Globalization of Interpretation 1

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Globalization of Interpretation
1


Running head: GLOBALIZATION OF INTERPRETATION






The Globalization of Interpretation

Sam The
-
Student

10/05
/2010



















Globalization of Interpretation
2



Apparently only 1,500 words are necessary. Or so claims
Jean
-
Paul Nerrière
, former
vice
-
president of IBM, and the creator of the notion
of “globish” English (
Sage
, 2006
). Globish
is a simplified, no
-
frills English

used

for international communication.
Business associates in
India, China, an
d Germany meeting for a S
kype


call wil
l not rely on their translations of
Chaucer or Milton. They will rely on their globishness.


The Economist similarly notes a globish change in higher education. More students are
studying internationally now than ever before in history. With the ease of t
ravel and
communication, with opportunities opening to students in developing countries, and with the
economic crunch

schools are facing from the home front, the natural response

for universities

is
a global one. Recruit internationally.

Sources such as T
he New York Times and The Japan Times cite a growth of international
primary and secondary
schools due to changing workforce dynamics.
According to Robert Sills,
executive director of the East Asia Regional Council for Overseas Schools (EARCOS), the
region
al growth of international school interest in Asia is “staggering” (Greenlees, 2010
, para.9
).
Sills reports a student population growth of 22.4 percent in the 2005 to 2006 school year. He
attributes the growth to Asia’s relative economic boom in comparison

with the West.

Hong Kong International School boasts 2600 students and 480 staff. It is one of the two
schools in Hong Kong to offer American curriculum, and it recently put 309 students on its
waiting list (para.1). Its dile
mma is in

having to turn qua
lity

students away.

Japan

is projected to have the oldest population in the world by 2025 due to its declining
birthrate. In order to keep up production, some are claiming the necessity of 610,000 immigrants
entering the Japanese workforce each year for th
e next 50 years (
“Too Innocent for Prejudice?”,
2009
). Japan will no longer hold its current level of homogeneous populace.
Its dilemma is in
Globalization of Interpretation
3


how students will respond to the influx of internationals, in how to unite the challenges with the
opportunities o
f diversification.


The changes are many, both luminous and ominous. The changes cannot be denied on a
broad scale, so then what action should be taken on a small scale? In the thick of the
“globishness”
,

the secondary English classroom

is affected throug
h questions such as these: Is
writing a modern
-
day version of Romeo and Juliet via text messaging an acceptable way to study
and respond to Shakespeare? Is “multicultural literature” a collection of work from the
Americas?


Educational programs and curric
ulum must reactively change in response with current
issues. It must proactively change to direct future decisions.

Though writing before the time of
globishness, educator John Dewey noted of change: “It is radical conditions which have
changed, and only a

radical change in education suffices… Knowledge is no longer an immobile
solid; it has been liquefied” (
1980
).
Knowledge in the rapidly changing present must be applied
to be useful. It must be organic. Researcher John Seeley Br
own writes that knowledge is social.
The “know
-
who” and “know
-
how” must be valued just as the “know
-
what.” Jobs in today’s
market require complex critical thinking, analysis, and rhetorical skills.


The secondary English classroom should seek to prepare s
tudents for such a future of
globishness, yet stil
l much of the English curricula

are

designed around American and British
authors. Though there is room for the study of translated works, discernibly, English coursework
should center on works written in th
e original language.
In his article on global citizenship and
discourse W. Gaudelli comments on oth
er likely reasons why curriculum

tends to follow the
pattern of homogeneity
. Often curricula

are

written in a given nation


frequently with
government funds


to help mold a national identity, to hold a status
-
quo, and to target specific
Globalization of Interpretation
4


societal concerns and questions that may
hinder
the nation
from
contend
ing

in the global
market
place or political arena (2009).
Other reasons for the reticence of change may l
ie in the
bureaucracy of schools


the intensive pipeline of information passing and decision making.

Whichever the reason, curricula

may not be developed for international students or

with
global views in mind. It is

written with a certain set of cultura
l and social biases and
assumptions. Students trained under this material, then, are not prepared for the globishness of
the society in which

they will discover themselves.

Selection of reading materials in curriculum is important, but

numerous researcher
s argue
that

t
he main globis
hness of the classroom

lies in the work of interpretation.
Text

is not “static”

or tied to one specific viewpoint and historical connection

(Varney, 2009
)
. Through the use of
archetypes and comparison studies, a text rooted in A
merican English and culture may take on
new meanings and implications.
The study of hermeneutics in literature provides for an
understanding and a scaffolding of students within a multicultural classroom. It also offers a
launching pad to train students in

the
empathy, collaboration
, and autonomy they will need in a
global world.

M.

Heidegger (1962), in his work
Being and Time
, developed an interpretation of
learning that focused on the subject’s interaction with the object. He created the idea of the
Dase
in
, or

“Being
-
in
-
the world” (Sotioru, 2006, para. 4). The identity and understanding of the
knower is influenced by the subject. The context and situation of learning matters.
Hermeneutics
as Heidegger defines it is an individual way of interacting with th
e world (Magrini, 2010). No
experience is the same because of the many variations of interactions between subject and object,
learner and material.

Globalization of Interpretation
5


Researcher
H.

Gadamer (1976) viewed classroom interaction with text as a dialogue, as a
place where
the
playground of
questions are of greater value than the transfer of truths (Sotioru,
2006)
.
He sees the role of the reader as that of an interpreter. The meaning of the text does not
come alive until the reader can grasp and express

in in his or her own lang
uage.
This theory of
interpretation is launched from the Constructivist ideas of Dewey (1910), Piaget (1971),
Vygotsky (1994), and Kiraly (2000). Constructivists value the finding of meaning out of
experience,
the use of authentic learning environments, an
d a strong relationship between
teacher, student, and the subject matter (Varney, 2009).

Gadamer highlights three distinct parts to interaction with a text: understanding,
interpretation, and application

(
Sotioru, 2006)
.
Understanding is the conversation t
hat occurs
between reader and text once the reader progresses from summary to evaluation to critique. The
reader does not consider the text as ultimate truth or assume that everything in print is flawless.
At the same time, the reader presents a willing de
sire to learn when cooperating with text.
Gadamer’s second part, interpretation, is a classification and a close relative of understanding. It
is not a tool or a method to reach understanding

but rather is part of understanding. Interpretation
gives unders
tanding a home in the reader.
It negotiates the possible reading and misreading to
find an understanding that can be proven from textual evidence and can also be reconciled with
the reader’s view of the world.
The final part, application,
is how the text f
its in a modern time
and place. A text written in 19
th

Century England cannot speak present day India. The reader
must do the speaking, the interpreting to make the text organic.
Application allows the reader to
participate in the creation of meaning.

Gadamer notes that these three steps


understanding, interpretation, and application


are
not sequential. They must occur simultaneously to reach the highest levels of thought.
Globalization of Interpretation
6


Gadamer’s hermeneutics speaks to the principle of externalism, the idea that
each is separated
from the rest of the world, the “I have my mind; you have yours” belief (Kent, 2006
, para. 1
).
Gadamer

prefers a more fluid interaction between the known and the unknown, continuing to
make and remake understanding.

The use of hermeneuti
cs in the international classroom has been considered in a few
areas.
In one case study, i
nstructor
D.K.

Rees

applied Gadamer’s hermeneutics to a study in her
classroom where she compares the responses of Brazilian students to American literature and
discu
sses Gadamer’s notion of the “I” (subject) and the “Thou” (object) of the text (Rees, 2003,
p. 1). In her research, 17 university students read sections of Amy Tan’s
The Joy Luck Club
,
along with several other American works.
From

her findings
, she found
w
ay
s

of “hearing” her
students, along with a way to help them set future goals for development (p. 16).

With future studies, hermeneutics can be a potential tool to develop critical readers and
thinkers with a global foundation, and to create effective pro
gramming and curriculum for the
international school.
Interpretation may be a key to understanding in deeper, more critical ways.

















Globalization of Interpretation
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Reference Page



Brown, J
.S. and Duguid, P.
(2000). The social life of i
nformation. Boston: Harvard Business

Scho
ol Press.


Crossley, M. (2002). Comparative and international education: Contemporary challenges,




reconceptualization and new directions for the field.
Current Issues in Comparative

Education
. 4(2).


Dewey, J. (1980). The school and s
ociety.

Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.


Fenwick, T. (2001). Work knowing on the fly: Post
-
corporate enterprise cultures and co
-

emergent epistemology, Studies in Continuing Education, 23(1), 243
-
259.


Foreign university students: Will they st
ill come? (2010, August 5).
The Economist
. Retrieved

from
http://www.economist.com/node/16743639


Gaudelli, W. (2009). Heuristics of global citizenship discourses towards curriculum

enhancement.
Journal of Curriculum Theorizing
, 25(1).


Greenlees, D. (2
009). International schools grapple with 'staggering' demand
-

At home abroad
-


international herald tribune.
The New York Times
. Retrieved from

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/29/style/29iht
-

ateach.2977024.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

Kent, T. (2006).
Externa
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iscourse
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JAC
, (12)1.

Magrini, J. (2010). Toward a democratic vision of pedagogy: Hermeneutic interpretation through

communicative discourse in the humanities classroom.
Philosophy Scholarship
.

Retrieved from
http://dc.cod.ed
u/philosophypub/19

Pullman, G.
L.

Rhetoric and hermeneutics: Composition, invention, and l
iterature
.

Retrieved

from
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Rees, K.D. (2003, April). Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics: The vantage points and

readers’ responses to an American literature text.
The Reading Matrix
.

Sage, A. (2006, December
11).
Globish cuts E
nglish down to size
.
The Sunday Times
, p.
1
-
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Retrieved from
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article667004.ece



Sotioru, P. (2006). Articulating a hermeneutic pedagogy: The philosophy of interpretation.
JAC
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Too innocent for prejudice? (2009, December 22).
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Varney, J. (2009
).
From he
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social constructivist

approach
to
effective learning
.
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In
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