Globalization and Language Teaching - David Block Focus of the text: Focus on how publishers in recent years have come to position learners as cosmopolitan consumers and have set up branded identities for them to aspire to.Main topics: 1) The Rise of CLT/TBLT 2) CLT/TBLT as a Globalized Phenomenon 3) The Global TEIL Textbook and Commodified Identities
1) The Rise of CLT/TBLT A shift in many parts of the world over the past three or four decades: from well established approaches to language teaching (Grammar translation, Audiolingualism) to communicative ones (Communicative Language Teaching and Task-Based Language Teaching). Council of Europe (1960-70 – settled in a post-World War II Europe, era of cooperation across nation-state borders): recommendations for changes in language teaching which involved radical breaks with the past.
Firstly, CLT was about new ways of viewing language education in modern societies. It emerged in 1960, the respective roles of institutions and of the individual in society had begun to be questioned and reformulated in many parts of the world. Legukte and Thomas (1991) discuss the changes in approaches to education and what they believe to have been a move towards “humanistic language teaching”:
“In the aftermath of anti-establishment movements with explicit anti-institutional implications..., educational approaches which called for the de-schooling of society ... or, in its less radical forms, for a basic humanizing of technocratic and de- humanizing schools, had gained ground. To humanize schools would require an orientation towards ‘holistic’ education, which aimed to promote growth in intrapersonal awareness and interpersonal sharing as well as intellectual development”. (Legutke and Thomas, 1991: 36) The humanist side of language teaching was not articulated in the early discussions of CLT, although it was fundamental to understand the new attitudes toward language and communication.
Change in the way language was conceived: the object of language teaching shifted from an exclusive focus on grammar and lexis to communicative competence (Hymes, 1971). Language user competence: grammar and lexis + the way language is used by members of a speech community to accomplish their purposes + interactional skills to communicate effectively and properly in that language. Halliday’s (1973) outline of the basic functions of language for children during their early period of development (FLA’s period): how children use language to obtain things, to express feelings, to initiate and maintain interaction, to create imaginary worlds…
Austin (1962) and Searle (1965) - ‘Speech act theory’: focus on the meaning of the words uttered by speakers to a consideration of the constituents of communicative events. social contexts + intentions of speakers Intentions >>> Illocutionary acts: offering, refusing, asserting, describing, promising, sugge sting, complaining…
Speech act theory’ + Illocutionary acts = functions: it became by the early 1980s the staple of language teaching syllabuses and the backbone of commercially produced materials in Europe and North America. But it was hard to conceive of the contents page of a syllabus or coursebook that was not a list of functions. Functions formed the basis of all the activities designed by teachers (behavioral goals to work toward).
CLT: interaction-based activities in the target language, conducted by information gap. Pair or group work >>> student-focused work: sharing personal experiences, opinions about real or imagined events; talking about one’s job or holiday. Two interrelated notions became axiomatic to CLT: a) that it is necessary and good to speak and to do so as frequently as possible. b) that one learns to speak by speaking.
Recently, CLT has been transformed in different ways and it is used synonymously with TBLT (task-based language teaching), an approach that puts tasks at its center. Tasks are goal-directed pedagogical activities involving a primary focus on meaning: participants choose and implement the necessary linguistic resources to work towards a clearly defined outcome. (Ellis, 2003). The task has served as a key construct in language teaching and in SL acquisition research (SLA). (Block, 2003).
Tasks (…) activate the type of language-processing cognition that leads to learning (Gass and Selinker, 2008 and Ellis, 2008). This cognitive activity is thought to begin with the process of negotiation for meaning: “in an effort to communicate, learners and competent speakers provide and interpret signals of their own and their interlocutor’s perceived comprehension, thus provoking adjustments to linguistic form, conversational language structure, message content, or all three, until an acceptable level of understanding is achieved” (Long, 1996:418).
Negotiation for meaning “facilitates acquisition because it connects input (internal learner capacities) and output in productive ways”. (Long, 1996:451-2) Cognitive processes are not idiosyncratic to each individual, tasks and negotiation for meaning are applicable to all language learners in all contexts (Long, 2005). Universalist as learning, it has become a global notion as regards how teaching should take place in all parts of the world, as we see in the next slides.
2) CLT/TBLT as a Globalized Phenomenon Arjun Appdurai (1990) – description of globalization as a “complex, overlapping and disjunctive order” made up of 5 types of forces and flows. 1) Ethnoscapes or flows of people 2) Technoscapes or flows of technology 3) Financescapes or flows of money 4) Mediascapes or flows of information 5) Ideoscapes or flows of ideas
CLT/TBLT - ideoscapes that are not freestanding sets of ideas that just emerge in one context and then flow freely around the world. Canagarajah (1999 and 2002) has critizized the spread of CLT lamenting that “just as the technologically and economically developed nations of the West (or center) hold an unfair monopoly over less developed (or periphery) communities in industrial products, similar relations characterize the marketing of language teaching methods
Methodological nolveties tend to be accepted with “awe” and bewilderment” New approaches to language teaching are disembedded, i.e. lifted out of their source contexts, for example, the US or UK- and then taken up elsewhere in the world. For those local teachers who follow pedagogical practices imported from the West or Center in a relatively unquestioning manner, lessons may be of limited use to their students. Process of Glocalization
The emergence of glocalizing process in the spread of CLT Example of Glocalized TEIL - Cheiron MacMahill – unique example of resistance to the global hegemonyFeminist second language pedagogy;Combination of explicit teaching of morphology, syntax,phonology, pragmatics , and feminists concerns. The chief aim of such classes was to create an English medium alternative “female discourse community of resistance to sexism” in Japan and in the world.
3) The Global TEIL Textbook and CommodifiedIdentities How can we define what is proper or not to be part of the content of the textbook? What is proper to be in the content of it? Items to be avoided or handled with extreme care = PARNISP: politics, alcohol, religion, sex, narcotics, isms and pork. Items that are allowed but that should be less emphasized: aspects of national cultures.
Marxism theory: commodities are objects that have two types of value: exchange-value (market) and use- value of the objects. Heller (2003): Language as a commodity: commodification of language means a shift from a valuing of language for its basic communicative function and more emotive associations to valuing it for what it means in the globalized, deregulated, hyper-competitive new work order. It means a shift from language as use-value to language as exchange-value.
This implies that the English which is offered as a skill by a language school or global textbook in one context is the same as the one taught in another context. To be more saluable, there was a need to bring English alive. The solution was to inject commodities with life, advertisers started branding them: they linked them to particular world views, behaviors, artefacts, developing narratives, (….) “environments of meaning”. (Banet-Weiser and Lapansky, 2008). One lifestyle option that has become prevalent in recent years revolves around the idea of cosmopolitan citizens who embody an ideology of consumerism and global capitalism.
Cosmopolitanism: sliding scale at work X superficial contact and engagement with cultures. Held (2002): Cultural cosmopolitanism should be understood as the capacity to mediate between national cultures, communities of faith and alternative lifestyles. Are we worried as teachers to develop with our students this dialogue about diversity, ideologies, culture? Are we, at last, worried to discuss the textbook with other teachers and colleagues? Do we reflect about the need to make the material (textbook) closer to our students’ reality? How could we adapt it?
Local Literacies and Global literacy – Catherine Wallace Literacy is seen not as something possessed as a skill, but something done or performed as a contextualized practice. (Barton, 1994; The emergence of glocalizing process in the spread of CLT Example of Glocalized TEIL - Cheiron Machill The chief aim of such classes was to creat an English medium alternative “female discourse community of resistance to sexism in Japan and in the world. nham, 1995). Local literacies operate in private domains, such as family life, as opposed to public ones, such as the media and education. (Wallace, 1988). “Literacy is always plural” (Gee, 1990): literacy as context dependent and situationally contingent. Rather than a single monolithic literacy we have multiple literacies.
School sanctioned literacy just ‘one of a multiplicity of literacies which take place in people’s lives, in different languages, in different domains and for a variety of purposes’. (Gregory and Williams, 2000). Two major conceptualizations of literacy: autonomous and ideological literacy (Street, 1984): Autonomous: literacy is an universal skill or aptitude, is being able to read and write; it is a skills-based view of literacy. Ideological: literacy is a social construct, taking on complex cultural and ideological meanings and diverse forms in specific settings: cross-cultural differences in literacy practices (Gregory and Williams, 2000) >>> this is the literacy of multiple literacies.
However, conceptualizing literacy as plural and as autonomous or ideological presents several problems: A) the emphasis on the multiple character of literacies may trivialize and relativize their significance. B) There is a danger that in emphasizing parity we may fail to acknowledge those powers relations that are so strongly associated with certain literacies. C) The autonomous literacy seems to be exclusively related to educational contexts, as a ‘schooled’ literacy, constructed and practiced as a neutral technology, with reading ‘taught as a set of skills which can be broken into parts and taught and tested’. (Barton, 1994).
British National Literacy Strategy: literacy as teaching of skills, little contextualization of practice, little acknowledgement of bilingual learners that they have different literacy experiences and different language repertoires from home language. It is not as Bernstein’s (1996) recontextualizes/reshaping everyday experiences/knowledge. School and home are different domains: it is not like: skills- based work x authentic activities. At the same time, school literacy can be mechanistic. (Heath, 1983) It is teacher’s job to be aware of the differences, to build bridges between these domains.
Gee (1990) suggests two Discourses (ways of being in the world): 1 – Primary Discourse: early social setting. 2 – Secondary Discourse: schooling As children move from home to school, they move from primary socialization to take on their identities, ways of behaving and ways of using language. Halliday (1996) describes the difference between everyday life and school as primary and secondary knowledge, respectively.
Bernstein (1996) talks of horizontal and vertical literacies. The latter are ongoing practices and directed to specific goals, acquired through apprenticeship. “It is not that school literacies are inferior attempts at ‘the real thing’ (Street and Street, 1995) – they are qualitatively different. Schooled language is literate-like, delivered through the medium of print, a code for learning and for wider communication rather than day-to-day use. School is a secondary socialization.
Heteroglossic (Halliday, 1996): knowledge is construed out of the dialectic between the spoken and the written language. This shift from primarily oral language to written or literate- like language may involve not just a new language variety but a new code. Gee does not wish to privilege print over other kind of technologies. Halliday believes that print literacy offer particular educational advantages. Print is still the medium we mainly deal with, in different forms: e-mail, books, newspapers, hypertexts... The written world of secondary socialization is in English.
Literate English and Critical Literacy Some texts are more linguistically and cognitively challenging than others and that it is particularly important such texts should be made available in English to a wide range of students. For FL and L2 learners that means access to not only oral everyday English but also English language literacy. At present when Islanders call for English literacy we are told we need literacy in one of our traditional languages first. Why do we need to read and write in our first language which is after all still a robust oral tradition? Simply because it works in French Canada! This standpoint assumes that learning English at school cancels out children’s previously acquired and ongoing acquisition of their first language competencies and communicative patterns. (Nakata 2000:112)
The importance of English literacy and ‘literate English’ Teaching English as subject rather than medium not just for content learning but for learning more about language itself. Pedagogy for enriched English need to attend structure, content and function for a literate English An English education will enable us to negotiate our position in relation to these outside influences Global literate English as a international auxiliary language
Pennycook (1994) acknowledges a writing back role for English in post colonial contexts of new generations of users. These new users participate in the dismantling of the colonial legacy of English. Critical literacy (Paulo Freire) - Power of literacy by lived experience as part of educational process. Freirean Ideologies For Lankshear (1997) Critical literacy is powerful to the extent that it offers a vantage point from which to survey other literacy.
Critical reading involves gaining some distance on our OWN production and reception of texts; we are not just involved ongoingly in these as we process or interpret text but take the opportunity to reflect on the social circumstances of their production, on why they come to us in the form they do, and on the variable ways their meanings may be received in different cultural context.
Global English teaching and the ELT profession. As we saw in the other text, there is this tendency to language be considered in a market view, as a commodity. Teachers of EFL/ESL have to be aware of the realities of the globalization of English, to be capable to handle with the implications projected on language teaching. How necessary is the consideration of the different contexts and the way that we might draw on, adapting or rejecting methodologies and materials?
ESL/EFL: different educational needs according to the profile and needs of the students, it is defined two defined groups of learners: Short-stay students and Refugees or asylum seekers. English language teaching: Wallace argues that it is educationally demanding, rooted in literate language and designed to prepare students for longer term and relatively unpredictable needs as continuing learners and users of English.
Canagarajah (1999): “What we cannot tell is whether the authors and publishers of American Kernel Lessons and similar courses understand how little relation their subliminal messages bear to the life of students and teachers in periphery contexts”. CLT has been under attack for some time: “empty battle of the communicative language”. (Pennycook, 1994). What are feasible ways of promoting a global critical literacy through the medium of English?
Canagarajah (1999) and Pennycook (1994) have proposed critical pedagogy as a necessary underpinning to any English Language Teaching project that wishes to address the global reach of English. Critical pedagogy means developing literate English as a priority. It implies participation of all the agents in the educational process, it is the language to serve emancipatory rather than oppressive goals. Canagarajah (1999) observed “largely non-reflective” ways in which students “display their strategies of linguistic appropriation”. This relates to Giroux (19830: opposition x resistance. To turn instinct into reflectiveness, opposition into resistance, means forging English as a critical analytical tool which is elaborated to serve those purposes.
Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA): critical literacy and literate talk are mutually reinforcing in the sense that talk around texts offers opportunities to check out our own preferred readings against those of others. It involves not talk as social action but as the ‘acquisition and development of more complex conceptual structures and cognitive processes’. (Wells and Chang-Wells, 1992).
Conclusion CLA classroom are encouraged to deploy literate talk in critiquing a range of texts. It is to offer opportunities for students to exercise their discursive abilities at the same time as developing literate English. As teachers, we have to be aware of the realities/needs of our students and lead them to develop not only linguistic competences but also the critic one. It is fundamental to show to our students that they ‘own’ this foreign or second language as a meaningful way to express themselves as global citizens.
References: BLOCK, D. Globalization and Language Teaching. In: COUPLAND, N. (org). The Handbook of Language and Globalization. London: Blackwell, 2010. WALLACE, C. Local Literacies and Global Literacy. In: BLOCK, D; CANON, D. (org). Globalization and Language Teaching. London: Routledge, 2002.