Appropriate methodology

Towards a cosmopolitan approach

Authored by: Adrian Holliday

The Routledge Handbook of English Language Teaching

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415747394
eBook ISBN: 9781315676203
Adobe ISBN: 9781317384472


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An early rationale for appropriate methodology, as expressed in the (1994) publication of Appropriate Methodology and Social Context, was a suggested conflict between two educational domains. On the one side was the largely private ELT sector originating in Britain, Australasia and North American (BANA). This was perceived to be an aggressive promoter of a particular and narrow interpretation of communicative teaching methodology through teacher training and education, international professional qualifications, curriculum projects and the prolific international publishing of textbooks (see Gray, and Pennycook, this volume). BANA also directly or indirectly promoted the so-called ‘native speaker’ teacher to be the best model both for teaching methodology and language (see also Llurda, this volume). On the other side was the mainstream tertiary, secondary, primary state education across the world (TESEP), where the majority of ELT takes place. This is perhaps the largest market for BANA methodology, and the majority of teachers are so-called ‘non-native speakers’. The appropriate methodology quest was therefore to make BANA methodology appropriate to TESEP. A political dimension to this quest was the potential linguistic imperialism implicit in the domination of the BANA domain, which Phillipson (1992) describes as the West maintaining power over the rest of the world through the power of English and a false idea that the ‘native speaker’ is superior. (I use inverted commas here and throughout to remind us that the native-non-native speaker division is highly contested; again, see also Llurda, this volume.)

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