In one of my classes this semester, I have been teaching my teenage students about globalization. The first time I said this word and asked what it meant, the entire class responded with blank faces. They had possibly not heard this word before, and had no idea what it was. I then asked them about which brands of cell phones they had. Most of the students owned Samsung phones, while others had iPhones. I then asked them where these phones came from. Two students knew that the iPhone came from America but were manufactured in China, but none of the students knew where Samsung phones came from. I told them they were from South Korea. We talked about how this happens, and learned about the positive aspects of globalization, such as providing jobs for those in poor countries, and the negative aspects, such as companies sending jobs to other countries because of cheap labor costs. We talked about immigration in the next few classes, and some of the students told me that they had families which had come from other countries. I then asked them about the culture that immigrants bring to places like ours. More blank faces. I told them to name some of the restaurants in their neighbourhood. One student mentioned a Turkish restaurant, and another student mentioned a Chinese restaurant, and we then talked about the different kinds of food we can enjoy and learn about because of the people who establish these places, and have done so having to learn another language.
By extension, most of the reasons why we are learning English today is because of globalization. Many of the students at in my class will eventually use their English to communicate to people from all over the world within schools, businesses, and in other countries. They will use this language to share their culture, their ideas, their passions and their skills with others as we continue to build our global village. The more we learn about English in a worldwide context, the more our students become interested in the things they can do. We have since learned about Spanish cultural communities in San Francisco, Chinese artists teaching in New York City schools, and many other topics of interest. Living in a multicultural city like Barcelona, our students will continue to learn about shared cultures and may eventually share their own with others, using English as their tool to do