Course-book and syllabus organisation

Course-book organisation is largely dependent upon market demand, but textbooks are initially conceived and developed in relation to the way authors view and conceptualise language and the process of language learning and teaching.

In the case of ELF, '[...] without a radical shift in the way language is understood as a concept, and then positioned in the curriculum, there seems little prospect of there being any uptake of an ELF perspective' (Cogo and Dewey 2012: 172).

There are two closely related assumptions that would sustain a shift towards WE and ELF orientation in course-books:

  • 1. A view of the learner who:
    • • is capable of personal and social decisions in normal conversational interaction and uses (Lantolf and Thorne 2006; Larsen-Freeman 2012: 299);
    • • has the capacity to draw on his/her multilingual repertoire (Canagarajah 2007a: 229; Kramsch 2009: 43);
    • • can become an agent of change (Norton and Toohey 2011: 419), as teachers can (Seidlhofer 1999).
  • 2. A view of the language as a complex and adaptive system (Ellis and Larsen- Freeman 2009: 4), a polylithic variety (Seidlhofer et al. 2006; Seidlhofer 2011), in which language change is a natural phenomenon, and learners' language competence includes their ability to display their identity as members of a community (Canagarajah 2007b). In short, a view of English as a discursive construct (Widdowson 2003). It is within this view that ELF defies all previous traditional representations of language varieties since it 'operates across conventional sociolinguistic boundaries rather than within them' (Cogo and Dewey 2012: 165).

These assumptions relate to both the contents and the approach that should be adopted in course-books and materials development. Rather than a mere provision of examples of, or exposure to, the plurality of Englishes, it is how these pluralities are presented to the learners, how learners are being engaged and challenged through tasks and activities within and beyond the school context that makes a shift in perspective for both teachers and learners possible.

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