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Why Now is the Perfect Time to Learn How to Teach English as a Lingua Franca

When researchers such as Barbara Seidelhofer, Jennifer Jenkins or Alan Firth first started writing about English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) in the late 90s and early 2000s, who would have thought that now:

  • there would be a regular ELF conference, which for the first time last year had an entire day devoted only to teaching practice
  • there would be a well-established journal of ELF
  • Trinity Cert and CELTA might add ELF to their curricula
  • the number of articles and books on ELF would be literally in their hundreds

I certainly wouldn’t.

I would have never said there would now be a practical book on teaching ELF providing teachers with clear pedagogical principles and over 40 classroom activities.

Nor would I have said that there would be an entire course: “The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English as a Lingua Franca”, which shows you exactly how to start teaching ELF and provides you with practical ideas for:

  • how to teach pronunciation
  • how to teach listening
  • how to raise awareness
  • how to tackle native speakerism
  • how to teach communicative skills

When I first learned about ELF a few years back, there was hardly anything practical for the teachers, apart from two notable exceptions, both focusing on pronunciation:

  1. Robin Walker’s Teaching the Pronunciation of ELF
  2. Laura Patsko’s and Katy Simpson’s blog ELF Pron

Fast forward to today, and I really think we’re on a brink of an ELF revolution in ELT pedagogy.

Think about it:

  • most English users worldwide are non-native speakers
  • they use English primarily as a lingua franca (to communicate with other non-native speakers)
  • they don’t use it as a foreign language to communicate with native speakers.

Hundreds of thousands of business people are using English as a Lingua Franca to strike deals, negotiate, sell, buy, and do all that that business people do.

Hundreds of thousands of students each year are using English as a Lingua Franca of academia, obtaining degrees, writing papers, taking exams, or simply having fun.

It is clear then that the need for training people how to use English as a Lingua Franca is great and is likely to only continue growing.

As English teaching professionals we can either:

  • use this opportunity to our advantage, providing students with the necessary skills they need to successfully use English in ELF contexts
  • or miss the boat.

The great thing about now – as compared to only a few years ago – is that you have easy access to really practical tips on how to teach ELF.

I’ve literally spent the last few months experimenting with different approaches to teaching ELF, reading research and putting it into practice.

The result?

A simple, step-by-step approach that will allow you to teach English as a Lingua Franca. 

Want to learn how to

Help your students communicate more effectively in international contexts. Tackle native speakerism by focusing on internationally intelligible English. Want to learn more and receive weekly email tips bout teaching English as a Lingua Franca? Sign up below:

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