Volume 10 No 1 Fall 2013
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Around the World: ESL in the News


English Language Proposal Has French Up In Arms

Higher Education Minister Genevieve Fioraso this past week introduced a bill that would allow French universities to teach more courses in English, even when English is not the subject. The goal, she explained, is to attract more students from countries such as Brazil, China and India where English is widely taught but French is reserved largely for literature lovers.

"Ten years ago, we were third in welcoming foreign students, but today we are fifth," she said. A conference of university presidents endorsed the idea, saying French-only classes are a "powerful brake" on foreign student applications. The idea, however, has sparked cultural and nationalist outrage.
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Parents Give Kids Early Start in English

More and more parents in Japan are interested in having their children start studying English even before they turn one, with an eye on giving them an advantage in their future careers.

At S&S International School, an English school for infants in Yokohama, two-year-olds were fluently pronouncing the English word "carbon" as a native English instructor showed them chemical symbols.

In the education program targeting children aged up to about 5, teachers get the young children to read English words repeatedly and help them strengthen their writing skills and acquire the ability to think in English.

About 30 percent of those enrolled in the program study at the school instead of going to kindergartens or nursery schools, studying about four hours a day.

The program covers a wide range of challenging and complicated subjects for children, including Darwin's theory of evolution, Egyptian civilization, fractions and DNA.
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Why is Spain Experiencing an English Language Boom?


Twenty-seven per cent of Spain's population is unemployed - over six million people. In a ferociously competitive job market, Spaniards see learning a foreign language as the best way of distinguishing themselves from others.

Take a trip on Madrid's Metro during the morning rush hour and you will be struck by two things: the number of suited commuters burying their heads in English language textbooks, and the amount of wall space taken up by private schools, or academias, advertising English courses.

Twenty-seven per cent of the population is unemployed; that's over six million people. In a ferociously competitive job market, Spaniards see learning a foreign language as the best way of distinguishing themselves from others. While many here struggle to make ends meet, while angry protests against politicians, austerity and banks take place almost daily, English language schools have never had it so good.
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Five Reasons International Students Should Consider MOOCs
by Devon Haynie

At 15, it seems unlikely Priya Prabhakar would know much about college. But the rising high school sophomore has already taken six college courses from some of America's best universities, earning high marks in everything from poetry to computer programming.

Prabhakar, from Chennai, India, is one of thousands of students across the globe taking massive open online courses. And she can't get enough of them.

"I'm a curious person," says Prabhakar, who has already signed up for at least four more courses. "I have interests in many different fields and subjects." As a student contemplating her future career, she says MOOCs are great at fulfilling her curiosity about a variety of topics.
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Canada's Internatonal Students Need Better English Skills

Professors at the University of Regina, which has doubled its international student population from 730 in 2009 to 1,448 in 2013, say students are being admitted without good enough English English professor Susan Johnston said that some don't have the listening skills to understand what's going on in classes and they also appear to be crafting papers in one language and converting them to English, "through some kind of Google Translator or BabelFish program."

Canada's international student population grew by 60 per cent nationwide between 2004 and 2012. While universities are happy to have the extra tuition, funding and diversity that foreign students bring, schools face pressure to make sure these new recruits can read, write and speak well enough to succeed. The usefulness of English tests used to admit students may be part of the problem. Fraudulent tests are also a problem, at least in the U.S.
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