English as a Global Language: Why is it an Important Skill to Have?
Communication through complex language is a uniquely human trait that allowed for the development of society and culture in the human species. Over the past several decades, humans have moved into an era of a globalized society. Part of “society” is sharing a language; therefore, a globalized society should have a shared language. While there are still many cultures across the globe and thousands of languages being spoken, English has gained a place of global dominance. The recent rise in technology has created avenues for instantaneous communication between people thousands of miles apart. With the internet playing an extremely important role in how humans continue to build a global culture, English sits comfortably in its position as a global language.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Sarah S. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
The developing global society plays an important role in the lives of most people since part of what has become globalized is the economy. As the global economy grows stronger (i.e. more globalized), it becomes more important for individuals to participate. Many students of EFL have a goal to work for a company where English is commonly (or exclusively) used, or they want to attend an English-speaking university. Some simply find it useful to know English to more effectively travel or even use the internet. Many native English speakers take for granted the skill they have in speaking English fluently. It is easy to navigate much of the internet--because it’s in English. If you want to study hard sciences, it’s easy to find research in English. English is also a language that almost any sort of text is translated into. These goals and examples perfectly show how English is a global language--if it were not global, you would not see English being used as the common language for companies and translations or across the internet.
Advantages of English
An advantage to English being a global language is that it quickly incorporates new language to help it thrive in the global society. Technological terms are welcomed. The internet creates immense amounts of frequently used slang. This may often make it more difficult for students of EFL to keep up with learning English, however, as Seth Mydans wrote in an article for The New York Times, “widespread literacy and mass communication may be slowing the natural process of diversification.”
It’s important to understand that a global language is not only used between native and non-native speakers but more commonly, between two non-native speakers (that don’t share the same native-language native language need to communicate. This is what makes a language “global.” Since English has become a global language, by knowing English you can communicate with any other person who has also learned English.
English in Education
For a student, particularly young learners, English skills will become a way for them to successfully enter the global society. As English becomes a more frequent requirement in school, children across the globe have more opportunities to learn English--often from native speakers. Many companies provide opportunities for (or require) employees to learn English to help them perform their job. An EFL teacher, therefore, has an important job when considering the status of English as a global language. A teacher provides their students with an important life skill so they can succeed within the global society. EFL teachers need to understand the goals of their students, so they can provide the learning experience they need. For example, a young learner may not have a goal for learning English beyond the requirement of passing the course but will gain motivation if their teacher can make it interesting. That teacher may not have student goals to keep in mind but will learn about the students so activities and lessons can incorporate what the students are drawn to.
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English is a global language. It is important for communicating with others across the globe. As a global culture develops, English becomes more prominent as schools and companies start to require English lessons. Therefore, EFL is not just a fad, but an effective way in which almost anyone across the world can engage in a society that has no geographical bounds.
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