ESL etc.

Global Issues and Activism in English Language Teaching

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Podcast #21 – A Critical Roleplay and 4 Global Issues Textbooks

October 24th, 2007 by Dave · 2 Comments


I start by introducing a roleplay in which students were asked to imagine what they would do if their boss pressured them to do something illegal or dishonest. As an example, I told them a story about a student at another university who worked as a tour guide over the summer. His boss asked him to tell customers that the river they were visiting was clean and safe to drink from, despite the fact that it wasn’t. The guide did as he was told, even though he refused to drink the water himself.

Next, I talk briefly about how I handled a textbook dialog about Tiananmen Square.

I then discuss several textbooks that I have used bring global issues and activism into my English classes:

In the Global Classroom is a great book full of activities that could be used with language learners. The activities cover the whole variety of language skills are a wide range of issues.

For writing classes, Reading, Writing, and Rising Up has some great ideas, mainly using poetry and personal essays. It has a lot of student writing in it, which could be really engaging for English learners. Here is a review I wrote of it as part of my MA degree.

Rethinking Globalization is another interesting book from Rethinking Schools. It is full of readings and other activities introducing some of the difficulties associated with globalization. I really like the materials, but a lot of the readings are probably too difficult for most language learners.

The Future of the Earth is a neat way to give students a quick overview of a wide variety of issues. It is a coffee table book of aerial photographs showing natural disasters, war, pollution and other global issues. Each photo is accompanied by a few paragraphs of information on the issue, including some interesting statistics.

I also briefly mention two ESL-specific global issues books: Global Issues (RBT) and Linking Language and the Environment The former is a short book with a collection of handouts and activities, while the latter is an interesting book for teachers interested in bringing environmental language activities into their classroom.

Tags: blog · ESL activity · global issues resources · lesson plans · podcasts · textbooks

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Thuy Trang (Viet Nam) // Oct 26, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    I had no longer listen to previous ESL by Itunes. Please tell me how can I do that if it is still available. Thanks a lot!

  • 2 Dave // Oct 27, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Hi Thuy Trang!

    Itunes isn’t working here in China anymore, either. You can still listen to each episode by clicking the MP3 link in each post.

    Let me know if that doesn’t work. Thanks for listening!

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