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Re: [Multilingual_Literacy] Re: Article by Julian Edge in TESOL Quarterly

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  • Elsa Auerbach
    Sorry to be slow in responding with more information about Julian Edge s article. I m copying the full citation from your email in case others ... Here s a
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 2, 2004
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      Sorry to be slow in responding with more information about Julian Edge's
      article. I'm copying the full citation from your email in case others
      missed it:


      > Title: Imperial Troopers and Servants of the Lord: A Vision of TESOL
      > for the 21st Century
      > Author(s): Julian Edge
      > Source: TESOL Quarterly Volume: 37 Number: 4 Page: 701 -- 709
      > Publisher: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
      > http://juno.ingentaselect.com/vl=1416490/cl=58/nw=1/rpsv/cw/tesol/0039
      > 8322/v37n4/s5/p701
      >
      > (The TESOL Qtrly page I accessed this from is
      > http://www.tesol.org/pubs/magz/tq.html )

      Here's a quote from the editor's comments (p. 586):

      "Julian Edge contributes his provocative thoughts about connections of the
      TESOL profession with politics and religion written during the height of the
      Iraq crisis in spring 2003, when he was struck by the fact that coalition
      forces corresponded to the three figurehead TESOL providers: the United
      States, Great Britain and Australia." Carole Chapelle


      Here's a quote from Edge's piece:

      "It is my perception , however, that the 2003 invasion of Iraq marks a
      watershed, if only in the raising of my own awareness. The shift to overt
      military imposition of will where hegemonic influence fails, even more
      striking when the main protagonists are the three figurehead TESOL providers
      worldwide, threatens fundamentally to recast the role of English language
      teachers. It represents a a decisive move that one could express in
      colloquial terms as a shift from, You should learn this because it is in
      your own best interests, to, You had better learn this if you know what is
      good for you. To the extent that the dominance of English-speaking nations
      is to be imposed by force, English language teachers may now explicitly be
      perceived as a second wave of imperial troopers. We move in, following
      "pacification," with the unspoken role, it can be argued, of facilitating
      the consent that hegemony requires, so that the fist can be returned to the
      glove." P. 703


      Edge goes on to argue that English instruction is being used as a pretext
      for winning converts from Islam.

      The central contention is that U.S. foreign policy and Christianity are
      implemented via English and "we are playing our part." --that we need to
      examine our perhaps inadvertent complicity with the imposition of these
      policies and doctrines.

      Hope that gives the gist.

      Elsa Auerbach
      On 1/28/04 4:33 PM, "Don Osborn" <dzo@...> wrote:

      > Thank you, Elsa. I got as far as the citation (below) with TESOL
      > Quarterly's Ingenta Select content manager before I ran into a
      > subscriber log in. Would you (or anyone) be able to post the abstract
      > or a brief summary of the piece for us non-subscribers? TIA!
      >
      > Don Osborn
      >
      > Title: Imperial Troopers and Servants of the Lord: A Vision of TESOL
      > for the 21st Century
      > Author(s): Julian Edge
      > Source: TESOL Quarterly Volume: 37 Number: 4 Page: 701 -- 709
      > Publisher: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
      > http://juno.ingentaselect.com/vl=1416490/cl=58/nw=1/rpsv/cw/tesol/0039
      > 8322/v37n4/s5/p701
      >
      > (The TESOL Qtrly page I accessed this from is
      > http://www.tesol.org/pubs/magz/tq.html )
      >
      >
      > --- In Multilingual_Literacy@yahoogroups.com, Elsa Auerbach
      > <elsa.auerbach@u...> wrote:
      >> Julian Edge has written a fabulous piece in the most recent issue
      > of the
      >> TESOL Quarterly on the role(s) of English/ESOL teachers in the new
      > world
      >> order. It's a MUST read (in my opinion). Elsa Auerbach
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      > To visit your group on the web, go to:
      > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Multilingual_Literacy/
      >
      > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
      > Multilingual_Literacy-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
      > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
      >
      >
    • Don Osborn
      Thank you, Elsa, and no problem about the delay (as if I m one to complain...). This abstract sounds interesting but I wonder if the article also has more
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 11, 2004
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        Thank you, Elsa, and no problem about the delay (as if I'm one to
        complain...). This abstract sounds interesting but I wonder if the
        article also has more nuanced reasoning about what's behind the
        spread of English teaching. In many places like Niger (from where I
        will be moving soon) and China (my destination) people identify
        English as a tool for communication that improves their
        livelihood/career chances. In neither place is force or even a
        coordinated English-teaching strategy an issue - Nigeriens may see
        learning English as enhancing employment opportunities with Western
        NGOs, yes, but also perhaps alternative education opportunities south
        of the border in Nigeria. In China, even if Chou En-Lai years ago
        advocated studying American English given the geo-political
        importance of the US, learning of the language is now focused on
        facilitating international communication for economic reasons.

        In other words it is not (in Edge's terms) "You had better learn this
        if you know what is good for you" or even "You should learn this
        because it is in your own best interests", but rather more like "I
        should learn this because it is in my own best interests." Granted
        the current world order nurtures such rationales, but there is a
        demand.

        What arguably is happening is a slide towards a "diffusion of
        English" model (per Phillipson & Skutnab-Kangas) whereby that
        language is valued above all else, to the extent where, for instance:
        in a country like Swaziland where over 90% have the same maternal
        language (SiSwati), all formal education is done in English only; or
        in Niger the recorded cell-phone messages are in French (the official
        language) and English, but not in for instance, Hausa which is the
        most widely spoken language in the country (with as many speakers on
        this side of the border alone as, say, speakers of Danish); or in a
        story about ICT in a village in Ghana a journalist (American) can
        write of people not speaking English at home as a "problem."

        What is(are) the role(s) in all this for TESOL/TEAL teachers? And in
        terms of the group theme, does "multilingual literacy" increasingly
        presuppose that English - for better or worse - be one of the
        languages in which one has reading (etc.) skills?

        Don Osborn
        Bisharat.net


        --- In Multilingual_Literacy@yahoogroups.com, Elsa Auerbach
        <elsa.auerbach@u...> wrote:
        > Sorry to be slow in responding with more information about Julian
        Edge's
        > article. I'm copying the full citation from your email in case
        others
        > missed it:
        >
        >
        > > Title: Imperial Troopers and Servants of the Lord: A Vision of
        TESOL
        > > for the 21st Century
        > > Author(s): Julian Edge
        > > Source: TESOL Quarterly Volume: 37 Number: 4 Page: 701 -- 709
        > > Publisher: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
        > >
        http://juno.ingentaselect.com/vl=1416490/cl=58/nw=1/rpsv/cw/tesol/0039
        > > 8322/v37n4/s5/p701
        > >
        > > (The TESOL Qtrly page I accessed this from is
        > > http://www.tesol.org/pubs/magz/tq.html )
        >
        > Here's a quote from the editor's comments (p. 586):
        >
        > "Julian Edge contributes his provocative thoughts about connections
        of the
        > TESOL profession with politics and religion written during the
        height of the
        > Iraq crisis in spring 2003, when he was struck by the fact that
        coalition
        > forces corresponded to the three figurehead TESOL providers: the
        United
        > States, Great Britain and Australia." Carole Chapelle
        >
        >
        > Here's a quote from Edge's piece:
        >
        > "It is my perception , however, that the 2003 invasion of Iraq
        marks a
        > watershed, if only in the raising of my own awareness. The shift
        to overt
        > military imposition of will where hegemonic influence fails, even
        more
        > striking when the main protagonists are the three figurehead TESOL
        providers
        > worldwide, threatens fundamentally to recast the role of English
        language
        > teachers. It represents a a decisive move that one could express in
        > colloquial terms as a shift from, You should learn this because it
        is in
        > your own best interests, to, You had better learn this if you know
        what is
        > good for you. To the extent that the dominance of English-speaking
        nations
        > is to be imposed by force, English language teachers may now
        explicitly be
        > perceived as a second wave of imperial troopers. We move in,
        following
        > "pacification," with the unspoken role, it can be argued, of
        facilitating
        > the consent that hegemony requires, so that the fist can be
        returned to the
        > glove." P. 703
        >
        >
        > Edge goes on to argue that English instruction is being used as a
        pretext
        > for winning converts from Islam.
        >
        > The central contention is that U.S. foreign policy and Christianity
        are
        > implemented via English and "we are playing our part." --that we
        need to
        > examine our perhaps inadvertent complicity with the imposition of
        these
        > policies and doctrines.
        >
        > Hope that gives the gist.
        >
        > Elsa Auerbach
        [ . . . ]
      • skyman@elm79.fsnet.co.uk
        Hi Don, There is indeed force, whether overt or covert, immediate or remote. It s global and ideological in many respects. I specifically addressed this issue
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 11, 2004
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          Hi Don,

          There is indeed force, whether overt or covert, immediate or remote. It's global and ideological in many respects. I specifically addressed this issue in my paper

          1.       2003 Local policies and global forces: Multiliteracy through Africa�s indigenous languages. Language Policy 2: 2 pp133-152.

          Both Alistair Pennycook and Robert Phillipson have written on the subject too from the specific perspective of ELT.

          The same force was your 'pass' to Niger and now directs your destination again - you're China-bound! It also grants you access. My competence in Yoruba will not open that China Door because in global perspectives, Yoruba does not have the linguistic capital that English possesses. It's the 'currency' with which I earn my livelihood in the UK! That capital derives from English being the major language of hegemonic institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, United Nations, World Economic Forum etc. Unfortunately, counter-hegemonic 'forces' such as the World Social Forum, Non-Aligned Movement etc are compelled to adopt English - otherwise they offer no counter to the ideological positions that the former articulate. 

          BUT where would the world be without English?  Food for thought.

          Peace,

          'tope Omoniyi


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        • Matthew Ward
          I don t agree that English is any kind of pass to China, or to most East Asian countries. It s a very useful skill, but the large majority of migrants to
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 12, 2004
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            I don't agree that English is any kind of "pass" to China, or to most East Asian countries.  It's a very useful skill, but the large majority of migrants to various East Asian countries are not English speakers, are not from countries where English enjoys any kind of official status, and will spend a great deal of energy learning the dominant local language (in this case, Mandarin Chinese) before they turn their attention to English, if ever.  Russians moving to Korea, Brazilians and Chinese moving to Japan, and Thais and Indonesians moving to Taiwan will generally bypass English completely.  In East Asia, native speakers in English (a tiny minority in any case) who assume that fluency in English will provide a ticket to success in Asia generally become culturally ghettoized, stuck in dead-end, low-paying English teaching jobs, while the multilingual tend to thrive.  Even my uncle, who is an older businessman with years of experience doing business in Asia, finds that his salary and promotion chances in Shanghai seem to depend largely on the extent to which he masters Mandarin.  

            Don't Asian companies want employees who can speak English?  Of course they do, but years of ELT has, in some cases, created more supply than demand.  In Taiwan, for example, although the average citizen cannot hold a conversation in English to any level, the children of the urban upper-middle class often complain that so many of their peers speak English that speaking it does not hold as much advantage as it used to.  Now, companies are demanding employees who speak Japanese, French, German, Spanish, Korean, and Russian.  Why they are doing so is no mystery; I remember the words of a German minister of education "If you want to buy anything in the world, you can do it in English, but if you wish to sell..."  

            Yes, the global elite will continue to use English as the main means of communication in their meetings, but on the ground, where most people are, globalization means first mastering the dominant language of the society that you live in, and then becoming as multilingual as possible.  The latter often entails attaining proficiency in English, but not always.  In East Asia, I have personally known many multilingual individuals whose language ability played a major factor in their success, yet English did not happen to be one of the languages which they were proficient in.  In Japan, for example, fluency in Japanese, Chinese, and another major language would be an enormous asset to any businessperson, while monolingualism in English would limit one to the lower rungs of the ELT industry (fluency in Japanese would greatly increase the English teacher's chance of moving beyond those lower rungs).  Where I am currently living, in the American Southwest, many jobs are simply not open to those who cannot speak Spanish as well as English.  It is simply not possible to transverse this globe and rely on English only, let alone succeed, and I speak of this through personal experience, although no-one will deny that English enjoys a unique and historically unprecendented position among the world's languages.  

            As for where the world would be without English, the answer is "exactly where it is now, albeit with (likely) more multiligualism among the global elite."  After all, English enjoys its present position due to a combination of historical and economic factors, not to any kind of unique qualities as a medium of communication.  Considering the way history has turned out, it is no mystery that English (rather than Spanish, French, Arabic, of Mandarin) has become the dominant means of global communication, but without English, the world would still be communicating in much the same way that it does now.  If, for example, the Norman occupation of Britain had lasted longer, then French might well enjoy an even more dominant position globally than English enjoys now, and French (or any other language pressed into service) would have served the purpose equally well.    

            Matthew Ward

            skyman@... wrote:

            Hi Don,

            There is indeed force, whether overt or covert, immediate or remote. It's global and ideological in many respects. I specifically addressed this issue in my paper

            1.       2003 Local policies and global forces: Multiliteracy through Africa’s indigenous languages. Language Policy 2: 2 pp133-152.

            Both Alistair Pennycook and Robert Phillipson have written on the subject too from the specific perspective of ELT.

            The same force was your 'pass' to Niger and now directs your destination again - you're China-bound! It also grants you access. My competence in Yoruba will not open that China Door because in global perspectives, Yoruba does not have the linguistic capital that English possesses. It's the 'currency' with which I earn my livelihood in the UK! That capital derives from English being the major language of hegemonic institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, United Nations, World Economic Forum etc. Unfortunately, counter-hegemonic 'forces' such as the World Social Forum, Non-Aligned Movement etc are compelled to adopt English - otherwise they offer no counter to the ideological positions that the former articulate. 

            BUT where would the world be without English?  Food for thought.

            Peace,

            'tope Omoniyi


            Freeserve AnyTime - HALF PRICE for the first 3 months - Save £7.50 a month
            www.freeserve.com/anytime


          • Don Osborn
            Thank you tope and Matthew for your interesting and thought provoking replies. I should point out that my ticket to my current position in Niger, to use
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 13, 2004
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              Thank you 'tope and Matthew for your interesting and thought
              provoking replies.

              I should point out that my ticket to my current position in Niger, to
              use 'tope's term, actually was not language but a number of
              qualifications plus the fact that I am a US citizen (to the extent
              language entered the equation it was in terms of my French and to a
              lesser degree Fulfulde knowledge). On the other hand my English
              speaking qualifications will figure more prominently in work I will
              do while in China.

              It is true as 'tope suggests that being a native English speaker
              holds some advantages and also that global use of English has an
              advantage for certain countries. On the other hand I do see Matt's
              point that the individual advantages may be limited and I also wonder
              if the advantages to Anglophone countries aren't accompanied by more
              disadvantages than we realize.

              I wonder too if there is not too much tendency to see language at the
              center of political problems - whether it is Edge's perception of
              English and imperialism or the common notion that local language
              differences are at the root of civil strife - when in reality they
              are perhaps mainly emblematic. English in part reflecting the
              prominent global roles of two Anglophone countries over two
              centuries, but also serving as at best an unreliable and secondary
              tool of influence.

              There are people in countries where English is not the mother tongue
              who see the dynamic of spreading English as something more like
              others "taking it over." Indeed, as it spreads, it arguably becomes
              less American or British, but also having impacts not always so
              positive on other tongues (& cultures) - losing what some
              term "independent discourse" in the dubious quest for "counter
              discourse."

              One last thought on the topic of English globally and where we would
              be without it. It seems that two things get lumped together that
              really should be understood separately: 1) that the spread of English
              such as it is happening reflects an "organic" need of humankind in
              this day for some sort of global lingua franca; and 2) that the
              current rise of English to fill that role is the result of
              historical, economic, etc. factors. The latter is almost a
              commonplace, but is so often repeated that the former seems lost in
              the shadows, insufficiently recognized and little analyzed. If we
              understand the two as separate though related issues, and accept that
              #1 is valid, then a number of other questions arise around whether
              there is a choice about the lingua franca, what difference it makes,
              and how to act on it.

              All this takes us a bit afield from multilingual literacy, but in the
              longer run such issues frame the multilingual realities in which
              education and reading take place.

              Don Osborn
              Bisharat.net
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