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Teaching and learning English as an international language in Portugal: policy, practice and perceptions

By Luís Sérgio Pinto Guerra

Abstract

This study consists in identifying and analyzing the theory and practice of English language teaching (ELT) in Portugal as far as issues of English as an International Language (EIL) are concerned. Through qualitative and quantitative research approaches (273 questionnaires, 22 interviews, 12 sets of pedagogic materials and 11 documents), it examines, firstly, aspects of EIL in the current basis and secondary education national policies and how ELT materials have interpreted the national guidelines and, secondly, how teachers and students view central aspects of EIL.\ud \ud There is an overall tendency for ELT in Portugal to incorporate the concept of EIL not only because most subjects show awareness of the global role of English today but also because the national ELT policies embrace the notion of EIL. However, while the current policies suggest that English classes should integrate linguistic and cultural aspects of English speaking communities, such directives do not seem to be fully developed in the classroom. Although the English syllabus and textbooks for basic and secondary education show some significant references to some English speaking cultures and English varieties, mainly American English (AmE), some subjects displayed some quite conservative attitudes towards English learning and teaching stating that British English (BrE) is the only variety to be learned and that there is not much usefulness in learning about other varieties.\ud \ud To conclude, this study identifies possible consequences that the findings may bring to the teaching of English in the international, European and Portuguese contexts. Moreover, it emphasizes the importance of expanding the EIL debate to include the voices of the Expanding Circle, in the sense that a thorough analysis of learners’ and teachers’ attitudes toward EIL can help identify the present state and future developments in the use of English all over the world

Topics: LB, PE
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:2604

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Citations

  1. (2000). Gongalves & Torres,

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