How the English Language Can Help to Change the World
Lately or, it is better to say, since the “boom” of the globalization processes in the middle of the 1990s the world is facing many profound changes in different aspects of life: the way people communicate, the way people buy and sell things, new services and professions has emerged, the way people travel, the way people move from one place to another in their day by day activities, the way people know new cultures and so on. And all of these changes are also true to companies and their business, to the development of new technologies, to governments and to the way heads of states rule their countries.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Mitchi R. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
But one can say that the changes world has been facing since the middle 1990s (mainly – because many researchers believe that the globalization processes started earlier), bring, side by side with the possible benefits of the globalization processes, many social, economic and environmental issues to the center of the world greatest discussions. Moreover, one can also say that globalization is not a process made for everyone in the world despite race, gender or richness. Many researchers – both from the rich and poor countries (including the emerging countries) have concluded that for many reasons the globalization processes under some aspects can be rather excluding inclusive processes.
Thus, it is common to say in the international arena that the problems are now globalized, world problems – and people, organizations (private, public or from the third sector) are under pressure to try to mitigate and/or solve some critical issues – like poverty, gender issues, lack of education, corruption, low income and so on – that affect people and the environment from all the globe.
Many people can say that these world problems are not new and that is true. But maybe now what people should put energy on are the solutions or strategies to try to face those problems. And what the English language has to with all the paragraphs written until now? Everything! Before people talk about globalization and global problems the English language was already used as a common language, as a business language, as an international language and so on. But with globalization processes the importance of English as a global language, or in the case of this text here, a global tool to face world problems, increased.
The Importance of English
Beyond the fact many boys and girls, teenagers, elder people and adults study English from south to north and from east to west of the globe and that, yes, English (and here there is no value judgment or personal choice or any disrespect with all the languages and cultures from any country) is the language people can communicate abroad (with native and non native English speakers), the importance of the domain of English language is crucial to understand and create solutions to world problems.
Demand in English
Here, we can talk about the countless agreements, treaties, international cooperation documents, conferences that, even translated to national languages, are written firstly in English, and better than simply translate the texts to national languages, one should first understand perfectly the official documents and then be able to communicate undoubtedly (through translation, national conferences, national public policies and so on) the contents of those documents, conferences, e.g.
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English language knowledge is also a tool that can express to the world whether a global decision is good or not for a country and its people. It is also a tool to communicate local and national issues to a major audience. It is a tool of change. So it is easy to understand the importance of teaching English to specific purposes – advocacy, human rights, international relations, environmental policies, and so on – and not only to business purposes. Professionals from the public sector, from local, national or international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), websites, social media need to use the English language as a tool of cooperation and English teaching processes and techniques should fit that needs.
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So, “how the English language can help to change the world?” Through teachers connected to world issues, through the use of authentic material, through teaching processes that can connect students and their need for the English language in an efficient way. World problems urge for world cooperation and solutions and the capacity of communication is crucial to achieving these goals.
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