English is a global language.
Nothing new on the horizon. Things, however, often tell a different story on closer inspection. Language is key to facilitate communication, and communication often fails, leading to either hilarious or disastrous situations.
An old teacher asked her student, “If I say, ‘I am beautiful,’ which tense is that?”
The student replied, “It is obviously past.”
Life on Mars
When Italian astronomer Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli began mapping Mars in 1877, he inadvertently sparked an entire science-fiction oeuvre. The director of Milan’s Brera Observatory dubbed dark and light areas on the planet’s surface ‘seas’ and ‘continents’ – labelling what he thought were channels with the Italian word ‘canali’. Unfortunately, his peers translated that as ‘canals’, launching a theory that they had been created by intelligent lifeforms on Mars.
Convinced that the canals were real, US astronomer Percival Lowell mapped hundreds of them between 1894 and 1895. Over the following two decades he published three books on Mars with illustrations showing what he thought were artificial structures built to carry water by a brilliant race of engineers. One writer influenced by Lowell’s theories published his own book about intelligent Martians. In The War of the Worlds, which first appeared in serialised form in 1897, H G Wells described an invasion of Earth by deadly Martians and spawned a sci-fi subgenre. A Princess of Mars, a novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs published in 1911, also features a dying Martian civilisation, using Schiaparelli’s names for features on the planet.
While the water-carrying artificial trenches were a product of language and a feverish imagination, astronomers now agree that there aren’t any channels on the surface of Mars. According to Nasa, “The network of crisscrossing lines covering the surface of Mars was only a product of the human tendency to see patterns, even when patterns do not exist. When looking at a faint group of dark smudges, the eye tends to connect them with straight lines.”
It will suffice to say that a good understanding of language is key to communication and communication is key to solving problems, in ANY area, for people from ANY walk of life.
Is English a language that can help solve (communication) problems because of its global coverage?
Language is connected to knowledge and knowledge enables freedom.
This freedom exists (not exlusively) by allowing access to:
information other cultures
education other ideas
jobs other opinions
services new perspectives
sources other press
wisdom other technologies
It is also a tool to fight illiteracy, and to help establish, and maintain democracy – as far as democracy goes in this world of giants with giants’ appetites and giants’ impatience with the burdens of righteousness and regulated fairness.
English is the most widely and extensively used language in important areas, like the internet, science, industries, and professional sectors.
There can be no advancement without knowledge, understanding, and cooperation, and communication. And the key to communication is language. Language (global languages, like English) might unite those who are opposed due to ignorance.
Two languages, two worlds.
You cannot deny that you are Indonesian, and you cannot deny that you are living in a globalized world.
Love Indonesia, understand the world
Know your roots, your identity
I have had students complaining to me that they hated their language, culture, or even country. The outside world lures, but is not always what she appears, and the aversion towards the familiar can blind us to her inner beauties. These beauties must be rediscovered if you want to come to an understanding and acceptance of yourself, which is crucial to coming to an understanding and acceptance of the world around you.
Know yourself in order to know others
Know others in order to know yourself
Know Indonesia in order to know the world
Know the world in order to know Indonesia
The importance of teaching
Teaching religion is the noblest of callings, teaching in general might well come second.
It might also be considered one of the most daunting of professions, unless you, as a teacher, learn how to:
Care about, listen to, and understand your students;
Be yourself, find your own voice;
Love even the most challenging of students;
Be honest, admit mistakes and limitations;
Make them love English, BE their LEGEND;
Teach them learning, context, creativity, courage, confidence, authenticity;
Find your inner source of peace, so the class will be at peace too.
Me as a teacher
I wasn’t born a teacher and most certainly never though of becoming one. I did not wake up one night exclaiming, ‘I know what the very reason for my existence is, being a teacher is my true calling!’
In fact, when I moved to Indonesia pursuing other ambitions, it just happened to be one of those why-not-give-it-a-chance opportunities that presented themselves. It was a struggle at first, especially the class management, but for the following reasons I came to grow in affection for the vocation:
- I give special attention to those students who make their teachers’ lives extremely difficult. They sometimes come to respect me for that, even though they will not always say it in so many words.
- I try to be patient and care for those students who are shy, or are unable to keep up with the rest. If they grow in confidence, even if just an inch, it makes me extremely happy.
- I always try to find my own voice, style and solution to problems. Following the advice of others to the letter has in most cases only made things worse than before. Trying to find my own voice also means using my creativity. I always make my own games, activities and stories, to make the lessons more interesting and give them something to look forward to. Judging by the responses and hugs of the students, and the feedback of the parents, it seems to pay off.
- Too many English as a Second Language (ESL) learners are exposed to mainly grammar and vocabulary, frequently failing to understand the context, but also the broader perspective in which the language is and can be used. Sometimes they are taught that they sound smart when using fancy vocab, but it takes a great deal of literacy, experience, and subtle understanding of the language to use those weapons of impression convincingly!