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GLOBAL ISSUES IN LANGUAGE
EDUCATION NEWSLETTER
December 1995 - Issue No. #21 (p.4)

Abstracts of Global Education Articles from Language Teaching Journals

Please send in relevant news items on global topics from language teaching journals.

Creating Bridges: Learning About Foreign Cultures

TESOL Journal. Vol 4. No 3. Spring 1995

by Irina Orlova Jack Jouett Middle School, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA

In this article, the author talks about the global illiteracy of US students ("Brazil is in Europe, isn't it?"), the diversity of her ESL classes (including students from Vietnam, Israel and other countries) and the lack of interaction between American students and foreign students studying English in the US. She then describes a program she designed called "Dialogue" which enables foreign and American students to learn about the world together. In the program, a different country of the world becomes the school theme every 3 weeks. The foreign students from that country prepare posters about their nation and a schoolwide contest (with prizes) is held with everyone encouraged to seek out the students from that country to answer the contest questions. In their classes, the American students are next asked to prepare written questions on what they'd like to know about the theme country. The foreign students study these questions and then, as a group, make a presentation to the US students with costumes, artifacts, food and slides followed by further discussion. The author feels the program is successful because of the pre-presentation interaction and information. She feels this prevents the typical problem of unfamiliar foreign people giving a lecture about an unknown world to an indifferent audience.

Where the Heck is Mauritania?

TESOL Journal. Vol 4. No 3. Spring 1995)

by Scott H. Rule (St. Mary College, Nagoya, JAPAN)

In this article, the author reports on how he made use of his experience as a former Peace Corps teacher in Mauritania to help his EFL students learn about lesser-known countries of the world. He began his lesson by eliciting from students the names of well-known countries (eg France & Japan). He then pointed out that there are many less well-known countries that students might not know ("Have you ever heard of...?"). He then broke students into groups of 3 or 4 and assigned each group a lesser-known country such as Mauritania. Students then had to brainstorm answers in their group to a series of worksheet questions about the country focussing on questions such as languages spoken, religion, population, exports, etc. Students compared their guesses with the answers on the teacher's handout and then gave a presentation to the class about their guesses.

Students in Wartime

English Teaching Forum. Vol 33. No 3. July 1995

by Marija Baumholc (Croatia)

In the October 1994 issue of English Teaching Forum, I read Hande's letter "Peace in the EFL Classroom." Here are some excerpts from that letter -

All my life I have shown respect to my students, and have taught them to respect each other regardless of nationality or religion. On September 15, 1994, my town was bombed for the first time. Later it happened again and again. Suddenly we found ourselves in an unexpected war. Never before had I thought that I would be a teacher in wartime conditions. Studying has become very hard. We don't attend school regularly. Our classes have become much bigger with boys and girls coming from wartorn sections of the country.

Everyone is under terrible war stress. During each lesson we listen carefully: Are we going to hear sirens to warn us to go down into the cellar? As a teacher, I have to take care of children who have had to leave their homes, schools and parents. Some do not want to talk at all in any language. This year when the students made English Christmas cards, peace was a constant wish:

Ivana would like a bike, a doll, a house, love, and peace.

Mirsada would like her old friends, her school, her house, her dad, and peace.

These are 12 year-old children who would usually wish for sweets, toys, bikes and computers, but what we see on their wish trees are: Dad, home, old friends, school, love and peace.

People who live and work in peaceful conditions are lucky. I agree with Mr. Hande that our duty is to work for a better world. We must talk about peace, write about peace and be part of the process of peace. My experience tells me it's not always easy.


Journals Referred To:

TESOL Journal, 1600 Cameron Street Suite 300, Alexandria, Virginia 22314-2751 USA

English Teaching Forum, United States Dept. of Information, Washington D.C. USA

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