Well, it's a start....

Well, the first day of ICL 2008 has kicked off with a quick fire series of keynotes from Erhard Busek (Former Vice-President of Austria) who spoke on education for Europe - and emphasised the need for joined up thinking and a common understanding of who Europeans are. Then we can get down to addressing how education can be taken forward. Methinks he may be barking up the wrong tree here - Europe is such as diverse and multi-cultural group of countries (there is even dispute within most European nations about their identity and ownership of land, rights, etc) that this may be a pipe dream. There was much debate about language and a few innane comments from some delegates. One American delegate (name withheld to protect him) even tried to argue that English is now owned by everyone except the British. Well ship me off to Siberia! I apologise for even breathing. I know English borrows words from almost every other language but doesn't that make it ever richer? Except for yesterday when I spoke nought but German, I have spoken English from the day I, wel... first spoke. I don't feel at all dispossessed.

Busek rode these questions well and expertly skirted around some of the more controversial issues, such as who owned a language and the difference between knowledge and information. A link to the Wordle map I have created of his speech is below, and his dominant themes shine through, I think:



He was followed by Muriel Dunbar who works for the European Training Foundation, which confusingly does not work in Europe, does not provide training and is not a foundation - go figure. She talked about the trials and tribulations of trying to support the development of education and training initiatives using ICT and e-learning in Near East and Northern African countries. She talked about culturally specific problems, and access to learning as capacity building. Here is a link to her wordle map so you can see her predominent themes...



I can't say that either keynote really floated my boat, but it's early days yet and there are sessions planned for this afternoon and evening that look interesting. More later from the conference....

Comments

Finem said…
I can imagine you as a British are upset that the English should not own the language. It originated from a simple observation. People with English as their second language often find it easier to listen to other English as second language speakers than to native speakers. I guess native speakers just speak to quick for them and use uncommon words.
It is indeed silly to conclude from that that the English do no longer own their language. They should just speak a bit slower to us poor second language guys ;-)
Steve Wheeler said…
Definitely not upset - simply bemused by the statement. I say again that I for one don't feel any loss of ownership - I continue to talk English so therefore I own it. I guess this is the price English pays for being such a successful language. I ---- will ---- speak ---- more ---- slowly ---- in ---- future.... (long smiiiiile)

Popular Posts