Jay Walker: The world’s English mania

Jay Walker explains why two billion people around the world are trying to learn English. He shares photos and spine-tingling audio of Chinese students rehearsing English — “the world’s second language” — by the thousands.


Watch the TED talk, listen carefully and answer the questions below:


Comprehension Questions


  1. What is the worlds new mania?


  1. When do the Chinese start learning English?


  1. How many Chinese students have taken the gaokao exam?


  1. What does Jay Walker say is the language of science?


  1. What does English represent?





Watch the video again from 02:08 to 02:50 and fill in the blanks:


Why English? In a single word: (6) ___________. Opportunity for a better life, a job, to be able to pay for school, or put better food on the table. Imagine a student taking a (7) _______ test for three full days. Her score on this one test literally determines her future. She studies (8) ____ hours a day for three years to prepare. Twenty-five percent of her grade is based on English. It’s called the gaokao, and 80 million high school Chinese students have (9) ________ taken this grueling test. The intensity to learn English is almost unimaginable, unless you (10) _________ it.



True or False?


Listen to the material again and answer true or false to the following statements:


  1. Three billion people are trying to learn English worldwide.


  1. By law you have to start learning English in the third grade.


  1. Twenty – five percent of her grade is based on English.


  1. Music is the language of nature


  1. English represents hope for a better past.






  1. learning English
  2. in the third grade
  3. 80 million
  4. mathematics
  5. a hope for a better future
  6. opportunity
  7. giant
  8. 12
  9. already
  10. witness
  11. (F) its two billion
  12. (T)
  13. (T)

14 (F) it represents hope for a better future

  1. (F) its the language of emotions.


Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel. He has worked as an IELTS tutor since 2010, has completed both TEFL and CELTA courses, and has a certificate from Cambridge for Teaching Writing. In 2018, he wrote the popular IELTS handbook, Grammar for IELTS Writing. His other IELTS website is called IELTS Teaching.

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1 Comment

  1. 1 learning English
    2 in the third grade
    3 80 million
    4 mathematics
    5 a hope for a better future
    6 opportunity
    7 giant
    8 12
    9 already
    10 witness
    11 F its two billion
    12 T
    13 T
    14 F It represents hope for a better future
    15 F Its the language of emotions.

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