ActivityFor this activity, choose a lesson that you taught very recently and think about your students' exposure to English during that lesson, as follows.
● Did they hear you speak or read something you wrote? If they did, how would you describe your own variety of English and the register or style(s) you used in class?
● Did they listen to each other or read anything written by other students? If they did, how would you describe their varieties of English and the register or style(s) they used in class?
● Did they hear or read anything from their textbook? If they did, how would you describe the varieties of English and the register or style(s) presented in the book?
● Did they hear or read anything from an alternative source (perhaps an online video you showed them, a magazine article you photocopied, a guest speaker you invited, a website they suggested)? If they did, how would you describe the varieties of English and the register or style(s) presented in these sources?
FeedbackAre all or most of your percentages, or number of minutes, in the teacher or textbook column? Or do you sometimes share these roles with your students? What does your choice of roles imply about your understanding of how language teaching differs from the teaching of other subjects?
Depending on your teaching situation, your students may already be exposed to a wide range of varieties of English, and styles and registers. Or, if your textbook reading and listening texts are all 'Standard English' and you don't use alternative varieties, the range might be quite limited. Of course, it is unlikely that your spoken English coincides 100% with 'Standard English' (ours doesn't!) and your students' certainly won't. You might like to consider introducing (more) varieties of English into your classroom.
Of course, exposing your students to different Englishes through your materials (including your own English and theirs) isn't the same thing as getting students to notice the differences between them. Perhaps they don't hear that, for example, your voice is different from the voices of their textbook recordings, or even that your speech changes depending on what you are doing in class (think about how the way you give instructions is different from the way you ask students about their weekend activities, or tell them a joke). Given what we have said about the growing use of ELF, could these differences be something to draw your students' attention to?
Exposing your students to different Englishes doesn't mean that they will 'acquire' these varieties, styles and registers. As we emphasised in Unit 3, Learning English, students construct their own, individual, versions of English and due to various factors (such as age, motivation, and the influence of the languages they already have), their own English repertoire will be unique. Could this be something to talk about with your students, perhaps in the context of a discussion about their language learning goals?