Patricia Ryan: Don’t insist on English! – TED

I really enjoyed this video clip on TED by Patricia Ryan.  She makes a good point in that we should not insist on just using English since it will stop the spread of ideas in other languages.  A great example was mentioning that if Albert Einstein had to take the TOEFL test, he may never had been able to be a successful physicist.  Watch the video below, it is very interesting.

I have been involved in education for over ten years now in the US, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Vietnam, so I can agree with her.  One thing I noticed was that the top students were not the ones who can speak English, did not want to study in the UK or US, nor did they aspire to live in another country.  They were the ones who wanted to study at top schools such as Moscow State University.  They were the ones “forced” on government programs, such as the Bolashak program from Kazakhstan, to study overseas even though they had limited English skills.  They were the ones whose parent’s “forced” them to study overseas.  These students were strong in computer science, economists, art, music, you name it.  They were creative and some of the most intelligent people I ever met.

They foremost had to learn English but this was not their limiting factors into becoming great bachelor, master or PhD students.  They were not the Freedom Support Act high school students, nor were they Muskies or Fulbrighters.  They were truly bright and we know who they are.  I will have more later about this topic in regards to international schools in a later post.

  • I can say the converse is also true. A lot of people who study abroad in the US aren’t very bright. Sometimes they get to go due to merit, but often it’s due to money.

    P.S. Like the new blog theme.

    • I am using the Canvas theme from WooThemes. I really like it. Need to get the colors configured but I am in no hurry. I like StudioPress’s Genesis framework as well.

      • WooThemes have got some good themes. Wish they had more Drupal themes, along with other vendors.

  • Growing up with 2 languages and learning additional 3 languages I totally agree with the need of diversity of languages. It is like playing the same song on the same instrument everyday.

    • I am still unhappy that I was forced to learn English when I started kindergarten in the US. They could have me grow up with two languages but I hate how the US system forces you to learn only English. I could be bilingual now. Still, I was able to learn 6 more languages and hopefully Vietnamese as well.

      You speak German, Vietnamese and English, right?

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