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Preparing Teachers to Teach English as an International Language
By Aya Matsuda
Multilingual MattersCopyright © 2017 Aya Matsuda and the authors of individual chapters
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Foundations of an EIL-aware Teacher Education
Yasemin Bayyurt and Nicos Sifakis
Introduction: ESL, EFL and the Current Global Reality
The education of teachers of English as a foreign/second language has always been a central concern in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). In the past, teacher education has focused on academically preparing teachers-to-be or informing in-service English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) teachers about all matters regarding the pedagogy of English as a foreign/second language, taking into consideration the context in which they were to find themselves (Freeman & Johnson, 1998). Context is highlighted as a key aspect of teacher education and one of its essential characteristics is typically linked to the status of English: if English is the dominant language or one of the dominant languages, then ongoing exposure to it outside the classroom is a given; if English is not used extensively, or at all, then exposure to it is limited to the classroom and dependent on the courseware used. In the former case, the context is termed 'English as a second language' (henceforth ESL), the idea being that learners have to ultimately 'add' English to their own first language (L1) because they need it in order to be able to 'survive' in their ESL setting. In the latter case, the context is termed 'English as a foreign language' (henceforth EFL), the idea being that learners need to have adequate knowledge of English which, in most cases, takes the form of a certificate of their proficiency, and may be used either for professional or academic purposes. Although the EFL and the ESL contexts are often conflated, they are very different, and this repeatedly shows in field studies of learners' knowledge and usage of English (e.g. Nayar, 1997; Schauer, 2006).
Despite the differences between EFL and ESL, it would be fair to say that, from the point of view of teaching instruction, these two orientations tend to be treated as not being all that different. The underlying assumption is that, in both contexts, learners have to learn what has come to be termed standard English (henceforth SE), namely, 'the variety whose grammar has been described and given public recognition in grammar books and dictionaries, with its norms being widely considered to be "correct" and constituting "good usage"' (Trudgill & Hannah, 2008: 92). Variations are certainly allowed, but these depend on the context and are not treated as being very extensive. ESL settings are more closely dependent upon the SE variety that is closer to the teaching context (e.g. British English [henceforth BE] in the UK, General America [henceforth GA] in the USA, Australian English in Australia, South African English in South Africa and so on). On the other hand, EFL settings tend to be dominated by one of the two more widely used SE varieties, BE or GA. This picture becomes more complicated as different settings have different types of dependences on different varieties of English (Kirkpatrick, 2007). The very existence of many contexts where English is used successfully and consistently by so-called nonnative speakers has given rise to many new standardized varieties of English, such as Singapore English (Deterding, 2007), Philippine English (Bautista & Bolton, 2008) or Nigerian English (Mesthrie, 2008) and has led many scholars to attack the selection, by policymakers, of GA or BE as the sole varieties that learners should be expected to learn and be examined upon (e.g. Kachru & Nelson, 2006). The spread of English is globally so pervasive that, even in settings with no connection to either a standard or an emerging variety of English, we see successful and at times creative uses of English by so-called nonnative users: this perspective has been termed English as a lingua franca, or ELF (Jenkins et al., 2011, Seidlhofer, 2011).
An important ingredient in English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) teacher education is the reflective component (Kumaravadivelu, 2012). Teachers are not just passive receivers of knowledge and skills, but rather they are expected to be autonomous practitioners who are able to make informed decisions about virtually all aspects of teaching, from researching and responding to their learners' individual needs to selecting and/or adapting courseware to applying appropriate assessment and testing techniques. This reflective component was significantly strengthened in the past two decades by developments such as the so-called social turn in applied linguistics (Block, 2003; Freeman & Johnson, 1998) and postmethod pedagogy (Kumaravadivelu, 1994). These developments showcased the importance of the element of communication, language use, teaching and learning and emphasized the importance of tailoring instruction to the cognitive, affective, cultural and other needs of individual learners.
The Global Spread of English: Developments and Consequences
While the ESL and EFL constructs have for a long time been acceptable and convenient orientations in the world of TESOL, the rapid and unprecedented spread of English on a global scale in recent years has prompted significant developments in both applied linguistics and TESOL. What follows is a brief understanding of these developments and what has caused them.
English is used very extensively around the world. The term 'World Englishes' (WE) shows the central role and status of English in different domains around the globe. Settings where English was one of the languages enjoying legal recognition (e.g. India, Pakistan, Nigeria or Singapore) are rapidly recognized as 'native speaker' or Inner Circle settings (see above). Similarly, the growing number of competent nonnative users of English around the world has challenged the notion of 'EFL'. The concept of 'foreignness' hints at a distance between the learners and the language they learn (Ehlich, 2009: 27) that is more akin to other major foreign languages, like French, German or Chinese. Yet more and more learners of English in the traditional EFL world feel a sense of ownership toward that language that they do not claim for any other language other than their own L1. Admittedly, this sense of ownership is currently limited to certain domains of usage (for example, face-to-face interaction and online communication involving videogames, chatting, etc.), but it is rapidly expanding to more and more domains (e.g. Grau, 2009) and seems to have an impact on changing users' and learners' attitudes (Kormos et al., 2011; Kubota & McKay, 2009; Ranta, 2010). However, that sense of ownership is not reflected in the classrooms of these EFL settings, where teaching follows the 'traditional' EFL approach, i.e. an approach that prioritizes, almost entirely, learners' exposure to and assessment on the basis of native speaker norms, or SE (Bayyurt, 2012; Sifakis, 2009; Sifakis & Sougari, 2005).
Still, norms of usage are bound to change more rapidly than before and are influenced by successful communicative encounters involving an increasing number of native and competent nonnative users. In fact, the very notion of 'native speaker' is challenged (Graddol, 2006). SE (in any shape or form) is no longer the sole candidate for learning English. Users of English need to be able to adapt to communicative settings that involve other nonnative users. The ability to communicate successfully in new intercultural settings, and to do so using English, is considered a central '21st century' or 'soft' skill by international institutions such as OECD (2015) and UNESCO (Medel-Añonuevo et al., 2001).
The above changes give rise to a number of concerns for teacher education. With the rapid increase in global movement, and as virtual (online) communication becomes more and more established and accepted, the ESL/EFL borders are more blurred than ever before. Curricula and textbooks continue to serve a more traditional perspective of teaching and learning English, in the sense that they typically prioritize learners' exposure to SE (Fay et al., 2010). This is reinforced by the widespread need for the certification of proficiency through high-stakes examinations (Wall, 2005). In certain domains, there is an acceptance of the need for learners to become interculturally competent (for example, the Greek curriculum of 2003 and the Turkish curriculum of 2005, which integrated the Common European Framework's principles of literacy, multilingualism and interculturality).
Teachers have strong convictions about their role in the ESL/EFL classroom that is often in contrast to their perspective about what their learners need in order to be successful communicators. Research shows that, while there is a growing acceptance of the need for learners to use English successfully in communications involving other nonnative users, teachers consider their role in the language classroom to be one of the custodian of SE (Bayyurt, 2006, 2012; Sifakis, 2009; Sifakis & Sougari, 2005). In light of the current situation regarding the widespread use of English globally, these perceptions need to be re-evaluated and perhaps, ultimately transformed (Sifakis, 2007, 2014).
The EIL Construct and Teacher Education
We see English as an International Language (henceforth EIL) as an umbrella term that incorporates orientations about the different roles of English around the world (most notably WE and ELF). As we saw above, the more a setting involves varieties of English that are, or can potentially be, standardized, the more clearly delineated that setting is. This means that WE is more clearly delineated than ELF, which also implies that the concept of EIL is still in the process of development (Matsuda & Friedrich, 2011; McKay, 2002). What is clear in EIL is that it defines a broad spectrum of settings concerning the communication and teaching of English that involve nonnative as well as native speakers. As already mentioned, EIL teacher education is challenging for reasons that are, to a large extent, related both to the fact that it encompasses different perspectives of theorizing and analyzing the spread of English around the world, and to teachers' perceptions about SE and conflicting attitudes toward the role and status of nonnative speaker communication and its intelligibility. In this section, we propose a series of principles to be considered by teacher educators who wish to integrate the EIL construct into teacher preparation seminars.
The concept of EIL-awareness
One of the shortcomings of EIL, when it comes to teacher education and teaching, is the lack of available curricula.While research in EIL and ELF discourse is widespread, currently there is no commonly accepted perspective with regard to teaching EIL (Matsuda, 2009, 2012) or ELF (Canagarajah, 2007; Park & Wee, 2011). Having said that, there is an increasing number of studies that put forward critiques of and proposals for WE/EIL-informed curricula and materials (e.g. Bayyurt & Altinmakas, 2012; D'Angelo, 2012; Lee, 2012; Matsuda & Duran, 2012; Sharifian & Marlina, 2012), but it is still difficult to find a comprehensive curriculum for EIL teacher education. This is probably due to the fact that, as we have seen, while ESL/EFL is readily specified as a teaching and learning construct, EIL/ELF is still not. The basic reason for this is that, while ESL/EFL refer to standard varieties of English, EIL/ELF do not. This means that ESL/EFL settings provide extensive courseware that cater to all sorts of learner needs, targeting different proficiency levels, as well as different types of formal and informal assessment of proficiency. On top of that, widespread research over the past 15 years consistently shows that the attitudes of all major stakeholders (teachers, learners, sponsors, parents, etc.) are strongly favorable toward the ESL/EFL/SE orientation (e.g. Bayyurt, 2006; Sifakis & Sougari, 2005; Timmis, 2002), despite the fact that there are, as we have seen, signs of awareness of the shifting role of English in global communication, on the part of both teachers and learners (for a review, see Jenkins, 2007).
At the same time, no one can deny that the world of TESOL undergoes a wave of change that focuses on perceiving communication more in terms of its extensive variability in diverse contexts and less in terms of linguistic form, so that 'language events and experiences are central rather than language as form and meaning' (Blommaert, 2010: 100). Fluidity and dynamism in moving between local and global communities is perceived as more interesting and informative in understanding the development of norms (Canagarajah, 2005; Pennycook, 2007). In this context, the widespread use of English by nonnative speakers around the world cannot but shed light on the skills brought to bear by these speakers (Seidlhofer, 2011), which raises implications for the self-awareness of these users as international users of English (Seidlhofer, 2007) and, by extension, for the ESOL classroom itself (Baker, 2009; Firth, 2009; Maley, 2009; Matsuda & Friedrich, 2011; McKay, 2002; Sifakis, 2004).
It is with the above complications in mind that we suggest that EIL teacher education does not aim at changing teachers' perspectives overnight. Research shows that changing teachers' perspectives is a painstaking process that, even with interested teachers, may require a long period of active engagement with the key issues of EIL (Dewey, 2012; Rajagopalan, 1999; Sifakis, 2009). We consider that it is more effective and practical if the focus is on (a) providing comprehensive information about the current role of English worldwide and (b) incorporating an element of change in teachers' perspectives about that role and the implications it can have for their own teaching context. Essentially, the EIL-aware teacher education model we propose breaks down into three phases (see Figure 1.1):
(a) exposing teachers to the intricacies of the global spread of English and the multiplicities of communicative contexts in today's global reality;
(b) raising their awareness of the challenges those intricacies can have for their own teaching context in a critical and practical way; and
(c) involving them in an action plan that would help them to integrate elements from EIL, ELF and WE research they deem important and relevant for their own teaching context.
The three phases blend into each other, with the transitions between them being smooth and gradual. The focus of EIL teacher education, according to our perspective, is not one of indoctrinating teachers into 'buying into' the entire EIL construct (which is, as we have seen, still in the process of developing). The focus is on using existing EIL research as a means of prompting ESOL teachers to grow into more autonomous, independent, critical practitioners, capable of deciding on the extent to which they can integrate EIL issues in their own teaching context. In what follows, we present a more analytical account of the above three phases of what we term EIL-aware teacher education.
Phase A: Exposure
In this phase, teachers are exposed to the multiplicity and complicatedness of using English today to communicate with other nonnative users. The aims of this phase are twofold. In the first place, teachers are prompted to become aware of the global role of English as a language of convenience in communication. In itself, this can be a journey of discovery for many teachers who may be isolated into believing that only SE 'works'. Their exposure to examples of successful interactions involving nonnative users of English is expected to bring them up to date with the global spread of English. It is advisable that this exposure is done in an experiential way, i.e. with the active involvement of teachers in communications with other nonnative users, who may be fellow teachers, as co-participants in these projects. Trainers can also integrate excerpts from the published literature (e.g. Cogo & Dewey, 2012), from available online corpora (e.g. the VOICE corpus, available at https://www.univie.ac.at/voice; the ELFA corpus, available at http://www.helsinki.fi/englanti/elfa/elfacorpus; or the ASEAN corpus, available at http://www.ubd.edu.bn/academic/faculty/fass/ research/CMACE/home/asean-index.html) and even from YouTube – although, in the latter case, extra care is necessary in selecting appropriate, authentic examples of nonnative discourse in action and avoiding stereotyping.
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Table of ContentsContributors
Aya Matsuda: Introduction
Part I: Theoretical Frameworks
1. Yasemin Bayyurt and Nicos Sifakis: Foundations of an EIL-aware Teacher Education
2. Seran Dogancay-Aktuna and Joel Hardman: A Framework for Incorporating an English as an International Language Perspective into TESOL Teacher Education
Part II: Teacher Preparation Programs
3. Raúl Alberto Mora and Polina Golovátina-Mora: A New Model for Reflexivity and Advocacy for Master’s-level EIL In-service Programs in Colombia: The Notion of “Learning and Teaching Processes in Second Languages"
4. Seong-Yoon Kang: US-Based Teacher Education Program for “Local” EIL Teachers
Part III: Courses Dedicated to Teaching EIL
5. Nicola Galloway: Global Englishes for Language Teaching: Preparing MSc TESOL Students to Teach in a Globalised World
6. Nobuyuki Hino: Training Graduate Students in Japan to be EIL Teachers
7. Roby Marlina: Practices of Teaching Englishes for International Communication
8. Ali Fuad Selvi: Preparing Teachers to Teach Englishes as an International Language: Reflections from Northern Cyprus
Part IV: EIL-informed Courses on Another ELT Topic
9. Thuy Ngoc Dinh: Preparing Pre-service Teacher for EIL/WE-oriented Materials Development
10. Eduardo H. Diniz de Figueiredo and Aline M. Sanfelici: Addressing Culture from an EIL Perspective in a Teacher Education Course in Brazil
11. Nugrahenny T. Zacharias: Practicing EIL pedagogy in a Microteaching Class
Part V: Independent Units on Teaching EIL
12. Heath Rose: A Global Approach to English Language Teaching: Integrating an International Perspective into a Teaching Methods Course
13. Michele Salles El Kadri, Luciana Cabrini Simões Calvo and Telma Gimenez: English as a Lingua Franca in an Online Teacher Education Program Offered by a State University in Brazil
14. Paola Vettorel and Lucilla Lopriore: WE, EIL, ELF and Awareness of Their Pedagogical Implications in Teacher Education Programs in Italy
Part VI: Lessons, Activities and Tasks for EIL Teacher Preparation
15. Various Contributors: Lessons, Activities and Tasks for EIL Teacher Preparation