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World Englishes and English Language Teaching: A pragmatic and humanistic approach



Seidlhofer (2005) describes the current status of English as an “unstable equilibrium.” In many ways this analogy regarding the current state of affairs with English language teaching (ELT) is appropriate. Taking World Englishes (WE) perspectives, this paper presents various mismatches between teaching goals and objectives vis-à-vis the teaching and learning outcomes in ELT. The paper then makes the argument that in order for more successful English language teaching and learning to take place a pragmatic and humanistic approach needs to be adopted. An outline of such an approach is discussed.
Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J.
Printed ISSN 0123-4641 Online ISSN 2248-7085 January - June 2015. Vol. 17 Number 1 pp. 142-157.
World Englishes and English Language Teaching: A
pragmatic and humanistic approach
Lenguas inglesas del mundo y la enseñanza del inglés: un
enfoque pragmático y humanístico
Subrata Kumar Bhowmik
Citation / Para citar este artículo: Bhowmik, S. K. (2015). World Englishes and English Language Teaching: A Pragmatic and Humanistic Approach.
Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J., 17(1), pp.142-157.
Received: 12-Aug-2014 / Accepted: 27-Apr-2015
Seidlhofer (2005) describes the current status of English as an “unstable equilibrium.” In many ways this analogy
regarding the current state of affairs with English language teaching (ELT) is appropriate. Taking a World Englishes
(WE) perspective, this paper presents various mismatches between teaching goals and objectives vis-à-vis the teaching
and learning outcomes in ELT. The paper then makes the argument that in order for more successful English language
teaching and learning to take place, a pragmatic and humanistic approach needs to be adopted. An outline of such an
approach is discussed.
Keywords: ELT, a humanistic approach to ELT, a pragmatic approach to ELT, World Englishes
Seidlhofer (2005) describe el estado actual de inglés como un “equilibrio inestable”. En muchos sentidos, esta
analogía con respecto a la situación actual con la enseñanza del idioma Inglés (ELT) es apropiado. Tomando una
perspectiva de las lenguas inglesas del mundo (World Englishes), este trabajo presenta varios desajustes entre las
metas y los objetivos en relación con los resultados de enseñanza y aprendizaje en la enseñanza ELT. En el documento
se presenta, entonces, el argumento de que para que la enseñanza y el aprendizaje del idioma Inglés tengan lugar con
más éxito, un enfoque pragmático y humanista debe ser adoptado. Se discute un esquema de este tipo de enfoque.
Palabras clave: ELT, enfoque humanístico a ELT, enfoque pargmático a ETL, lenguas inglesas del mundo
1 University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.
World Englishes and English Language Teaching
Bhowmik, S. K. (2015) Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J.
Printed ISSN 0123-4641 Online ISSN 2248-7085 January - June 2015. Vol. 17 Number 1 pp. 142-157.
English language teaching has witnessed a
major boom around the globe in recent times.
The continuous spread of English has given rise
to different varieties of English language, making it
almost impossible to trace the norms for Standard
English (SE) (e.g.,
Brutt-Griffler, 2002
Kachru, 1982
Lowenberg, 2000, pp. 69-73
). As the proliferation of
English education continues at our time, the variety
of English to be considered as SE, the norms to be
followed in English language pedagogy (
1982, p. 49
), and the materials to be used for
English language teaching (ELT) curriculum are but
only a few issues that constitute some of the most
intriguing concerns in the field. Research shows that
the global spread of English has significant bearing
on ELT. Much of this bearing has manifested itself
in the lack of a uniform target variety of English for
instruction and the prevailing problems in setting
suitable teaching goals and objectives commensurate
to teaching and learning outcomes. In this paper,
I take an exploratory approach to investigate these
conundrums relating to ELT. Specifically, I look
at problems that ELT faces in setting a uniform
target variety for instruction; curriculum design
and materials development; testing; and teacher
training—areas that are absolutely crucial for any
language pedagogy.
Prevalence of more than one standard variety
of any given language may not be entirely unusual.
This trend may hold true for various languages
in the world such as Arabic, Chinese, French,
Greek, and so on. Difficulties in setting a uniform
standard variety while teaching these languages as
a second or foreign language may parallel those
in English. However, what separates the context
of the teaching of English from other languages is
English’s status as the most high stake, most used,
and most widespread language the world has ever
known (Kachru & Nelson, 1996, p. 71). Besides,
the continuous spread of English worldwide has
put it in a unique situation. For example, because
of its spread over time, English has become more
hybridized and diverse, a phenomenon captured
by the term World Englishes. In such a milieu, it is
natural that English language teaching at present is
more challenging than ever before.
ELT in the twenty-first century encounters a
myriad of problems. A closer look at them suggests
that the root of many of these problems lies in the
unprecedented global spread of English in the last
few decades that has given rise to different varieties
of English language. A brief explanation in this regard
is in order. Different varieties of English mean that
ELT can no longer afford to choose between only
British or American English as the primary target
variety for instruction. As the spread of English
continues, nonnative-nonnative interactions have
become more common than native-native and
native-nonnative interactions (Lowenberg, 2000, p.
67). For instance, according to an estimate provided
by Crystal (1997, cited in Graddol, 1997), in 1995
there were approximately 377 million people using
English as their L1, while at the same time there
were about 235 million people using English as their
second language. Crystal (1997, cited in Graddol,
1999) notes that in 50 years (i.e., from 1995) this
balance would shift significantly as the number
of people using English as a second or foreign
language would almost double. In fact, it is argued
that at present, nonnative speakers of English have
already outnumbered their native counterparts and
that native speakers comprise only “a fifth or less”
of world’s total English users. (e.g., Lowenberg,
2000, p. 67).
In spite of this ever-widening spectrum of the
English speaking population, ELT is still mostly
controlled (i.e., determining the norms for teaching,
designing syllabus, producing materials, and so
on) by “native-speaking,” inner-circle countries.
Seidlhofer (2004) refers to this situation as an
“unstable equilibrium” (p. 209). That is, while
2 It is worth noting that Kachru’s concentric model distinctions
between inner-, outer-, and expanding-circle are not absolute.
There has been a great deal of criticism about this model. For
example, Tripathi (1998) observes that this model assumes that
there is uniformity of English language within each group of
countries. But in reality, this notion is far from true. He further
argues that great linguistic diversity exists within inner-circle (such
as USA, Canada) as well as outer-circle (such as India, Pakistan)
countries. Furthermore, Tripathi (1998) maintains that the
concentric model cannot sufficiently explain the evolving nature
of the linguistic changes within each circle. Although circles in
their “connotational sense” could be expanded due to various
external or internal forces, “…this happens regardless of the
spatial order inner or outer” (p. 56). Australia and New Zealand,
for instance, were included in inner-circle English in the past;
similarly, there could be more inner-circle English countries in
future. This happens due to the natural course of various (socio)
linguistic phenomena.
Bhowmik, S. K. (2015) Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J.
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nonnative speakers have outnumbered their native
counterparts, native speakers of English still enjoy
the privileges of being “native.” Native speakers,
for instance, are entitled to getting “special status”
(Graddol, 1999, p. 67) as well as various material
and psychological benefits while using English in
everyday life. After all, it is the inner-circle speakers
who set the standard norms for English, get jobs
that are meant only for “native speakers,” get
a raise or promotion at work just because they
identify themselves as native speakers of English
(e.g., Kirkpatrick, 2007). At pedagogical levels, the
impacts of this phenomenon are quite pervasive
too—inner-circle-oriented curriculum design
and materials development that show little or no
sensitivity to local contexts, developing tests that
are incompatible with local teaching and learning
goals and objectives, preference for native English
speakers for English teaching positions, undue
stress on learners for appropriating a particular
variety of inner-circle English often disregarding
more popular localized varieties are some examples
in this connection
(Canagarajah, 1999; Kirkpatrick,
2007; Phillipson, 1992). As one can see, ELT these
days is characterized by numerous tensions on the
part of both teachers and students. What is important
to note here is that these factors not only impact
teachers and learners but also the actual English
language teaching practices (e.g., approaches and
methods). At times, these impacts are so far reaching
that they lead to failures and/or disruptions of English
language teaching and learning goals (Canagarajah,
1999). Therefore, it is important to engage in
deliberations on how WE issues permeate ELT.
In the following sections, I organize my
discussions as follows: I first draw on issues relating
to standards of English and how they have made it
difficult for ELT practitioners to set a uniform target
variety for ELT. As mentioned above, because there
are so many varieties of English, encompassing
inner-, outer-, and expanding-circle countries, there
is always a conflict as to which variety should be used
as a standard norm. Further, various ownership-
related ideologies (i.e., ownership of English)
make things more complicated in this regard. In
the subsequent sections, I discuss the difficulties
that ELT faces in curriculum design and materials
development, testing, and teacher training. Finally,
I make it a point that a pragmatic and humanistic
approach to ELT is necessary for a globalized world
that is diverse and fast-changing.
English in the twenty-rst century—
what are the standards?
The global spread of English in the last few
decades has caused an unprecedented growth of
the language. What this means is that English has
grown into a great many varieties. An important
fact about the rise of different varieties of English
is that they are not only limited to the outer- and
expanding-circle countries, rather varieties of
English are equally prevalent in inner-circle countries
(Widdowson, 1994, p. 378). With so many existing
varieties, maintaining standard norms for English to
be used as a single reference point has always been
a challenge for its users. The issue is particularly
critical for practitioners of ELT since they need to
set fixed standards for their teaching purposes. In
the section below, I examine issues relating to SE
that often intrigue ELT practitioners. The ownership
of English, a related concept, also figures in the
discussion. After all, standards are typically set by
the “owners” of the language.
Widdowson (1994) problematizes the concept
of standards and ownership of English. He suggests
that language maintenance is a task that is not
necessarily endowed upon a particular subset of
people who are by default native speakers of the
language. In fact, Widdowson argues that the
responsibility of maintaining the standard rests
upon all of those who speak/use the language.
That is, he implicitly concedes that the ownership
of the language belongs to all. But in reality the
fact remains that inner-circle countries determine
the standards of English. ELT courses modeled
after inner-circle norms do not address local needs
and preferences. Matsuda (2003), for example,
maintains that when the English language that is
taught in EFL/ESL follows inner-circle English, it
may result in the neglect of local learners’ linguistic
needs, ignoring their education about the history
and politics surrounding the English language, and
the failure to empower learners with ownership of
English (p. 721).
World Englishes and English Language Teaching
Bhowmik, S. K. (2015) Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J.
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What is more, the measures used to evaluate the
standards vary across time and space. For instance,
in Britain many people relate spelling errors to
a non-standard variety of English. For others, it
might be the lexical, grammatical, or phonological
system. Widdowson (1994) distinguishes between
two major functions of language: communal
and communicative. While communal functions
relate more to the conventions (such as spelling
and accent) of a given language, communicative
functions have more to do with communication
among its users. According to Widdowson, it is at
the level of communal function that the concept of
“standard” becomes an issue as it allows its users to
exclude those who do not follow the conventions—
the “standards” of English. It also allows the
followers of the standard variety of English to wield
power and prestige (Lowenberg, 2000) over those
who do not belong to the “community” (see also
Kachru, 1982, pp. 49-52 for an account of how
the concept of “models” [roughly synonymous to
“standards”] can be disadvantageous). In contrast,
at the communicative level, the fact remains that
as long as communication is accomplished, the
English language remains fully functional. This is
not to say, however, that the communal function of
English should be considered unimportant.
As one can see, the ownership of English and the
“standards” of the language are inseparably related.
The concept of SE is relative to how the native
speakers define the term to maintain its communal
functions. As discussed above, no matter how
important standards are for maintaining communal
integrity, they may not simply serve any purpose in
accomplishing communicative functions. In the
current scenarios in which English language teaching
and learning take place, it is the communicative
function that matters the most to both learners and
teachers (e.g., Alptekin, 2002; Rajagopalan, 2004).
Since the main purpose of most English language
education is to make learners communicatively
competent, addressing the communal function of
English, making students learn about the nuanced
conventions or standards of the language may be
a misfit in the long list of ELT goals and objectives.
This approach to English language teaching/
learning is in contradiction with the interests of
most native speakers. One of the most commonly
made arguments by native speakers is that a lack of
standards allows a proliferation of what they label as
deficit English. One may notice that this argument
involves more material than practical considerations;
it involves material stakes such as the control and
ownership of English on the part of native speakers.
An example to this end would help clarify this point:
It is predominantly the native speakers who control,
design, and produce the majority of ELT materials
worldwide and provide themselves with a huge share
of the ELT market (Kirkpatrick, 2007). Therefore,
a complete control and ownership of English are
of significant material interests to them. However,
considering the volume of the global spread of
English in the twenty-first century, restricting the
language to native speakers is as impractical as it is
Indeed, pluricentricity is the theme of much of
the work related to the spread of English in recent
times. While Kachru’s (1982, 1985) concentric
model sets the tone for conceptualization of what
is now popularly known as World Englishes (WE),
the trend has moved on and continued to promote
the importance of viewing English as a language
of the world, owned by the peoples around the
globe. Over the years, English has been “the most
widely taught, read and spoken language the world
has ever known” (Kachru & Nelson, 1996, p. 71).
While researchers recognize different varieties of
English based on various linguistic levels such as
vocabulary and grammar, and accent (Strevens,
1983; cited in Kachru & Nelson, 1996), what binds
it together is its common communicative goal.
Indeed, helping learners develop communicative
skills in English has been one of the primary
teaching goals in ELT curricula. However, with so
many different indigenous varieties of English (e.g.,
Indian English, Nigerian English, Singaporean
English, etc.) coupled with conflicting learning
needs for passing standardized English tests and
communicating with different subsets of people,
setting appropriate teaching goals in ELT and
teaching communicative skills is not an easy
task. A corollary of this has been a tremendous
impetus for the codification of the characteristics
of different varieties of English, which has resulted
in new research agenda in WE.
Bhowmik, S. K. (2015) Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J.
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Efforts have been well underway to describe
and codify varieties of English language spoken by
nonnative speakers. Some of the notable projects in
this area are: Jenkins’ “Lingua Franca Core” (LFC)
(Jenkins, 1998, 2002); work on English as a Lingua
Franca Pragmatics by Blommaert and Verschueren
(1991) and Spencer-Oatey (2000); and Seidlhofer’s
work on the description of lexico-grammatical
issues of English as a Lingua Franca as part of the
VOICE project at University of Vienna (Seidlhofer,
2002). Although different researchers may be in
disagreement with each other over the meanings of
the terms such as English as a Lingua Franca (ELF)
or English as an International Language (EIL) (e.g.,
Jenkins, 2006), it must be kept in mind that they are
intended to serve a common purpose—to underscore
the importance of describing English used by
nonnative speakers and to come up with a uniform
reference point for English language used by outer-
and expanding-circle countries. Research in this area
of English studies has increased exponentially in
recent times (see Jenkins, 2006 for more) to signal
a welcome shift from a monocentric approach to
English to a pluricentric one. Interestingly, this shift
of approach to English language studies is directly
related to the issue of ownership of the English
language. While a monocentric approach would give
more power to the native speakers, their norms and
ways of using English; pluricentricity, by contrast, is
everyone’s norm, everyone’s usage. This invariably
puts the custodians of English (to use Widdowson’s,
1994 words), the native speakers, in a less powerful
position with regard to the future course of the
English language.
Graddol’s (1997) observation regarding the
ownership of English may be relevant at this point.
In the overview of his book The Future of English,
Graddol (1997) predicts “significant global trends
– in economics, technology and culture…” (p. 2)
that may transform the world in the twenty-first
century and cause a new world order. Graddol
further points out that ultimately the native speakers
of English might be uncomfortable with the effects
of these changes on the English language. Based
upon various facts, trends, and ideas, Graddol’s
prediction has several implications regarding the
status of English—most crucially, its ownership.
Because the spread of English is occurring so fast
and these days so many nonnative speakers use
the language, the control over English may go into
the hands of the nonnative speakers. Control here
does not necessarily indicate hogging the language
as a possession. The measure of control of English
in this case is determined by the sheer number
of people using the language. As mentioned
earlier, nonnative speakers of English have already
outnumbered their native counterparts. As a result,
nonnative-nonnative interactions in English are far
more common than native-nonnative interactions.
This alone has significant implications relating to the
concept of SE. For example, with the continuing rise
of nonnative speakers of English and interactions
among themselves, it is believed that English will
be used more for its communicative functions
(more in line with what is described above), leaving
standards to be of less significance. In fact, the new
world order” might just compel them to forgo the
purists’ version of English for a more hybridized
and “impure” version of “world English,” known by
terms such as ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) and
EIL (English as an International Language).
That said, although several research projects
are aimed at codifying different levels of ELF/EIL
(e.g., Jenkins, 2006; Seidlhofer, 2004), it is by no
means an easy task for various reasons. First, it is
extremely difficult to come up with a uniform set
of characteristics with so many varieties around.
Second, it is also difficult to devise an objective
set of principles of ELF/EIL for pedagogical
purposes. The intelligibility principle (Levis, 2005),
for example, has been a long-held reference point
in the practice of pronunciation teaching, although
it is widely believed that there is no single and
universally-agreed-upon definition and measure
of “intelligibility” in language teaching (Derwing
& Munro, 2005; Jenkins, 2000). Finally, even if
researchers in the field successfully come up with
proper descriptions of the characteristics of ELF and
EIL, in the end it is feared that it may only yield a
set of prescriptive formulae for ELT, much like what
native-speaking varieties of English have done over
the years. This, of course, is contradictory to the
spirit of a pluricentric view of WE in ELT.
In fact, it is true that the monocentric, “native-
speaker-oriented” perspective of SE is extremely
World Englishes and English Language Teaching
Bhowmik, S. K. (2015) Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J.
Printed ISSN 0123-4641 Online ISSN 2248-7085 January - June 2015. Vol. 17 Number 1 pp. 142-157.
difficult to do away with. Seidlhofer (2005), for
example, maintains that the “Anglo-Saxon attitudes”
(p. 167) are still extremely prevalent in English
language education around the world. That is,
while on the surface we have moved away from
monocentrism, in reality pluricentrism is still to be
materialized at various levels of English language
teaching and learning. Seidlhofer (2005) calls this
phenomenon “submission to native-speaker norms”
(p. 170). This tendency of submission is so strong
that in certain non-native contexts educators are
establishing the so called “English village” in order
to immerse nonnative English learners (Jenkins,
2006, p. 172) to approximate the native standards.
As one can see, ELT in the twenty-first century
suffers from a lack of a uniform variety of English
for instructional purposes. The discussions above
illustrate how issues such as “standards” and
“ownership” of English play significant roles in ELT
today. The continuous spread of English has been a
tremendous boost for the recognition of nonnative
varieties of English as viable alternatives to inner-
circle English for ELT. In spite of a considerable
amount of work in this regard, it seems as though
it is going to take a while before such a pluricentric
approach to English becomes the norm rather than
exception in ELT.
Issues of curriculum and materials
While setting a uniform target variety is important
for English language instruction, designing effective
curricula (although there are disagreements, I use
the term syllabus and curriculum interchangeably
in this paper, see Brown, 1995 for more) and
developing suitable materials are also part of
important considerations in ELT. With an ever-
expanding landscape of English, ELT curriculum
and materials need to be innovative to meet the
burgeoning complexities surrounding English
language pedagogy. Below, I discuss why it is often
difficult to make ELT curriculum and materials
effective while facing the challenges that various WE
phenomena pose.
Innovation and flexibility are two major themes in
the twenty-first century to deal with the new challenges
one encounters on a daily basis. Like other spheres
of life, this phenomenon is applicable in ELT as well.
Likewise, it is important to consider the adaptability
factors in ELT—factors that would make various
aspects of ELT—curriculum and materials, methods
and approaches serve the desired purposes most
efficiently. The ensuing discussions will show this
task is not easy. Hadley (1999) reports on novelty in
ELT curricula at the tertiary level in some Japanese
colleges and universities. To keep up with the need
for effective English language pedagogy and at the
discretion of the Japanese Ministry of Education,
these colleges and universities introduced what
Hadley describes as “innovative” ELT curricula.
Some of the characteristics of these curricula
are: only English language usage in classrooms
(also known as immersion), no teacher-centered
classes–students may express themselves the way
they wanted—“laughing, joking, and expressing
their opinions in English” (Fukuda & Sasaki, 1995;
cited in Hadley, 1999, p. 93). Also prevalent were
practices such as “English lounges” where English
was the only language for communication, native-
speaker-conducted English classes, pairing
students with native-English-speaking roommates
(e.g., American), and increasing the number of
native-speaking teachers to promote co-operative
learning based on interactions between teachers
and learners. Furthermore, English content courses
taught exclusively in English were introduced.
As one examines the characteristics of
“innovative” ELT curricula, several interesting
phenomena emerge. Clearly, making learners
communicatively competent is an objective that
was taken seriously by administrators at these
institutions. Furthermore, there is an attempt to
provide learners with as much exposure to English as
possible, by creating English-speaking environments
within a non-native context. In fact, there are overt
efforts to have native-speaking teachers/students
involved in the process (which may remind one of
the “Anglo-Saxon attitudes” [Seidlhofer, 2005, p.
167] of grassroots-level administrators). While it is
heartening to see efforts for innovation in ELT, one
cannot help wondering about potential challenges
associated with it. For instance, implementing the
mandatory use of English at all times may help
improve learners’ spoken abilities, but the question
Bhowmik, S. K. (2015) Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J.
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remains as to how an instructor may objectively write
and give a test on such open-ended skills acquired
by learners. How about learners’ reading and writing
skills–do the administrators consider them entirely
irrelevant to learners for effective communication in
English? Having as many native-speaking teachers
as possible may sound exciting, but is it not, in
essence, reverting to the old days of approximating
native varieties of English, and thus undermining the
“World Englishes movement”? Issues such as these
continue to baffle ELT circles far and wide.
Drawing on the “functional” dimensions of
language use, Coffin (2003) recommends that
curriculum designers/language teachers organize
and structure the language curriculum in ways that
would fall in line with the “theory of language as ‘social
action’” (p. 11). She identifies four areas of language
use on which learners need to build their knowledge,
namely, text structure, experiential, interpersonal,
and textual grammar. Each of these four areas serves
various aspects of language use in everyday life.
Knowledge of text structure, for example, would help
learners with different types of written and spoken
texts in different cultures and contexts. Knowledge
of experiential grammar provides learners with
“grammatical resources for representing the world”
(p.15)—making them aware of the people or things,
processes, and circumstances involved in language
use. And, while interpersonal grammar relates to
knowledge of successful incorporation of linguistic
choices based on various social relations and
attitudes, textual grammar helps learners organize
the message so as to facilitate the smooth “flow of
information” (Coffin, 2003).
Coffin (2003) argues that a careful and systematic
analysis of these four areas of language use can
provide important insights into devising syllabuses
for English language learners. What is interesting in
Coffin’s (2003) argument is that she proposes the
identification of a set of spoken and written genres
that directly relate to the social and cultural contexts
in which language learners are most likely to
operate. These genres then could be incorporated
into the language syllabus. While Coffin’s (2003)
acknowledgement of social and cultural sensitivity
renders support to the pluricentrism that is central
to the discussion of a World Englishes perspective of
ELT, there are potential shortcomings to her notion
of ELT syllabus. English education in the twenty-first
century has crossed all national borders. Therefore,
it is extremely difficult to devise a localized, context-
specific syllabus that would address all possible
social and cultural contexts in which English
learners would operate. Also, for the most part,
the major theme of ELT in our time is to acquire
communicative competence. Having students
learn a handful of spoken and written genres would
certainly not serve them well to this end.
Adding second language acquisition
perspectives to the current discussions on ELT, Ellis
(1993) argues for structural syllabuses in English
language programs. Structural syllabuses would
incorporate structures of the language at various
levels (e.g., phonology, morphology, syntax) for
English language learners. The rationale behind
Ellis’ argument rests upon the claim that grammar
teaching should be done as part of “consciousness-
raising” act among learners. In short, consciousness-
raising refers to instilling an understanding of the
various “formal and functional properties” of the
target language in learners’ minds. This process
of consciousness-raising is compatible with L2
acquisition theory of “learnability” (Ellis, 1993).
While Ellis’ (1993) accounts add interesting L2
acquisition perspectives to ELT syllabus design, it
must be remembered that there have been long-
drawn debates regarding whether or not grammar
instruction helps language learning in the first place
(e.g., Ferris, 1999; Truscott, 1996). Furthermore,
much of English language learning in the twenty-
first century occurs in informal, out-of-class settings
and learners are generally exposed to a myriad of
language input, derived from different varieties of
English in various contexts. Therefore, ELT syllabuses
that do not account for contextual variables such as
these may turn out to be ineffective.
As research aims to reach a common ground for
intelligibility of different varieties of English across the
world, Jenkins (1998) presents some core phonological
issues to be included in the pronunciation syllabus
of English language programs. Jenkins (1998)
identifies problems with setting the unrealistic goal of
approximating native speakers (e.g., either British or
American) norms in the syllabus. Instead, she argues
World Englishes and English Language Teaching
Bhowmik, S. K. (2015) Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J.
Printed ISSN 0123-4641 Online ISSN 2248-7085 January - June 2015. Vol. 17 Number 1 pp. 142-157.
for a compromise norm of pronunciation of English
as an International Language (EIL). EIL norms
would have three core areas of instruction namely
segmental, nuclear stress, and the effective use of
articulatory setting. Jenkins (1998) maintains that EIL
norms of pronunciation would promote international
intelligibility, freedom to express EIL speakers’ own
variety, and stop approximation of native speakers’
norms. Jenkins’ (1998) argument, while persuasive,
it is just a proposal and likewise, we must examine
it carefully. As one would imagine, codifying all
pronunciation problems with non-native speakers of
English is an extremely difficult task. Also, it is quite
daunting to address pronunciation difficulties of non-
native speakers with so many different L1s and to
come up with a uniform set of core pronunciation
instruction areas. All in all, one may see that designing
an effective English curriculum entails a great deal of
Since curriculum design and materials
development go hand in hand, failing to shed some
light on materials development, this section of the
paper would remain incomplete. Good materials are
essential for achieving the goals and objectives stated
in the syllabus. Lately, the concept of authentic texts
(Little, Devitt, & Singleton, 1988) is quite pervasive
in ELT circles. It is believed that “…exposing
students to the language of the real world will help
them acquire an effective receptive competence in
the target language” (Guariento & Morley, 2001, p.
347). It is also believed that authentic texts bridge
the gap between students’ linguistic knowledge and
their capacity to use the language in real life situation
(Wilkins, 1976 as cited in Guariento & Morley, 2001).
Literature in the field suggests that, in spite of their
supposed effectiveness, authentic texts/materials
are not devoid of their own share of problems. One
of the problems voiced by Guariento and Morley
(2001) is the mismatch between authentic texts and
language tasks. They argue that authentic materials
are of no help unless they can derive authentic
responses from language learners.
This phenomenon is especially true in the case
of English language materials. In ELT, for example,
learners’ tasks are typically based upon guessing
rather than a complete control and understanding of
the tasks as students cannot relate the tasks to the
contexts (i.e., materials used come from contexts
such as USA or Britain that are completely foreign to
them). The claim that authentic materials stimulate
motivation in language tasks also needs to be
considered with caution. Peacock (1997) shows how
authentic materials were found less interesting than
artificial materials. On a separate note, Wong, Kwok,
and Choi (1995) maintain that the effectiveness of
authentic materials depends upon, among other
things, teacher’s knowledge of “each student’s
ability,” students’ “temperament and readiness,”
and the teacher’s judgment on manipulation of the
materials. González (2010), in this regard, argues for
an incorporation of local teacher educators’ voices
into the design of curricula and development of
As one can see, materials by themselves cannot
involve students in tasks for language learning.
It requires a great deal of perseverance and hard
work on the part of the teachers. In fact, without
teachers’ conscientious efforts, it is extremely
difficult for language learners to make the best use
of the materials. The bottom line is that unless more
localized culture- and context-specific materials are
used in ELT classrooms, it is difficult for both teachers
and learners to relate to the language tasks. Matsuda
(2003) fittingly argues that textbooks should provide
English language learners more exposure to English
as an International Language (EIL) by incorporating
more characters from outer- and expanding-circle
countries. In order for a successful incorporation of
EIL components into the materials, textbook writers/
materials developers must be conscientious of the
appropriacy of the characters and activities/tasks so
that they derive “authentic” response from learners.
What to test, how to test?
Tests are integral part of any language program.
No matter how undesirable tests are, for both
teachers and learners, there needs to be some form
of tests in order for teachers to assess learners’
achievement and to evaluate the effectiveness of
instructions. Furthermore, tests may be required for
gate-keeping measures for various purposes (e.g.,
jobs, immigration, pay raise, etc.). More often than
not, language tests entail high-stakes choices. Tests
Bhowmik, S. K. (2015) Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J.
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in ELT are particularly complicated, at least on two
counts: First, there are an unprecedented number
of test takers (more generally, “users,” which include
both test givers and test takers, and all others who
use test scores for some reasons) of English and
the stakes involved in these tests are enormous.
Second, as mentioned earlier, there is no single
reference point for SE, making both teachers and
learners grapple with the design and preparation for
these tests. It is the latter that relates more directly
to various WE phenomena. Because there is no
uniform reference point for SE, it is difficult for test
givers to design and administer tests that would truly
test learners’ knowledge for communication in the
pluricentric world. Furthermore, although there are
various local varieties of English, they are invariably
excluded from most high-stakes proficiency tests
in English. At the local level, too, teachers are
compounded by questions such as how to test
learners’ proficiency in English objectively and what
skills reflect learners’ actual proficiency.
Hamp-Lyons and Davies (2008) maintain that
high-stakes English proficiency tests such as TOEFL
and IELTS are often condemned on the grounds
that they are biased and unfair to test takers who
follow exonormative standards. The contention
revolves around the fact that while an International
English (IE) view of the situation suggests that there
is and should be only one norm of English, the norm
of the educated native speakers of English, the more
liberal of WE is that to impose an IE norm on non-
native English speakers, many of whom already
have local standards/norms (such as Singaporean
English, Indian English), is discriminatory (Hamp-
Lyons & Davies 2008).
Additionally, though high-stakes proficiency
tests of English such as IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC, etc.
are often claimed to be international in their scope
of potential test takers and the varieties of English
tested, Chalhoub-Deville and Wigglesworth (2005)
express their reservations about such claims. While
it is true that IELTS has international partnership
(i.e., University of Cambridge, The British Council,
and IDP Australia) for developing tests, it still fails
to provide a uniform reference point as to what
should be considered as an international knowledge
base for English (Chalhoub-Deville & Wigglesworth,
2005). The same is true about TOEFL. For instance,
although TOEFL’s purpose statement endorses the
use of the TOEFL scores by various institutions
such as government agencies around the world, its
research agenda and test design and development
do not support the incorporation of such uses
of English (Chalhoub-Deville & Wigglesworth,
2005). Test of Spoken English (TSE), a component
of TOEFL, supposedly measures test takers’
proficiency in communicating in English. However,
Chalhoub-Deville and Wigglesworth (2005) maintain
that the “design, development, and research… [are]
…oriented by and focused on North American
contexts” (p. 386), ignoring the vast majority of
other contexts around the world in which the test
results are to be used.
High-stakes proficiency tests aside, localized
English tests too are compounded by various
phenomena of WE, for the most part, by the fact
that there are so many varieties and norms of
English. As a result, while writing tests, local test
administrators fail to set the appropriate target
model of English. Additionally, because there is no
uniform variety of English to be used as a reference
point, English language learners often go through
enormous stress as well.
Another level of problem emerges when test
givers have to decide what kind of proficiency is
to be tested. Generally speaking, one’s language
proficiency entails a holistic measure of one’s
competence in the target language. However,
in reality, especially after the inception of the
communicative method of language teaching,
English educators are caught-up between testing
learners’ communicative competence and discrete-
point grammatical knowledge. In outer- and
expanding-circle countries, it is still not certain
whether it is enough to test learners’ communicative
competence as an appropriate measure for
proficiency in English, since testing communicative
competence by itself may not be able to provide a
true indication of learners’ writing and reading skills
necessary for various academic and professional
contexts. That is, someone who is communicatively
competent in non-academic, informal situations
may still have difficulty in reading and writing tasks
at academic and professional levels.
World Englishes and English Language Teaching
Bhowmik, S. K. (2015) Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J.
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Conundrums relating to standards of English
pose a different kind of problem in testing spoken
English. As mentioned earlier, because there is no
uniform reference point for SE pronunciation, it
is extremely difficult for test administrators to set
uniform grading rubrics for testing pronunciation.
Although Levis’ (2005) “intelligibility principle”
may be considered to be a compromise position
in assessing pronunciation, researchers argue
that there is no universally-agreed-upon measure
for “intelligibility” of speech (Derwing & Munro,
2005; Jenkins, 2000). In fact, there are so many
variables that affect intelligibility measurement that
it is almost impossible to obtain a truly objective
score of intelligibility. Finally, most second language
acquisition research shows that foreign accent is a
natural phenomenon for post-puberty learners of
any given language. Therefore, there are questions
regarding whether or not it is practical to set native-
like pronunciation norms for testing spoken English.
As one can see, testing in ELT can be extremely
difficult. It is evident from the discussions above that
many of the problems occur due to the unavailability
of a uniform, universally-agreed-upon standard
variety of English that can be modeled while designing
tests. Additionally, diverse global communication
scenarios as well as new needs and new demands
coupled with an ever-changing landscape of English
language because of its continuous spread over the
last few decades make it challenging for educators to
determine English language testing norms. Needless
to say, this continues to confound English language
teachers in their classroom teaching and beyond.
New age, new challenges, new roles
of English teachers
English teachers these days are confronted
with unprecedented challenges that make their
job difficult. Because teachers play a central role
in language pedagogy both in and outside the
classroom, the way they go about doing their tasks
has a profound impact on ultimate teaching and
learning outcomes. Literature in the field suggests
how English teachers’ jobs have become complex
with the emerging norms and varieties of English
across the globe. Additionally, English teachers have
to work within various local exigencies, which keep
changing across contexts and cultures and give rise
to further challenges (e.g., Baumgartner, 2007).
Overall, in order for English teachers to be successful
in their job, it is imperative that they are aware of the
various nuances of ELT at present. Matsuda (2006)
amply maintains that changing curriculum alone
does not help materialize the changes in ELT. Since
teachers play a crucial role in carrying out the actual
teaching activities, teacher training is an important
process that must be given due importance.
Non-native English-speaking teachers
(NNESTs) constitute about 80 percent of the total
English teachers in the world (Canagarajah, 1999).
Considering the current status of English language
education, it is neither practical nor possible to
employ only native English-speaking teachers
(NESTs) to teach English (Pasternak & Bailey,
2004). What this means is that NNESTs need to
be properly trained and educated with the current
theories of language and methods of language
teaching. In addition, they must also be abreast of
the latest language acquisition theories so that they
can employ the requisite knowledge of ELT.
This brings us to the core issue of teacher
education: How are language proficiency and
professional qualifications viewed in ELT? It is
indeed an intriguing issue that has left scholars in
the field occupied in debate for years. Pasternak and
Bailey’s (2004) view on the matter is that language
proficiency is only one aspect of English language
teachers’ professional qualification. English
teachers must also have appropriate professional
preparations to be able to teach (Phillipson, 1992).
They must have declarative knowledge–knowledge
about the subject area, in this case the English
language, as well as an understanding of various
facts relating to educational psychology, second
language acquisition, and current socio-political
events. They must also have procedural knowledge–
knowledge about how to/ability to do things, in this
case the actual teaching. Pasternak and Bailey (2004)
maintain that English language teachers should be
able to accomplish at least three key things: Knowing
about (1) how to use the target language; (2) how to
teach in a culturally sensitive way; and (3) how to
behave in a target culture (p. 158). As explained in
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Pasternak and Bailey’s (2004) accounts, ELT in our
times is much more complicated than many believe.
English teachers need much more than just being
native speakers of English. In fact, being native
English speakers and having proficiency in English
do not necessarily go hand in hand (Pasternak &
Bailey, 2004). Furthermore, even if an English
teacher is proficient in English, that alone does not
qualify him or her to be a good teacher–he or she
needs much more professional preparation to be
eligible for teaching. This means that associating
native English speakers with an automatic choice
for English teaching positions is quite problematic
since native English teachers may be completely
foreign to various local needs and preferences.
Drawing on the examples of the teacher
education programs in Egypt and Uzbekistan, Snow,
Kamhi-Stein, and Brinton (2006) outline important
points that need to be taken into consideration for
both pre- and in-service English teacher training
programs. They stress that “…the immediate
context of language teaching and the socio-cultural
factors…” (p. 274) should be important criteria while
devising teacher training programs for English-as-a-
lingua-franca settings. Indeed, contextual variables
are too important to be ignored in teacher education
curriculum since teachers have to work under
various local constraints. Snow, Kamhi-Stein, and
Brinton’s (2006) further recommendations include
going beyond the inner-circle variety of English
both in teacher training programs and classroom
teaching and deconstructing the myth of the native
speaker. They also argue that while there can be
collaboration between local and outside experts,
professional development should be guided by
local norms. González (2010), for example, shows
how Columbian teachers and teacher educators are
gaining “respected space” in ELT and “displacing
some traditional voices of world-renowned scholars”
(pp. 344-45).
Overall, literature in the field recognizes the
importance of promoting local norms for the English
language in teacher training programs. There is also
enough indication for going beyond inner-circle
varieties of English and training English teachers
to value local varieties of the language (e.g., Snow,
Kamhi-Stein, & Brinton, 2006). However, the fact
remains that it is difficult to entirely do away with
inner-circle-centric norms, partly because in many
cases teacher education programs are either funded
or administered by inner-circle English language
educators (Snow, Kamhi-Stein, & Brinton, 2006).
A corollary of this is that English teacher training
objectives, materials, or even the training itself
rarely addresses context-specific needs. In fact,
inner-circle-centric ideologies are so profoundly
embedded into the teacher training curricula
that native-speaking norms are automatically
transmitted into the training activities. Since there is
still a lack of a well-laid-out and comprehensive non-
native-speaking English teacher training program,
realistically it is going to take a lot of time before
one can move beyond the inner-circle norms.
As with the three other areas I discussed
previously, teacher training programs are heavily
dependent upon inner-circle norms. Although
literature abounds arguing for a pluricentric, all-
encompassing ELT approach that would recognize
non-inner-circle varieties of English, the accounts
above show that while we are well underway to that
end, problems are still prevalent. In order to take
ELT forward, both educators and theorists in the
field must recognize these facts sooner than later.
Discussions and implications
So far in this paper I have problematized some
of the contentious issues surrounding ELT from WE
perspectives. My discussions looked at the difficulties
in four major areas of concern, namely, setting a
uniform standard variety for ELT, curriculum design
and materials development, testing, and teacher
training. Literature on these issues indicates that
much work has already been done. However, one
must say that ELT in the twenty-first century faces
stiffer challenges than ever before. Tasks related
to ELT are constantly confounded by the current
trend of the global spread of English, emerging
new stakes coupled with diverse, and at times,
conflicting expectations of the various stakeholders.
While it is extremely difficult to come to terms with
the challenges that ELT faces, below I discuss
what I consider to be a pragmatic and humanistic
approach to ELT.
World Englishes and English Language Teaching
Bhowmik, S. K. (2015) Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J.
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A pragmatic approach to ELT
A pragmatic approach to ELT considers the
“do-ability” issues in teaching and all relevant tasks.
It is evident from the accounts above that ELT in our
time is complex. Therefore, the most viable option
for educators would be to first determine the “do-
ability” criteria for ELT. An evaluation of the English
language teaching goals against the do-ability
factors would help teachers/administrators set more
realistic targets for themselves.
So what would be the procedures for
determining the do-ability criteria in ELT? How
would an inventory of do-ability criteria help ELT
practitioners better? How would such a move help
re-conceptualize the priorities of ELT in the twenty-
first century and to what benefits? One can begin
by considering Widdowson’s (1994) accounts
discussed earlier as a starting point. ELT practitioners
should focus more on the communicative functions
of English rather than its communal functions.
That is, focus on communicative functions would
allow the users of English, native and nonnative
alike, to become more tolerant and respectful
to each other (e.g., Bhatia, 2014), to accept
the realities regarding the current status of the
English language. That said, considering the vast
landscape of English, finding a common ground
for communication is understandably not easy. For
instance, a huge majority of English language users
would be concerned about the intelligibility and
comprehensibility of English interlocutors’ speech,
communication failures, misunderstanding and/
or other potential scenarios thereof. However, as
Canagarajah (2013) suggests, showing tolerance
and respect to each other emanating from the
realization of the current status of English can help
enhance mutual understanding to a large extent.
It would also help erase the myth of nonnative
speakers’ inability to communicate in English in
challenging situations. In order for this to happen
sustained communicative efforts (rather than
communal propaganda) need to be enforced so
that people become savvier about the intelligibility
and comprehensibility of ELF and EIL. Promoting
the communicative functions would also help
break the jinx of native-nonnative dichotomy and
broaden the perspectives on the users of English
across the world.
A related and somewhat complementary
measure to the above would be a complete
abandonment of the “Anglo-Saxon attitudes”
(Seidlhofer, 2005) up to the grassroots levels. This
entails that more awareness and recognition of the
enormity of the nonnative speaking population need
to be firmly established. Although understandably
an arduous task, this can be initiated by including
the current status, and the statistics relating to the
outer- and expanding-circle English in ELT materials
all over the world. We can hope that knowledge
of the current status of English would empower
nonnative speakers by instilling confidence in
them and helping generate more neutral attitudes
toward speakers of English worldwide. Although the
current efforts in the literature to describe English
speakers from the outer- and expanding-circle as
speakers of English as a lingua franca (ELF) or of
English as an international language (EIL) provide
alternative perspectives on the ongoing conundrums
regarding the issue, these terms are by themselves
discriminatory. Instead, a more pragmatic and
meaningful approach would be to describe all
English speakers within a single bracket as “English
speakers,” in which case, all English speakers would
be known as “English speakers” only, without a
string attached to them. It is only at this point that
one can expect true change of attitudes towards and
efforts for accommodation of all English speakers
regardless of their L1 backgrounds.
A rather more obvious and less drastic measure
would be to train English teachers within the latest
language acquisition theories and perspectives on
WE. Efficient English teachers are central to ELT;
therefore, efforts must be made for educating
English teachers with up-to-date theories of
language. Furthermore, it must also be established
that professional expertise is much more important
than language proficiency. That is, proficiency
in English alone does not qualify someone for an
English teaching position (Phillipson, 1992, p.15).
Teachers’ professional expertise—knowledge about
the subject area plus an understanding about
various facts relating to educational psychology,
second language acquisition, and current socio-
political events as well as the ability to deliver the
knowledge should be the sole criteria for determining
professional expertise. Local norms for professional
Bhowmik, S. K. (2015) Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J.
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development as well as more universal standards
must be incorporated in teacher training.
A pragmatic approach to ELT in line with the
accounts above is necessary in order for making
English language pedagogy more accessible and
viable. It is imperative that the practitioners in the
field shake off all limiting factors in order for ELT
to assume a more progressive agenda to take the
English language teaching and learning movement
forward. Eliminating all barriers and embracing
diversities should be the driving principles for ELT
to sustain its growth and vitality in the twenty-
first century.
A humanistic approach to ELT
The concept of a humanistic approach has
been part of educational theories and practices for
a long time. The efficacy of such an approach lies
in explaining some of the problems relating to ELT
raised in this paper. I adapt renowned educational
theorist Nimrod Aloni’s (1997) notions on humanistic
education in my attempt to delineate a humanistic
approach to ELT. According to Aloni, a humanistic
approach to education must be committed:
…to the enhancement of human freedom and
growth, to the realization and perfection of human
potentialities, and to an ethical code that places
the highest value on the dignity of humanity, as
an end in itself, in relation to which all political,
religious, economic, and ideological doctrines are
regarded as means to its enhancement. (p. 96)
Taking Aloni’s (1997) accounts as a departure
point, I suggest that a humanistic approach to ELT
relate to considerations about setting goals and
assigning tasks in ELT that are “humanly” possible.
Such ELT goals and tasks must help the “realization
and perfection of human potentialities” (Aloni, 1997,
p. 96) rather than acting as political, economic, and
ideological means to subjugate English learners.
Literature in the field suggests that English language
teaching/learning has traditionally targeted native-
like proficiency. However, apart from its underlying
political and ideological ramifications, setting such
a target is problematic on at least two counts: First,
it is clear from the discussions in this paper that
there is no universally-accepted single reference
point for SE. Second, research shows that it is
extremely difficult, if not impossible, especially for
post-puberty language learners, to achieve native-
like proficiency (e.g., Derwing & Munro, 2005). Why
should ELT course goals and objectives then persist
with an elusive “native-likeness,” approximating
proficiencies that are ostensibly impossible to
achieve while leaving out more viable alternatives
for acquiring communicative competence? Aloni’s
humanistic education views learning to be “the
properly human way of developing natural talents
and capacities” (Gadamer, 1975, p. 11, as cited in
Aloni, 1997).
In this connection, one may consider the
example of the high-stakes English proficiency tests.
Although TOEFL and IELTS scores are widely used
as standard measures for proficiency in English, for
the most part these tests are designed to measure
either American or British norms of English. While it
is well-accepted that the bulk of the communication
in English in today’s world occurs among nonnative
English speakers, to what extent these tests are
justifiable for measuring English proficiency remains
a contentious issue (Canagarajah, 2006). A poignant
direct effect of this on test takers is that they attempt
to approximate the native speakers’ norms (primarily
to pass these tests), knowing that in real life situations
they are more likely to communicate with nonnative
speakers of English. What is more, definitions of
the terms such as “native-likeness” or “nativeness”
themselves are relative to contexts as they vary even
within native-speaking societies, and that there is no
uniform measure for native-likeness and nativeness
(Levis, 2005). A humanistic approach that aligns
with the terms and definitions stated above rejects
such objectives of ELT on the ground that they are
devoid of “self-generation, self-nourishment, and
self-creation” (Aloni, 1997, p.102). The most logical
goal for ELT courses should be such that English
learning helps learners communicate successfully–
that is, the learners are able to accomplish “the
ideational, the interpersonal, and the textual
functions” (Berns, 1990, p. 104) in English.
Furthermore, a blind approximation of native-
like proficiency or a specific standard for English
language teaching and learning denounces the
World Englishes and English Language Teaching
Bhowmik, S. K. (2015) Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J.
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fundamental human spirits that crave the values
and ideologies specific to the native culture
(Canagarajah, 1999). González (2010) reports
how the adoption of the Common European
Framework of Reference (CEFR) as the standard
in English language education policy in Colombia
encountered resistance from students and teachers
alike. A humanistic approach to ELT would promote
sensitivities towards learners’ native cultures, and
“self-regulated development [and] spontaneous …
exercise of natural powers” (Aloni, 1997, p. 92).
Such an approach would also help both teachers and
learners appreciate diversity and pluricentrism–two
central characteristics of WE. After all, considering
the current landscape of English, no one can confine
his or her perspectives to the native-speaking norms
of English anymore.
Finally, if the purpose of having native-
speaking norms of English is “exclusion” rather than
“inclusion” (Widdowson, 1994), such a purpose is
completely uncalled for given the current socio-
political scenarios. A pluricentric approach to
English is what the world needs most, whereby
diversity would stand for a welcome change, not as
a basis for discrimination, intended or unintended.
Only a humanistic approach to ELT can ensure an
end to this effect.
I must concede that ELT in our time is much
more complex than a framework of the kind
proposed here can resolve. There are issues that are
difficult to deal with as the ever-changing landscape
of English comes up with fresh challenges. For
instance, people all over the world learn English
for a variety of purposes, with a whole range of
goals and objectives in mind. Likewise, designing
a uniform needs analysis framework, curriculum,
appropriate teaching methodology, and assessment
tools for this entire spectrum of the population is
almost an impossible task. Nevertheless, future
research in the field may delve into issues such
as what gatekeeping systems are prevalent (and
appropriate) in the contexts of nonnative-nonnative
communication (e.g., in a context where a non-
English-speaking student seeks admission to a non-
English-speaking high school/college/university),
to what extent the prevalent high-stakes English
tests are successful in providing reliable measures
for the diverse communication needs for English
language learners given the changing landscape
of the English language, and whether a preference
for native English teachers is customary only at
college or university levels or whether it pervades K
through 12 education as well. Furthermore, it would
be interesting to explore to what extent nonnative
speakers of English are willing to accommodate
their native-speaking counterparts to facilitate
communication, for communication is a mutual
act, and successful communication is not only a
native speakers’ burden, after all. This entails that
in order for successful communication to take place
nonnative speakers of English must learn how to
accommodate their native-speaking counterparts
in ways that would enhance mutual intelligibility.
In order for a more comprehensive understanding
of ELT, future research must look into issues such
as these.
To conclude, in this paper I attempted to
point out various mismatches in English language
teaching goals and objectives vis-à-vis teaching
and learning outcomes in four major areas of
concern—I discussed how setting standards for the
target variety of English for instruction purposes,
designing curriculum and developing materials,
testing, and training teachers have become
complicated due to the global spread of English.
Although chosen somewhat arbitrarily, these four
areas constitute the major components of any
language education program. It is hoped that
delineating these issues may instill useful insights
into the rich body of literature and research in
ELT. I must also acknowledge at this point that my
plea for a pragmatic and humanistic approach to
ELT is derived partly from the predicament English
language learners around the world face due to
various WE phenomena described here and partly
from my personal experience as a nonnative speaker
of English. Although some of the issues discussed
in this paper can be found elsewhere, especially
publications relating to WE, my efforts here have
been intended to make ELT practitioners aware
of the current challenges they face because of the
global spread of English. I argue that in order for
Bhowmik, S. K. (2015) Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J.
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... Nowadays, English has been widely used as a means of communication among people from various first languages or mother tongues (L1) (Bhowmik, 2015). ...
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The article reports a community service programme in the form of the English Conversation Club (ECC) for students of Kalam Kudus Senior High School, Surakarta, Central Java. It was conducted in the form of eight 40-50-minute online sessions via Google Meet from January 2022 up to May 2022. 30 students participated in the programme. The programme was mainly designed to introduce the participants to varieties of English such as Tagalog, Korean, Japanese, Australian, and Singaporean Englishes and to describe various places in Indonesia or abroad. Introducing varieties of English, more specifically, was intended to nurture positive attitudes towards varieties of English around the world and local accents with speaking English, including Indonesian accents, which in turn could motivate them to speak English confidently regardless of their accents. The participants reported generally positive attitudes towards the programme even though some participants still saw little relevance as to why they should learn varieties of English other than British and American. This slightly negative attitude may be attributed to the participants' limited previous exposure to varieties of English. The combination of limited duration, a big number of participants, and the online mode of the programme may also lessen the effectiveness and how well the materials on varieties of Englishes were delivered. Based on the limitations, it is suggested that to be more effective, future programmes were designed considering more carefully the duration of each meeting, the number of participants, as well as the participants' level of proficiency and previous background knowledge.
... People from various countries communicate with each other mostly using the language. The globalisation enables more and more frequent communication in English among people from various first languages (L1) (Bhowmik, 2015). This communication has made people be exposed to varieties of English spoken by people with different L1. ...
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The present study was conducted to investigate the views of six Indonesian senior high school teachers of English on the place of World Englishes (WE) in English as second language (L2) instruction. The study used semi-structured online interviews as the method of data collection. Through Thematic Analysis, it found several main findings. The teachers introduced varieties of accents to motivate their students and nurture respect towards accented English. They, however, did so at varying degrees, several in the intra-curricular activities, one in extracurricular activities only. Though they had different perspectives on the level of importance of introducing students with varieties of accents, they uniformly believed that it was acceptable for their students to speak English with local accents. The implication of the study includes accommodating WE to a certain extent in activities and assessment and raising English teachers’ awareness towards WE through accommodating it in English education majors’ curricula. Contributions, limitations, and future studies’ directions are also suggested.
... The popularity of World Englishes has spread worldwide due to globalisation. More varieties of English emerged by time as a result of the interaction between native and non-native English speakers (Bhowmik, 2015). This concept brings a diversity of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation (Rezaei et al., 2019). ...
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The present study was conducted to investigate Indonesian High School students’ attitudes towards World Englishes, a construct developed based on a three-circle model proposed by Kachru. The study used an online questionnaire consisting of 22 items. The number of high school students from various regions in Indonesia participating in the study was 121. It was found that there was a moderate level of acceptance towards varieties of English. The participants believed that they should learn and be taught English varieties from inner-circle countries. However, the participants seemed to have very strong beliefs towards and pride in their local accents, to have high respect towards various accents around the world, and to perceive English to belong to whoever speaks it. Based on the finding on the participants’ positive attitude towards their local accents, English instruction could focus on the eventual purpose of learning a language, which is communication and building positive students’ self-perception about themselves regarding English. Hence, instead of comparing themselves with native speakers of English, students could focus on sharpening their English skills regardless of accents to be a part of the global community. The limitations and contributions of the present study are also presented, along with possible directions for relevant future studies in the field.
... The primary purpose of the EFL program is to enhance speaking and listening skill. Learning a foreign language is important at all levels of education [15]. Aside from learning English, students received elective subjects. ...
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This chapter proposes a pedagogic model for teaching English in the local ESL classrooms and a guidepost for making ELT approaches, methods, and procedures in sync, with PhE taking the spotlight in the pro- cess of making these three instructional domains in congruence with one another. This chapter argues that PhE is more than ready and ripe to be studied, taught, and used in the classrooms and offers Filipino teachers of English with a pedagogical tool or armory which they can employ in their respective ESL classes and incorporate within the framework of changing patterns of language education brought about by the WE paradigm.
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As English continues to be the world language, the development of more contextualized and culture-based 'englishes' has been observed. In the context of education, language teachers need to understand the current changes in teaching English based on their students' different contexts. This study explored the junior high school teachers' regard toward 'World Englishes' (WE). It employed a qualitative design with a narrative inquiry approach. Teachers in the junior high school in region 7 in the Philippines were purposively chosen to compose the respondents of the study. These storied accounts on their self-assessed awareness and regard of the nature and importance of understanding WE were determined by using interview questions. The teachers' narratives provided the nuances of their experiences in language teaching and the subjective meaning attached to these experiences. The following themes were generated from the teachers' narratives: Knowledge of WE is essential; Teachers are desirous to learn more about WE, and Language teachers need to be WE-oriented. Most of these teachers acknowledged that they have limited knowledge of WE. Their narratives reflect their desires to learn what WE is and how the concept can be Teachers' Storied Accounts on 'World Englishes' ISSN 1905-7725 NET 16.1 January 2022 Theodore Maria School of Arts, Assumption University 60 incorporated in the classroom to enrich and maximize students' learning. It is concluded that as countries engrave their own identity into the English language, a WE-informed curriculum that develops the students' language competencies in a culture-sensitive context is possible only with WE-oriented teachers.
Based on a survey conducted among 77 Korean university students, this article examined their usage and awareness of ELF (English as a Lingua Franca), and observed if problems which previous researches have claimed appeared among them. By analyzing data gathered via 2 simple questions and 4 descriptive questions, this study found that the respondents appreciated English as a basic medium for global communication. The respondents also reported various domestic and foreign situations in which they used English to communicate with different interlocutors who spoke different native languages. However, critical issues, such as ownership of English, idealized attitudes toward Standard English, and bias against the varieties of English spoken, all of which have been reported in several empirical researches, were also detected. As globalization extends throughout all areas of our life, and as L2 speakers excel L1 speakers in number as a result, this article calls for more effort to discuss ELF issues in general English education for university students. It also calls for the development of new pedagogical practices. The findings of this study could provide for a meaningful start in that it looked into the real life situations of the students.
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This dissertation investigates the implications of English as a lingua franca (ELF) in teaching and learning criteria. After providing an overall view on the historical development of world varieties of English, the analysis of the use of present-day English highlights that ELF has its own set of lexico-grammatical, phonological and phonetic features, which are mainly shaped by non-native speakers of the language in lingua-franca contexts of use. However, there seems to be a gap between the current use of English and the way English is taught and learned. On the one hand, even if World Englishes (WEs) and ELF-awareness raising are theoretically assessed, textbooks for teachers and learners still seem to frame the language within native-speaking-country sociocultural values, as the analysis of recent course- books shows; as a consequence, even though ELF use privileges intelligibility over native-likeness and promotes the maintenance of non-native speakers’ L1 identities, native-speaker norms imposed on the language still heavily influence ELF users and learners. These results are evident from different surveys on students’ experiences as English learners, such as the one carried out for the purposes of this dissertation. Lingua-franca English is not officially taught in the classroom, nor is it assessed by international examinations of English. Yet, it is being spoken, used, and modeled by non-native speakers, constrained by native-speaker English norms.
The Handbook of World Englishes is a collection of newly commissioned articles focusing on selected critical dimensions and case studies of the theoretical, ideological, applied and pedagogical issues related to English as it is spoken around the world. Represents the cross-cultural and international contextualization of the English language. Articulates the visions of scholars from major varieties of world Englishes - African, Asian, European, and North and South American. Discusses topics including the sociolinguistic contexts of varieties of English in the inner, outer, and expanding circles of its users; the ranges of functional domains in which these varieties are used; the place of English in language policies and language planning; and debates about English as a cause of language death, murder and suicide.
This book advocates a new approach to English pronunciation teaching, in which the goal is mutual intelligibility among non-native speakers, rather than the imitation of native speakers. English pronunciation is considered in an international context, with the emphasis on phonological intelligibility for listeners for whom English is not their first language. The author proposes a new pronunciation syllabus, the Lingua Franca Core, based on findings from empirical research where English pronunciation is examined in its sociolinguistic context.
Translingual Practice: Global Englishes and Cosmopolitan Relations introduces a new way of looking at the use of English within a global context. Challenging traditional approaches in second language acquisition and English language teaching, this book incorporates recent advances in multilingual studies, sociolinguistics, and new literacy studies to articulate a new perspective on this area. Canagarajah argues that multilinguals merge their own languages and values into English, which opens up various negotiation strategies that help them decode other unique varieties of English and construct new norms. Incisive and groundbreaking, this will be essential reading for anyone interested in multilingualism, world Englishes and intercultural communication.