The study of ‘’Insights from ELF and WE in teacher training in Greece and Turkey’’ was conducted by Prof. Yasemin Bayyurt and Prof. Nicos Sifakis who were involved in projects in the field of Sociolinguistics and carried out some studies on World Englishes (WE) and English as a Lingua Franca (EFL), was published in World Englishes in 2015.
The study aims to present to us the ELF-aware teachers’ perspectives on English language teaching with the ELF-TED project, which is an ongoing project implemented by 12 ESOL participants from Turkey and Greece who is working at different levels of public and state education programs. This project involves both pre-service teachers and in-service teachers.
The project consists of three phases: a theoretical phase, in which participant teachers were informed about ELF and WE and encouraged to read extensively on ELF literature; an application phase, in which teachers were expected to prepare ELF-aware lesson plans and put the theories into practice; and an evaluation phase, where teachers evaluate the effectiveness of their lesson plans and their performances.
After the final phase, the participants’ understanding of EFL and their reflections based on their experience after the pilot phase of this project is documented and it includes teachers’ perceptions of ELF and WE and how they assess deviations of the proper standard form of English in ELT.
Today we know the fact that the number of non-native speakers of English exceeds the number of native speakers and as a global language that is used by millions of people as a means of communication, I think we can apply the EFL approach to some degree in ELT. In my entire English learning process, we were expected to speak English like a native speaker.
We learned that British and American English were the only correct types of pronunciation and any deviation from these was seen incorrect. As an English teacher candidate, even today I have the perception that if I speak English as closely as a native speaker, I will look like a better speaker. However, the fact that I will never reach that level makes me worry about my foreign accent.
Today many teachers care not how they are successful in teaching but whether they can speak like a native speaker. When we assess the Turkish ELT education, we can see that it is not effective at all. I think, especially when teaching pronunciation we should take Standard English as a model but we should focus on the intelligibility of our students’ pronunciation.
So that our students won’t feel demotivated when we destroy the perception of native speakers are the only appropriate models. In my opinion, in our classes, we can raise students’ awareness of ELF besides Standard English. We can use EFL listening or reading passages and give students exposure to EFL speakers that they will likely to interact outside the classroom.
In conclusion, although the importance of ELF is undeniable, I believe that we cannot completely adopt ELF in our classes for some reasons, for example; some students may not want to learn English as a Lingua Franca or as there is not only one variety of English as a Lingua Franca, the deficiency of standard norms can be also a problem for finding appropriate models for teaching.
However, we can raise our students’ awareness of WE and ELF by including them in our teaching context as well as Standard English so that students will be aware of all varieties of English and they can decide on which one suits them.