Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Effects of Global Education in the English Language Conversation Classroom

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Effects of Global Education in the English Language Conversation Classroom

Article excerpt

Abstract

Global education is the backbone of balanced teaching. This is also applicable in the second language teaching domain where its application could result in enhancing global awareness and the linguistic competence of learners. It is, however, important to consider the platform of teaching English to speakers of other languages where the participant's content as well as task plays an important role in enhancing the learning curve.

With the above as a theoretical background, this study puts global issues into practice within the content of a syllabus of English language teaching in an intermediate, multilingual and multi- cultural conversation class at the Institute Of Language Studies (IOLS), India, producing competent students. The effect of integrated global education in teaching English as a second language has been qualitatively evaluated throughout the course of the experiment. Global education issues are investigated, amalgamating the content-based and task-based language teaching methods as offshoots of the communicative approach. At the same time, the learners were also encouraged to think critically. After the instruction of the intended syllabus, participants basically showed a higher degree of awareness of global issues and the ability to analyze problems and apply critical thinking in their environment. They were also more effective and coherent in their class participation than in other classes.

Keywords: global education, content-based approach, task-based approach, critical thinking

1. Introduction

As a backdrop, everyone on Earth is correlated to each other socially in terms of culture, environment and politics. We are interrelated by culture through shared media, intercommunications, travel and migration, by economy due to global trade, by environment through sharing one planet and by politics through international relations. In spite of the fact that we are living in the media age, we continue to face hurdles blocking global awareness such as 'information overload'. Usually, what is set forth by the media regarding global issues is hardly analyzed, either rationally or morally, in terms of reasons and causes. The information is imparted in a straightjacket manner, with no opportunity for critical thinking, nor does it offer any involvement in solving the stated issues, sometimes for political expediencies. If we wish to prepare young people for these challenges, to secure their well-being, and encourage them to build a better world than the one they have inherited, it is ideal to provide the learners in the classroom setting with the knowledge, skills and values they will need. These factors will not only activate schemata but also do it ethically. In addition, it is also ideal to provide a platform for critical thinking which allows people to handle the opportunities and challenges they encounter.

With the above as our background, as language teachers we are most fortunate of teachers.. .all subjects are ours. Whatever our learners want to communicate about is our subject matter (Rivers, 1976). English language teachers play a key role in preparing students for wider participation in global society. They can open a window of opportunity to develop the thinking skills as well as the communicative skills of students by using challenging materials on global issues. We cannot call our English teaching successful if our students, however fluent, are ignorant of world problems, have no social conscience by using their communication skills for international crime, exploitation, oppression or environmental destruction (Cates, 1997).

2. Global Education

2.1 Definition

Global issues are referred to "issues of global significance" (Anderson 1996), or "problems in the world" (Mark, 1993). The global issues approach includes all problems affecting world citizens such as: globalization, poverty, peace, environment, and human and animal rights. They are not just a personal but also a professional concern of teachers in every branch of education (Reardon, 1988). …

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