At this point in time, the path to the future is less clear than it has ever been. The pandemic is changing many of the accepted ‘givens’ of modern culture such as the ability to meet people face-to-face, to obtain an education in the traditional way, or travel wherever one’s wishes and finances allow.
One thing that is clear, however, is that communication between people of other cultures is becoming increasingly important, and that communication will be through English – the world’s and Oman’s “lingua franca”. The object of learning English is no longer to travel to the major English-speaking countries, or to communicate with English native speakers. Currently, for every English native-speaker, there are around three non-native English speakers in the world, and the number is growing. English is the key to worldwide mutual understanding. We need to be sure that our students are ready for this new world by providing them with the best English education possible.
In my talk, we will see that the “best English education” does not mean studying more grammar and preparing them to pass examinations, but rather providing our students with more practice using the language that they already know. And the best way for them to gain that practice is through reading 100,000s of words in books in their own fields of interest.
Thomas N. Robb, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Kyoto Sangyo University, and a keynote speaker in the 2nd MEC TESOL Conference