English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) in Education

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English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) in Education  



On the basis of sociolinguistic research on how ELF works and why in various contexts, the second axis of ELF research, which has gained momentum over approximately the past 6 or 7 years, refers to the pedagogic implications of ELF, as aforementioned, the main focus of this ReN. Studies on pedagogic matters have focused on exploring the pertinence of the findings of sociolinguistic ELF research for English language teaching and learning, mainly, as expected, in contexts where English is employed as a lingua franca for various international and intranational communication purposes. Much research has been conducted in this regard, for example, on teachers’ and learners’ normative attitudes toward ELF-related issues (e.g., Ishikawa 2017; Dewey and Pineda 2020) and the extent to which the role of ELF around the world is (or, actually, is not) taken into consideration in various domains surrounding English teaching and learning, including language policy (e.g., Lopriore 2016), language curricula and syllabi (e.g., Rose and Galloway 2019), courseware and instructional materials (e.g., Vettorel 2018), teaching methodologies (such as TBL; e.g., Kordia 2020), language testing and assessment (e.g., Jenkins and Leung 2017) and teacher education (e.g., Dewey and Patsko 2018) and professional development (e.g., Sifakis and Bayyurt 2018).

The pedagogic research on ELF has highlighted a number of particularly important issues which, in our view, are to be more overtly explored and put into action in English education settings around the globe. First of all, it has shown that there is a “mismatch between what is taught in classrooms and how English functions outside of the classroom” (Rose, McKinley and Galloway, 2021, 2021, pp.158-159), which, in turn, illustrates the urgent need for integrating ELF in current teaching and learning practices in all of the domains mentioned before (e.g., Sifakis, Lopriore, Dewey, Bayyurt, Vettorel, Cavalheiro, Siqueira and Kordia 2018). This entails embracing a plurilithic, rather than a monolithic, view not only of English but also of other languages as well (see e.g., Hall 2013) and, on that basis, adopting a broader educational perspective of English, as realized, for example, in CLIL approaches (e.g., Dalton-Puffer and Smit 2016) and EMI programmes (e.g., Baker and Hüttner 2018). Second, pedagogic ELF research has pointed out the need for conducting systematic research not just on why ELF could be integrated in teaching and learning, that is, on the implications of ELF, but, more crucially, on how exactly this could be achieved in practice, for instance, by adopting a critical language education perspective (Cogo, Fang, Kordia, Sifakis and Siqueira, 2021). In essence, this implies the need for the development and implementation of more individual and joint research projects where the ELF research community collaborates constructively with the educational community towards gaining a clearer and more comprehensive picture of the ways in which classroom realities can be enriched in view of ELF—this is precisely what the aim of this ReN on ELF in Education is.

Drawing on the experience gained through the AILA ReN on English as a Lingua Franca, this ReN on English as a Lingua Franca in Education (the convenors and current members, who were highly active members of the previously mentioned ReN on ELF) focuses on developing, coordinating, supporting, implementing and disseminating the findings of systematic pedagogic research on ELF which provides concrete and direct links with educational practice. To this end, a central aspect of the ReN involves inviting members of the educational community who are interested in ELF to join the ELF research community, actively participate in the scholarly debate on the role of ELF in teaching and learning and inform ELF research with their own perspectives and insights, this way creating a research forum that is based on fruitful dialogue and genuine collaboration. In this sense, the ReN aims at bringing together ELF researchers (including researchers who focus on sociolinguistic issues) and practitioners (such as teachers, curriculum designers, courseware developers, assessment/testing experts, teacher educators), who will be urged to act as researchers themselves and agents of change within their own educational context and beyond.

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