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June 04, 2011

Changes And More Changes

There's an old saying that the only constant you can count on is change. You don't have to look very far or search very hard to see that every aspect of our lives is...

...in a state of flux.

Whether it is technology, the economy, the weather or our ever shifting values and the ways we live, nothing is as it used to be - or as it will be five, ten or certainly twenty years from now.

Teaching, whether it might be English, history, cultural studies or any other academic discipline is changing dramatically.

For those of us who teach, work and live internationally, our technology has developed, our curriculum has been refined, but have you thought about how your students have changed?

I don't know about you, but I have certainly noticed a difference in my students both culture to culture and also year to year.

Here's one area; have you noticed that more and more of those who work internationally, perhaps in business, government or military have chosen to keep their families with them in their foreign postings? Not too long ago, it was standard procedure to leave the kids at home or send them to a boarding school.

To put it mildly, this is an interesting development. More and more agencies, and individuals, are treating their foreign placements as an extension of their homes - not so much as a foreign, meaning alien, experience.

These people, and especially their children, are literally becoming world citizens. They are taking a little bit of home wherever they go, and their children absorb the world their parents work in. But the children learn much more since they almost certainly will be interacting with children of the host culture.

For example, when I was in Beijing, I got to know a couple who were also teachers. He was German and she was Canadian. They both spoke Mandarin as well. Their children spoke German, English and, because they went to a Chinese school, Mandarin.

Can you imagine the career opportunities open to these children who, even before high school were fluent in three languages? I can't imagine a better gift to give our children than knowledge of foreign cultures and mastery of multiple languages.

There are many resources to consider as we look at how our world is shifting right in front of us. Here is one illuminating article on how the world of international teaching, living and parenting is changing - http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6000927.

The shifts and turns in our world makes learning and living a continuing challenge to native speakers as well as new learners. But that just proves how alive our language is.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Send us any links or other resources that you think any teachers, students or even just normal people might find interesting or useful. Let us all know about words that make you crazy, aspects of language and expression you find challenging, and be sure to let us know what it is about English and language learning 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 is currently a radio host (http://www.tacoma.fm/) and a newspaper columnist http://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/columnists/morf_morford/.

Posted by mmorf at June 4, 2011 07:31 PM


Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.

Posted by: EMBERTYSMEREE at June 5, 2011 09:18 PM

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