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|Titolo:||Primary school teachers’ perceptions: Englishes, ELF and classroom practices – between ‘correctness’ and ‘communicative effectiveness’|
|Autori interni:||VETTOREL, Paola|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Abstract:||This chapter focuses on the follow-up phase of a larger project which was carried out in three primary schools in the Verona area in School Years 2009-2011. The project developed through several steps, which were aimed at fostering reflection on the presence of English(es) in the children’s environment and on their experiences of ELF; communicative exchanges with European children of different linguacultures, where English constituted the only shared lingua franca were also carried out (Vettorel 2010, 2013). The follow-up phase of the project aimed to explore primary English teachers’ awareness of the spread of English and of its current lingua franca role, particularly in relation to whether and how they can be taken into account in classroom practices. Teachers’ perceptions were investigated by means of a questionnaire, a focus group and individual interviews, comprising overall 26 informants. The issues under discussion encompassed the teachers’ awareness of their and their students’ contact with Englishes and ELF, their opinion regarding the inclusion of different varieties of English in classroom activities, as well as the value international exchanges can have in term of fostering (intercultural) communicative competence. Teachers were also asked to evaluate in terms of acceptability a series of language items produced within internationally-oriented school partnerships, each item being characterized by well-attested ELF-related linguistic elements.In general, our respondents expressed ambivalent stances. Findings show that teachers are aware of their students’ extended contact with different Englishes in the environment (cf. e.g. Enever 2011), not least as ELF users, as well as of the fact that their (future) needs will include interaction with non-native speakers of English both face-to-face and online (e.g. Seidlhofer 2011; Mauranen 2011). At a conceptual level the inclusion of more English varieties in didactic practices is considered problematic, not least given that ELT materials are traditionally still mainly centred on British English. However, looking at actual classroom practices, whenever the opportunity to connect with a realistic use of English arises, it is taken advantage of; along the same lines, international school exchanges are positively valued, too.A similar dichotomous stance appears to emerge in relation to ELF: these teachers seem to be generally familiar with the role of lingua franca English plays in international communication, and with natural phenomena of language change. When asked to express their opinion regarding the acceptability of ELF ‘forms’, on the one hand they acknowledge that communicative effectiveness and mutual intelligibility are primary factors. On the other hand, however, they seem reluctant to consider them ‘acceptable’, but rather tend to conceive them as ‘errors’ in terms of deviation from normative, correct and ‘good’ Standard English (cf. e.g. Dewey & Leung 2010; Dewey 2012; Seidlhofer 2011). This applies not only to grammatical elements (e.g. zero third person verb marking), but also to lexical items involving processes of increased clarity (e.g. colour green) or the exploitation of plurilingual resources (e.g. sympathetic / nice).In line with other findings (Ranta 2010, Dewey 2012; Jenkins 2007), these teachers seem thus to be – as one informant words it – “torn between two points of view”, feeling like “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”: while acknowledging the need to provide learners with effective communicative tools for the contexts where they will most likely use English, they seem to find it problematic to reconcile this with their professional ‘duty’ to correct and to provide them with ‘good’ and acceptable’ English.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||02.01 Contributo in volume (Capitolo o Saggio)|
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