Friday, February 22, 2008

Upon participating in a language teachers association symposium

I suppose I was more than a little out of place. Most of the educators in attendance were promoting and developing arguments against English language education. Less being better, none being best.

Someone asked my opinion of Lee's approach. I said it made little sense for the entire population to become fluent in the same two languages. Silence. For this audience, it made little sense to become fluent in any additional language, if this meant that the first language would receive less attention. I was immersed in monolingual pride.

But there was also anger in the room. People are angry that skill with a foreign language is virtually a passport to yangban status, for example. And maybe some of the anger is fueled by anxiety over loss of culture. Perhaps above all, English is simply equated with greater integration into a vicious empire-network that these people want no part of.

We all know that there are people in Washington and London who are quite pleased that East Asians are learning so much English. These people know whose voices dominate international flows of information. So, no English, and those voices are more easily ignored. I think I get it.

Mais ce n'est pas la guerre.

1 comment:

sam59527 said...