Neigbours & Borders – Issues month Week 1-2

The first week of the Issues Month got off to a slow start due to some technical difficulties but we’ve seen some really interesting contributions in the Week 2. Chris Sowton shared a moving story of his personal encounter with a Syrian teacher living and working in Lebanon, unable to return to his country who has not seen his family for almost three years now. This testimony perfectly reflects the challenges our colleagues face daily all across the globe, working double shifts trying to make ends meet, often in difficult circumstances and separated from those who mean the most to them.

Bill Templer gave some excellent ideas for writing essays or simply opening a debate with the students in class. Questions he proposed deal with the never ending internal conflict many people face today –  to stay or to leave? What’s it like being forced to make such a decision, knowing that your life will never ever be the same? Bill also addresses the issue of a lack of working force due to a brain drain happening in most of the E. European countries.

Linda Ruas shared an activity called “The Brexit tree” where students are invited to practice writing down their ideas in the form of a cause and effect approach. What caused Brexit, what were the major reasons and how will it affect the lives of those within and outside the UK – these are just some of the questions worth discussing in class. For more info, see Reflect ESOL page.

In line with the topic Bill shared an article written by Jennifer Jenkins, titled “Trouble with English” which speaks of the future status of the English language after the UK leaves the EU.

Gergő Fekete referred back to Kieran Donaghy’s lesson plan “The DNA journey” which deals with the themes of nationalities, ethnic groups, racism, and DNA.

I shared a practical activity on political borders, what constitutes them and how do people interpret them. Relating to this, I’ve read the other day that a French artist JR installed a massive photo of a child on the Mexican side of the Mexico/US border this September. As a follow up, he organized a picnic on both sides of the fence where people “joined” the table on both sides and enjoyed an afternoon together, though separated by a massive iron construction. I hope that people reading about this event feel inspired to try something similar, even if on a much smaller scale.

We need more stories like this, we need to show we are all humans and that the things we have in common are much greater and far more important than those seemingly dividing us.

Special thanks to László for moderating comments and running the website, and Gergő for posting on GISIG’s Facebook page. A big thank you to everyone who contributed so far, read the posts and used them in class.

Join us for two more weeks of our Issues Month!

Dragana Stegić

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