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December 1996 - Issue No. #25 (p.4)

Abstracts of Global Education Articles from Language Teaching Journals

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

Environment Just Right for Learning


EL Gazette. November 1996

This article describes a summer 1996 "English for Environmentalists" course held at Losehill Hall in Derbyshire, England attended by 26 European environmental experts from 10 nations. The course, organized by UK and German nature organizations, was designed to teach and practise the technical English of environmental conservation and covered a variety of topics including tourism, land-use planning, environmental education and nature reserve management. Director Peter Townsend stressed that English language ability not only can contribute to better nature conservation but also to increased tolerance and cross-cultural understanding. One participant said "the greatest gain has been the experience of other people and nations, learning about the practice of nature conservation and about myself". The article concludes "the image of the world's first global language being used to solve global problems is a powerful one...English is likely to develop not as the universal language of everyday life but as a language used to forge professional links in specific disciplines for specific purposes".

Stump the Teacher

by Janet Pocorobba (Ibex Corporation, Japan)

TESOL Journal. Vol. 5, No.3. Spring 1996

In this article, the author argues that using students' native languages in multinational English language classes, in contrast to maintaining an "English only" classroom policy, can lead to increased student interaction and intercultural understanding. She describes an experiment in which she asked her ESL students, from 12 different countries, to teach her one word each from their language every Monday and then quiz her orally on Friday. She reports how students were surprised at how well she did on each quiz, how they appreciated her relinquishing her role as teacher to become a language learner like them, and how they looked forward to each week's "Stump the Teacher" game. After a week or so, her students began teaching their languages to each other: "a student from France began teaching French to the Japanese, the Japanese started teaching a student from Korea, the Arabic students were speaking Japanese and Japanese students were speaking Spanish". In addition to seeing students making friends with classmates from other countries and breaking down same-nationality cliques, she also noted how, ironically, students began to use English more than ever before.

Media Watch: Foreign Student Notes

Modern Language Journal. Vol 80. No 3. Autumn 1996)

This item in the Modern Language Journal's "Media Watch" section notes that foreign student enrollment in the U.S. in 1995-96 increased to 432,635 of which Asian students accounted for 58%, Europeans for 14%, Latin Americans for 10%, and men outnumbered women 61% to 39%. Allan E. Goodman, academic dean of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, speaks forcefully of the benefits of having foreign students in the classroom: "Unquestionably, the issues posed by foreign students often disrupt neatly planned courses. I have found myself continually broadening the cultures and perspectives represented in the readings I assign. I also have begun saving more time in class to encourage foreign students to speak up and allow American students to respond. In the process, the kind of discussion central to building international peace commences."

Can Bilingual and ESL Teachers Be Multicultural Teachers?

by Beti Leone & Barbara de Garcia

TESOL Matters. Vol. 6. No. 5 Oct/Nov 1996

In this article, the authors discuss two approaches to multicultural education: (1) a politically neutral approach which comprises the study of other countries and cultures, focusses on topics such as food and holidays, and implies no particular change on the part of the student, teacher or institution; and (2) an "advocacy for equity" or "multicultural social reconstructionist education" (MCSR) approach which aims at educational reform, deals with cultural, linguistic, gender, racial, age, religious, disability and sexual orientation issues, and comprises a political commitment to examine social institutions and school policies. The authors argue that ESL teachers tend to get stuck at the "three Fs" stage (fiestas, food, famous people) or additive stage ("add on a unit in February") of multicultural education rather than moving on to the deeper transformation stage (change across the curriculum) or social action stage (social reconstruction with a focus on solving real problems).


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Kip A. Cates, Tottori University, Koyama, Tottori City, JAPAN 680-8551
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