Materials

New and different materials need to be developed that reflect the multilingual practices described above and suit domestic migrant workers' local and workplace contexts. This means that materials need to consider and reflect migrants' social, cultural, sociolinguistic, and ethnic contexts (cf. McKay 2003b for a discussion of materials devised within a Chilean context). Textbook writing could be used as part of the multilingual practices approach, addressing themes salient to domestic migrant workers rather than 'imaginary content' Cook (2001: 219). Themes could include, for example, looking for housing, job hunting, family, going shopping, taking public transportation, meeting new people from different cultures, and addressing the homeland and missing it, while simultaneously including components of the dominant culture in order to promote mutual understanding and respect. The themes addressed and the language presented in such books must be relevant to domestic workers' everyday lives and workplace environments. Specifically, they need to attend to small talk, household items, furniture, and cleaning products to name but a few. By doing so, domestic workers would be able to better relate to the various themes and contexts presented in books. In his discussion of bilingual pedagogy and strategies, Cummins (2005: 588) even lists the 'creation of student-authored dual language books by means of translation from the initial language of writing to the L2'. Such an activity could be part of a larger project within a course. Flashcards could be created to resemble everyday household items and teachers can even use real life articles. Audio CDs could be designed that reflect authentic conversational exchanges (Kirkpatrick 2007) between clients and domestic workers as well as domestic workers in their everyday lives, that is, at the supermarket, bank, restaurant, or on the bus.

The language used for these materials should be multilingual (McKay 2003b; Cummins 2005) rather than monolingual and reinforce language use within the learning environment. Examples of code-switching should be included in the written and oral materials developed, and oral materials should stress different ELF speakers with a range of foreign accents in order for learners to be comfortable speaking English with an accent, rather than measuring themselves against NS, which is an 'impossible target' anyway (Cook 2002: 331). Although materials should focus on fostering oral communicative competence, not all areas need to be stressed equally. In the case of the domestic workers I interviewed, priority should be given to speaking and listening skills, followed by reading and writing skills since this is what they both desired and required.

Regarding content, primary emphasis should be placed on the areas which domestics claim to have greatest difficulty with - grammatical competence in terms of vocabulary, word and sentence formation as well as strategic competence, that is, asking for clarification, slower speech, and repetition (Canale and Swain 1980).

Employing a communication-skills-based curriculum means that learners are aware and exposed to NNS-NNS communication and are encouraged to become engaged in similar interactions themselves. By doing so, NNSs would get used to hearing different languages being produced by other NNSs and possibly become more comfortable and confident in their own English language production.

This suggests that, in terms of course content, a traditional English for specific purposes course ('English for domestic labour') based on linguistic features presumed to be typical of the discourse community would not be appropriate. Content needs to be defined in terms of local needs analysis since the circumstances of domestic labour vary worldwide.5

 
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