ESL etc.

Global Issues and Activism in English Language Teaching

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What We Are For

March 7th, 2011 by Dave · No Comments

George Monbiot just put together a proposal for an agenda for an upcoming rally in the UK that will include a number of different organizations. He did this in recognition of the fact that it is important to be FOR something, not just AGAINST things. This parallels something that I’ve long wondered: how can politicians continually act against the wishes and interests of the majority? For example, the majority of Americans would support reducing the influence of corporations on political races (the number I’ve heard is 85%, but who knows) yet things keep moving in the other direction. There are vast areas that most Americans have common beliefs on (peace, education, equality, right to privacy, etc.), yet these are routinely being acted against or, at best, ignored.

As a long time proponent of a maximum wage, I really like that Monbiot’s proposal calls for the creation of a High Wage commission as part of his overall push towards reducing wealth inequality. He also calls for shifting the tax burden off of the poor and lower middle class. I also really like his idea that by 2020, 20% of the tax burden should come from levies imposed for damaging the environment. Obviously, a lot of this could be applied in the US as well.

I think simplifying this document and asking students what sort of proposals they would make (either for their own country, a shared country [like the one they are studying in], or for a fictional country) could be a fun activity. Of course, other proposals (and campaign platforms) could also be included. Having students look at materials like this around an election and talk about what issues are missing from the discussion (and why they might be missing) is a great exercise in critical thinking.

Tags: blog · global issues activities · politics · poverty & wealth · reading · the environment · vocabulary

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