World Englishes and English as a Lingua Franca: Implications for Teacher Education and ELT

Paola Vettorel


The spread of English, first as a consequence of colonization and then of globalization processes, has brought to a diversification of Englishes. Rather than a monolithic language, connected solely to native Anglophone speakers, English has taken nowadays a plurality of forms, from Inner and Outer circle varieties to its lingua franca function as a means of communication among speakers of different L1s across the world. Furthermore, English increasingly constitutes a consistent presence in the out-of-school environment: younger generations in particular come into contact with Englishes in a variety of contexts, from the media to the linguistic landscape; all over Europe encounters with (linguistic) otherness are experienced starting from increasingly multicultural and multilingual school environments.

This plurality has significant implications for ELT: first of all, awareness of the multifaceted realities of English ought to be promoted in teacher education to familiarize language educators with its implications in ELT, so that it can be acknowledged in classroom practices in order to prepare learners to be able to effectively communicate via English in its current plural dimension. This paper illustrates exemplifications of how WE- and ELF-informed activities can be incorporated into ELT classroom practices, drawing from two main datasets: lesson plans developed within university-run pre-service teacher education courses addressed at Italian secondary school English language trainee teachers (PAS/TFA), and from a project realized in three primary schools in Italy aimed at fostering awareness of English in the linguistic environment, of the plurality of English(es) and of its lingua franca role.

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