Global change


Few readers, I predict, remember the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 when the world held its breath knowing that all life on the planet could be wiped out at any moment.

Some readers, I suspect, may remember Vietnam war days with the napalming of villages and the relentless dropping of bombs from B52s.  Later, when Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse now’ portrayed Conrad’s ‘The Heart of Darkness’ – whose heart was dark, really?

Numerous readers, I imagine,  remember images from the Cold War days showing the enormous stock piles of nuclear weapons facing each other, poised to obliterate East and West under the aptly named policy of MAD  (Mutually Assured Destruction). Any Greenham Common or Molesworth Camp protestors here?

Many readers, I surmise, recall the Berlin wall coming down and the positive wind that swept across the planet as we all learnt the Russian word ‘glasnost’ (openness) and Francis Fukuyama proclaimed we had reached an end of history. Lol!

Most readers, I’m fairly sure, were deeply shocked by New York’s twin towers coming down – from which time history  has continued to evolve as global issues have increasingly entered global hearts, minds, hopes and fears.

Nearly all readers, I sadly say, are aware of climate change and the effects of humankind’s industry on the planet.  Sadly, I say, because major contracts contributing to these effects are still being signed by corporate climate change deniers as Arctic ice shrinks and extreme weather conditions kill. Please listen to Naomi Klein.

Every reader, I know, has access to a computer and is reading this on-line.

No reader, I believe, predicted that in 1962.

No reader, I believe, can accurately predict events in 2062 – or even 2022?

So – how do we prepare young English Language students for their future language needs?

We don’t – we advance together.

This is how we step into the postmodern world of TEFL.

This is why we need to consider the postmodern world we are entering…

… the new postmodern world that we are constructing….

… for it does not construct itself.

This is why we need to consider the meaning of the language we teach…

… to respect our global cross-cultural diversity…

… to promote social justice, human rights, sustainable development….

NOT to promote hegemonic, neoliberal ideals of the super-rich oligarchs.  

…NOT to support genocidal regimes or megalomaniacal dictators.

This is Postmodern TEFL in a postmodern world – which we are all creating. 

In parallel see the humanity-orientated concerns of the World Economic Forum (here)  as we enter Industry 4.0. The world of TEFL needs to be part of such ideas and ideals too!

The next epoch of life on earth is arriving and we humans are creating it. 

Being part of this is quite a responsibility!   It’s our joint social responsibility.



Phil NEWMAN. 2016