LINGUIST List 32.2021

Thu Jun 10 2021

Review: Applied Linguistics: Fang, Widodo (2020)

Editor for this issue: Billy Dickson <billydlinguistlist.org>



Date: 24-Dec-2020
From: Teresa Ong <ongtesagmail.com>
Subject: Critical Perspectives on Global Englishes in Asia
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Book announced at https://linguistlist.org/issues/31/31-2142.html

Review Editors' note: This is a review article, a special feature of LINGUIST List reviews.

EDITOR: Fan Fang
EDITOR: Handoyo Puji Widodo
TITLE: Critical Perspectives on Global Englishes in Asia
SUBTITLE: Language Policy, Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
SERIES TITLE: New Perspectives on Language and Education
PUBLISHER: Multilingual Matters
YEAR: 2020

REVIEWER: Teresa Wai See Ong, Griffith University

SUMMARY

“Critical Perspectives on Global Englishes in Asia: Language Policy, Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment” is an edited volume by Fan Fang and Handoyo Puji Widodo which focuses on issues related to Global Englishes. The volume begins with a preface by Jennifer Jenkins, a pioneer in the field of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF). This is followed by twelve interesting chapters by individual authors who discuss and highlight the role and challenges of Global Englishes in relation to language policy, curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment. The volume ends with an index.

In Chapter 1, Critical Perspectives on Global Englishes in English Language Education, Fan Fang and Handoyo Puji Widodo begin the discussion by stating that traditional views of English language teaching are dominated by Standard British English and American English. However, the current spread and use of English in different contexts is far more complicated than expected because to some degree, local accents may influence the way people speak English. To date, the question whether local dialect/language and its accent should be tolerated when using English is still debatable. Thus, this volume, edited by both authors, provides chapters that highlight the move beyond the traditional perspective of viewing English as a global language. Instead, they adopt the term ‘Global English’ (GE) to refer to “the metamorphosis and fluid nature of the English language not within but transcending borders worldwide” (Jenkins, 2015 in Fang & Widodo 2019, pp. 2-3). GE is a more inclusive term because it encompasses the many varieties of English from the World Englishes (WE) paradigm and the fluidity and diversity of English use among speakers from the English as a lingua franca (ELF) paradigm (Galloway & Rose, 2018; Jenkins 2015).

In Chapter 2, A Critical Examination of Common Beliefs about Language Teaching: From Research Insights to Professional Engagement, Ryuko Kubota outlines ten beliefs about teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL). The first belief is related to the legitimate varieties of English that have been challenged by traditional views of English in inner circle countries. The second belief is native speakerism, which means that there is still employment preference for native English-speaking teachers. As reflected in the broader language ideology, many teachers, learners, and parents still hold beliefs about whiteness, cultural essentialism, and dominance of white native speakers in TEFL. In relation to pedagogy, the beliefs constitute the perception of using English as an international language in all domains and the economic benefits one gains from acquiring English. The myths that English must be learnt at an early age and the monolingual approach to teaching English have been challenged in second language acquisition research. The final belief examines the ideal learner and taken-for-granted learning approaches. All in all, these myths should not be sustained because learners and teachers nowadays come from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

In Chapter 3, English is the Default Language? A Study of International Students’ Language Needs in the Chinese Higher Education Context, Ting Zhang and Yongyan Zheng examine the language needs of 13 international students from GHU, a top university in China that boasts the largest group of international students. The examination was conducted through semi-structured interviews. The findings reveal that most instructors delivered the course content competently in English but employed code-switching to Chinese as a strategy to ensure better understanding of the content. However, there were instances where the code-switching was done in the language spoken by the majority of students in the class. The other findings show that international students regarded English as a global language but Chinese was needed as an additional skill for job-seeking. Hence, the authors conclude that courses that use English as the medium of instruction may become a platform for intercultural communication but at the same time, “language should be treated with greater sensitivity” to cater to international students, in particular those from Anglophone countries (Zhang & Zheng, 2019, p. 40).

In Chapter 4, Language Selection and Assessment in Brunei Darussalam, Ishamina Athirah Gardiner and David Deterding investigate language selection and assessment in Brunei Darussalam. Data consisted of 10 audio-recordings that were collected at Universiti Brunei Darussalam. Each recording involved a conversation in English conducted between a Bruneian and a non-Bruneian. The findings show that native-like patterns of pronunciation and lexical choice could give rise to misunderstandings in many contexts and caused students not able to achieve the required grade in the English language ‘O’ level examination. The authors conclude that being able to mimic native-speaker ability does not seem useful and instead, students should be encouraged to communicate effectively by adjusting their pronunciation when necessary. Such pedagogy has been proposed but is still unacceptable by many education authorities worldwide.

In Chapter 5, Global Englishes and the International Standardised English Language Proficiency Tests, James Dean Brown examines the relationship between Global English and international standardised English language proficiency tests (ISELPTs), such as TOEFL iBT, TOEIC, and IELTS. Five key questions were discussed (Brown, 2019): (1) What is English language proficiency (ELP) really? (2) Why is the so-called native-speaker (NS) standard a thing of the past? (3) What alternative models are there to the NS model for ELP? (4) Why is changing the ISELPTs so difficult/slow? and (5) What strategies might prove useful for effecting change in the ISELPTs? Brown suggests some strategies, including the stop-the-misuse-of ISELPT-scores strategy, research-evidence strategy, and change-what-the-students-are-learning strategy, which are applicable to various stakeholders. It is hoped that with such strategies, language testers would pay more attention and subsequently improve the validity of the test scores. More importantly, they would lead to the overall improvement of the ISELPTs on EFL/ESL teaching and learning processes.

In Chapter 6, Looking through the Eyes of Global Englishes: Enhancing English Language Teaching in Multicultural Classrooms, Maria Luz Elena N. Canilao examines English language teaching in the Philippines by documenting the experiences of 10 PhD students in adopting Global English in their language classrooms. Canilao shares her experiences as a non-native English speaker learner where she indicates that Standard English acts as her passport for academic success. However, at the same time, she misses the embrace of her own culture and heritage language. In her study, Canilao interviews her own PhD students and finds that there is a gap between Englishes and the rejection of local accents. Her students, also as teachers, are reluctant to incorporate GE principles in their lessons because it is perceived as unacceptable and may even harm their teaching positions. Hence, Canilao calls for steps to include GE principles into language materials development and language pedagogies to tackle current English language teaching challenges.

In Chapter 7, Contextualising Teaching English as a Local/Global Language: A Bottom-up Sociolinguistic Investigation, Jim Chan discusses the possibility of a bottom-up approach to investigating contextualised language needs and establishing learning targets that are suitable for L2 learners. Employing a mixed-method approach, Chan explores three main issues: (1) the use of spoken English in Hong Kong’s sociolinguistic environment, (2) major stakeholders’ attitudes towards English varieties and English learning, and (3) current practices in English language education. His findings show a mismatch between language use and language attitudes in the current English language teaching practices. Hence, Chan suggests for endonormative models to be recognised in the English curriculum, English learning activities to be developed based on detailed analysis (such as incorporating local relevant English accents in speaking lessons), and English curriculum and assessment to be oriented according to communicative proficiency rather than native correctness.

In Chapter 8, From Learners to Users: Reframing a Japanese University Curriculum towards a ‘World Englishes Enterprise’ – Informed English as a Medium of Instruction Model, James D’Angelo introduces the term ‘WE enterprise’, which is used to illustrate the inter-connected pluricentric paradigms of World Englishes, English as an international language, and English as a lingua franca. Based on the case of the Chukyo University Department of World Englishes, D’Angelo provides a detailed discussion of the program offered and how students can benefit from the program to become effective ELF users. The obstacles and challenges faced are also discussed. In concluding the chapter, D’Angelo states that traditional English as a foreign language approaches to language teaching are outdated. Therefore, he gives recommendations to assist the facilitation of a more effective implementation of English as a medium of instruction at the university; these clearly align with the reality of GE.

In Chapter 9, Talking the Talk but Not Walking the Walk? Preparing Teachers for Global Englishes Pedagogy, Ali Faud Selvi begins by reviewing some proposals related to the GE-oriented teaching model in an ELT environment. This is followed by a discussion and criticism of major ‘faultlines’ in teacher education programs in Turkey and Northern Cyprus. Selvi states that the majority of these programs do not have courses that incorporate GE principles, and this leads to a gap between teacher education and GE pedagogy. For this reason, he suggests the promotion of a more GE-oriented teacher education. Based on a national survey, Selvi found that many teacher educators were aware of such pedagogy and have integrated the principles in their teacher training programs. He concludes that the teacher education practices should align with the present-day sociolinguistic context because English has multiple uses, users, forms, and varieties, and operates with other languages and linguistic repertoires.

In Chapter 10, Practices of Teaching Englishes: Pedagogical Reflections and Implications, Zhichang Xu investigates matters related to the curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment of a unit offered to an Australian university’s Master’s Degree students majoring in applied linguistics from both the general linguistics and English as an international language streams. Data consisted of discussion forums, portfolios of lesson observations, and teaching practices of both domestic and international students. Through the data analysis, several pedagogy reflections and implications for WE-informed ELT practices were highlighted. They included incorporating new and modern theories of ELT practices, adopting a holistic approach towards real-life challenges, revisiting and reconceptualising ELT curriculum to align with the paradigm shift from English to Englishes, raising awareness of the global perspective with an emphasis on teaching English as glocal (global and local) language, and developing competence for intercultural communication in multilingual environment.

In Chapter 11, Reform and Opportunities: China English in Chinese Higher Education, Yue Chen and Cong Zhang employ a historical approach to studying the development of English education in China. The authors begin the chapter by providing a historical review of the development of English in China’s education system. In the review, they trace the status of English at different periods and describe the birth of China English, admitting to the difficulties of gaining recognition for China English. They also discuss the possibility of integrating China English into China’s higher education system from three perspectives of English curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment. In concluding the chapter, the authors give suggestions for future research that are related to the theoretical foundation of China English.

In Chapter 12, Global Englishes-oriented English Language Education, Handoyo Puji Widodo and Fan Fang end the volume by addressing the importance of research related to pedagogy, curriculum, and assessment in the context of Global Englishes. Global Englishes can be treated as an ecological approach that recognises the use of different languages in various sociocultural domains where languages and cultures co-exist. Due to the lack of resources and research related to the notion of GE, the authors call for more agendas in examining such issues, so that the aim of promoting the incorporation of GE principles into today’s ELT can be achieved.

EVALUATION

Traditionally, the learning and teaching of English was mostly based on Standard British and American English, which were considered as mother tongue Englishes in the inner circle of Kachru’s three circles. The recognition and acceptance of Englishes from the outer and expanding circles were always debatable, in particular during assessment like listening and speaking tests. However, in the last decade, the number of people learning, teaching, and speaking English, especially in the Asian context, has increased due to the economic benefits English offers. As these people come from diverse backgrounds, intercultural communication is involved. In today’s context of linguistic diversity , the fluidity and diversity of English as a global language has become the trend. Those teachers and practitioners involved in language education and pedagogy have begun to switch their view from the traditional perspective to incorporating GE principles in their learning and teaching. Nevertheless, there is a still a lack of resources and research in this field that hinders them from accepting the principles of GE and the multiplicity of English uses. Thus, it is high time to acknowledge these principles.

This volume has demonstrated such efforts by both editors, Fan Fang and Handoyo Puji Widodo, who brought together authors from various Asian settings to engage with the implications of GE research in the educational domain. The numerous researches that focused on ELF users in European settings have indicated a lack of research in the Asian context. Hence, both editors and all authors in this volume on GE have done so by bringing a whole new perspective to the field and demonstrating the urgent need to acknowledge Englishes from the expanding and outer circles. Their chapters also indicate that local accents and cultures should be accepted and incorporated in the teaching of English to students from diverse backgrounds. Against the background of globalisation and modernisation, it is hoped that people will better understand the language ideologies related to English as a global language and take a critical perspective when understanding pedagogical principles, curriculum, and assessment related to GE.

In sum, the chapters in this volume have highlighted the importance of incorporating GE principles in the current’s ELT world. This will reduce the challenges and obstacles faced by students, in particular those who have strong local accent and early-stage learners. These students are usually faced with huge stress when learning and speaking English because they are faced with criticism and racism. Thus, to reduce such stress and allow them to enjoy the learning process, it is critical that teachers and practitioners should fully understand the principles of GE and translate them into their teaching and assessment. The acceptance and recognition of GE in the curriculum and language policies is still a long way to go but this volume provides a positive perspective to students, teachers, and practitioners regarding such issues. Hence, I fully recommend those working in this field to read this volume because the insightful findings and suggestions related to the principles of GE in English language education will contribute to their teaching practice.

REFERENCES

Brown, J. D. (2019). Global Englishes and the international standardised English language proficiency tests. In F. Fang & H. P. Widodo (Eds.), Critical perspectives on Global Englishes in Asia: Language policy, curriculum, pedagogy and assessment (pp. 64-83). Multilingual Matters.

Fang, F., & Widodo, H. P. (2019). Critical perspectives on Global Englishes in English language education. In F. Fang & H. P. Widodo (Eds.), Critical perspectives on Global Englishes in Asia: Language policy, curriculum, pedagogy and assessment (pp. 1-9). Multilingual Matters.

Galloway, N., & Rose, H. (2018). Incorporating Global Englishes into the ELT classrooms. ELT Journal, 72(1), 3-14.

Jenkins, J. (2015). Repositioning English and multilingualism in English as a lingua franca. Englishes in Practice, 2(3), 49-85.

Zhang, T., & Zheng, Y. (2019). English is the default language? A study of international students’ language needs in the Chinese higher education context. In F. Fang & H. P. Widodo (Eds.), Critical perspectives on Global Englishes in Asia: Language policy, curriculum, pedagogy and assessment (pp. 27-44). Multilingual Matters.


ABOUT THE REVIEWER

Teresa Wai See Ong holds a PhD in sociolinguistics from Griffith University in Australia. Her main interests lie within the fields of language maintenance and language shift, language planning and policy, multilingualism, and language, culture, and identity. She is currently co-authoring a book chapter related to the acquisition of English in Malaysia and South Africa.



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