It’s said that communication in English is a gatekeeper skill. Certainly academic writing in English is. But who, exactly, the gatekeeper is, and what, if anything, should be done about it, are not nearly so clear.
The politics of language is a really complex topic. It involves issues surrounding loss of original language, culture, class, and economics that, if studied in depth, can become overwhelming. Although, I’m aware of the issues and sometimes struggle with them personally, I am, essentially, an English teacher, so, my attitude is that, when people articulate a desire to learn English or to improve their skills, it’s my job to help them do that. My only zealous feeling in all this political debate is that all people have a right to access knowledge. I’m a huge proponent of universal and open internet access, so that’s as political as I get in all this. Whoever the gatekeeper turns out to be, I don’t want it to be me.
I’ve been asked more than once already to present on the need for higher English language proficiency in India so, with these ideas in mind, I’ve put together a set of slides that can be used to discuss that need.
In most cases, for the audiences I’ve seen so far, this would be preaching to the choir. For them it’s probably more inspirational than informative. For that reason, it may be most useful in helping teachers justify changes or improvements they might wish to make in order to raise proficiency.
For teacher trainers, it’s most useful as an intro to a presentation on some specific techniques or materials that will actually help close the gaps in skills that are mentioned.
The material is copyrighted and credit is given to all the photographers and sources in the full PowerPoint. Please respect the copyrights, but feel free to download it and use it for educational purposes. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, or, if you use it, and have ideas for improving it, I’d love to hear from you here.