The Requirement of English

An interesting TedTalk by Patricia Ryan, an English teacher with over 30 years experience in the Gulf. Ryan stresses some of the repercussions of the spread of English as the international language and the reality of a system that equates intelligence with a knowledge of English.

“Can it be right to reject a student on linguistic ability alone? I don’t think so.”

“I hear you say, ‘What about the research? It’s all in English’… that is a self-fulfilling prophecy… I ask you, ‘What happened to translation?'”

Ryan’s talk presents an interesting connection to our own experiences teaching in Kipili, where English is seen as the key to continued learning but often becomes a barrier to opportunity. It also sheds light on how to embrace the diversity of languages and harvest the rich cultural knowledge embedded within them.


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