Tuesday, 2 December 2008

English as a truly foreign language

Our thought for the week (maybe the month) is that we really ought to be teaching English as a genuinely foreign language instead of teaching the English of native speakers to foreigners (make sense?). Maybe it doesn't make sense or maybe it is just splitting hairs but my doubts are mounting that we are doing something wrong, especially in our advanced classes. I have found myself holding up the native speaker as an ideal to aim at and I have been trying to get the students to learn all the subtle idiomatic English used by the native speaker, but is this not a mistake? Why should the native speaker set the standard for the foreigner who is to be given a certificate saying she is proficient in the language?

For a more considered presentation of this chestnut, see English as an international language

No comments: