Which English to Teach?

August 2009 Issue

The English language has established itself as the most influential global language of communication in different countries around the world. It is one of the major languages taught in schools and universities. Most countries have adopted either the British or the North American variety of English as a target for teaching and learning purposes. But research studies have shown that there are new and legitimate varieties of Englishes in countries like Singapore, India, South Africa and the Philippines, and they too are governed by linguistic and sociolinguistic rules of use and usage. In addition, most people use English in order to communicate with the people belonging to different linguistic backgrounds in order to carry out real world communicative tasks in events like business transactions, conferences, transnational negotiations, etc.

The notion that few center countries own English as their sole property has been questioned due to its expanding role worldwide. Due to its global spread and emergence of new varieties when it has come in contact with other languages and cultures, no one nation or group of nations can claim the sole ownership. The obvious claim is that the people who employ English for communication must have a sense of ownership and agency over it. Therefore, the pedagogical policies and practices must inform the learners that they are learning English that belongs to them and that they can find their identity with it. So English is no more ‘foreign’ or ‘alien’ to the learners. Closely connected to the question of ownership is the traditional dichotomy between native and non-native speakers. The native speaker construct on genetic or ethnic ground is unjustifiable, and to assume that there are idealized native speakers of English is a myth. Native speakerness is not a fixed identity but is socially-culturally constructed identity. Other more neutral terms related to affiliation or proficiency like more/less proficient, expert/novice user might replace the NS/NNS dichotomy. Vivian Cook, for example, prefers to use the term ‘successful second language learner’ for the more proficient user of language. This discussion and debate questions the fundamental goal of traditional English language teaching: To make the learners able to communicate with the native speakers of English which is unattainable or irrelevant target. Since there exist no idealized native speakers or since everybody can be a native speaker of English if s/he has mastery over it (See Davies, 2003), then there is a need to redefine the goal of language teaching.

Against this backdrop, Aya Matsuda provides a case study of Japan (where American English is an ideal target for curricular goals) in the article entitled “Incorporating World Englishes in Teaching English as an International Language” published in TESOL Quarterly in 2003. She analyzes the textbooks used in the Japanese public schools and justifies the need to incorporate other outer circle countries’ English speaking characters and dialogues in the course books. She also points out that we can bring in the fluent speakers of English from other parts of world rather than only from the center English speaking countries. I have quoted the main highlights of her argument in the following bullets:

  • The  international  scope  of  learners’  English  learning  agenda should  logically  be  matched  by  pedagogical  approaches  that  teach English as an international language (EIL), in part through inclusion of varieties of World Englishes (p.719).
  • Teaching  inner-circle  English  in  Japan  neglects the real linguistic needs of the  learners, eclipses their education  about the  history  and  politics  of  English,  and  fails  to  empower  them  with ownership of English (p. 721).
  • Teachers themselves must be aware of the  current  landscape  of  the  English  language.  Teacher education programs for pre-service EFL teachers need to focus on both the inner circle and the outer circle varieties of English (p. 725).
  • Incorporating  World Englishes  does  not  mean removing  native  varieties  from  English  classes  or  replacing  them  with less-perfect  ones;  rather,  they  add  to  the  current  repertoire  and  thus enrich  the curriculum (p. 726).

She concludes her argument as:

“Presenting the  complexity  of  the  sociolinguistic  reality  of  English  is  needed  to prepare  learners  for  their  future  use  of  English that  may  involve  both NNSs  and  NSs  and  that  may  take  place  in  any  part  of  the  world.  The understanding  of World Englishes  does  not  consist of a  set  of  discrete items or topics that can  be tucked in at the beginning of the semester, between  formal  chapters,  or during the first 5 minutes  of  every  lesson and  then  be  forgotten.  It  is,  rather,  a  different  way  of  looking  at  the language,  which  is  more  inclusive,  pluralistic,  and  accepting  than  the traditional,  monolithic  view  of  English  in  which  there  is  one  correct, standard way of using English that all speakers must strive for. In a sense, incorporating World Englishes is like putting on a new pair of glasses— the detail and complexity of the world we suddenly see may initially be overwhelming,  but  in  the  long  run,  we  would  have  a  better  view  and understanding of English as an international language (EIL)” (p. 727).

Though the arguments and examples come from the Japanese EFL context, they have implications for Nepal too, and we English teachers can draw insights and develop our awareness of the plurality of English. Please find the attached article in the neltamail and provide your comments via the ‘comment’ link below.

The English language has established itself as the most influential global language of communication in different countries around the world. It is one of the major languages taught in schools and universities. Most countries have adopted either t

June 09: Problematizing English Language Teaching Methods

Introduction: NeltaChoutari June 2009 Issue

The global spread of English has given rise to a new form of global power to the English speaking countries through worldwide ELT industry “serving the interest of English speaking-countries as well as native speakers and native-speaking professionals” (Kumaravadivelu, 2006:13). These countries have a firm grip over textbook production (Gray, 2002), teacher education and training (Goverdhan, Nayar and Sheorey, 1999), and research on classroom pedagogy. Holliday (1994) adds another point when he says “almost all the internationally established literature on English language education is published in these countries which at present seem to have a virtual monopoly on received methodology (p. 12). Kumaravadivelu (2006) further argues that the English language and its teaching carries its colonial form from four perspectives– scholastic, linguistic, cultural and economic. According to him, the scholastic dimension refers to the dissemination of Western knowledge which makes the local knowledge less valuable, the linguistic dimension refers to the global spread of English and its effects on local languages and knowledge, the cultural dimension is concerned with how the teaching of English carries with it the culture of the English speaking countries and makes the local culture less valuable, and finally the economic aspect refers to the financial gain for the English speaking countries and their ELT professionals by the commodification of the teaching of English.

The countries and the people in the periphery, on the other hand, regard English as a gatekeeper and a major key to upward social and economic mobility. The fallacies that native speakers make the best teachers, textbooks written by the White English speaking people are the authentic ones, and knowledge that these English native speakers produce and distribute is the legitimate one are still prevalent among the English teaching professionals in those countries. All these fallacies have given rise to a perceived importance and role of English native speakers– which Holliday (1994) calls native speakerism. Holliday (1994) further argues that the teachers in the periphery countries regard native speakers as the source of pedagogical knowledge, and regard their own practice, experience and knowledge as inferior compared to the people from native English speaking countries. In this way, the role of English as a major international language in most countries in the world has seemingly served the purpose of both types of countries: the English speaking countries are serving their interest by ‘exporting’ the knowledge in the form of textbooks, teaching methods, teaching professionals, teacher trainers, and several English language teaching projects and programs, and the countries in the receiving end where English is used as an additional language are happy to consume that ‘imported’ knowledge and see it as a form of empowerment, democratization and globalization.

In this changing global context, the English language teaching profession has undergone a sea change over the last four decades. The variables of change can be observed almost in all aspects of English pedagogy: who teaches English, who learns English and why, the socio-political context in which English is taught and learnt, and the variety of English that is the target of teaching and learning. As a consequence, teacher education has become more challenging but remained limited to almost the same goals, i.e. to make the teachers able to do the profession (Johnson, 2006). The notion that there exist universal principles and theories of English language teaching that are applicable to all the settings in the world has been questioned and criticized by a number of scholars in applied linguistics and TESOL (Canagarajah, 2005; Kumaravadivelu, 2006; Holliday, 1994; Pennycook, 1989). Theories and methods of English language teaching in the past have largely failed to address the realities that actually take place in the classroom (Johnson, 2006). There are also concerns that the theorized body of knowledge in second language teacher education in the West (e.g. in North America and United Kingdom) have little bearing on actual classroom teaching environments in the countries of the periphery (Kumarvedevalu, 2006; Canagarajah, 2005). Rajagopalan (2005), for example, argues that expert knowledge that is produced by a bulk of research studies fails to take account of the “specificities as well as the diversities of local environments” (p. 100) of language teaching. The English language teaching methods, for example audiolingualism and communicative language teaching, are the concepts first produced and practiced in the West. English teachers, therefore, have had a challenge to implement them in the Asian countries like Japan, Korea and Nepal because these methodologies were invented without necessarily knowing the diverse classroom situations in different contexts (Holliday, 1994). Pennycook (1989) eloquently argues that knowledge is always political in nature and it attempts to protect and represent the interest of a certain social group. In other words, knowledge construction and distribution “represents the particular view of the world and it is articulated in the interests of unequal power relations” (pp. 589—590).

Though there has been recently an awareness among the professionals in TESOL recognizing the importance and role of local knowledge (e.g. Canagarajah, 2005; Edge, 2003) and lived experiences of language teachers (Johnson, 2006), this has been far from practical reality. Realizing that theories and methods of teaching English from the West cannot address the problems and particularities of local teaching contexts, Kumaravadivelu (2006) has laid down a number of principles that characterize the post-method pedagogy arguing for an urgent need to localize the teaching of English. He further specifies his perspectives by using three parameters of pedagogy: parameter of particularity, practicality and possibility. According to him, the parameter of particularity “seeks to facilitate the advancement of a context-sensitive, location-specific pedagogy that is based on a true understanding of local linguistic, sociocultural and political particularities” (p. 21). The parameter of practicality focuses on the relation between theory and practice- “encouraging teachers to theorize from their practice and practice what they theorize” (p. 21) and the parameter of possibility “seeks to tap the sociopolitical consciousness that students bring with them to the classroom so that it can function as a catalyst for a continual quest for identity formation and social transformation” (p. 21).

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that in second/foreign language teaching, acquisition of pedagogical skills and knowledge plays an important role to meet the goals of language teaching programs. It is also not contested that one way to acquire the pedagogical knowledge by the teachers is to learn from the people who know more about the field, have more years of research and teaching experience and can articulate their theoretical and practical knowledge in research publications. Reviewing the literature, however, history of English language teaching profession shows that English language teaching principles, methods and techniques were researched and theorized in the Western countries, and they were exported to other countries where English is taught as a second or a foreign language, and those who applied these theories took very little attention to the socio-cultural realities and constraints of the contexts where the language was actually being taught. This is also true in the case of teacher training and teacher development programs where the teachers in the periphery context perceive native speakers as the ‘source’ of best pedagogical practices. And looking at the other side of the coin, native English speaking countries and their ELT professionals also think that they make the best teacher trainers because English is ‘their’ language. This fallacy exists among English teaching professionals in both English speaking and non-English speaking countries. It is obvious that any universal English language teaching methods cannot address the pedagogical issues and challenges that the English teachers are facing in diverse contexts around the world,; there are no readily available universal pedagogical theories and practices that can be easily picked up and implemented in all kinds of settings. The overarching argument in this issue of our web magazine calls for an urgency of theorizing local pedagogical practices that make use of local knowledge and resources, and one way to do so is to develop professional networking among the teachers in the local level and incorporate their lived teaching experiences in English teaching theories and methods.

This issue includes the folloing columns:
1. Three scholarly articles
2. Teacher’s anecdote
3. Classroom humor
4. An audio clip (Multilingualism in Nepal)

REFERENCES

Canagarajah, S. (2005). Reconstructing local knowledge, reconfiguring language studies. In S. Canagarajah (ed.) Reclaiming the local in language policy and practice (pp. 3-24). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Canagarajah, A. S. (1999). Resisting linguistic imperialism in English teaching. Oxford: OxfordUniversity Press.

Edge, J. (ed.). (2006). (Re)locating TESOL in an age of empire. London: Palgrave.

Edge, J. (2003). Imperial troopers and servants of the lord: A vision of TESOL for the 21st century. TESOL Quarterly, 37, 701—709.

Govardhan, A. K., Nayar, B., and Sheorey, R. (1999). Do US MATESOL programs prepare students to teach abroad? TESOL Quarterly, 33, 114—125.

Gray, J. (2002). The global coursebook in English language teaching. In D. Block & D. Cameron (Eds.), Globalization and language teaching (pp. 151—167). London: Routledge.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2006). Dangerous liaison: Globalization, empire and TESOL. In J.    Edge (ed.) (Re)locating TESOL in an age of empire (pp. 158-170). New York: Palgrave.

Johnson, K. E. (2006). The sociocultural turn and its challenges for second language teacher education. TESOL Quarterly, 40, 235—257.

Holliday, A. (1994). Appropriate methodology and social context. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Pennycook, A. (1989). The concept of method, interested knowledge, and the politics of language. TESOL Quarterly 23, 589-618.

Rajagobalan, K. (2005). The language issue on Brazil: When local knowledge clashes        with expert knowledge. In S. Canagarajah (ed.) Reclaiming the local in language policy and practice (pp. 99—122). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Scholarly Articles June 09

Abstracts of three scholarly are provided are here. Please go to source to read entire texts.

1. Kumaravadivelu, B. (2006). TESOL methods, changing tracks, challenging trends. TESOL Quarterly, 40, 59-81. Abstract This article traces the major trends in TESOL methods in the past 15 years. It focuses on the TESOL profession’s evolving perspectives on language teaching methods in terms of three perceptible shifts: (a) from communicative language teaching to task-based language teaching, (b) from method-based pedagogy to postmethod pedagogy, and (c) from systemic discovery to critical discourse. It is evident that during this transitional period, the profession has witnessed a heightened awareness about communicative and task-based language teaching, about the limitations of the concept of method, about possible postmethod pedagogies that seek to address some of the limitations of method, about the complexity of teacher beliefs that inform the practice of everyday teaching, and about the vitality of the macrostructures— social, cultural, political, and historical—that shape the microstructures of the language classroom. This article deals briefly with the changes and challenges the trend-setting transition seems to be bringing about in the profession’s collective thought and action. Read more…

2. Pennycook, A. (1989). The concept of method, interested knowledge, and the politics of language. TESOL Quarterly 23, 589-618. Abstract Examining the concept of Method in second language education, this paper argues that both a historical analysis and an investigation of its current use reveal little conceptual coherence. Ultimately, the term seems to obfuscate more than to clarify our understanding of language teaching. While this may seem at first a minor quibble over terminology, there are in fact far more serious implications. By relating the role of teaching theory to more general concerns about the production of interested knowledge and the politics of language teaching, this paper argues that Method is a prescriptive concept that articulates a positivist, progressivist, and patriarchal understanding of teaching and plays an important role in maintaining inequities between, on the one hand, predominantly male academics and, on the other, female teachers and language classrooms on the international power periphery. (Please find this article in Nelta Mail archive).

3. Akbari, R. (2008) Postmethod discourse and practice. TESOL Quarterly, 42, 641-652. Introduction The second language (L2) teaching profession has gone through a number of dramatic changes during the last two decades. A look at journal articles and topics included in teacher development books shows a broadening of scope in terms of the number and the depth of the topics addressed. Language teaching, one can conclude, has become more inclusive in the sense that more of the reality of the lives of students, and at times those of teachers, are taken on board as significant in affecting the outcomes of teaching and learning (Tudor, 2003). Topics such as World Englishes (Kachru, 1986, 2005), critical applied linguistics (Carlson, 2004; Pennycook 2001; Toolan, 2002), critical discourse analysis (Kumaravadivelu, 1999; Riggins, 1997), ethnography of communication (Harklau, 2005; Hymes, 1996), qualitative research (Davis, 1995; Richards, 2003), and linguistic imperialism (Phillipson, 1992, 2003) have turned into common themes of discussion and research. The social/political consciousness one observes in the profession was certainly lacking during most of the 1980s. Language teaching, in a sense, has parted with its quest for metanarratives and grand theories and instead has become involved in “the messy practice of crossing boundaries” (Canagarajah, 2006, p. 30, emphasis in original). Read more…

ELT, Globalization, and Local Epistemologies

Introduction: NeltaChoutari March 2009

Add 17 and 6, multiply the sum by 2, then subtract 6 from the result, and finally divide that by 2. Now, if you ask me why I asked you to do that calculation, and if I say that I have no reason except to ask you to do some math, would you like that? For many years, I have thought of education in Nepal as a formalized exercise where teachers don’t feel the need to let students know why they are doing what they are doing. This disease of institutionalized education is not just a Nepalese phenomenon (”teaching in a vacuum” was an important subject of discussion, research, and educational policy-making in the US in the 1980s and the concern is still there when it comes to grade school education), but it seems to me that we are doing this so well that we are probably very high on the list of societies doing meaningless math and purposeless language teaching. As teachers of English in Nepal, let us think more critically than usual for one moment about the PURPOSE of teaching our students a language for one and a half decades. If we think in habitual ways, we will come up with very simple answers, including these: English is a language of international communication, it is an access to global resources of knowledge…. If we think less superficially, we will come across some other not so simple issues, including these: English is a language whose imposition as the language of instruction in societies like ours makes content learning ineffective, it is a tool of social power that can further disempower learners from marginalized communities…. And finally, if we think more critically, we will stumble upon some significant confusions, such as these: Do we really know how learning something IN English makes learning more effective, compared to learning the same thing by using our own languages? If the purpose of education is knowledge, are we not putting the cart of English in front of the horse of content? Are we not confusing the purpose of teaching language as means by putting it before the larger intellectual purpose of teaching as helping students to be(come) producers of knowledge? We have seen tourists learn Nepalese in a few months, and we have seen the world’s best philosophers, scientists, and businessmen from non-English backgrounds function as well as the products of our “boarding” schools–well, actually better, you might want to add. There is no doubt that there are simple answers about what we spend our lives doing–teaching a language. But, wait, should we just be teaching language as if it were for its own sake, or should we be teaching language as a means and part of a larger process called educating people? Let us not jump to thoughtless answers like, “I teach English and the science teacher teaches science.” No theory of language learning supports the idea of teaching it for 15 years, for Pete’s sake! So, there is no doubt that there are simple answers; but it is our responsibility to help our educational leaders, national policy-makers, parents, and teachers think more critically about the over-emphasis the “society” has given to English in Nepal, over-emphasis at the cost of rendering learning ideas and producing knowledge-makers less important than producing graduates who can speak English fluently, kararara! What the heck are people supposed to do with fluency of language if that language diminishes the effectiveness of learning itself? Should we blame the society for not doing anything about it? There is no visible agent called the society: logically, this invisible target of our blame for such a serious thing like a nation’s wrong-headed educational priority is height of our professional irresponsibility. Let’s own that first. During a discussion about education in Nepal the other day, a Nepalese-American fellow said that it is crazy to talk about education and stuff while the politicians are wrecking the society indefinitely. We have just enough stupid people who don’t believe in the value of professional dialog. Let’s not just join them. Let’s talk and understand problems even when they seem to be far beyond our control. I don’t think Newton wanted to control gravity in any way when he had the urge to understand it. Let’s communicate our ideas, dissatisfaction, or solutions to problems that we perceive and influence one person. Those of us who make or influence policy, government, or at least institutions, let’s do what we can. Thinking can and must happen even when the country is in a wreck. Talking can happen too. In fact, we should not take for granted that we can talk across the globe and share our thoughts publicly and permanently through the many fast and powerful media. Solutions don’t happen before we identify and discuss problems. It might sound somewhat logical when someone says, as many people do when you start talking about making learning practical, that students need to learn the “skills” of math itself first and they will figure out themselves how to solve problems by applying their knowledge in the future (a math teacher must teach math), that they first need to be proficient in the English language so they can communicate and study further in the future (we’re there to teach language, not to solve problems of the system), that we DO NOT have the “resources” to make teaching practical, and so on. Those arguments sound reasonable in themselves but when we consider them more critically they are the result of irresponsible and lazy thinking. It is possible to start making learning more meaningful by communicating the purpose and creating situations or problems in the class for students to solve (give 50 points for class activities and the other 50 for exams that test students under terrible anxiety and artificial context). It’s not impossible to understand ourselves and also share with our students the limitations of our learning environment. It is possible to motivate students by informing them how what they learn will benefit and empower them (let students write about their lives and ideas and let grammar take care of itself for a while). It is possible for us to UNDERSTAND, discuss, and rethink our teaching. Understanding is the best resource, best capital, best investment and we don’t have to be nationally poor in that regard. It is time that we question, discuss, rethink, and honestly assess our profession. No, we cannot change the entire educational or political structure, but our questioning, discussing, rethinking, and assessing of our work and priorities can lead us into having better ideas and then making our work more meaningful and satisfying. Professional discussion can help us use English language teaching to achieve the larger purpose of educating our students: social and intellectual empowerment. Professional dialog can help us avoid teaching a mere language but teach language as a means of finding, processing, and presenting new knowledge, a means for becoming knowledge-makers. The Principal, the education board, the “society” may set very restrictive limits on what book we teach, but we don’t need to let them do the thinking about the perspective and attitude about learning we want to instill in our students. We can at least do that. No one can stop us from helping our students understand the purpose behind and beyond just learning a language.

Ira Shor: “Education Is Politics: An Agenda for Empowerment”

Scholarly Article 2: Nelta Choutari April 2009 Issue

When we say that NELTA is a non-political organization, we use the word “politics” to mean something that has to do with politicians, political parties, and political ideology that divides people into parties and party affiliations. But there is another important meaning of the word “politics”: any practice, problem, or phenomenon as seen from the point of view of social or institutional policy. We can say that the practice and policy of requiring English as a medium of instruction in private schools involves a social “politics” about education. Issues of economic class and social power, of values attached to gender and ethnicity, of prestige attached to the same knowledge gained through different languages, and such other subjects are deeply political in the context of our education system in Nepal. Yes, we should avoid politics in education in the first sense of the word described above. But if we think we are doing good to our students or our profession by avoiding the discussion of social, economic, cultural, ethnic, gender, or such other value-based questions about teaching English–or teaching anything for that matter–then we are being unintellectual, insensitive, and irresponsible, to say the least. In his article “Education Is Politics: An Agenda for Empowerment,” Ira Shor discusses how we can and must socially as well as intellectually empower our students not only by engaging ourselves in the discussion of politics inherent in the design and system of education but also by encouraging students themselves to ask those questions, because the practice of education that pretends to be non-political is usually impractical, unjust, or even oppressive. Any education system tries to socialize and shape students’ knowledge, behaviour, and values; therefore, it is dishonest to not allow and help students think critically about social issues that affect their learning and lives–yes, even in high school. The question is not whether to make students critically conscious about the purpose, problems, and politics of education; the question is how to. In a context like ours, we might need to do so carefully, slowly, intelligibly. The goal of this awareness teaching, on top of language or information teaching is, Shor argues, democratic participation, critical awareness, and affective involvement of the learner in the process of learning. Only awareness IN the students, not just teachers, can help students participate in helping them and their future society overcome the political status quo and injustice inherent in today’s educational system and society. The article  is posted on NeltaMail.

To STEAL or to TELL (ELT in a Global Era)

Scholarly Article, NeltaChoutari April 2009

Seonagh McPherson: “To STEAL or to TELL: Teaching English in the Global Era”

In the article “To STEAL or to TELL: Teaching English in the Global Era,” Seonagh MacPherson proposes a constructive model for teaching English that will help us avoid destroying the languages and cultures of non-English speaking learners, and thereby the meaning, motivation, and purpose of learning itself. The most important idea in this essay (second half) is that we must not teach a foreign language as if to “STEAL (Surreptitiously Teach English as an Assimilationist Language) (79)” but to “TELL (Teach English as a Liberatory Language) (86).” When English language is taught without empowering the learners themselves, the happy prospect of making our students able to speak in English will in the long run turn into the “cataclysmic erosion or outright elimination of human diversity in languages, cultures, and consciousnesses.” It sounds scary but that is what English teaching is doing to a great extent in many countries like ours in the world today. You might wonder if there is any good to this skeptical outlook—oh, yes, there is. Through critical thinking about our profession, we can help create a richer body of knowledge and better goals for language learning, and we can help our students become better citizens and intellectuals, as compared to teaching grammar and making our students love the bell at the end a lot more than the learning during the hour. If we make local knowledge the primary substance and empowerment our primary goal of English language teaching, we can not only help students better realize the positive potentials of learning English but also make them use it as a “conduit to the ‘global,’ transnational network of education, justice, economic development, and mobility … [or] what liberation means to most people in the world” (86). As a teacher of Tibetan refugees in India, MacPherson speaks from direct experience of how disenfranchised people are able to join, with the medium of English , into the “transnational community of people who support their political, activist, religious, ecological, and economic aspiration and needs.” Our context and realities are not far removed from the learners he is talking about. MacPherson proposes that English teachers should advocate “multilingual, multiliterate, and intercultural curricula as central to the postcolonial educational agenda” (89). His conclusion is an insightful one: “Thus, it may very well be that our struggles with globalization, and with English as the language of globalization, ultimately become the struggle to understand our collective place in the universe” (90)—that is, if English could be taught to “TELL” and not to “STEAL.” MacPherson weighs both the benefits and dangers of teaching English as a global language, and then concludes that “a genuine … resolution is to negotiate a way for humanity to move beyond the sense of a narrow choice between extremes of [global] monocultural assimilation and [local] fundamentalism[s]” which will constitute an “international, intercultural Third Space” towards a better understanding of world communities through what he calls the “presence of choice” (79) that will help people from all societies and cultures learn from one another. A more critically conscious language teaching pedagogy would enhance the struggle of the people of different cultures and contexts to understand one another by not only having a means to communicate with other cultures but also the substance to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the global village we live today. Article is posted on NeltaMail.

Techer Experience as Professional Resource

Introduction to Scholarly Articles: Nelta Choutari March 2009

Jin (pseudonym), a teacher from Singapore, as described in Farrell (2006), faced many complications as a newly qualified teacher (NQT). The first complication was the conflict between his approach to teaching English and expectation of the school. His second complication was related to the conflict between what he wanted to teach (i.e. content) and what he was required to teach. He has many other complications. The important thing to mention here is; how did he solve these complications and establish himself as an English language teacher? Jin’s story can be downloaded in the form of a .pdf file here.

Minfang (pseudonym), a teacher from China, has also faced similar complications. Minfang got no personal satisfaction. He did not want to encourage any discussion in case his “disgraceful past” has inadvertently revealed in the course of discussion. Nor did he want to be a popular teacher, because in Chinese culture, a teacher who is popular among students is perceived as a teacher of little substance and one who has nothing but relationships to win the students’ hearts. He found working in a hierarchical institution oppressive with so many powerful people above him. He could not apply CLT into his classes and so on. However, he established himself as the best teacher in the school. Mingfang’s exciting story can be downloaded as a .pdf file here.

Choutari Feb 09: Scholarly Articles

Introduction to Research Articles (Nelta Choutari February 2009 Issue)

English in Classroom’ and ‘Alternative Curriculum’

In the first section, we have attached an article on ‘annotation’ published in 2005 in the journal English in Education. Literally put, annotation is the use of underlines, highlights, comments, and notes written by the students in textbooks. They are, nevertheless, very useful strategy employed by the students to manipulate texts, and show their agency over reading materials. Though this article reports the findings of the research study which was carried out in the setting where English is a native language, they are very useful in all the ESL and EFL contexts. Click click here to access the article.

The second item is an article on a case study of two students with learning disabilities. The findings that come out of these studies provide the English teachers with various lenses to look at the challenges of students who superficially have learning problems. Have we as teachers ever thought whether we can review our own teaching-learning activities and our curricula to address diverse needs of our students? This research provides insightful suggestions for language teachers and program administrators to understand L2 teaching-learning process better. Click click here to access the article.

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