Disney Operating English Language Schools

Are you looking for something to talk about with your English learners today? Here is a story that will get your students talking!

“I don’t want to go to school!” Do you know any children who say this on a daily basis? What if Mickey Mouse or The Little Mermaid were in that child’s class? For children who live in China, this dream could be a reality.

Disney is now operating English language schools in China. Many parents believe Disney can inspire children to learn the most important language in the world. Critics say Disney should stay out of education.

Read the article from the Economist. If the level of English is too difficult for your students, you can summarize the main points. Then discuss the issue. You may also want to try some of the related materials from our library.

Discussion Questions

1. The article states that Chinese parents view English as a “ticket to the wider world”. What does this mean?
2. Would you send your child to an English school run by Disney? Why or why not?
3. Read through the comments from the article. Do you agree or disagree with one of the comments strongly?
For example: “…Disney exemplifies that by catering to what the Chinese value, in this case education, they can at least get a foot in the door.”
4. Should English be the most important subject in school in a country such as China? Why or why not?
5. Why are children so attracted to Disney characters and films? Do you think these characters can help children learn English?

While our Something to Talk About suggestions are useful for getting your students gabbing, the topics, articles, and videos can also be used if you are looking for something for your students to blog/Skype/or write an opinion essay about.

Related in the ESL-Library:
Famous Places: Disneyland
Mini-Debates: English Globalization

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