September 2019
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Nicola Galloway, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland
Heath Rose, University of Oxford, Oxford, England

Nicola Galloway

Heath Rose

The Global Spread of the English Language

The growth of English as an international language (EIL) has changed the sociolinguistic landscape of how English is used, and therefore how it should be taught. Global Englishes—here defined as an umbrella term to unite the work of world Englishes, English as a lingua franca (ELF), and EIL—aims to explore the implications of this diversity on multifaceted aspects of society, including English language teaching practices. Discussions over the diversity of English and the dominance of the native English speaker in TESOL are not new, of course, but global Englishes research is growing and gathering momentum, throwing new perspectives on these issues.

Incorporating Global Englishes and English as an International Language Into Pedagogical Practice

In addition to showcasing the diversity of English around the globe, an increasing number of researchers have explored the implications of such research for TESOL, such as the need to consider new goals, assessments, materials, and pedagogical perspectives that best match students’ needs to use English as a global language. Proposed changes in TESOL curricula in light of such research focuses on the changing needs of 21st-century English learners.

Many of our own curriculum changes aimed to initiate a shift away from “native” English norms in TESOL curricula and toward a reorientation about how we think about language in the curriculum. To bridge the gap between theory and practice, we examined the theoretical proposals discussed in the literature, which we have previously categorised into six proposals for change (Galloway & Rose, 2015). These call for

  1. increasing world Englishes and ELF exposure in ELT curricula,
  2. emphasising respect for multilingualism,
  3. raising awareness of global Englishes,
  4. raising awareness of ELF strategies,
  5. emphasising respect for diverse English-using cultures/communities, and
  6. changing teacher hiring practices.

Our Studies Into Classroom Innovation

Many of our own English language curriculum changes centred on a series of studies conducted with 108 of our own students when we worked as English language lecturers in a foreign language university in Japan. Our recent book, Global Englishes for Language Teaching (Rose & Galloway, 2019), consolidates much of this classroom-based research, along with an overview of other important classroom-based work from scholars such as Sung (2018) and Vettorel (2013).

One of our first reported activities examined how listening journals were used to expose students to a range of Englishes. The study involved the analysis of 108 listening journals consisting of 1,092 entries on reactions to ELF use or exposure to speakers from different countries. The study revealed that exposure resulted in an increase in positive attitudes to diversity, but also reinforcement of stereotypes.

In a follow-up activity, we reported on the use of a presentation task to have students research a particular variety of English and present information on this English in small groups in class. We found that this more in-depth engagement resulted in a deeper understanding of why variation existed and an awareness of legitimacy of nonstandard Englishes.

Another activity of ours with the same group of students also explored how to raise awareness of global Englishes via classroom debates on standard language ideology, using online resources surrounding Singapore’s Speak Good English Movement. The debate allowed students to explicitly explore their own biases surrounding standards and correctness in language.

In a larger innovation involving the construction of an entire curriculum on global Englishes embedded in an English for academic purposes course, Galloway’s (2017) longitudinal research project examined the influence of global Englishes instruction on students’ attitudes, revealing that it influenced students’ attitudes in a number of ways, including raising their confidence as English speakers and providing an empirical basis for a reevaluation of English language teaching.

We conducted further research while we worked for several years in a bilingual business program in Japan with students studying through the medium of English. At this university, we integrated global Englishes-oriented materials and content into the existing English for academic purposes course structure within this university. In one study of reactions to curriculum changes, we explored student attitudes to a change in hiring practices to recruit competent second language English-speaking assistants in English for specific purposes classes. The study revealed that students valued teaching qualities and abilities over adherence to native norms, and that there was no relationship between students’ perceived value of the teaching assistant and “nativeness.”

Other Studies Into Classroom Innovation

These studies of ours in Japan match similar efforts in reporting of curriculum innovations in other parts of the world. Sung (2018) has been active in reporting on a number of global Englishes curriculum innovations in his own English for academic purposes classes at a university in Hong Kong. One of his activities required students to engage in ELF communication with speakers of a different first language as a homework assignment and for them to produce written reflections on this ELF experience. Based on this data, Sung (2018) suggests that the out-of-class activity provided students with insights into the use of English as a global language and raised their awareness of ELF.

In one of the largest ELF-informed classroom-based studies conducted to date, Vettorel (2013) explored 540 school children in Italy, Poland, Latvia, and Slovakia communicating with each other through English. The curriculum innovation required the students to participate in written and online communication exchanges. Vettorel (2013) concluded that the activities had good pedagogical value because they encouraged the development of pragmatic strategies to communicate successfully through English with peers of different first languages and levels of proficiency, which are important communication strategies for use in lingua franca contexts.

Curriculum Innovation

These studies on global Englishes curriculum innovation respond to calls for a major shift in perspective in TESOL—the likes of which last occurred in the 1970s with the movement toward communicative language teaching. Since this time, the world has witnessed further globalization and the entrenchment of English as the global language. However, curriculum innovation is a complex process, and a number of barriers to change are present, including a lack of materials that promote global approaches, strong adherence to standard language ideology in TESOL, traditional perspectives in teacher education, and hiring practices that favour native-speaking teachers (Galloway & Rose, 2015). Though there are definite barriers to a global Englishes approach to language teaching, this does not make change impossible, nor should these goals be seen as a deterrent to making TESOL curriculum more relevant to the needs of learners in today’s globalised world.

As described in this article, our own studies and those of Sung (2018) and Vettorel (2013) have aimed to provide practitioners with real-life classroom-embedded examples of global Englishes approaches to curriculum innovation, yet much more reporting on curriculum innovation is needed. One way to break down barriers to change is to encourage researchers and practitioners to use a platform, like Teaching English & Teaching In English in Global Contexts, for sharing resources, such as dissertations and other publications, to encourage more collaboration between researchers and practitioners and more action research to explore the feasibility of curriculum innovation in various TESOL contexts around the globe. This platform can also be used as an informal space for teachers to share ideas, encourage good practices, and to build up a deposit of teacher-generated materials to teach global Englishes in language classrooms.


Galloway, N. (2017). Global Englishes and change in English language teaching: Attitudes and impact. Abingdon, England: Routledge.

Galloway, N., & Rose, H. (2015). Introducing global Englishes. Abingdon, England: Routledge. [see also the Companion website]

Rose, H., & Galloway, N. (2019). Global Englishes for language teaching. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Sung, C. C. M. (2018). Out-of-class communication and awareness of English as a lingua franca. ELT Journal, 72(1), 15–25.

Vettorel, P. (2013). ELF in international school exchanges: stepping into the role of ELF users. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, 2(1), 147–173.

Heath Rose is an associate professor of applied linguistics at the University of Oxford, where he is course director of MSc in Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching.

Nicola Galloway is lecturer in TESOL at The University of Edinburgh, where she organises a course on Second Language Teaching Curriculum and Global Englishes for Language Teaching.

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