Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Construct Shift of Pre-Service Language Teachers on Globalized English within a Turkish Context

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Construct Shift of Pre-Service Language Teachers on Globalized English within a Turkish Context

Article excerpt

The global spread of English throughout the world has had a major influence on business, education, and technology. English has become the lingua franca, or a universal language, and is now the language for most international communication (Bhatt, 2001). Today, it is either the official or the second language used in over fifty countries (Crystal, 1997). Although there are so many English speakers sharing this common language, English is becoming increasingly diversified in nature due to the influence it is exposed to concerning multiple linguistic and cultural variations, accents, idioms, and vernacular. This phenomenon has led to English gaining a status dubbed as "World Englishes" (WEs), for which Kachru (1996) offers three territories where language is used: The Inner Circle, the Outer Circle, and the Expanding Circle. In the Inner Circle, English is used as the first language; in the Outer Circle, it is used by mostly colonized countries as a second or official language, and in the Expanding Circle, it is highly utilized as a foreign language in the rest of the world, albeit with a cross-nation status as a medium of communication regarding education, business, and technology. As for education, particularly English language education, we see a continuously increasing number of nonnative English speaking teachers (NNESTs) functioning in both the outer and expanding circles. This number has by far already surpassed that of native English speaking teachers (NESTs; Canagarajah, 1999; Crystal, 1997; Kachru, 2001; Matsuda & Matsuda, 2001). Despite the pioneering work of the Medgyes (1992, 1994), it took almost a decade for researchers to focus on NNESTs. These studies centred mostly on self-perceptions of NNESTs and student perceptions' of NNESTs.

According to several researchers (e.g., Amin, 2000; Braine, 1999), native English speakers (NES) are more likely to be hired to teach ESL/EFL even without any specific teaching qualifications compared to qualified nonnative English speakers (NNES). Some researchers have discussed this issue of nativeness as the native speaker fallacy and argue that merely being a native speaker of a language is not a guarantee that a person will be successful in teaching his or her own native language (Canagarajah, 1999; Medgyes, 1994, 1999). Maum (2002) also argues that most of the intrinsic knowledge that a NES brings into the ESL/EFL classroom can also be learned by NNESTs through specific teacher training. However, it is generally believed that NESTs have more advantages teaching L2 learners than NNESTs (Liu, 1999). There is even a common belief that for NNESTs to become qualified they need to improve their language skills to compete with those of native speakers, yet they also need to embrace the teaching practices and methods adopted by NESTs (Mahboob, 2004). According to Beare (2013), some of the positive advantages that NES may have over NNES can be cited as: (a) providing accurate pronunciation models for learners, conversational opportunities, and insight that nonnative speakers may not have, (b) understanding native English speaking cultures with all intricacies of idiomatic English usage, and (c) having the ability to speak the language as it is spoken in English speaking countries. However, NNESTs, as was pointed out by Cook (2005), Kachru (2001), Medgyes (1994), Phillipson (2001), and Tang (1997), do have some strengths that NESTs do not have: (a) providing L2 learners with a positive role model for learning, (b) teaching language learning strategies more effectively, (c) being more empathetic to the needs and problems of L2 learners, and (d) incorporating L2 learners' first language as a method of effective teaching.

One major concept agreed upon by scholars is that "intelligibility" as a prerequisite for successful communication (Deterding & Kirkpatrick, 2006; Jenkins, 2000; Kirkpatrick, 2010; Seidlhofer, 2001). These studies support the notion that as long as NNESTs have the ability to use English effectively and are intelligible in their communication with others; this should be fair enough in our judgment of such speakers' competence in the language. …

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