Language

The world's English mania: Jay Walker on TED.com

Posted by: Matthew Trost

Jay Walker explains why two billion people around the world are trying to learn English. He shares photos and spine-tingling audio of Chinese students rehearsing English — “the world’s second language” — by the thousands. (Recorded at TED2009, February 2009, in Long Beach, California. Duration: 4:35.)

Watch Jay Walker’s talk from TED2009 on TED.com, where you can download this TEDTalk, rate it, comment on it and find other talks and performances from our archive of 400+ TEDTalks.

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Comments (4)

  • Arkady Zilberman commented on Oct 13 2010

    It is hard to overestimate the importance of the English Mania situation as is masterfully described in this video. It is obvious that traditional one-to-one teaching cannot meet the scale of English mania that has been brought to life recently by unprecedented growth of the Global Economy.

    The conventional methods are inefficient because modern English as Foreign Language (EFL) learners are in most part Digital Learners with new objectives and characteristics: they want to learn EFL fast using new methodology and various modern multi-media technologies and devices that will help them in learning a foreign language at a subconscious level.

    It is necessary to drastically reduce the cost of learning by increasing the number of students in online public classes and implementing blended learning. The latter is a combination of self-training software and public online or offline classes in which EFL teachers act as facilitators helping the learners to acquire English fluency by working on pre-recorded lessons and drills.

    The new learning environment should be phenomenally adaptable allowing online or offline use along with self-training, one-to-one, group study or combinations of the above. It could be supplemented with a concise version of the program on any iPhone, iPad, iPod, Smartphone or MP3 player. So by adding reading, writing, listening and acting, one is incorporating all the senses that will improve the quality and depth of the learning experience. To strengthen the Global Economy we must be able to create new EFL Learning/Teaching Technology that will meet the demand of the English Mania phenomenon.

  • George Whitehead commented on Sep 9 2010

    As a language educator and teacher trainer i find this video to be extremely alarming. The Audiolingual methodology used to repeat ridiculous content is shocking. Does not learning English let your parents down? Does not learning English let your country down? Does not learning English let yourself down? Is it really necessary to speak perfect English??

    The problem that lies in Asia is the huge pressure placed on students by tests (like the one mentioned in the video). Students simply study testing skills rather than the language itself. I have seen time and time again, students who score extremely high on TOIEC , university entrance exams etc. but cannot even carry a simply conversation. The testing therefore has no correlation on individual ability to use situational English thus lack authenticity.

    Communicative objectives must be set for langauge acquisition fo flourish. WIthout these objectives, The current objectivesor language learning and methodologies used to reach this goal will continue to produce robotic test takers rather than proficient langauge users.

  • Sarah Elaine Eaton commented on Sep 1 2010

    As a language educator who researches twenty-first century trends in language learning, I found this presentation informative and engaging.

  • Maria Santos commented on May 26 2009

    Like this video. I’ve just realized how English language is important.