The teaching of sound English as International language (EIL) takes place in a great diversity of contexts. In some countries like Singapore, English is the medium of instruction and act as second language of their students. In other countries like Jamaica, students bring to the classroom their own distinct variety of English. In other countries like Indonesia nowadays, the learning of English in public schools is promoted through national examinations. In addition, within each country, great diversity exists so that the teaching of English in, for example, public versus private institutions and urban versus rural institutions tends to be quite different. Clearly, any (EIL) curriculum development must be informed by a theory of language learning and teaching that is sufficiently complex to account for this diversity. This paper will explain a bit about the growth of English language and how it develops the EIL pedagogy. And throughout this paper, I argue that since by its very nature an international language is no longer linked to a particular culture and since one of its primary uses will be for bilingual speakers of English like our country to communicate with other bilingual speakers or even the native speaker of English. It is no longer appropriate to use native speaker models to inform curriculum development.
Most people agree that today English is a global lingua franca. English has achieved this status not because of a growth in the number of native speakers but rather because of an increase in the number of individuals in the world today who are acquiring English as an additional language. This situation has resulted in a tremendous growth in the number of second language speakers of English. In fact, Graddol (1999: 62) argues that the number of people using English as their second language will grow from 235 million to around 462 million during the next 50 years. The growing number of people in the world who have some familiarity with English allows English to act as a language of wider communication for a great variety of purposes, contributing to its status as a global lingua franca. In order to develop an appropriate curriculum for English as an international language (EIL), it is essential to examine how English has achieved its status as an international language and how this role has altered the nature of the language.
Brutt-Grif~ier (2002) argues convincingly that one of the central features of any international language is spreads not through speaker migration but rather by many individuals in an existing speech community acquiring the language, what Brutt-Griffler terms ‘macroaquisition’. Although the initial spread of English was clearly due to speaker migration, resulting in the development of largely monolingual English-speaking communities (e.g. the United States, Australia and New Zealand), the current spread of English is, as Graddol’s projection demonstrates, due to individuals acquiring English as an additional language for international and in some contexts intranational communication. However, unlike speaker migration, this type of language spread results not in monolingualism but rather large-scalebilingualism.
Many current bilingualism learners of English may desire to learn English because of the growing of the English language through marcoaquisition. They need to learn English in order to share with others information about their own countries for such purposes as encouraging economic development, promoting trade and tourism, and exchanging information. Such purposes for learning and using English undermine the traditional cultural basis of English, in which the teaching of English has often involved learning about the concerns and cultures of what Kachru (1985) terms ‘Inner Circle countries’ (e.g. Canada, Australia and the United States). Since by its very nature an international language does not belong to any particular country but rather to an international community, as Smith (1976) points out: learners of EIL do not need to internalize the cultural norms of native speakers of English; the ownership of EIL has become ‘de-nationalized’; the educational goal of EIL often is to enable learners to communicate their ideas and culture to others.
Throughout this paper, I have argued that the development of English as a global lingua franca has altered the very nature of English in terms of how it is used by its speakers and how it relates to culture. As was pointed out earlier, the current spread of English is largely the result of macroacquisition, leading to more and more bilingual users of English. The growing number of bilingual users of English suggests that a productive theory of EIL teaching and learning must recognize the various ways in which English is used within multilingual communities. Typically these bilingual users of English have specific purposes for using English, employing their other languages to serve their many additional language needs. Often they use English to access the vast amount of information currently available in English and at times to contribute to this knowledge base. One purpose they all share, however, is to use English as a language of wider communication, resulting in cross-cultural encounters being a central feature of the use of EIL. Hence, one of the major assumptions that needs to inform EIL curriculum development is a recognition of the diverse ways in which bilingual speakers make use of English to fulfill their specific purposes.
The second major assumption that needs to inform EIL curriculum development is that many bilingual users of English do not need or want to acquire native-like competence. Such an assumption, of course, presupposes that there is some agreement as to what constitutes a native speaker, although this is clearly not the case. Nevertheless, in current Indonesia ELT learning in curriculum 2013. It objectives frequently posit that the goal of most learners of English is to develop native speaker grammatical standards, phonological patterns and discourse competence. There are, however, several reasons why many current bilingual users of English may not see this as their goal. First of all, on a practical level they may not need to acquire the full range of registers that is needed by monolingual speakers of English since their use of English may be restricted to largely formal domains of use. Secondly, there are attitudinal reasons why they may not want to acquire native-like competence, particularly in reference to pronunciation and pragmatics. Third, if, as I have argued throughout the paper, English as an international language belongs to its users, there is no reason why some speakers of English should be more privileged and thus provide standards for other users of English.
The final assumption that needs to inform EIL curriculum development is a recognition of the fact that English no longer belongs to any one culture, and hence there is a need to be culturally sensitive to the diversity of contexts in which English is taught and used. In terms of materials, this suggests that the traditional use of Western cultural content in ELT texts needs to be examined. There are clear advantages to the use of source culture content. Such content minimizes the potential of marginalizing the values and lived experiences of the learners. Sharifian (2009, p.5) explains that “The focus in the EIL paradigm is on communication rather than on the speakers’ nationality, skin color, and so on, those factors which in the metaphor of ‘Circles’ acted as symbolic markers of the politicized construct of ‘native speaker’ (e.g. Brutt Griffler & Samimy 2002)” However, using English as an EIL has directly and indirectly shaped our ways of thinking which may ultimately shape our identity (Ha, 2008). Source culture content can also encourage learners to gain a deeper understanding of their own culture and identity so that they can share these insights when using EIL with individuals from different cultures. Perhaps most significantly, source culture content does not place local teachers in the difficult position of trying to teach someone else’s culture.
The uncoupling of English from the culture of Inner Circle countries also suggests that teaching methodology has to proceed in a manner that respects the local culture of learning. An understanding of these cultures of learning should not be based on cultural stereotypes, in which assertions about the roles of teachers and students and approaches to learning are made and often compared to Western culture. Rather an understanding of local cultures of learning depends on an examination of particular classrooms. Although it is important to recognize that what happens in a specific classroom is influenced by political, social and cultural factors of the larger community, each classroom is unique in the way the learners and teacher in that classroom interact with one another in the learning of English. Given the diversity of local cultures of learning, it is unrealistic to imagine that one method, such as CLT, will meet the needs of all learners. Rather, local teachers must be given the right and the responsibility to employ methods that are culturally sensitive and productive in their students’ learning of English.
Common assumptions regarding English teaching have been largely based on an instructional context in which immigrants to English-speaking countries learn English often as a replacement for their first language. Today, however, English is being studied and used more and more as an international language in which learners acquire English as an additional language of wider communication. Hence, the dominance of native speakers and their culture has been seriously challenged. Given this shift in the nature of English, it is time to recognize the multilingual context of English use and to put aside a native speaker model of curriculum development. Only then can an appropriate EIL curriculum be developed in which local educators take ownership of English and the manner in which it is taught.