-Churchill on being awarded the English Language prize!20161124_124958

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Arran Stibbe has published a teaching ‘story’, Living in the Weather-World: reconnection as a path to sustainability, as part of a European Union funded Erasmus+ programme. The story uses ecolinguistics, ecocriticism, photography and embodied experience to encourage students to reconnect with the natural world around them. A third year English Language student, Jessica Iubini-Hampton, co-authored an Italian version of the story, and it will also be translated into Turkish and Slovenian. It can be downloaded here:


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It’s Great to Debate!

I was really proud of the third years last week, as they discussed the issues surrounding English as a Global Language (from a social, historical and political context), in their World Englishes lecture. Team A put forward the argument suggesting English as a global language is a positive thing (someone had to take on that side!), while Team B argued against the infiltration of English and indeed of other dominant global languages.

We heard from both sides, as one person stood up and addressed me, the chair lady (Madame Chair) and put forward some incredibly succinct and powerful pros and cons. We heard how Latin was widespread and how it morphed into the wonderful Romance Languages we hear today, and how some countries really do want to learn English as a foreign language, in order to make world-wide connections, and strengthen their economies.

On the other hand, we learned that the spread of language is never neutral, and how the expanding circle of English world-wide is still viewed negatively, measured against the ‘gold standard’ of British and American Englishes. We even heard from team B about the dark-side of language infiltration, and how vulnerable people became caught up in what was known as the slave-trade, when powerful colonists took over land and peoples for their own selfish needs.

We all agreed that language change is organic and will always be a part of the make-up of linguistics, but that colonisation and conquest had a negative impact on the most vulnerable of society.

A wonderful morning was had by all.


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