Claudia Schiavon and Alan Hall presented on '“Proper” English for a proper future - exposing Young Learners to World Englishes' at the Future of English Language Teaching Conference 2020.
“Where should my child spend their summer study vacation in order to learn proper English?” Is a question often asked at this time of year by parents who want their children to learn ‘real’ English. What they fail to consider, however, is there is an entire planet of people speaking English to one another.
Young Learners and Teens are laying the groundwork to becoming European and World citizens who will communicate with people from all around the world, they will study and work in multicultural environments, thus it is important for them to be exposed to as many varieties of English as possible, from the very early stages of their studies.
Incorporating World Englishes in to the curriculum does not mean removing native varieties from English classes or replacing them with what, sometimes, people mistakenly believe are less-perfect ones; it rather means enriching the available repertoire. It is a different way of looking at the language, a more inclusive, pluralistic and accepting way than the traditional, monolithic British-centred approach. As David Crystal writes: English is a global language, and therefore we must prepare our students to understand the varieties spoken all around the world.
The aim of the presentation was to offer tried and tested activities and materials used in classrooms in Italy, Spain and Ireland to bring more usage of World Englishes into the classroom. These activities were created after thorough research on the topic, and have been localised to suit learner needs.
The aim of the tasks is to expose pupils to “real” language, through didactic and authentic materials, in order to enhance their communicative performance, in both written and oral skills. A critical evaluation of the tasks was undertaken providing feedback and further possible developments noted.