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Review of  English as a Lingua Franca in Teacher Education

Reviewer: Ezekiel Tunde Bolaji
Book Title: English as a Lingua Franca in Teacher Education
Book Author: Telma Gimenez Michele Salles El Kadri Luciana Cabrini Simões Calvo
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton
Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
Subject Language(s): English
Issue Number: 30.2087

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“English as a Lingua Franca in Teacher Education: A Brazilian Perspective”, edited by Telma Gimenez, Michele S. El Kadri, and Luciana C. Simões Calvo, is a collection of ten articles focusing on one of the hot topics in linguistics with a global appeal. While the first chapter focuses attention on the global appeal of English, its spread and implications for teaching and education, with special reference to teacher education, Chapters Two and Three consider the place of teacher education in an age of globalisation with English as a Lingua Franca. Other seven contributors discuss the burning issue of English as a (world) Lingua Franca with focus on Brazil education practice – comparing the past with the present, while putting necessary things in place for a well-defined future where English is given its pride of place without sacrificing indigenous languages.

English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) was first publicly used by Jenkins in March 1996, at a PhD seminar organised by the Department of TESOL, University of London Institute of Education (ULIE), now University College London Institute of Education where she had completed her PhD a year earlier. Not relegating non-native speakers of English to the background, ELF puts all English language users on the same level as long as the English used makes communication flow easily with other English users.

Until recently, no significant research has been done on ELF in the Brazilian world. This huge missing gap in Applied Linguistics needs to be filled. After all, it was a PhD student from Brazil, who first guessed what Jenkins meant by ELF on that day in 1996 when the acronym was displayed at the other side of the arrow against ELF on the overhead projector, during Jenkins’ first presentation of her completed PhD research. This is the gap this fascinating, well-researched 236-page book has come to fill.

The book begins with an introduction by Telma Gimenez, Michele S. El Kadri, and Luciana, C. Simões Calvo, the editors, as they set the pace for the intriguing discussions to follow by first establishing that the place of ELF has been established on a global scale in a global context, especially in the Anglophone countries of the world. They recognise that it remains to be seen how the tenets of ELF will be applied by English language teachers in teacher education to decentralise the hitherto “normative orientations’ that have characterised this core area of Applied Linguistics. Telma, et al identify the need for a paradigm shift from the native-speaker model to a context-based model promoting autonomy devoid of any imposition and dependence. They emphasize that the need “to adopt a perspective that reflects the multicultural and multilingual realities” of English is paramount. Unlike the rest of the world, the voice of Latin America has not been heard in the global ELF debate. As a Latin American country, Brazil has a huge literature in its native languages ( Elkadri, and Calvo, 2018) advocating alternative pedagogies for ELF. Nevertheless, as a country in the “Expanding Circle” Brazil has yet to tell the rest of the world her challenges and what she feels about ELF, with particular reference to Brazil.

The book is divided into three parts. Part 1, entitled “Conceptualizing English as a global lingua franca in teacher education”, contains three chapters which begin with the global versus local status of English by Vanderlei J. Zacchi, followed by the implications of the global spread of English and globalization on teacher education. . In the first chapter, Vanderlei J. Zacchi challenges the long-standing view that both globalization and the English language are natural contemporary terms we need not worry about. Basing the discussion on two research projects in Brazil, the author argues that to come to terms with the global nature of English in an increasingly globalised world, language teachers need to appropriate English and contextualize its teaching. The results presented buttress that fact that although teachers see the growing status of English around the world as a Lingua Franca, there is no commensurate paradigm shift in pedagogy. The author charges language teachers in Brazil not to be lulled by the conservative stance but rather to wake up to the realities of change in the teaching and learning of EFL. There must be a change from conservativism to contextualised teaching as both the teachers and learners appropriate the language to their benefit.

In Chapter Two, “Globalization and the global spread of English: Concepts and implications for teacher education”, Eduardo H. Diniz de Figueiredo argues that studies on the Global Spread of English (GSE), when examined through the lenses of differing theories may provide some insights into what constitutes globalization and how it takes place. To buttress these points, he reviews eight theories by O’Bryrne and Hensby (2011), such as the theory of the global village, liberalization, polarization, Americanization, McDonaldization, Creolization, transnationalization, and balkanization , explaining their connection with GSE and noting that the review may constitute a theoretical basis for relating the status and practice of English in Brazil or elsewhere to the concept of globalization. The chapter will be of interest to those in teacher education programs, acquainting teachers with the socio-cultural, economic, political and historical antecedents of English in the 21st century and equipping them to understand its politics and changing status as world Englishes, and English as a Lingua Franca, in the face of such highly debated issues as Linguistic Imperialism and the Sociolinguistics of Globalization..

In the last chapter of this section, “English as a lingua franca and critical literacy in teacher education: Shaking off some “good old” habits” , Clarissa, M. Jordão and Anderson N. Marques start off their discussion with a posthuman (PH) perspective for the conceptualizations of the aspect of language - English Language Teaching (ELT), with a view to explaining how the application of PH to ELF can help shake off some good (?) old habits in ELT classroom. The authors recommend a shift from the “normative-driven approach to language, learning and teaching to the localized agency of participants upon meaning-making in discourse.” They focus on the relevance of language, and how pedagogical work, discourse and materials designed for teaching can be contextualised. They contend that for a success to be achieved in this direction, ELF native-driven perspective must be overhauled to align with contemporary views on critical literacy (CL) and PH. They proposed that to properly integrate ELF in the Brazilian teacher education, the focus of ELF must move away from learning-teaching coloniality of preconceived norms to the creation of opportunities for learners to negotiate meaning in English, and understand “this language as it is constructed in each context of use.” Thus, there is need to shift the focus of learning and teaching from the institutionalised grammar rules to making meaning from each communicative encounter in English.

Part II entitled, “Teachers and learners’ belief about ELF”, begins with “English as a global language in Brazil: A local contribution”, by Kyria R. Finardi. The chapter begins with the view of English, a global language and a multilingual franca, as an additional language in Brazil. The beliefs of the teachers and the learners are reviewed. The author reviews the role of English in Brazilian education , language teaching and politics (local and international); the teachers’ beliefs, research and teacher education in Brazil. The author reviews the findings of a 60-student-and-teacher participant study in the State of Espírito, a place with the largest population of Italian immigrants in Brazil. Since a bill to include Pomeranian (an Italian dialect) as a foreign language in the secondary school curricular has just been passed in the region, the study was conducted to find out the teachers’ and students’ view about the status of ELF. She found that both teachers and students believe that English is the most important foreign language to be learned /taught in Brazil because of its role as the international and global language. She concludes that, one, language policies and language aims on the role of English, its learning and teaching should be reviewed to properly reflect people’s beliefs’ and two, the role of English as an international language and a potential multilingual franca should be looked into.

The next chapter in the section “English as a lingua franca and teacher education: Critical educators for an intercultural world” by Sávio Siqueira is a discussion on the political, ideological, and pedagogical reverberations of ELF. The author feels things are not right and proposes needed changes towards adaptations and re-positioning of teacher education to achieve a worthwhile pedagogical goal. The evidence for the author’s claims is drawn from the results of the survey carried out on pre-service teachers at Bahia Federal University, Salvador, Bahia. His main question during the study centred on the relevant issues (i) the status of English as a global language and its effects on the English language itself; (ii) the implications of this status on the participants’ day-to-day ELT practice; and (iii) what language educators think they are preparing language learners for. The author found out that although there are traces of ELF awareness on the part or the educators, there is need to connect with other educators internationally. He therefore challenges language educators, to develop a new attitude toward their calling as language teachers and toward English as a lingua franca; they should promote inter-cultural teaching and join the inter-cultural world, lest the country is left behind.

The next chapter written by Gustavo Berredo and Gloria Gil is entitled, “ Teachers’ and student-teachers’ perceptions of English as a lingua franca (ELF) and the teaching of culture in the language classroom”, is a departure from earlier chapters. The authors delve into the view of Postgraduate faculty of the Departments of English/Linguistics and Literary Studies of the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil on education, language and culture, using a qualitative method of inquiry. They reason that if ELF should have as one of its goals de-cantering the domain of the native speaker in such core areas of language teaching as pronunciation, lexicogrammar, and pragmatics, and that the same should apply to the cultural aspects of English. To the authors, in a truly all-inclusive ELF program, culture should not be restricted to a situation where learners merely internalize foreign culture wholesale. Rather, in teaching ELF, English should be denationalized, intercultural teaching and cultural pluralism should be promoted, to properly account for the interconnectivity and inseparableness between language and culture. To this end, data was collected through structured interviews. Open-ended questions were used. The aim of the researchers was to see whether teachers were more traditionally inclined with respect to teaching culture or were more interculturally inclined. Two questions drove the whole study, (1) What kind of approach to culture do the participants have? (2) Do the participants have a view of culture that meets the tenets of EFL pedagogy? The results showed that (1) some language educators are more traditionally inclined, having a ‘neutral’ integrative discourse; and (2) others welcome an intercultural perspective with an empowering discourse.

The last chapter in the section has the title, “English as a Lingua Franca: Representations and practices of English learners and teachers in Brazil”, by Jeová A.R. Filho, Mayara Volpato and Gloria Gil. The chapter discusses the perceptions of teachers and learners from a formal educational context about ELF. The focus of the chapter is on whether the English used inside and outside the language classroom by the learners and teachers are close enough as to show their understanding of ELF as the legitimate linguistic practice. A research was conducted with a focus on teachers’ and students’ representations and practices in relations to their perceptions of ELF in a formal educational context. The study was based on the Extracurricular Course of Additional Languages offered by the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina with 400 students of varying competencies and 8 teachers used as the study sample. Questionnaires were administered to them. The results showed that although students use English as a lingua franca inside and outside of the classroom and that the teachers bring in additional materials to teach the subject as it should, the perceptions of the learners that English is a foreign language belonging to the US and England remained unchanged.Theachers, both in linguistic-oriented and pedagogic-oriented disciplines, are called upon to help learners deconstruct traditional views and embrace ELF.

Part III and last section of the book entitled, “ ELF in the teacher education programs” has three chapters. The first by Ana P.M. Duboc has the title, “ The ELF teacher education: Contributions from postmodern studies” with twofold purposes: first, the author addresses some of the positive aspects of ELF as seen in the contributions from postmodern studies as she brings together some intersections between ELF pedagogy and three conceptualizations from postmodern scholars, the weak thinking ,the imperfect education, and the notion of interruption; second, she illustrates how a supposedly postmodern English curriculum still relies on old methods “the cracks”. Her goal is to make student teachers question the mainstream. She emphasizes the need for constant critique of the notion of “communication” and “native speaker” in order to avoid generalization and romanticization. The author calls for localized actions by teacher educators to problematize and deconstruct both traditional and pedagogical knowledge and practices in order to embrace the ELF principle-based “postmodern curriculum”.

The Chapter by Lucielen Porfirio entitled “the concept of ELF and English teachers’ education: What to expect from this relationship?” has as its main aim “to show that raising awareness among preservice teachers might contribute to a king of education that questions the idea of homogeneity “and consequently prepares them to deal with diverse context in which variability of cultural backgrounds are considered during interactions, teaching and learning. A research was conducted with data gathered from undergraduate students, at different semesters of the course from the State University of Bahia. The program was comprised of subjects such as English Language, English Literature, language pedagogy, applied linguistics, and linguistics. The researcher found out that students wanted to learn more, requesting an extended course sessions in the first semester. In the second semester, students not originally included wanted to participate. The analysis was finally based on six student diaries with answers to the questions raised during the meetings. Although in its initial stage, the findings showed that the project promises to be instructive and have positive impact on ELF pedagogy, the author concludes that it is not his aim in the study to promote ELF-only in all English learning contexts. .

The final chapter of the book by Teima Gimenez, Michele S. Elkadri and Luciana C,S Calvo is entitled “Awareness raising about English as a lingua franca in two Brazilian teacher education programs”. The chapter presents two preservice training initiatives. The focus is to challenge the ‘traditional’ way which no longer fit in with the status of ELF. One of the initiatives is a course entitled, “ English as a global lingua franca: epistemological and pedagogical issues”. It is a 30-hour elective course. It is to stimulate the learners’ interest in ELF and its pedagogical consequences. The other is a 136-hour course, “English teacher education practice””, designed for undergraduate language language program in a university in Parana, Brazil. carried out during a curricular course. Here, “ELF” as a topic was implemented in 16 lessons spread over 8 days of 12 hours. The activities in the courses were taken from “English in the contemporary world” by El-Kadri and Calco (2005). The aim was to discuss the various beliefs about English language and generate reactions and reflections about ELF. The approach adopted focuses on a) cognitive engagements with ideas presented by ELF authors ; and b) on the development of analytical skills to the extent they have to access the authentic ELF uses ( both oral and written).

The authors conclude that the initiative presented showed the important roles of teacher educators and education courses in incorporating ELF discussions in the curriculum. They hope that some teacher educators will incorporate their methods in ELF classrooms.


This book is truly a huge and enlightening contributions from Latin America. The discussions are robust and the methodologies adopted are novel. This contribution is a clarion call to the Brazilian government and educators on the need to detach from a traditional pedagogical style that is at variance with the modern world, engender an EFL-compliant traditional method, and by all means, forge ahead with the rest of the world to embrace and promote the principles of ELF.

I do hope that this will not be the first and the last contributions from this great country; and it is equally my hope that other Latin American countries will imitate Brazil in lending their voices to the debate on ELF.


Elkadri, .S. & Calvo, L. C.S. (2018). Introduction. In Gimenez, T, El Kadri, M.S. & Calvo, L.C.S (Eds.) English as a lingual franca in teacher education: A Brazilian perspective. Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter , pp. 1-9

De Figueiredo, E.H.D. (2018). Globalization and the global spread of English: Concepts and implications for teacher education, In Gimenez, T, El Kadri, M.S. & Calvo, C.S (Eds.) English as a lingua franca in teacher education: A Brazilian perspective. Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, pp. 31-52

Jenkins, J (2017). The future of English as a lingua franca? In Jenkins, J., Baker, W., and
Dewey, M. (Eds.).The Routledge handbook of English as a lingua franca. New York: Routledge, pp. 594-605

O’Byrne,D & Hensby, A (2011).Theorizing global studies Newyork: Palgrave Macmillan
Ezekiel T. Bolaji is at present a PhD student at Babcock University. He is a reviewer to the Journal of cognitive study, Seoul Korea, He specialises in phonology and language contact

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