The next time you’re at Home Depot, IKEA, or even some grocery stores, you may have a choice to use ‘Self-Service Checkout’ (i.e. automation), or wait in line a little longer in order to have the opportunity to interact with a human.

Our society is moving toward automation, and it is crowding out many lower-end jobs, and even changing mid-range jobs (like career advisory businesses).

Parallel to this, the language promoted in most group ESL settings is geared toward finding a job. Even for those who speak English as their first language, education has become largely a matter of finding a slot in the work world, not exploring connections, fine-tuning perceptions, or questioning assumptions about the way things work.

This is why it is important to teach creative language, independently. It is essential to preserve the soulful ability to communicate across job-slots, beyond ethnic enclaves and over the tops of cubicles. What else do we really have, but our ability to connect empathically? Once this has been subsumed into only being a great ‘team player’ for our company, we will, quite possibly, have forfeited the heart of what makes us human.