Mission in English Language Teaching: Why and Why Not?
The purpose of this chapter, written for the volume in honor of a colleague in the field of applied linguistics and English Language Teaching (ELT) is to view through personal lenses the “missionary” aspect of ideas and behavior of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers and teacher trainers. The inspiration for this paper has been drawn from Bill Johnston’s (2017). However, while Johnston uses the term mission in a literal religious sense of the word, I am using it more metaphorically, as the imposition of one’s ideas and practices upon one’s colleagues. This chapter is a case study based on a few accounts of encounters with native and non-native ELT professionals, which serve as illustrations of “missionary” approaches in our field. It focuses, firstly, on the perceived “missionary” approaches of ELT activities of the British Council in Poland in the 1990s, secondly, on the inherent “missionary” aspects of an intercultural EFL project carried out by this author in Ukraine and, finally, on a recent cooperative ELT to senior students project, in which we have liberated ourselves from the “missionary” approach.
KeywordsEnglish language teaching Linguistic imperialism Third-age learners Intercultural projects
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