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The 'social' in English language teaching: Situated accomplishments

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The worldwide enterprise of English Language Teaching (ELT) has consciously attended to social conventions of use in its modelling of communicative language. In this talk I will first examine the theoretical basis of the ‘social’ as it has been conceptualised in influential curriculum frameworks and internationally marketed textbooks. It will be shown that social conventions of language use are often presented in terms of abstracted and generalisable native speaker norms. Drawing on data collected in ethnolinguistically diverse school and university classrooms in London, I will suggest that socially acceptable language use is fluidly negotiated by participants reflecting locally engendered sentiments. My observations and arguments will resonate with some of the analytic sensibilities shown in recent research in the fields of English as a Lingua Franca and Sociolinguistics. The discussion will conclude with some remarks on the implications for curriculum content and assessment.

Bio Constant Leung is Professor of Educational Linguistics in the Centre for Language Discourse and Communication, Department of Education and Professional Studies at King’s College London. He also serves as Deputy Head of Department. His research interests include additional/second language education in ethnically and linguistically diverse societies, language assessment, language policy, and teacher professional development. He is Associate Editor for Language Assessment Quarterly and Editor of Research Issues for TESOL Quarterly.

This talk is part of the Second Language Education Group series.

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