Publication Date

Spring 5-3-2015

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

First Advisor

Dr. Elka Todeva

Abstract

This paper aims to provide an alternative approach to the English language education practiced in many developing countries which can help reverse their current low-proficiency status, as revealed by standard international examinations such as the PISA scores and others. The author argues that this can be best accomplished by adopting an ecological approach to teaching which promotes language learning as emergent and socially situated phenomena, two concepts largely neglected by current teaching methods. In fact, many of these countries have long been dominated by an extremely commodified and cognitivist ELT market, where business interests have taken precedence over pedagogical considerations. Additionally, as courses are increasingly modified to accommodate the demands of this market, making them fit to be commercialized, the resulting conditions of learning cease to reflect the conditions of language use in real life situations. This misalignment, then, leads to linguistic knowledge that ultimately becomes inert, as students find themselves unable to transfer what they have learned in class to situations of use outside. In light of the above, an ecological approach is being proposed here as both an attempt to reconcile such contrived educational practices with language learning as observed in natural settings, and as a sign of resistance against the reproductive and capitalist ideals of language commodification.

Disciplines

Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | Applied Linguistics | Behavior and Ethology | Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | First and Second Language Acquisition | International and Intercultural Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Semantics and Pragmatics | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education