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English in Education: Americas Platform of

The importance of teaching and understanding English and Literature in todays
ever-changing environment
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Kat Prevo

This paper discusses the reasons why it is necessary to teach and learn English in all levels of
education. This paper is illustrated by the use of developing cognitive strategies within the
classroom, the relationships between books and students, as well as English on an international
level. After looking at scholarly journals discussing what it is like to teach in todays
environment, a personal inquiry is shared as a way to show that English goes beyond the
classroom. The process of this paper includes research through different methods of teaching,
different classroom settings, and ways students might unconsciously find themselves using
English in their daily lives.

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Knowledge in literature and the English language are significant areas of study for an
abundance of reasons. Literature holds the core language skills, which are both based on speech
and text. From this, English branches out into social and general skills. General skills in English
curriculum provide what is needed to succeed vocationally and social skills provide
communication techniques (R.R. Jordan, 1997). English courses are important to take as they are
the basis for all other subjects. The Common Core for English Language Studies is designed to
create a platform for all students to develop from the time a student enters the class to the time a
student moves forward. Language provides students with historical texts, methods for scientific
data, and approaches in mathematics. English is important to teach and learn because it provides
skills needed to develop on a national and international level. This paper addresses the use of
Englishs ability to use provide opportunities and success, way to build relationships, and a way
to develop foreign connections.
It is important as teachers to understand that each lesson taught has meaning and goes
beyond the classroom. English lessons have the power to inspire, communicate, and develop.
Many high school students are illiterate to the comprehension of what grammar, texts, essays,
and stories, and especially language can provide. That being said, teachers need to implement the
importance of English and provide reasons of how good language learners can succeed. In
todays world, language is changing constantly. Academic language, informal language, and even
slang are used everyday. English broadens our form of communication when it comes to
opportunities and success. In Joan Rubins journal, What the Good Language Learner Can
Teach Us,* she discusses the skills that good language learners use to help work beyond text,
beyond classroom, and off into lifes work.

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Everyone has his or her own view on success. Sitting in class, one may not be able to
foresee exactly how English can help shape goals. However, opportunities, goals, and success
begin in the classroom. Rubins first part of research studies upon the strategies teachers use to
help students succeed. English provides the necessary elements students used in order to
communicate effectively, be a critical learner, and create new ideas. In Rubins journal, she
writes upon techniques good language learners use to relay into their life after they graduate. One
variable that stands out about good language learners is when she writes, What is important here
is to discover what advantage students take of the opportunities they either have or create
(Rubin, 1975, pg. 44). Rubin states that students who take advantage of lessons within the
English classroom are more likely to create new ideas and become innovative thinkers. She goes
onto to write about how English develops memorization skills, cognitive skills, and observation
skills. This connects to the Common Core of English Language Arts Standards as it states in the
documents initiatives that, Students adapt their communication in relation to audience, task,
purpose, and discipline. They set and adjust purpose for reading, writing, speaking, listening, and
language use as warranted by the task (Common Core, 2010, pg. 7) These are just some of the
goals that English looks to succeed through their students. All these practiced skills help students
become successful once they leave the classroom. If a student is able to look at a text, understand
it, and create his or her own opinion on it, Rubin states that that, best enhances intelligibility
(Rubin, 1975, pg., 48).
Another point of Rubins journal, What the Good Language Learner Can Teach Us,*
relates further research in the classroom to development and success. She writes about how
students who are able to communicate in different ways have different strategies to process their
tasks. This relates to life beyond the classroom as there are many problems in life that need

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various approaches to overcome. One example is when students are applying for jobs they must
be able to provide many qualities and unique characteristics in order to catch the eye of the
interviewee. If a student is able to develop many strategies to overcome a task such as applying
for a job, then they have the skills to further succeed outside the classroom. Rubin makes sure to
address those who do not want to further their development of English learning when she says,
The good language learner might try to isolate these features which gives him maximum
intelligibility (Rubin, 1975, pg. 48). She explains how those who try to blanket their
development, as English learners will not reach the potential they have. This is very easy for high
school students to do. By the time students reach high school English, they have been speaking
the language for 14 years. It is important for teachers to show in the classroom that the
developing of language never stops. By reiterating the stress that English has after one graduates,
then students can comprehend the importance English language provides.
In similarity to above paragraph, the journal, Creating Continuity and Coherence in High
School Literature Curricula written by professors Arthur Applebee, Robert Burroughs, and Anita
Stevens describes how to create a development of skill rather than memorization of certain
content. One point on how to create progression of skill in the classroom derives from
Applebees individual opinions. Applebee argues that, Culturally significant domains for
conversation can provide an approach to curriculum that is consistent with constructivist
pedagogy (Applebee, pg 397). This interesting approach to learning literature provides initial
comfort for students. It is important for students to feel welcomed within the classroom. By
creating a culture starting with what students know and how they think, the teacher has a higher
chance of entering the students mind in order to help them create understanding. For example, in
an English I course with the demographic of a lower income society, students may feel more

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inclined to read a story set in a lower income environment, such as Pip in Great Expectations.
English is a beautiful way to create togetherness and if a teacher has the opportunity to pick the
correct texts, students are able to relate and learn from characters. Just as a character develops
throughout a story, a teachers goal should be to help his/her students positively develop
throughout the year (Applebee, Burroughs, Stevens, 2000).
From personal experience, the importance of English comes into play greatly throughout
my life on an international level. My family hosts foreign exchange students who attend San
Diego State University in the English Language Institution. We have hosted students from China,
Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Jordan, Italy, France, and Germany. Some students came over with an
extensive vocabulary, while some came over with slim understanding of the language. One
student that has stuck out and whom I remain friends with today is Sayuri(Sayu) from Tokyo,
Sayuri came to San Diego in my sophomore year of high school in 2012. One night I was
tirelessly working on my geometry homework. Sayu came over to the table and asked in poor
English if I wanted help with my Math problems. Of course I agreed, as I was helpless and math
is not my subject. Sayuri tried so hard to communicate ways to go about the Math problems and
in about fifteen minutes I was flabbergasted that I understood the equations. It was amazing
someone from another country was able to explain the math in a more efficient way than my own
teacher could.
After she helped me that night, I decided to make a deal with Sayu. If she helped me with
my math homework, I would help her with English. Everyday, we taught one another. It was
rewarding to see her English and grammar develop daily. Soon enough, the language barrier
broke by the use of english communication. Sayuri remains one of my dearest friends and her

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English is now superb. It took me a while to understand why men and women who do not live in
the United States want to learn English. When asked the question, How important is english in
terms of having a foreign exchange student? my seventeen year old sister, Erin states, English
is universal, especially dealing with foreign affairs, trade, and business. Foreign exchange
students realize this, and use a study abroad trip to learn more about American culture and to
deepen their understanding of English (Prevo, 2016). Similarly, by the time I was a teenager, I
realized that English is a source of business, communication, education, foreign affairs, and all
types of relationships. In understanding that English goes way beyond the classroom, teachers
can pass on the tools to show its a necessary subject in education.
English provides great importance to students through communication, relations, and
foreign affairs. Rubin speaks upon the importance English has in developing outside the
classroom. She writes about techniques students can create in order to become a good language
learner. The Common Core of English Language Arts and Literacy help add to the goals teachers
should have in how to display good communication and cognitive skills that go beyond the
classroom. Applebee, Burroughs, Stevens study the importance of creating progression within
the classroom. One way English aids growth is through texts that can relate to the demographic
of students. Lastly, I have found that English has importance on an international level by its
ability to break language barriers and build connections. When I become a teacher, I want my
students to leave with a new appreciation of how English can drive down so many roads
throughout life. If my students follow a path with an understanding of how English creates
togetherness, they will be able to operate their life in any direction it takes them, and I, as a
teacher, will have reached my destination.

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Arthur Applebee, Robert Burrough, and Anita Stevens. (2000, February). Creating
Continuity and Coherence in High School Literature Curricula, 34(3), 396-429.
Retrieved October, 2016, from
English Language Arts & Literacy in ... - (2010). Retrieved November 15th,
2016, from
R. R. Jordan. (2003). Study Skills In English. Academic Writing Course. Retrieved
October, 2016, from
Rubin, J. (1975). What the "Good Language Learner" Can Teach Us. TESOL Quarterly, 9(1),