Blog Archives

Some thoughts on teaching and English-language imperialism

In 2010, I moved to Japan, a country whose language I barely spoke, and whose customs I barely knew. I was put in charge of a classroom, despite having no formal background in teaching and only two weeks of training.

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日本人はなぜハグが怖い?外国人の質問

アメリカの人気ウェブサイトredditから外国人の日本に関する質問を集めました。どんなものに注目しているとか、偏見などがなかなかおもしろいと思いましたので、翻訳してみました。

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Who decides what English-speaking culture is?

In my last post, I wrote that English no longer belongs to native speakers. I have no intention of cheapening, dismissing or denigrating our culture as native English speakers. I absolutely believe that English comes loaded with culture, and is

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Is teaching English a form of linguistic imperialism?

I teach English, because I want to help people learn to communicate better with one another. English is the language of international communication, by and large, and I want my students to be able to join in that culture. At

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Wow, can you believe how rude he was?

Nuance is hard. It’s sometimes challenging to use the correct register in one’s own, native language, never mind in a foreign language! And then there are all those fuzzy words we use to hesitate and seem more humble–“I was wondering”,

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Should we really be teaching our kids all these grammar rules?

In schools around the world, children are spending thousands of hours in the classroom, learning rules to govern how they use their native language. In the US, we’d call that English class; mine was Grammar and Composition. In Japan, it’s

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