Hi guys! First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all! 2011 promises to be an interesting year. I’m not going to lie to you, there are difficulties – as many of you well know! The Gelmini law has passed, which means it will be an “interesting” year in the Italian university system. For those of you interested, I’ll post the law under the resources page so you can read it. HOWEVER – as we say back home, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. As Hunter S. Thompson said, “when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”. Let’s put the two of these things together. It may be a strange year, this 2011 of ours, but WE can better overcome our difficulties and challenges by focusing on our respective tasks and cooperating to produce an outcome – to help you obtain the BEST DAMN EDUCATION POSSIBLE ON THIS PENINSULA!!! This will take energy and commitment from all of us! I invite you to look at the situation present in the education system, the political system and the economy and ask yourselves – what can I do to contribute to finding solutions now, over the next year, and during my time as a student? Use your time here to strategise the best learning outcomes you can. I’ve worked in universities in Canada, the US, Scotland and Italy and no matter where you are the best learning outcomes derive from the best input. For my part, I promise you that I will do whatever I can to provide the best information and the best service for you. YOU should do the same for yourselves! Yes, this is a motivational speech, but what the hell – once in a while we could all use one! Some of you have exams coming up – please refer to my post on this blog of Dec. 4 2009 (use the archive or the search function). We are all here because of one common factor – a great curiosity to learn how languages, cultures and business processes interact. This is one of the key areas of study of our time – let’s make sure we make the best use of that time possible!
I have been impressed with the level of interaction, honesty and commitment that my students have shown this year. I invite you to maintain that in the face of new challenges. I also invite you to activate your curiosity with the help of your teaching staff to create new approaches to learning about language and culture for business. WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? HOW? Who – US? YES! YOU!!! We have powerful communications tools at our finger tips – links to business and cultural media posted on this blog. Video and audio production capabilities that range from the personal cell-phone to handy-cams and film equipment. We all have the ability to read, photograph, film and otherwise document the cultural events and trends of our time and to SHARE that information and those perspectives with each other through the production of texts, photos and film. SO – I refer to Hunter S. Thompson here – what are we going to do about it? I will be happy to post home-produced mp3s, photos or video accompanied by explanations, critique or analysis regarding intersections between language, culture and business on this blog. As well, we can use material produced by you in class. Read the economic, business and cultural literature in your mothertongues and languages of study. Inform yourselves about how and why the cultural-economic spectrum is changing and the effects that has globally, nationally and locally. Document and produce your own analyses of these changes and share them with the rest of us. Hell, we might as well take an active interest in the lives we live!
So – it may be a challenging 2011, but good – with the intelligent and strategic application of energy to the questions at hand, it can also be a very happy one! This is my wish for you all.