What Should be Considered When Teaching English as a Global Language?
We are moving closer to becoming a Global Village in this more inclusive and competitive world, the need to be able to communicate effectively becomes a real necessity. Communicating effectively is no longer a nice to have skill but it is now becoming essential. Due to historical facts and the current geopolitical situation English has become the language of choice to progress, it is particularly and increasingly used in business, tourism, and social media environments.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Shaun Y. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
The history of English expansion
English is a recognized global language whether it is a first language as in the UK or a joint first language as in Canada or even if it is one of many official languages as in South Africa. In countries where English has no official status, it is still used extensively for business and common language communication such as in Europe, Africa, South East Asia, and the Middle East.
Variants of English
One of the challenges that the teacher will face in the classroom is the number of English language variants that are spoken and recognized globally. This is especially the case in multilingual classes, as the learners would have some basic knowledge of the spoken language, it is not entirely a negative point. The teacher, as the ambassador of the language, would have to focus the lesson plans on sentence construction using correct grammatical structures and vocabulary. The resources and material available to the teacher are also an important factor. Role playing exercises and repetition of phrases need to feature strongly. The teacher can compare the post-lesson self-analysis during the course to manage and implement improvements.
English as a Second Language
In many countries that do not have English as a first or even as a second language, they have introduced English medium international schools, particularly in the Middle East to cater to native English speakers and English as second language learners for business and diplomatic families. In the last decade, many local learners have also been enrolled in these types of schools. The particular challenge for the teacher in these classes is the mix of native English learners, ESL, and EFL learners. Class seating design and pairing the more fluent speakers with the less fluent to balance the class is important and improves the learning experience of everyone in the class. This experience has a tremendous impact on the learner and is designed to strengthen the individuals’ skills for future interaction with English speakers globally.
Teaching English as a Global language has an added complication and that is when not all countries or cultures have the same commitment to learning English or may have certain reservations or restrictions on how or when lessons are to be conducted and by whom. The teacher needs to be very aware of these geographical and cultural requirements so as not to embarrass or offend the learners.
The TESOL /TEFL teacher has a very important role to play in the learners’ preparation for global interaction and should not be underestimated. The teacher's experience and commitment to English as a global communication tool will inspire learners to study with enthusiasm.
When to Start Learning English?
Ideally, to begin learning English as a second or a foreign language would be to start as young as possible to secure a firm root and trunk grounding. Unfortunately, not everyone has had this opportunity and it will be the teacher's function to recognize any lack of foundation and to concentrate on building this up before branching out to the finer details of exploring and expanding the language points.
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Lessons need to be designed to achieve prepared lesson plan goals and tailored to the syllabus of that defined class. Depending on what language level the individual learner or the class of learners is at, several factors including age, language experience, and motivation needs to be considered by the teacher to maintain interest in the lessons. The teacher also needs to establish what the learner's objectives are, including the use of language for travel, business or social interaction, etc. The learners’ geographical location will have an impact on extracurricular activities. Learners who have the opportunity of attending English classes in a predominantly English speaking country have a tremendous opportunity to gain real-life English conversation experiences. Globally the number of learners studying at schools and colleges outside of their home countries is increasing year on year and the term a Global Village is more appropriate than ever before. The need for dedicated English teachers is growing along with this trend. English teachers have a pivotal role to play in ensuring that English remains a global language.
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