- What are the things we have learnt from the topic presented?
The topic is “ELT and teacher education in a changing world”. when talking about changing world, Ali, the presenter, tent to adapt the idea coming from the expert of Sociolinguistics called Braj Kachru. Kachru conceived the idea of three concentric circles of the language.
The inner circle represents the traditional culture and linguistic bases of English: The United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, anglophone Canada, and some of the Caribbean territories. The total number of English speakers in the inner circle is as high as 380 million, of whom some 120 million are outside the United States.
Next comes the outer circle, which includes countries where English is not the native tongue, but is important for historical reasons (as a result of colonization) and plays a part in the nation’s institutions, either as an official language or otherwise. This circle includes India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Malaysia, Tanzania, Kenya, non-Anglophone South Africa and Canada, etc. The total number of English speakers in the outer circle is estimated to range from 150 million to 300 million.
Finally, the expanding circle encompasses those countries where English plays no historical or governmental role, but where it is nevertheless widely used as a foreign language or lingua franca. This includes much of the rest of the world’s population: China, Russia, Japan, most of Europe, Korea, Egypt, Indonesia, etc. The total in this expanding circle is the most difficult to estimate, especially because English may be employed for specific, limited purposes, usually business English. The estimates of these users range from 100 million to one billion.
Understanding three concentric circles aims to unpack English language learning, teaching and teacher education practices. Ali suggested that rethinking and reconceptualizing those English language teaching and learning are very necessary. What should be rethought deal with pedagogy, materials, assessment, culture and identity, curriculum design and development, and teacher education. In addition, Ali also criticized the terms “native teacher and non-native teacher” because they are quite problematic. What is necessary here is promoting employment for “competent” teachers regardless of ideologically-infused, value-laden terms such as native or non-native. Native is not always better than non-native because English is in the three concentric circles so that the appropriate teacher must come from appropriate circle. Language is not merely language, but there are many things inside it to teach, among of them are culture, belief, knowledge, surroundings, and so on.
- What is the relationship of the conference topic and today’s classroom?
Nowadays, the assumption of a native teacher is better than a non-native teacher is still sticky on our beliefs. Actually, it is not whether a teacher is native or not, but it is more about the teacher’s preparation before teaching. Ali emphasized on the teachers’ innovation and preparation before teaching so the successful teaching and learning process of English is achieved. Furthermore, Ali suggested on the need of teacher training from the less prescriptive to more contextual goals. TESOL program should, therefore, require courses in sociolinguistics and world Englishes for pre-service and in-service teachers, challenging them to rethink concepts of standard English, correct versus incorrect grammar or usage, and native versus non-native speaker.
- What are the things we learnt from the presenter?
The things we learnt from the presenter, especially Ali, dealt more with the ways he used language, among of them were: (1) he used the combination between denotative and connotative meanings of words to make his speech more interesting to listen to. (2) He tent to use familiar and concrete words rather than unfamiliar and abstract words. (3) he used language appropriately, it means he used language appropriate to the occasion, appropriate to the audience, appropriate to the topic, and of course, appropriate to the speaker.