The English as a Foreign or International Language Classroom

Authored by: Phyllis Ryan

The Routledge Handbook of Language and Intercultural Communication

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415572545
eBook ISBN: 9780203805640
Adobe ISBN: 9781136649530


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The English as a foreign language (EFL) classroom is typically associated with a physical location where the students, under the guidance of a teacher, follow a program that is designed to help them learn the target language, even though it is not widely spoken in the community. During the learning process, they may be exposed to other languages and cultures if their peers are from diverse backgrounds. In many cases, however, they will be sitting alongside classmates who share the same ethnicity and first language. The students may be in the class for a variety of reasons. Some may be obliged to take an EFL class as a program requirement. Others may have opted to enroll for personal reasons (e.g., to secure a better job, to prepare for study abroad, to facilitate travel to English-speaking countries, to gain exposure to another language and culture, for pleasure or literary pursuits). Whatever the driving force behind their presence in the classroom, the students will not only be exposed to linguistic features of the target language, but, willy-nilly, cultural elements as well.

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