Native Speakers in Linguistic Imperialism

Robert Phillipson

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    Abstract

    An investigation of Native English Speaking Teachers’ performance in schemes in six Asian contexts, commissioned by the British Council, and undertaken by three British academics, is subjected to critical evaluation. Key issues for exploration are the issue of a monolingual approach to English learning and teaching, and the inappropriate qualifications of those sent to education systems when they are unfamiliar with the learners’ languages, cultures, and pedagogical traditions. Whether the schemes involved constitute linguistic imperialismis analysed. Whereas the need for multilingual competence is recognised as desirable by some British experts, the native speakers in question seldom have this key qualification. This is even the case when the host country (Brunei) aims at bilingual education. It is unlikely that the host countries are getting value for money. Whether the UK and other ‘English-speaking’countries have relevant expertise is questionable. There is therefore a definite need for a change of paradigm, one based on principles for effective foreign language teaching. Some but far from all Western ‘experts’ recognize this need, whereas scholars and teachers elsewhere do. Five fallacies that underpin the linguicism of British pedagogical expertise are generally involved in native speaker export businesses. They underpin a hierarchy with under-qualified native speakers projected as superior to local teachers who are seen as in need of foreign ‘aid’. In view of the British bodies involved openly declaring the economic and geopolitical agenda behind this English teaching business, there is clear evidence of linguistic imperialism in the functions of this global professional service. These activities serve to strengthen Western interests.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal for Critical Education Policy Studies
    Volume14
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)80-96
    Number of pages17
    ISSN2051-0969
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Keywords

    • Bilingual education
    • Communicative language teaching
    • English Language Teaching
    • Blobalisation of English
    • Linguistic imperialism
    • Native speakers

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