- convention 2017
Student involvement, teacher involvement and the Goldilocks principle.
As a formal code, used to convey meaningful messages, a language necessarily has a dual character. Reflecting this, teaching philosophies oscillate between the two poles of form and meaning, control and freedom, imitation and expression, knowledge and skill, learning and using. Where are we now? In many teaching contexts (though not all), the last 40 years have seen a powerful drift towards the freedom/expression/using end of the spectrum. Increased student involvement, learner-directed work, learning by communicative activity and a concern for personal development are all good things, but they can push the basics of language teaching and learning into the background. We need to keep in mind the Goldilocks principle: not too little, not too much.
Michael Swan is a writer specializing in English Language teaching and reference materials. His manypublications include Practical English Usage (OUP), the Cambridge English Course series (with Catherine Walter), and, also with Catherine Walter, the Oxford English Grammar Course. Michael’s interests include pedagogic grammar, mother-tongue influence in second language acquisition, and the relationship between applied linguistic theory and classroom language-teaching practice. He has had extensive experience with adult learners, and has worked with teachers in many countries.
“Elfies at large – Beware!”
It is common knowledge that English has become the Lingua Franca the world over. Today the overwhelming majority of communication takes place between nonnative users of English, often in the absence of native speakers. Given this, proponents of the ELF movement, whom I call elfies in my lecture, claim that native English standards need not be followed any longer. After I have subjected this assumption to critical analysis, I conclude that teachers had better follow their own agenda and satisfy their learners’ genuine needs, instead of listening to elfies – or any other researchers, for that matter.
Péter Medgyes, CBE, is Professor Emeritus of Applied Linguistics and Language Pedagogy at Eötvös Loránd University Budapest. During his career he was a schoolteacher, teacher trainer, vice rector, deputy state secretary, ambassador of Hungary and Vice President of IATEFL. He was a plenary speaker in 45 countries and is the author of numerous articles and books, including The Non-Native Teacher (Macmillan, 1994, winner of the Duke of Edinburgh Book Competition), The Language Teacher (Corvina, 1997), Laughing Matters (Cambridge University Press, 2002), Golden Age: Twenty Years of Foreign Language Education in Hungary (National Textbook Publishing Company, 2011) and Reflections on Foreign Language Education (2015, Eötvös Publishing House). His main professional interests lie in language policy and teacher education, with a special emphasis on nonnative English speaking teachers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Title: The ‘native factor’, the haves and the have-nots
…and why we still need to talk about this in 2017.
Abstract: It is often claimed that much has changed in the field of English Language Teaching since 1983, when Peter Medgyes first described the struggle of ‘non-native’ teachers for visibility and due recognition. But has it? Away from academic circles, where the discourses that equated the ideal teacher with the ‘native speaker’ have been interrogated and critiqued, how has the situation really changed for the professional teacher of English whose first or home language is a language other than English?
In this talk I will draw on research studies, anecdotal evidence and my own and my colleagues’ personal experiences to examine the state of equality and social justice in ELT with reference to the so-called ‘non-native speaker teacher’ thirty years on. I will look at how the logic of the market is used to justify current discriminatory recruitment practices that still perpetuate the view that a(n unqualified) native speaker is preferable to a qualified and professional ‘non-native teacher’.
I will reflect on the impact of the native-speaker bias and its dominance on developments in English Language teaching methodology, and how this dominance seems to have affected the emergence of context-appropriate pedagogies. Finally, I will address the ‘second best’ view of the ‘non-native teacher’ and its impact on their own construction of a legitimate professional identity and on their confidence in themselves as teachers, users and experts of an-other language.
Biodata: Silvana Richardson is Head of Teacher Development at Bell Educational Services and Head of Programme Quality at the Bell Foundation. She has worked in English Language Teaching for over 25 years as teacher and academic manager, and has trained EFL, MFL, ESOL, EAL, CLIL and subject teachers and trainers in the state and private sectors both in the UK and abroad. She has been Director of the Bell Delta Online and Director of Studies at Bell Teacher Campus, Cambridge, and has written online materials for teachers for Cambridge English Teacher. Silvana is a speaker in international conferences and a Quality Assurance inspector.