Dec 25, 2013

English for what?

While listening to a speech made by some famous figure in Africa, I pondered what I really like to do from now on; I've published two ebooks this year and I feel I have nothing more to say for EFL in Japan. I live in the society where English is a subject we have to learn compulsory in Junior high, and after that, many keep on learning it at school or clam school for many years. We spend lots of time and money for English.

But, strangely, no serious discussion is made about why we have to learn English to begin with or what kind of English youngesters need to learn and acquire. What exactly is the English language we learn for? Why do we have to learn difficult grammar and strive for becoming a good user of English? What's good if many Japanese are able to use English easily? If you become fluent in English, is it possible to hold the mind or spirit as a Japanese? Doesn't the thinking pattern of English heavily influence your thinking pattern based in Japanese, and before you realize you could lose the sense of the Japanese?

I feel the gap between what I'm aiming at and the idea of general English education is getting bigger and bigger, that I'm no longer interested in the English language which is only for surviving among native speakers of English or in the countries dominated by English speaking people. I feel like I'm becoming a traitor or something whose job is to spread the evil idea of consumerism and contributing to only the Rich in the developed countries.  

Maybe I need to be more focused on the English language which is beneficial for the future of the earth, not only for some rich countries, which keep flourishing by destroying nature on the earth. I may be ignorant to the life, culture and the value system in non-English speaking countries.

If I step out a little bit of the small world of EFL in Japan, then I'd start to see more clearly the goal or the path I should take in the future, which I'd be more thrilled about and contented with...

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