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October 19, 2010

The Times, They Keep On Changin'

Life is full of changes. I find that an excellent way to move students into new vocabulary - and new ways of thinking about the world - is to facilitate discussions of the changes that we see in technologies, cultures, career opportunities and, it seems....

...everything else.

I worked with a teacher many years ago who described every degree or certificate as a "ticket". Just as we need a ticket to enter a concert or event, every degree or certificate opens up additional possibilities. The more we know, the more skills we have mastered, the more choices we have.

If students get weary of school, I like to show a short video of the advantages of hanging on. Delayed gratification has huge benefits. Take a look at this video for some great examples - http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/joachim_de_posada_says_don_t_eat_the_marshmallow_yet.html.

One video I show to my students to give them a sense of how the has - and continues to change - is "Did you know?". It profiles a range of statistics, mostly related to technology changes. You will find some great material for discussion here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ILQrUrEWe8.

A good book (and video) dealing with change is "Who Moved My Cheese?" by Spencer Johnson. One of the central questions he raises is "What would you do if you weren't afraid?"

Johnson urges us all to monitor the changes around us, adapt to them and even enjoy them. Change happens and we can fight them or learn to roll with them. But whatever we do, life will keep changing and will require our attention and resilience. Change can seem overwhelming, but we are never alone and the adaptability of humans never ceases to amaze me.

We might not always like the changes life brings us, but change is constant, and it demands our best.

Let me know what it is about English that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf prefers international and independent films, foods he can't pronounce, music no one else has heard of and riding his bicycle in foreign cities. Morf is currently a radio host (tacoma.fm) and a newspaper columnist http://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/columnists/morf_morford/.

Posted by mmorf at October 19, 2010 11:16 PM

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