ESL etc.

Global Issues and Activism in English Language Teaching

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Why I’m Not Preparing My Students to Compete in the Global Marketplace

January 17th, 2012 by Dave · 4 Comments

It’s not ESL specific, but I found a lot of relevant ideas in McKay Jenkins’ recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. In it, he argues against focusing on preparing students for competition in the global marketplace. Instead, he suggests helping students understand and explore the problems of the marketplace, problems that are becoming more and more evident. At the same time, Jenkins has his students take action locally, performing field research on issues that matter to them. This idea of encouraging students to find opportunities for action as part of learning about global issues is one that I have long been a proponent of. In fact, if you’ll be at TESOL in March, I’ll be presenting ideas for bringing local environmental resources into the classroom.

I hear a lot of politicians, reformers, and even educational administrators talk about the importance of preparing students for the marketplace. I appreciate being reminded that this is not education’s ultimate goal.

Tags: blog · climate change · consumerism · fair trade · finance · global issues activities · poverty & wealth · the environment

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Khalid // Jan 18, 2012 at 3:50 am

    I love it! Why prepare students to step on the heads of others and destroy the earth?

  • 2 Dave // Jan 18, 2012 at 9:29 am

    A few months ago, our governor went on record saying that we should cut liberal arts programs, and only offer business and engineering. I don’t remember the exact quote, but he said something about how we don’t need any more anthropologists. To top it off, guess what his daughter’s major was?

  • 3 Khalid // Jan 18, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    One day, if you make it out west or I out east, we should have a long conversation about what is happening here at UC Berkeley. The push is very similar to what you described above – a push towards business and technology, and away from a liberal education.

    On that note, Liberal Education by Mark Van Doren is an outstanding read…

  • 4 Dave // Jan 18, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    And yet I find myself drawn to doing an MFA in Creative Writing…

    Will I never learn? 🙂

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