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Issues in EFL


Graham Crookes Why EFL? Why not just ELT, or ESL, or English Education? EFL countries (particularly those outside Europe) are said to face special challenges ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Issues in EFL

Issues in EFL
  • Graham Crookes

Why EFL? Why not just ELT, or ESL, or English
  • EFL countries (particularly those outside
    Europe) are said to face special challenges
  • what are they?
  • The research base for L2 teaching has been
    reluctant to see differences because it thinks,
    or used to think, of itself as being concerned
    with universal psychological factors

1) The linguistic imperialism line(s)
  • Phillipson
  • English in post-colonial countries
  • the association between English, empires, and
    international business

2) Relatedly, the BANA phenomenon
  • For example, me (Graham Crookes)
  • why are Brits and Americans still showing up all
    round the world, apparently telling people the
    way things are, or are supposed to be, concerning
    the teaching of English in other countries
    (especially ex- or post-colonical countries)?

3) Cultural psychologies?
  • do people from other countries or cultures think,
    or learn, differently?
  • is psychology universal, or is it western in
    origin and in its primary characteristics or
  • ethnopedagogies? Are there culturally distinct
    ways of teaching that reflect ways of learning
    and which are different from the western
    traditions of school?

cultural psychology continued
  • topics covered in this area include cognition,
    perception, self-concept, motivation, memory,
    developmental procedures, sexuality, agency,
    anti-cocial behavior, and mental illness
  • learning is a small part of this
  • also see folk psychologies (Thomas, 2001)

4) NNS issues
  • One of the obvious characteristics of EFL
    countries is that most teachers of English in
    them are not native speakers
  • Is this a problem? Why, or, to what extent?
  • Is it still a problem?

5) Structural problems in EFL delivery systems
  • exams
  • bureaucracies
  • resources (lack of)
  • teacher-student ratio (bad, i.e., large classes)

6) Educational innovation
  • one reason for considering this area is the
    assertion that some EFL countries have not
    innovated sufficiently in English Language
  • who says this? Is it a fair accusation?
  • the study of change in educational systems is an
    established domain of educational research
  • what do we know about innovation efforts in EFL

Factors that affect adoption and application of
an innovation relevance feasibility size trialab
ility compatibility (with existing values,
policies and practices) personal factors, such as
resentment and resistance to externally imposed
change efforts, exacerbated if no consultation
teacher support relevant knowledge.
7) Knowledge utilization (lack of)
  • perhaps this is actually a general problem in
  • does ELT in general make sufficient use of
    research findings?
  • elite EFL ought to be better than ESL does it
    make more use of research?
  • or could this be quality control // formative

8) EFL curricula and materials
  • can they be part of the solution?
  • or are they usually part of the problem?

9) The proprietary (or commercial) sector
  • cram schools, though also conversation schools
  • a problem (exaggeration of income-related
    differences in English proficiency among
    school-age learners)
  • sometimes provides good examples of what can be

10) The educational change agent
  • what self-concept is developed in EFL teacher
  • what role can you play? / do you already play?
  • EFL teacher career paths
  • compromise, resistance, and moving on

The future of EFL
  • continuing increase in the overall average
    proficiency of NNS EFL teachers
  • and their students, more of whom will have
    travelled abroad
  • the break-up of state monopolies on education
  • break up of unitary state curricula
  • inexpensive access to keypals and internet-based
    native speaker tutors
  • the rise of local Englishes and establishment of
    English as a Lingua Franca not reflecting native
    (American or British or Australian etc) standards

Recapping the preliminary list of topics
  • linguistic imperialism
  • BANA domination of EFL
  • cultural psychologies
  • non-native speaker issues
  • structural problems in EFL delivery systems
  • educational innovation
  • knowledge utilization
  • curricula and materials
  • the proprietary sector

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