Blogging for me is about sharing ideas with people across time and space and engaging with a variety of thinking on important questions. This is its strength. It’s immediate and it’s free of charge – and it’s a space where I am able to ask critical questions and hear what people have to say.
Sara Hanam: Critical Mass ELT Blog
Global Issues in the ELT classroom
by Michael Harris
February 12, 2013
Last year at IATEFL Glasgow, I went to a couple of sessions run by the Global Issues Special Interest Group, which were particularly interesting. Several months later, I have finally got my act together and am a signed up member of the group. The aims of the group is to “equip learners with knowledge, skills and values which can help them confront both local and global problems” and to explore issues like peace, justice and equality, human rights, social responsibility and globalisation.
Before going to the Glasgow seminars, I confess to having doubts. So, a bunch of do-gooders are trying to bring politics into the classroom and indoctrinate the kids, are they? Or is the GISIG just the “acceptable face” of the multi-million dollar business that is global ELT? However, after finding out a bit more about “critical global education” from speakers like Kip Cates, I was convinced. I came away feeling that this could be the real interface between the “ELT bubble” and the rest of the world.
For years, as a coursebook writer I had been very aware that no material is free of ideology. If you fill a book with photos of good-looking celebrities, articles about shopping and luxury holidays or lessons about what you would do with a million dollars, it is clear that you are promoting a consumerist, individualistic lifestyle. Because of that, over the years my co-authors and I have always tried to put in serious content and to be aware of the values involved in it.
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