ELF 5 Part 10 – Attitudes in Context-Specific Scenarios

Many presenters at the conference spoke about the research conducted within their own context and looked at the attitudes of students and teachers towards ELF.

First, there was Luis Guerra, who gave his presentation on ‘English as lingua franca in Portugal- What students want, what teachers teach’

It is often maintained that the educated NS is more likely to be intelligibile to other than the NNS (Smith, 1983)

The use of other models will lead to such a great diversity of NN varieties of educated English that soon persons speaking English may not be intelligible to their listeners (Smith, 1983)

NS are not always more intelligible than NNS (Smith, 1992)

Thus, it is familiarity that makes one more or less intelligible.

There is an implicit aim for NNS to be more like NS, at least in linguistic terms.

Ownership of English

It serves a whole range of different communities and their institutional purposes and these transcend traditional communal and cultural boundaries

A multiplicity of teaching practices and a view of the language as belonging to a broad range of people and culture is the best that language instructors can do (Modiano, 2001).

Learners’ goal

Expecting learners to comply with the set of linguistic norms would probably put unnecessary pressure on them, since they would hardly be able to fully live up to such expectations (Grutzmann, 1999)

Conclusion

  • A balanced presentation of linguistic and cultural aspects of English
  • Introduction of the difference between American Englihs and British English
  • Presentation of native and NN varieties and cultures
  • Developments of international topics o
  • Understanding the local culture
  • Acknowledgement of native and NNS use of English
  • Recognition of the value of ns and NNS teachers
  • Granting ownership of English to NS and NNS
  • Working on learners’ instrumental and international use motivation to learn English

We need to deepen our understanding of the minds and practices of those who use English in a foreign context.

They need to have a voice, but not in capital letters.

Next, after a coffee break, was  Victoria Kazarloga – Immigrants attitudes towards pronunciation models taught in Montreal L2 Classrooms

Theoretical Framework

  • Expectations play a vital role in students’ motivation and learning (Tavani & Losh, 2003)
  • Pronunciation teaching is still influenced by EFL ideologies
  • Negative attitudes towards accent are pervasive among NS and NNS speakers of English (Friedrich, 2003; Lindemann, 2005)
  • Unrealistic goals result in self-loathing and a dramatic loss of confidence among students (Pavlenko, 2003)
  • The need for pronunciation teaching that embraces NNS-NNS mutual intelligibility and the needs of L2 local identity (Jenkins, 2000, 2002)

What is your main goal of pronunciation teaching?

NS teachers

  • To ensure sts understand and are understood;
  • Raising awareness of intricacies of spoken English.

NNS teachers

  • To make the language sound more natural;
  • To teach what I have learnt before
  • Not to sound native but to be understood.

Results

 

ESL/EFl Pedagogy

  • NS teachers were more relaxed about pronunciation.
  • Teachers teach according to native standards
  • NNS models not reflected in pronunciation teaching materials

ELF Pedagogy

  • Teachers are drifting away from native models
  • Teachers are affected by their university education
  • Teachers are supportive of students’ local identities
  • Teachers encourage students to keep their accents.

Other interesting findings

  • All respondents agreed that their ‘foreign’ English accents were part of their identity;
  • The majority disagreed that the main goal of pronunciation teaching/learning is to sound like a NS.
  • Majority wanted to learn international English and second largest group wanted to learn Canadian English.
  • The majority said that they didn’t like their own accents
  • Majority said they strongly agreed that they would feel more confident if they spoke with a native English accent.
  • But when asked if it more important to be understood than to sound like a English native speaker, all students agreed.
  • They were aware that American’s think their accents cute but it is the French speakers (their own communities) that had negative attitudes towards their accents.
  • Asian respondents didn’t want to keep their accents while those with European accents, e.g. French, did want to keep their accents.

Being Asian myself and always interested in the topic of the Asian diaspora, the last statement really caught my attention.

I am curious to find out why and what factors contribute to this. Any ideas?

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Author: chiasuanchong

I am a freelance communications trainer and a teacher trainer based in York, UK. With 13 years of experience training students from all over the world to communicate better in English (and in particular, Business English), I am also a professional blogger, materials writer and intercultural trainer.

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