The ESL/EFL Classroom as Gateway to the World: Learning English in Different English Language Settings
This paper compares how teachers of English as an additional language (EAL) approach teaching in two contrasting settings--higher education vs school, in Thailand and Australia. Data in Thailand are drawn from the delivery of an intensive course on curriculum for teacher-learners in a doctoral program. Data in Australia come from teacher-learners in a graduate course on inquiry-based teaching. In both settings English is seen as necessary to achieve life goals. The perception of cultural issues differed, however. While cross-cultural communication was essential in ESL classrooms (English was the lingua franca), culture and language were seen as separate entities, generating different goals in teachers and students. In EFL classrooms, language and culture were seen as inextricable, teachers exhibiting respect for English culture alongside their heritage culture and seeing themselves as well as their students as learners of both. Both teacher groups agreed, however, that teaching English as a lingua franca was insufficient for their students. They were teaching a living language with its own heritage. The data suggest overall that EAL teachers have two main language teaching goals: Broadening the acceptance of different forms of English and speakers; Maintaining the heritages of English speakers and other-language speakers.
Keywords: English Language Teaching
Associate Professor Jill Burton
Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics, Division of Education, Arts, and Social Sciences, University of South Australia