Monthly Archives: May 2018

5 Languages you Should Learn if you Want to Become a World Citizen

By Aniket Singh (Apple Inc, IIT Madras, Author of “Intern Abroad This Summer”)

Learning a new language is not just about boosting your CV – psychologists have found out that the brains of people who speak two or more languages are wired differently from those who speak only one. It challenges your cognitive skills and your ability to understand and navigate through different cultural systems.

5With the world communicating with each other at a crazy rate these days, knowing only English as a second language is passé. To be a real world citizen you need to know at least a few of these five languages which are spoken by a huge majority of people in this world. Read on to find out what these languages are:

Mandarin: 1.1 billion people speak the primary language of China and that includes Mark Zuckerberg, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and former US president Barack Obama’s daughter, Malia Obama. With exports worth trillions of dollars happening every year and Chinese products sweeping over the global market, it is no wonder that Mandarin is among the most popular languages in the world – and one that you should most definitely learn. There are 330 official institutions around the world that teach Chinese as a second language and more students are enrolling in the institutes to learn about the language, the culture and China.

Spanish: The second most common language in the world, Spanish is spoken by 440 million people around the world, across 44 countries. While a majority of Spanish speakers live in Mexico and Latin America, outside of Spain, there are quite a few in the United States as well. In fact, over 60 million plus Hispanics are expected to live in the United States alone by 2020. Which is a major reason why more Americans are embracing and learning the language today than ever.

French: Historically considered as the ‘Language of Diplomacy’, French is the second most learned language in the world, after English. France is the only language, apart from English which is spoken in all the five continents. There are 75 million native French speakers while people from 29 countries speak the language.

German: The Germans are known for their industrial efficiency, but they are also known for their beer, cars, classical music and their language. Spoken by 90 million people around the world, German is the most spoken mother tongue in Europe. According to the Economist, learning German is also an economically viable option as it has proven to provide the highest annual wage bonuses – 3.8 percent. A large reason behind this is the fact that Germany is such a trade powerhouse. The logical language may sound all serious and stuff, but when you get down to actually learning it, it can be fun.

Arabic: It might be among the most difficult languages to learn, however the fact that Arabic is spoken by an entire region consisting of 22 countries, makes it a must learn. More than 205 million people from the region speak the language, which is the main language of the Muslim world. The Arab world is also home to some of the wealthiest countries in the world,  including the business hub of Dubai, and knowing the language would be a huge bonus while working/doing business there. In addition, the supply of Arabic language  

About the author:


Aniket Singh works for Apple Inc. in California, United States. He is also the author of “Intern Abroad This Summer”.

Aniket holds a BTech degree in Electrical Engineering from the IIT, Madras, Chennai, and a Master’s degree in Wireless Systems from Politecnico Di Torino in Torino, Italy. He has interned at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom and Ecole Polytechnic Federale de Lausanne in Lausanne, Switzerland during this studies.

Visit him at Aniket Singh .

Check out his book at Intern Abroad This Summer


Positive Humour in the Classroom – An Article by Dr Elmi Zulkarnain Osman

Positive Humour in the Classroom – An Article by Dr Elmi Zulkarnain Osman


I would like to take a moment to write about an often-ignored subject matter in teaching. Likely, it is unlikely to be covered in professional development or faculty meetings or university coursework, but I believe it is, nonetheless, a vital, living, breathing component of the classroom, which can transform learning and uplift students and teachers.

Humour. It is present in some classrooms, dreadfully absent in others. It comes natural to some teachers, difficult for many others.

Believe it or not, humour in the classroom has been researched considerably. While the results of humour on student learning is mixed, scholars do point out that there are benefits. However, like any tool, humour can be misconstrued, misused, abused. Therefore, I plan to cover the positive usage of humour with students. Here are 3 reasons to consider “levelling up” the humour level in your classroom:

Reason 1: Easing the Tension

Humour can ease the tension associated with engaging in lessons around issues of racism, politics, and other touchy subjects. Humour can provide a needed break from serious, intense material and discussion. Humour can bring positive feelings to the classroom. When I was a teacher from 2004 to 2013, I would do almost anything to get the class rolling with laughter with voice inflections, exaggerated facial expressions and movements, hilarious personal stories, ridiculous examples; and I encourage my students to do the same.

Reason 2: Bring Content to Life

Humour can help students remember material they learn. Research backs up the idea that humour positively affects levels of interest and attention. Thus, increasing engagement through humour might make the lesson more impactful. Teachers bring lessons to life through parody, games, and comical voices. I used puns, anecdotes, or whatever humorous things I can think of to make lessons more fun, more relevant, and more effective. My students and I laughed every day and it makes being in a school a little more fun.

Reason 3: Placing Yourself as the Teacher in a Positive Life

If we’re honest, teaching is a selling game. If students view you favourably and they are “sold on you,” then they are willing to work harder, listen, and be more cooperative in class. Humour portrays you in a favourable light. In fact, for the professors I know at the National Institue of Education, the use of humour has translated to more positive evaluations by students. However, what’s important to note is that these benefits come from the use of “positive” humour.


Teachers should use humour that comfortably fits who they are and what they teach. Never try to force it and be something you are not. It might help to remember that while I highly recommend humour in teaching, it’s not a necessary component for learning although, I personally believe it helps.

The teachers and professors who have had the greatest impact on me have certainly been those that used humour at least to some extent. They laughed at themselves, at the content, with the students. They loved teaching and learning but they didn’t take themselves too seriously. As a result, the students didn’t either.

Dr Elmi Zulkarnain Osman is an award-winning educator from Singapore, an inspiring motivational speaker, a successful corporate trainer and highly sought-after Malay language coach. He graduated from Trident University International with a PhD in Educational Leadership. Dr Elmi Zulkarnain is the founder and CEO of Elemantra Consultancy (Singapore).