An exploration of teachers' beliefs about the global spread of English in a Chilean ELT programme

Perez, Gonzalo (2017) An exploration of teachers' beliefs about the global spread of English in a Chilean ELT programme. Emergence, 9. pp. 7-18. ISSN 2041-8248


The current status of English as an international language is opening up the debate about what we understand as “subject matter English”. Traditional constructs in the English Language Teaching (ELT) profession such as the native speaker, standard English, and the culture of English are currently being questioned due to the growing number of users of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) who use English for intercultural communication mainly among non-native speakers. Research on Global Englishes has highlighted the need to abandon the current English as a Foreign Language (EFL) paradigm, which considers standard English and the native speaker as the norm, and adopt a global perspective of English that embraces the linguistic and cultural diversity of English instead. This article explores how teacher trainers in one ELT programme in Chile rationalise the English that they speak, the English that they teach, and the English that is promoted in their programmes. The beliefs that these teachers hold in relation to the spread of English will reveal how curriculum developers for ELT programmes understand and respond to this phenomenon, especially in contexts where English has no official status or colonial history. Here, I present part of a multiple case study that comprises qualitative data gathered at three Chilean universities, using a variety of data collection methods. Owing to space limitations, this article presents findings obtained only through interviews carried out in one of the three institutions. The findings reveal that teachers in this programme respond to the global dimension of English by rejecting traditional normative approaches to English, such as RP pronunciation, and also by promoting the acquisition of ‘Chilean English’ among their students. Further analysis of the results obtained through the other data collection methods will eventually help to reveal how widespread the notion of “Chilean English” is, as a form of English in its own right, among and within ELT programmes.

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