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The Importance of Being a Reader for Learning Languages

The Importance of Being a Reader for Learning Languages | ITTT | TEFL Blog

We live in a community where we can have everything we desire with one click, with one single device, on one single screen, we can see the infinitive things the whole world has to offer, and we do not even need to stand up from our sofa to get whatever we want. We live in a world that makes us believe that what we have is never enough; we are always seeking what is not in our house, what is not in our bag, what is not in our garden; human beings are so overwhelmed with a constant creation of any imaginable thing, there is such an overproduction that not even in a thousand years we would be able to benefit and make a true usage of everything which has been produced in the last three years. Humanity conducts an endless run towards a never satisfied craving, but after all, how much have humans changed since the old times? How much could the essential need of a person have experienced a drastic change? I don't think thousands of years ago would have had much different core necessities from what I need today.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Martina F. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

How Globalization impacts on the problem?

We are so unconsciously suppressed by the world's globalization and marketing requirements that we have forgotten our real needs, real privileges, and real pleasures of life. If I had the power, I would probably urge humanity to take few steps back, think about what makes us happy, what makes us feel satisfied with our lives, is it the last iPhone in our pockets, or is it more our valuable relationships present in our everyday reality? Is it playing the latest PlayStation football game or talking and confronting yourself with friends that fulfill your life?

Instead of worrying so much about producing consequently, getting the latest products, we should focus more on building real values and crucial skills, a great part of which is developed through education. When schools were first created, it was a privilege of only a few who could attend, interestingly the Greek word "skhole" originally meant "leisure – free time," so the time spent at school, learning was perceived as a moment of freedom, a true advantage for that elite of people that was fortunate enough to be part of this.

Nowadays, in developed countries, most kids have the privilege to attend school, yet we often do not appreciate the importance of this. Yet, kids and teenagers see this as a burden, as an obligation they have to attend simply because adults say so.

On the other hand, third world countries cannot offer this privilege so broadly, statistics about the educational situation in poorer countries are astonishing, we talk about millions of children not able to attend a school or even more, not able to continue their studies after primary school, (I will not go so in-depth mentioning the extremely poor health and safety condition of the few existing schools which are even more horrifying), girls make up 53% of the global population of children out of school, 39% of the worldwide poor have no formal education at all, 15 million girls of primary school age will never have the opportunity to learn to read and write in primary school, compared to about 10 million boys. Thinking that the total world population is about 7.7 billion, of which at least 70% of this resides in disadvantaged countries, brings up results we should truly reflect on. These realities are quite often so far from us, not only geographically but also from an awareness point of view that we do not even realize how precious we can benefit from in our daily lives.

Accessibility of education around the world

School is a privilege. Being able to read and write is a privilege. Education is the most powerful yet genuine weapon we can provide children with. This is 2019, should not be denied to any human being present on the hearth.

How do we create and train the new leaders of tomorrow, and how do we give everyone equal and fair opportunity around the globe? Not everyone has the same passions, aspirations, and the same potential nevertheless, who are we to decide who should be more fortunate than others? Who tells us that John from London will be a better leader than Samuel from Abuja?

By saying this, I'd merely like to express my opinion on a very simple and probably one of the oldest process ever conceived by human society, that cognitive process which was elaborated around 2500 years ago, exactly, the necessity to read emerged for people before they figured out how to dress or how to build houses, so how is it possible that we live in a society where most of the unnecessary things are within one's reach nevertheless, we deprive about 60% of the people present on the planet of being able to read and have a proper education?

Principles of civilizations development

Reading, I believe, is the foundation of civilization. Writing and language are so important that we wouldn't live the way we live today without them. Think about a four years old that has not started school yet, the view of life and the degree to which he/she can participate in life is so limited, but at that age, we consider it normal, what if the same limitation is seen on a 35 years old man? What would you think of him? Most of us would probably feel pity and see him as an outcast. What if a person who has been to school and knows how to read and write tells you "I don't like to read" or "Reading is boring is not for me"? What would you think of him/her?

I would personally be quite disappointed that someone who has had the privilege of having an education does not take advantage of the skill that so many other people in the world could only dream about. I am stunned by the fact that with all the possible things there are to read in the world, there isn't one thing that intrigues them and makes them curious to know more, not one single topic they want to broaden their knowledge on?

We all have only one life, each year has as many days, and each day has as many hours. Our life experiences are always limited to time and possibility. That does not mean that our knowledge has to be limited to our personal experience. Our knowledge can always be stimulated and enriched by Reading. This is an unlimited resource.

Simplicity is often the solution for most challenges. When I was participating in one of my first managers' training, one of the teachers, who was, in fact, a hotel manager for a 5star hotel in Barcelona, was conducting the financial module, I always remember him as a person with such a mighty position but such a humble and inspiring soul, towards the end of his module he told us "if you have to gift something to your team, give them books, get them to learn and to know the world, this is the best way for them to grow" a piece of advice which is as simple as powerful. One of my managers, who represented me as a great mentor during my most critical growing path in hospitality, gave me a 'leaving gift' a stack of books that belonged to her. That has been the best gift I a received over the seven years working for the company.

One of the most famous quotes from Harry S. Truman is "not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers," even though this was stated around 70 years ago, it is still an indisputable truth and part of most successful businesses, being a reader and learning enables you to grow as an employee, business owner and leader in distinctive ways: Reading reminds you about good practices that you are aware of but are sometimes left behind, reading challenges you with what you agree and what you disagree. Also, a different way of thinking can help you improve; Reading allows you to interact with others to spark debates and share opinions. Reading is the timeless skill that will lead you to success in whatever you want to accomplish in your life.

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