Leadership through Language Learning and Teaching: The Case of Gandhi

May 11, 2010

In February I presented a paper called “Leading through Language Learning and Teaching: The Case of Gandhi” at the “Interdisciplinary Language Research: Relevance and Application Series” at the Language Research Centre at the University of Calgary.

I talked about a study I conducted of Gandhi’s autobiography, An autobiography or the story of my experiments with truth.
My purpose was to uncover and analyze Gandhi’s experiences as a second language learner. Here’s what I found:

1) Gandhi learned 11 languages throughout his life, including his native Gujarati.

2) He used his knowledge of other languages to connect with others on a deeper level, helping them fight for human and civil rights.

3) He believed that all children should learn more than one language.

He says, ““It is now my opinion that in all Indian curricula of higher education there should be a place for Hindi, Samskrit, Persian, Arabic and English, besides of course the vernacular.” (Gandhi, 1948, p. 9)

For Gandhi, language learning and leadership were intertwined. He saw language learning as a way to communicate with others in his own country, to connect with others on a deeper level, understanding their human condition from a compassionate point of view.

While not everyone who learns another language may go on to have a profound effect on the world to the degree that Gandhi did, any person who learns a new language grows as a human being because they can communicate with others in new ways. This helps to develop a more profound curiosity about the world around us, which leads us to learn more about that world. Learning more about the world and those who live in it leads to deeper understandings of other cultures, other values and other ways of understanding life, love, politics, spirituality and all that is important to humans. Learning other languages opens up new possibilities for personal and professional growth, new opportunities to do meaningful work and ultimately, to value others more deeply because we can communicate with them better and understand them.

The presentation included a practical classroom activity for students.

The full-text paper is publicly available on the ERIC data base.

http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/contentdelivery/servlet/ERICServlet?accno=ED508664

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Related posts:

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


University’s English Language Program accreditation revoked

May 10, 2010

Inside Higher Ed has just released a news article entitled “Entangling Alliance” that reports that the English Language Institute at the University of South Florida has its accreditation revoked by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA), an international standards and accreditation organization for English language programs. The function of the CEA is similar to that of Languages Canada, which grants accreditation to language schools in Canada.

The CEA reportedly revoked USF’s accreditation after it entered into a partnership with a company called “INTO University Partnerships” a private firm which handles the marketing, recruitment and student services for international students, including English as a Second Language Programming. Inside Higher Ed quoted Theresa O’Donnell, Executive Director of the CEA, saying “We did not accredit the partnership, we accredited the University of South Florida’s English Language Institute”.

This is hot news for English Language Programs considering entering into public-private partnerships for international student recruitment and marketing or English language programming. This will no doubt have implications for the University of Southern Florida as an institution, and more importantly for its current and prospective students.

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


How much should educational programs spend on marketing?

May 10, 2010

One of the major pitfalls of marketing plans for language programs is that directors and coordinators are given little or no budget to work with. Time and time again I have heard, “We have no money for marketing!” The reality is that you are going to need to spend at least some money, and probably a fair amount of time, promoting your program if you want it to grow and flourish.

There are varying theories about how much an organization should spend on marketing to be effective. It’s hard to know how to to budget. Here are a few tips for those working in the educational sector.

It is important for you to decide, together with your staff and school administrators or owners, how much you are willing to invest in it. Bringing all the players to the table may be a difficult task in itself, but if you are serious about marketing your program, you need to be serious about how much you really have to work with to get the job done.

Being brutally honest about how much of your resources you can allocate to marketing will help you target your dollars in the most effective way. The first step is sitting down with a calculator and figuring out exactly how much you have to work with.

One place to start is to look at your gross income for last year and use 10 to 20% of that for marketing. This may seem like a lot, but if you can grow your program another 10 to 20% (a safe estimate), you will have more than made your money back.

When I say 10-20%, this also includes the salaries or hourly wages of those working on marketing endeavours. So, if you have a marketing coordinator, that salary will be included here.

At the very least, you should know how much you are spending on marketing now. For heaven’s sake, don’t bury it in categories such as “office supplies” or some other budget line that makes it impossible for you to know what you’ve actually spent. Even if your budget categories are rigid and there’s no line for marketing, keep a separate tally somewhere in a file that you can refer back to. Every year, assess how much you’ve really spent on marketing and if it’s too much or enough. If you’re spending more than 25% on marketing and not getting the return you expect, then it may be time to change how you market, not how much you spend on marketing.

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This post is adapted from “Idea #6: Be honest about how much you are willing and able to invest in marketing” in 101 Ways to Market Your Language Program

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


“Using Skype in ESL and Literacy Programs” Free webinar

May 7, 2010

As a follow up to my post “Using Skype in Language and Literacy Programs” I decided that it would be beneficial to show you rather than just write about it. So, I’ve organized this free webinar:

“Using Skype in ESL and Literacy Programs: a webinar”
Presenter: Sarah Elaine Eaton, Ph.D.
May 18, 2010 – 09:45 – 10:30 (with optional Q & A after) – Mountain Time

Login-time: 09:45 Mountain Time (Calgary, Canada) (Please adjust accordingly for your time zone)
Start time: 10:00
End time: 10:30
Questions and Answers: 10:00 – 11:00

This webinar will go over what Skype is, how it can be used to:
1) connect you with other professionals – and save on long distance charges – even internationally
2) empower teachers and tutors
3) give presentations and workshops

How do you join the webinar?
1) Mark the date and time of the event in your calendar
2) at 09:45 Mountain Time (adjust for your time zone!) on May 18, click on this URL:
https://sas.elluminate.com/site/external/launch/dropin.jnlp?sid=lcevents&password=Webinar_Guest
3) Have a pen and some paper handy to take notes.

With thanks to the folks at Elluminate (www.elluminate.com) who are generously providing the webinar platform at no charge for this event.

This is a free professional development seminar. Everyone is welcome to attend, so pass this along and invite a colleague.

Note: Following the webinar, I did another post with the recording, slides and a hand out. Check it out: Using Skype in ESL and Literacy Programs: Webinar follow up http://wp.me/pNAh3-5T

Check out my research article on this topic:

Eaton, S. E. (2010). How to Use Skype in the ESL/EFL Classroom. The Internet TESL Journal, XVI(11). Retrieved from http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Eaton-UsingSkype.html

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


Using Skype in Language and Literacy Programs

May 7, 2010

Skype is a free program. You set up a “Skype account” and download the program. Then, you add contacts, much like you would do in your e-mail program. Only you don’t e-mail using Skype. You talk or have a video call.

You and the other party, or parties, all need to have Skype installed on your computers. There are no tricks and no gimmicks. Think of it sort of like Hotmail or Gmail, but for voice and video calls.

Skype allows you to:

  • Voice and video calls to anyone else on Skype
  • Conference calls with three or more people
  • Instant messaging, file transfer and screen sharing

Why do I love Skype? Well, first of all, the basic service is free as long as you’re talking computer-to-computer. They also have really, really inexpensive plans were you can be on your computer and call to a regular land-line.

Here are some examples of how I use Skype:

Personally: Our family is spread out all over the place. We use Skype to talk long-distance, for free. The most amazing thing we do is with my Dad and step-Mom. They live in a remote area in Northern Ontario. Last year, my brother and his wife had a baby girl. Every Sunday night, everyone gets on Skype for a visit. My Dad gets to see his little grand daughter every single week and can watch her growing up. It’s connects our family in deeply meaningful way.

We like Skype so much in our house that we got Skype-enabled handsets that look and act just like a regular phone. We also use Skype now for computer-to-phone calling in our house and we really like it.

Professionally: I have used Skype for long-distance business. Last year, I had a consulting client in Sweden. Instead of doing phone coaching, we had our meetings via video call on Skype. It was much better than the phone, as we got to see one another and doing business was much easier (and less expensive).

Here’s another example of how I’ve used Skype in my work. Last week I was scheduled to give a webinar to a group in Tennessee. They called me at the last minute to say that the e-learning platform I’d been planning on using wouldn’t work for them. I asked if they used Skype. They said yes. We quickly exchanged user names and logged on. I gave the webinar using the screen sharing feature to go through the slides I’d prepared. At the end, they were super-happy with the presentation.

How can you use Skype in a language or literacy program:

Connect with your students: If students have Skype accounts, you can connect with them before they arrive, taking the time to connect with them and answer questions. From a relationship marketing point of view, this creates a super opportunity to create a personal bond with your students.

1-to-1 tutoring: I was giving a workshop on marketing to a group of literacy coordinators yesterday. One coordinator who works in a rural area commented that she has a hard time matching tutors with learners sometimes, as they are supposed to meet in public places, but it just isn’t convenient given the rural area in which they live. She’s obliged to match tutors and learners of the same gender, but said she had more female tutors and male learners, so it created a problem. I asked if her learners had technology literacy. She said that many of them did. I suggested that she introduce them to Skype to tutors and learners could be matched and each of them would work from their own homes.

Give information sessions and presentations: Skype has a screen-sharing feature that is brilliant for giving presentations. You can show PowerPoint slides and go through an entire presentation, just like I did with my clients last week. This is super for pre-arrival orientations, information sessions and other presentations you might give to prospective learners.

Skype is an amazing tool to help you connect with family, colleagues and learners.

Check out my research article on this topic:

Eaton, S. E. (2010). How to Use Skype in the ESL/EFL Classroom. The Internet TESL Journal, XVI(11). Retrieved from http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Eaton-UsingSkype.html

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Update – January 2018 – This blog has had over 1.8 million views thanks to readers like you. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” it or share it on social media. Thanks!

Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


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