* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
LINGUIST List logo Eastern Michigan University Wayne State University *
* People & Organizations * Jobs * Calls & Conferences * Publications * Language Resources * Text & Computer Tools * Teaching & Learning * Mailing Lists * Search *
* *

LINGUIST List 23.5217

Thu Dec 13 2012

Review: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition: Ahmed, Cane, and Hanzala (eds., 2011)

Editor for this issue: Anja Wanner <anjalinguistlist.org>

Date: 13-Dec-2012
From: Alia Amir <alia.amirliu.se>
Subject: Teaching English in Multilingual Contexts
E-mail this message to a friend

Discuss this message

Book announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/22/22-386.html

Editor: Azra Ahmed
Editor: Graeme Cane
Editor: Mehnaz Hanzala
Title: Teaching English in Multilingual Contexts
Subtitle: Current Challenges, Future Directions
Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Year: 2011

Reviewer: Alia Amir, Linköping University

EDITORS: Ahmed, Azra; Cane, Graeme, and Hanzala, Mehnaz
TITLE: Teaching English in Multilingual Contexts
SUBTITLE: Current Challenges, Future Directions
PUBLISHER: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
YEAR: 2011

Alia Amir, Department of Culture and Communication, Linköping University,


“Teaching English in Multilingual Contexts: Current Challenges, Future
Directions” is an edited collection of eleven papers presented at the fifth
International Seminar organized by the Centre of English Language (CEL) at the
Aga Khan University (AKU), Karachi, Pakistan, in April, 2009. It is a
collection of papers which discuss present day practices and issues connected
with the teaching of English in multilingual countries. The contributions,
edited by Azra Ahmed, Graeme Cane and Mehnaz Hanzala, offer a variety of
perspectives and ''discuss issues related to English language teaching”
(p.xiii), including Andrew Littlejohn’s questions about top-down approaches
where leaners and teachers are led by models which ignore the social or human
element in teaching and learning.

The chapters are organized into three sections: Section 1 comprises six
chapters dealing with teaching English in multilingual situations, Section 2
offers two chapters discussing code-switching and code-mixing practices in
Pakistan. Section 3 includes three chapters discussing assessment in language
teaching and learning. The book includes a one-page foreword by Camer Vellani,
professor at Aga Khan University (AKU), and a preface by the editors, which
introduces each chapter included in the two sections of the book.

In his foreword, Camer Vellani acknowledges the centrality of the efficient
ways of acquiring competence in the use of English in multilingual contexts
and places the university support in the publication of this book in the
context of both for Aga Khan University’s students and staff as well as
Pakistani adult learners’ competence in relation to a competitive world. In
particular, he notes the Centre of English Language at AKU’s efforts to
explore “efficient ways of acquiring competence in the use of English for
learning and work in multilingual societies” (p. xi).

In the opening chapter, entitled ''Real-world teaching,” Andrew Littlejohn
discusses what is required for ''Real-World Language Teaching.'' He questions
the underlying conceptualisations of what should be the focus in language
teaching by taking insights from the study of economics. Based on an
alternative paradigm in the study of economics known as ''Real-World
Economics,'' he asks if the social psychology of the classroom has been
considered sufficiently. Littlejohn argues that language teaching is both a
psycholinguistic and a social process. There has been more stress on the
former, but the latter has not been dealt with sufficiently. Although he does
point out that classroom life research has been gaining momentum, most of the
studies generally use either a psycholinguistic framework or the social one.
He suggests considering both the social and psycholinguistic aspects of the
language classroom.

The second chapter entitled “Building Communities of practice for teacher
development: a comparative study,” by Fauzia Shamim presents a strategy for
teacher development in Pakistan. She argues that one-off workshops and short
courses might be unsuccessful because they are not related to the specific
needs of teachers. She suggests building communities of practice (hereafter
COPs), and analyses the development of COPs in two educational contexts in
Pakistan, one at the AKU and the other at the University of Karachi. She
argues that forming a COP can be a successful factor in individual teacher

In the third chapter, ''From Autonomy to Autonomous Language Learning,” Hayo
Reinders challenges the pedagogical concept of learner autonomy. He proposes
to rethink and redefine the behavior that characterises autonomy rather than
defining autonomy. In order to understand the pedagogical term “learner
autonomy,” Reinders traces the use and the development of the term in the
fields of education, sociolinguistics and psychology. He critically examines
the definitions of autonomous learning from the 1970s to the 1980s and
concludes that it is not possible to talk about a learner as autonomous or
not, but that one has to look at learners' actions to decide if there is
autonomous learning.

The fourth chapter, ''The Right approach to Teaching Writing in an ESP
Setting: Some Perspectives,” co-authored by one of the editors, Azra Ahmed,
together with Mirat Al Fatima Ahsan, explores ways to develop academic writing
competence of nursing students in a Pakistani university. The writers begin by
briefly reviewing the current situation of Pakistani English language learners
and current methods of teaching writing, for instance English is only an
optional medium of instruction at the state run schools. They discuss three
approaches (product, process and genre based approaches) currently popular in
the teaching of English writing skills and propose an approach for English for
Academic Purposes writing, in which they combine the strengths of the product
approach with those of the process-based writing approach. The authors
generalise from their study that their model with its integrated e-learning
component allows improvement in lexical and grammatical development and
overall writing of their students.

In the fifth chapter, a unique idea of peer classroom observations through
video clips for ELT is developed by Nasreen Hasnain and Shaista Bano Zaidi in
their paper called “Using critical Incidents to Develop Reflective ELT
Practitioners.” The authors introduce the concept of Critical Incidents and
Critical Incident Analysis to English language teacher trainees through peer
classroom observations using video clips of their own teaching, and setting up
email discussions between trainers and trainees. The authors argue that
reflecting on critical incidents can help the teachers understand what is
happening in their classrooms and can also improve their teaching practices.
The authors argue that the identification of these critical incidents by ELT
practitioners can help them understand and improve their teaching practices.

Chapter six, “Affective Education: How Effective is our Learning?” by Fatima
Dar, looks at essential elements of affective education such as feelings,
emotions and self-esteem. She argues that paying attention to these factors
can not only improve an English language curriculum but will have
longer-lasting impact on the learners.

Section two examines code-switching practices in the Pakistani context. The
first paper “Code-mixing in textbooks: Current Practice in Pakistan,” by
Samina Qadir, examines the use of English in school text books in two subjects
namely Urdu and Pakistan studies. Qadir finds that the use of English words in
Urdu textbooks, for which there are equivalent words available in Urdu, has
serious consequences for development and sustenance of Urdu, such as loan
words and borrowing from English to Urdu.

In the second article in section two, chapter eight, Sarwet Rasul looks at
code-mixing in the Pakistani media in her paper entitled “ Code-mixing in
Pakistani Television Advertisements: A Socio-linguistic Analysis.” The author
analyses twelve advertisements from the beauty and health domain where English
and Urdu are used. The author highlights the role of the media in promoting
and using English loan words in these advertisements.

Section three, entitled “Assessment in Language Teaching and Learning,”
consists of three papers. In chapter nine, Nasreen Ahsan in her paper entitled
“Portfolios as an Alternative Assessment: A first-time experience for Students
and Teachers” describes an action research strategy by using Portfolios. She
describes the lack of confidence among learners in English for Academic
Purposes or written communicative Skills courses in Pakistani context. She
reports that her experience of using portfolios and getting the students to
critically reflect on their own development was well received by the teachers
and students.

In chapter ten, Wajdan Raza in her paper entitled “A rating Scale for the
Assessment of Writing Skills” introduces a rating scale developed for the
assessment of English writing skills by University students in Pakistan. Eight
qualified ESL teachers were first trained and later they were assigned the
task of rating seventy scripts of engineering students studying at a private
University in Karachi. The results showed that the use of the scale can have
useful effect on the reliability of assessments.

In Chapter 11, Isbah Mustafa in her paper entitled “Equity in the English
Listening Comprehension Examination: Does Region Matter?” discusses the role
of regional and economic background on the performance of a candidate in
examinations. The aim of this study was to find out the differences in
achievement of the candidates in the English listening comprehension test
developed by the Aga Khan University Examination Board in various provincial
and urban regions of Pakistan. The scores of students from different regions
in the English listening comprehension test and in grade 10 exams in eight
core subjects are compared. Students in cities show a different trajectory
from students in the provinces; in particular, their English listening scores
are higher than their scores on the grade 10 examination.


This edited collection presents the reader with a collection of papers that
shows a detailed picture of several issues faced by practitioners in the
teaching of English in Pakistan today. It adds to existing studies that
elucidate the nature and importance of English in educational contexts in
Pakistan (for example, Baumgardner, 1993, Bashiruddin, 2011). This collection
aims at filling the gap in the area of teaching English in multilingual
contexts, specifically in Pakistan. With the exception of two papers (by
Andrew Littlejohn and Hayo Reinders), all contributions focus on the
multilingual context of English Language Teaching (ELT) in Pakistan.

However, although the book presents a wide range of active research projects
and innovative approaches, it does not show the true diversity of languages in
Pakistani classroom context and how to approach multilingualism in ELT. There
is also a lack of linguistic approaches in the current volume. Although all
contributions present an array of studies in the field of ELT in Pakistan,
the edited collection is not fully representative of the multilingual
situation in Pakistan, particularly that found in classrooms, considering that
more than seventy languages are spoken in Pakistan. In this regard, the title
of this edited collection does not align with the main agenda outlined in the
preface. Another limitation is that Most of the contributions take their data
from educational institutions in urban contexts in Pakistan. None of the
papers deals with ELT in the rural contexts of Pakistan. Nor does the volume
compare any local languages of Pakistan with English, in order to highlight
the differences and problems that may arise for a speaker of particular
language when learning English. Only two papers (Qadir and Rasul) highlight
the bilingual/ multilingual ground realities in Pakistan. Even among these two
papers, only Qadir deals with the bilingual/ multilingual situation of
Pakistani classrooms, whereas the Rasul studies the code-switching practices
in the Pakistani television media.

The volume would also have profited from a more thoughtful ordering of
contributions, as some contributions (e.g. Littlejohn, pp. 3-16) would fit
better in a different section, or else are not grouped together with
thematically similar contributions within a section. The first section could
be simply called “Language Teaching and Learning” and under that heading the
papers by Littlejohn, Reinders and Dar could be placed. Another section could
be formed with the rest of the papers . The main reason for this criticism is
that the title for this section called “Teaching English in Multilingual
Situations” does not accurately inform about the papers included in this

In spite of such small drawbacks, this collection of papers will prove to be a
great resource for those working in ELT. Not only will these studies
contribute to the development of English language teaching in Pakistan, they
will also benefit teacher training and yield new insights into general issues
in language teaching and teacher training, such as teaching writing English to
speakers of other languages, and how it is different from that of the


Bashiruddin, A. (2011). Learning and Teaching of English in Pakistan. Lambert
Academic Publishing.

Baumgardner, R.J. (1993). The English language in Pakistan. Karachi: Oxford
University Press.

Wenger, E. (1988). Communities of Practice: Language, Learning, and Meaning.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Alia Amir (alia.amirliu.se), a recipient of a fellowship from the Higher
Education Commission of Pakistan, is currently working on her dissertation at
the Department of Culture and Communication, Linköping University, Sweden. Her
project focuses on English as a Second Language classrooms in Swedish schools,
seen from an ethnomethodological conversation analytic perspective. Her
research interests are language in education and bi-/multilingualism in
education (including policies and talk-in-interaction).
Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Page Updated: 13-Dec-2012

Supported in part by the National Science Foundation       About LINGUIST    |   Contact Us       ILIT Logo
While the LINGUIST List makes every effort to ensure the linguistic relevance of sites listed on its pages, it cannot vouch for their contents.