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It didn’t take me long today to find the headline for this entry because that is exactly what I feel today: Despair = complete loss of hope.

After spending six hours at an Internacionalization meeting of International coordinators from various centres of the University of Zaragoza, I returned home to find out that the teachers at my children’s primary school have voted against implementing a bilingual project which would involve offering 20% school hours in English.

No matter how much we resist (if that is what we want to do) it is unavoidable that English is the lingua franca the whole world uses to communicate. The reasons for this are diverse but mainly the economic and political power/influence of English-speaking countries and the relative simplicity of the grammar of the language itself.

Yes, I am convinced as an English teacher and from my own experience as a foreign language learner that English is an easy language to learn. We don’t all need to be able to speak and write in English as if it were our mother language but if we want to live and work in the 21st century we need to own up, change our attitude and put some effort into it.

I would be nicely surprised if I got many genuine comments to this post (most of them are machine generated these days) but, in my heart of hearts, I know I won’t. With a bit of luck I might be able to count with my fingers (not my toes) the number of students and lecturers in my school that will read this.

Going back to the beginning of the post, I feel despair because we don’t seem to even want the younger generations to learn English either, or at least, that is the case with my children’s teachers. I feel despair because we have tried hard to promote English among our students in the school and the response has been very disappointing. I feel despair at the ignorance of it all.

However I vow to never despair professionally as a teacher and personally as a mother. I will do my bit.

And now I’ll leave you with some food for thought.

Why Learn English: 10 Reasons to Learn English

  1. English is the most commonly used language among foreign language speakers. Throughout the world, when people with different languages come together they commonly use English to communicate.
  2. Knowing English will make you bilingual and more employable in every country in the world.
  3. Despite China, the United States is still a leader in technical innovation and economic development. English is used in the United States and in each of these fields.
  4. English is commonly spoken throughout much of the world due to Great Britian’s expansion during the colonial age. People in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, parts of Africa, India, and many smaller island nations speak English. English is the commonly adopted second language in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. Speaking English opens these countries and cultures up to you.
  5. Another reason why English is so important is that it is the language of science. To excel in science you need to know English.
  6. English is based on an alphabet  and, compared to Chinese, for example, it can be learned fairly quickly.
  7. English is also the language of the Film Industry and English means you no longer have to rely on subtitles (or bad dubbing, as in Spain).
  8. Most publications and websites on internet are in English.
  9. Learn English and you can then teach your children English — or if they are already learning, you can now communicate with them in English.
  10. English speakers earn more money than non-English speakers. Learning English will open your job prospects and increase your standard of living.

Adapted from www.5minuteenglish.com

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