Unit 1: Defining English
This unit introduces the idea of alternative monolithic and plurilithic conceptions of English.
- 1.0 Introduction
- 1.1 Monolithic vs Plurilithic Concepts
- 1.1.1 Monolithic Concepts of Language
- 1.1.2 Plurilithic Concepts of Language
- 1.2 ‘Standard English’
- 1.2.1 ‘Standard English’: History
- 1.2.2 ‘Standard English’: Beliefs
- 1.2.3 Advantages and Disadvantages of ‘Standard English’ for ELT
- 1.3 Rules of English
- 1.3.1 The ambiguity of the word rule
- 1.3.2 Rules of English: The Monolithic View
- 1.3.3 Rules of English: The Plurilithic View
- 1.4 Four Dimensions of Monolithism
- 1.5 Check Your Understanding
- 1.6 Reflect and Discuss
Unit 2: Using English
This unit explores the plurilithic usage of English in diverse global settings.
- Unit 2: Using English
- 2.1 Introducing Lingua Franca Usage
- 2.2.1 Native speaker Variation
- 2.2.2 Native speakers: Accommodation
- 2.3 Englishes in the British Isles
- 2.4 World Englishes
- 2.4.1 Englishes in Your Part of The World
- 2.4.2 Owning a language (Part 1)
- 2.5 ELF
- 2.5.1 Intelligibility
- 2.5.2 ELF in Your Part of The World
- 2.6 Translanguaging with English
- 2.7 Check Your Understanding
- 2.8 Reflect and Discuss
Unit 3: Learning English
This unit discusses how English is learned as a first or additional language.
- Unit 3: Learning English
- 3.1 First Language Acquisition
- 3.2 Back to Rules
- 3.2.1 Rules as Patterns in the Mind (Part 1)
- 3.2.2 Rules as Social Markers
- 3.2.3 Rules as Mental Representations
- 3.2.4 Rules in Schools
- 3.2.5 Rules as Patterns in the Mind (2)
- 3.3 Models and Targets
- 3.4 Learning Contexts
- 3.5 Owning a Language (Part 2)
- 3.6 Learners and Users
- 3.7 Check Your Understanding
- 3.8 Reflect and Discuss
Unit 4: Teaching English
This unit examines the teaching implications of plurilithic conceptions of English.
Unit 5: Changing English
This unit suggests ways to share your learning on the course with others.
- Unit 5: Changing English
- 5.1 The Challenge
- 5.2 Changing Learners’ Beliefs About English
- 5.3 Changing Teaching Colleagues’ Beliefs About English
- 5.4 Changing Policy-Makers’ Beliefs About English
- 5.5 Changing the Public’s Beliefs About English
- 5.6 Check Your Understanding
- 5.7 Reflect and Discuss
- Course Finish
Unit 4: Teaching English
In this unit we now invite you to focus fully on the teaching and testing implications of the plurilithic view of English we have been presenting. We help you do this through a series of activities, in which teachers’ voices are heard.
We will not be suggesting many practical solutions for teachers and testers here. Recall that the purpose of this course is to challenge, to sensitise, to raise awareness, to provoke reflection and discussion.
Although we do make one or two suggestions, we believe that effective professional responses to the plurilithic challenge of English must be the product of prolonged reflection and trial and error, by teachers—from within classrooms, staff rooms, conferences and workshops, teacher development courses, and policy forums. The final unit of the course, Changing English, encourages you to reflect on how you might participate in this effort.
As you work through this unit, we ask you to bear in mind the difference between English as ‘object language’ and ‘language subject’ (Widdowson, 2000), because ultimately the goal of teachers is to help learners become efficient and effective users of English in the contexts in which they will need it. In Unit 3, we presented a view of the language according to which it is defined by its global users and uses, as a plurilithic entity:
● There are as many Englishes as there are users of English.
● Most global users of English use it as a Lingua Franca in multilingual contexts where translanguaging practices are a common feature.
● English is not just ‘owned’ by its native speakers.
● Most native speakers are not (uniquely) users of ‘Standard English’.
● Using English requires skills in accommodation and negotiation of meaning more than strict conformity to ‘Standard English’ norms.
Viewed in this way, English presents teachers with challenges and opportunities that are very different from those presented by other subjects.