The Role of English Language Education in Developmental Contexts

2415 Words 10 Pages
The Role of English Language Education in Developmental Contexts

The teaching of English in postcolonial, Third World countries is an issue that has received much debate in the TESOL profession. Opponents of the current global spread of English argue that this language dominance is a form of neo-colonialism and that its expansion should be halted, especially in postcolonial countries where English was previously a language of oppression. Phillipson (1992) goes so far as to term the spread of English “linguistic imperialism” in his work of that title and establishes the notion of “linguistic human rights,” calling for the preservation of native languages in the face of global monolingualism. For many others, though, the growing
…show more content…
Instead, what having all of their instruction in English does cost these learners is the quality of their education (in that they are forced to learn through the medium of an unfamiliar language) and the opportunity to develop literacy in their L1. English is not the only language that operates in this manner either, although it is by far the most prevalent of the dominant languages. To provide some focus, this paper will remain limited to a discussion of English education in developmental contexts, though similar concepts may apply to any dominant language operating in these conditions. Many postcolonial and international tongues, and even some dominant native languages have the same affects as English on personal development when promoted at the expense of minority dialects, drastically hindering the learners’ individual economic potentials and leading to larger societal consequences as well.

If economic development is defined as the reduction of poverty and the improvement of economic conditions for the most disadvantaged, it is difficult to see how English instruction promotes it, especially when such instruction does not directly benefit the severely impoverished. Due to the scarcity of research dealing with the

Related Documents