Creating Global Opportunities in the Classroom
By Blagoja Dimoski
For me personally, one of the most rewarding aspects of traveling has been the countless opportunities it has given me to converse with a diversity of people from around the world. These interactions have allowed me to experience other cultures more intimately, learn new perspectives, and as most often has been the case, learn to overcome communication barriers when we did not share a common first language. As an English language teacher and ELF researcher, my aim is to provide similar learning opportunities in the classroom. Fortunately, with the aid of technology, I can.
*7 billion Others is a website containing video podcasts of 6,000 interviews with people from 84 countries, and in 50 languages. The interviews are based on a range of themes, including, family, happiness, discrimination, money, childhood dreams, nature, and many more. With these unique features, the website has been useful for raising learners’ language awareness, cross-cultural understanding, and exposing them to a variety of English accents. Not only this, but by providing students with transcripts of interviews and allowing them to read the scripts to each other, monologic listening texts become dialogic speech events. This pro-active listening approach provides opportunities for students to negotiate and co-construct meaning when non-understanding occurs, which in ELF interactions, in particular, are considered valuable skills. Based on learning outcomes I have observed in the classroom, I firmly believe that these opportunities will prove beneficial to my students, not only in their future travels, but also beyond.