How is English Studied Today?
There are various materials, methods, and models for studying English; the traditional avenues for the study English include discussion, presentation, composition, drama, speech making, theatre production, mythologies, novels, and poems, etc. The advancement of media and technology has introduced new opportunities and traditions for expressing ideas; we now generally include film, television, and audio/radio production, and increasingly the internet in studying English. Perhaps less explored in the modern approach to studying English are field studies, travel, and cultural performances and traditions. While the last category seems the least traditional in contemporary studies, partially due to the cost of travel or possible equipment for lengthy field studies, it also seems the most necessary for connecting ideas, experiences, and worlds. Regretfully, I have maintained a more traditional approach to studying English.
I am or have been involved in most of the above listed modes of studying “Englishes,” but my studies have been very traditional. As a result, I have limited experience with field studies, travel, and cultural encounters as a way of connecting with ‘English,’ but I am very interested in incorporating less traditional approaches to English studies in my developing teaching methods. As a person who strives to share the love of Englishes with those who are less literarily enamored, I feel that outside and worldly encounters are the most powerful in making a real connection for many people.
There are several ways of approaching the “know-what” (literature, genre, diction, vocabulary, semantics, community, the individual in relation to community, communication, styles of communication, media, and cultural perspectives, etc.) in order to further understanding. Among the traditional modes of realizing English are reading, close reading, writing, free-writing, discussion, interviewing, presenting, and performing. With expanded media, learners and teachers can also watch productions (“close-watching” if you will) of varied genres, listen to radio and audio productions (oral narratives, biographies, performances), and engage in distance learning online. Non-traditional methods of realizing English, including field studies, traveling, and cultural performances, offer an understanding of how and why a work was produced in the context that it was made. Learners and teachers experience encounters similar to that which inspired the author, speaker, or myth.
and teachers can assume many subject positions, but I think it is most
important to remember that English and English Studies are evolving
everyday. A narrow position on the matters of English as a subject
could exclude important literary events and people, which could be
detrimental to the future of our subject. For example, if we
arbitrarily elect to exclude film from our discussion, we are
eliminating a major component of our culture’s mode of expression and
communication. Imagine if we narrow-mindedly barred film from entering
our literary conversion; our understanding of media and its function in
our society would be hindered. In an effort to avoid misjudging a
method too early, I choose an open position in English studies.