Date: 9 - 20 July 2012
Article: 'Review of developments in research into English as a Lingua Franca’, by Jennifer Jenkins, Alessia Cogo and Martin Dewey
Guest moderators: Will Baker (University of Southampton), Alessia Cogo (University of Southampton) and Martin Dewey (King’s College London)
Location: ReSIG YahooGroup
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How to participate:
- Join our YahooGroup at the link above. if you're not a member yet.
- Download the article at the link above.
- Read the article.
- To help you get ready for the discussion, here are some possible questions, suggested by our guest moderators, apart from ones you might have of your own:
1. “ELF researchers feel their responsibility is to make current research findings accessible in a way that enables teachers to reconsider their beliefs and practices and make informed decisions about the significance of ELF for their own individual teaching contexts” (p. 306). Do you think this is an appropriate aim for ELF research? Do you think ELF researchers have been successful in doing this? If not, how might ELF research engage more with language teachers?
2. The article comments that language use in ELF communication is highly fluid and does not conform to a pre-defined set of norms (see p. 288-292). What implications does this raise for how teachers approach language in the classroom? What forms of English can or should we teach
and how should we teach them?
3. Research indicates that ELF is used to represent and create a range of ‘cultures’ that goes beyond the traditional associations of English with UK and US culture (however these might be defined) (e.g. Baker, 2009, cited on p. 297). What does this mean for the cultural content of English language classrooms?
4. “BELF studies demonstrate that intercultural communication skills rather than NS English correctness are key in BELF contexts, and BELF researchers therefore tend to conclude that communication and accommodation, rather than mastery of NS English forms, should be the
focus of business English instruction” (p.299). How do you feel about this conclusion given your own experiences of teaching (business) English?
5. Some of the studies cited in the article report that in ELF situations native speakers of English can be more difficult to understand than non-native speakers (see e.g. Kolocsai 2009, cited p. 302). Why do you think this might be? What consequences does this have for the model of an ‘ideal speaker of English’ that might be adopted?
6. One of the gaps in ELF research highlighted by the article is in writing. What implications, if any, do you think ELF might have for writing and the teaching of writing?
7. “As well as the signaling of non-understanding, the focus of ELF pragmatics research has been on how ELF speakers resolve instances of miscommunication, i.e. the strategies they use to respond to and negotiate an initial possibility of non-understanding.” (p. 293). Can insights from
ELF pragmatics inform classroom pedagogy? What kind of pragmatic strategies and skills can be taught for communication in ELF contexts?
8. Discussions of ELF research have often indicated that current language testing is in need of considerable restructuring. What challenges does ELF research present to existing assessment practices?
9. What do you feel are the implications of ELF for pre-service and in-service teacher education? Should ELF be included in the syllabus for teacher training programmes (e.g. on CELTA and/or Delta)?