Contextualising teaching English as a local/global language: A bottom-up sociolinguistic investigation

Jim Chan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


One major consequence of the emergence of new Englishes in the era of globalisation is their changing functions and forms in increasingly multilingual communities. These changes have challenged traditional learning and teaching goals and practices in English language teaching (ELT), which are mainly guided by native-speaker norms. As non-native speakers of English are now the overwhelming majority in international communication, scholars in the field of Global Englishes (GE) have advocated that English language targets in comtemporary education should be redefined so as to cater for second language (L2) learners’ future language needs. Against this background, this chapter will discuss the possibility of establishing appropriate ELT goals for a specific sociolinguistic setting, as exemplified by a bottom-up investigation in Hong Kong. More specifically, it willdraw on findings derived from a large-scale research project investigating Hong Kong’s current ELT curricula, assessments and classroom practices and the relevant stakeholders’ (i.e. professionals, students and teachers) English use experience and attitudes towards English language learning. These empirical findings are likely to inform pedagogical recommendations in three main dimensions, namely, the (1) benchmarking of a localised language target, (2) portrayal of real-life language use and (3) prioritisation of teaching and learning foci in ELT. The chapter will conclude by highlighting the values of a bottom-up approach to investigating contextualised language needs and, subsequently, establishing learning targets that are most relevant to L2 leaners in individual societies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Perspectives of Global Englishes in Asia: Language Policy and Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Assessment
EditorsFan Fang, Handoyo Puji Widodo
PublisherMultilingual matters
ISBN (Print)9781788924092
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2019


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