Changing Englishes

An Online Course For Teachers

English, like all languages, is constantly changing. But in these globalising times, it is changing at a faster pace and in a greater number of contexts of use than ever before. Non-native users, including learners and teachers, are the agents of much of this dynamism, bringing to English the rich influences of their local languages and cultural contexts. They are also recrafting English to serve as a lingua franca between users of different first languages. The idea of English as a foreign language, belonging to native speakers only, is rapidly passing. And referring to English in the singular—which has always misrepresented its diversity—is no longer adequate.

Changing Englishes is an urgent issue for teachers. This online course is designed to help you meet the challenges it poses and to make the most of the opportunities it offers.


About Changing Englishes

This course was originally written by Christopher J Hall with Rachel Wicaksono in 2013, and fully updated and revised in 2019 and 2023. The original version was supported by a British Council ELT Research Partnership award and a grant from the York St John Business School.

Who is the course for?

This course is for teachers of English as an additional language, whether in training or with different amounts of experience, who are open to new ways of thinking about their profession and are interested in English as it is used around the world, as a lingua franca or for interacting in predominantly non-native speaker contexts.


Brief Overview Of The Course

Here’s an overview of the material we’ll cover on the course
and the issues we’ll be asking you to think about.



Who the course is for, what it’s about,
how it works, and how to get credit.

Unit 1

Defining English

This unit introduces the idea of alternative monolithic
and ‘plurilithic’ conceptions of English.

Unit 2

Using English

In this unit we look at how English is actually used in its diverse contexts, starting out with its most frequent current use, as a lingua franca between non-native speakers.


Unit 3

Learning English

We start the unit by thinking about the traditional ‘language as subject’ perspective on classroom-based learning and contrast this with evidence about the ways in which learners actually construct their own ‘object language’, in their individual brains/minds, on the basis of usage.

Unit 4

Teaching English

This unit invites you to focus on the teaching and testing implications of the plurilithic view of English presented in earlier units. We aim to challenge, to sensitise, to raise awareness and to provoke discussion.

Unit 5

Changing English

In Unit 5, we make some practical suggestions about how the ideas presented in the course might be shared with your learners and teaching colleagues, and with policy-makers and the general public.

Additional Resources

Changing Englishes comes with a range of additional resources to support your learning. For each unit, there’s an annotated list of additional readings, together with a selection of interesting websites. A glossary provides accessible definitions for all technical terms.


How To Adapt

If you are a teacher trainer, you could consider using Changing Englishes as part of a teacher development programme, or one-off workshop, for teachers in your school, city or region. The course is published under a Creative Commons licence, which means that you are free to use, and adapt, its contents to suit the needs of your trainees.