English As a Global Language

Out of the world’s approximately 7.5 billion inhabitants, 1.5 billion speak English — that’s 20% of the Earth’s population. However, most of those people aren’t native English speakers. About 5% of world population, 360 million people speak English as their first language.

Unless you are going to a English speaking country, otherwise learning the specific accent and expressions won’t help you much. Besides there are many regional differences even both native speakers would have trouble understanding each other.

Also out of all English speakers only 24% are native. We should look at the bigger picture and ask ourselves how we can effectively communicate most of the English speakers and not restricted to those who are native. So still want to learn idioms through textbooks? Or better follow a course taught by a native speaker?

What we need is the Global English Training (GET). Don’t worry, I am not trying to sell you a program. It’s just the methodology I discovered and got a chance to work with last year.

Below is the explanation if you are interested. But the essence is that communication ability is key and it should not be not bounded by any particular language or accent. It should not be graded only by the amount of vocabulary you have and how well you master the grammar. What really matters is the comprehension of the other person you are speaking with and what you are able to achieve, what tasks you can perform with the language level you currently have.

GET sees language as a communication tool, not as an academic subject or a collection of
grammatical formulae and vocabulary. GET aims to empower learners with the tools to communicate in
international and cross-cultural situations. GET sees language as just one of several communication
tools, and encourages teachers to include forms of non-verbal communication in their lessons, as well
as content designed to expand cultural understanding.

In a world that is becoming more inter-connected every day, GET believes people have an increasing
responsibility to play an active role in global society. Increasing awareness and understanding of
cultures and religions, political and economic issues, human rights, and the environment is important in
trying to develop a more peaceful and sustainable world. GET sees the provision of communicative
language study programmes as a key mechanism for empowering people to learn more about the world
through their own experiences.

Through globalisation, the Internet, and satellite broadcasts, English is becoming the “global language
of communication”. The demographics of those who use the language are also changing, as is the way
the language is being used. Reflecting these changes, “Global English” has developed as a way of
flexibly and creatively using uncomplicated English for international and cross-cultural communication.
It focuses on the ultimate goal of communicating messages between people, rather than simply
obeying the traditionally strict rules of structure and usage, which are becoming increasingly outdated.
GET promotes Global English as a model of English usage that best represents the new demographics
of the English-speaking world; one that respects the linguistic and cultural diversity within the language
and that of its users, rather than requiring them to conform to rules set down by “native speakers”. GET
believes that this model is most able to deal with the evolution of the language and is most practical for
teaching English as a global language in an inter-connected world.

GET sees Global English as the property of no one country or group, and works to breakdown
perceptions commonly held by language learners and language teachers that traditional “native-
speaker” English models are the “correct” forms of English. GET sees Global English as a powerful
asset to help people around the world work together towards shared goals and ultimately to build a
more peaceful world.

Recognising that English is not the only such global communication tool, the GET
Programme also explores the use of other lingua franca (“common languages”) such as Spanish.
GET believes task-based learning to be an ideal model for the teaching of Global English, especially
in the context of a Peace Boat global voyage. A teacher using the task-based learning model first
focuses on what students need to be able to do with the language (tasks), then chooses the relevant
language to teach. Task-based learning focuses on relevant practical language used in real-life
situations such as on the ship or in ports; providing students with immediate opportunities to use the
language. Under the task-based learning model, students are encouraged to take control of their own
learning, to review their successes and difficulties, and to work on the areas they want to improve.
Using task-based learning, the aim is for students to follow a Learn-Use-Learn-Use cycle, where
language learned in the classroom is used in real-life situations and then followed up in the next lesson.
In task-based learning the curriculum is tailored to individual student and class needs and goals,
therefore GET does not teach from a textbook.

Info from Peace Boat GET program


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