CGE Research Seminar on Wednesday 20th November: Undoing hyper-corrective practices in language teacher education – a critical reappraisal of ’emergent language’

CGEThe next Centre for Global Englishes (CGE) seminar will take place on Wednesday 20th November 2019 from 5:00pm in Lecture Theatre B (room 1201), Building 65, Avenue Campus. The seminar will be presented by Martin Dewey from King’s College London and is entitled “Undoing hyper-corrective practices in language teacher education – a critical reappraisal of ’emergent language'”. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
Global Englishes and ELF research make it essential for language teachers and teacher educators to reflect much more critically on resources and practices than they needed to in the past.

In this talk I will adopt a critical stance on the concept of emergent language – which is somewhat loosely defined in ELT as language that “comes up”, or emerges (often inadvertently or unpredictably) during moments of classroom interaction where the focus is on conveying meaning. The notion of emergent language has been around for some time in ELT professional discourse, yet until now this has been largely under researched in practice and arguably relatively little understood in the language classroom – and for all the wrong reasons. Language teacher education programmes tend to make little reference to the concept; when the notion of emergent language does appear in the syllabus it tends to be undertaken from a predominantly deficit perspective, with a focus on ‘linguistic problems’ or ‘language gaps’ that a teacher perceives to appear during interaction. By contrast, a good deal of communicatively valuable language use is often completely overlooked. From an ELF perspective the current approach to emergent language in ELT is ludicrous and nonsensical.

In my talk I will first illustrate the extent to which, despite a growing awareness of ELF, approaches to language awareness and language knowledge are in practice still strongly influenced by what I refer to as hyper-correctiveness, a disproportionate preoccupation with form and conventional language norms. I will go on to argue that from an ELF perspective the concept of emergent language can be entirely rethought and approached in a more critical light, where the linguistic problems and language gaps are not a consequence of a speaker’s supposed lack of knowledge, but rather are a consequence of problems and gaps in English itself. I will conclude by discussing the need to develop critical thinking in language teacher education as a means of adopting a more ELF-oriented perspective on language and communication.

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