English is spoken by billions of people. Proficiency is seen by many as the key to employment and economic security. Learners are supported by a world-spanning industry of English teachers and trainers. However, will this always be the case? Will English lose its position as the global lingua franca? How will any changes to the way English is used impact education policies?
Building on the legacy of David Graddol
These are just some of the questions discussed by stakeholders throughout the world and are explored in more detail in, The Future of English: Global Perspectives. Written with my British Council colleagues, Mike Solly and Steve Copeland, the book builds on the 1997 and 2006 seminal work by British linguist David Graddol.
The publication also forms part of a wider research agenda that extends well beyond the walls of the British Council to examine the future of English and ask: ‘what is best for learners?’ This is not a simple question. However, it is vital we ask hard questions today so that we know how to provide the best support for students tomorrow.
What are the key themes explored in The Future of English: Global Perspectives?
Common issues affect teaching and learning everywhere and can be seen in the eight key themes we collate in the book. These range from whether English will remain the world’s most sought after language and its role in our multilingual reality, to the future of English as a medium of education.
“It is vital we ask hard questions today so that we know how to provide the best support for students tomorrow”
Technology was central to many stakeholder discussions. Could technology narrow or widen the equity gap? What impact could it have on assessments and will teachers even be relevant in the future?
Many stakeholders raised questions about provision. Which is better, public or private language teaching? Is teaching and learning driven by educationalists or are employers dictating the future of English?
Where next for research into the future of English and English learning?
The Future of English Research Grant Scheme 2022-2025 has already awarded four university research grants and a calendar of conferences is in place to share findings. Next month I will be hosting a panel of experts in a webinar with The PIE News to look in more detail at the questions raised in our research.
“Is teaching and learning driven by educationalists, or are employers dictating the future of English?”
As we move forward it is crucial that we engage a wide variety of stakeholders to look at the future of English for all learners and, importantly, ensure a strong focus on equality, diversity and inclusion.
Take part in the Future of English webinar
Join us for the webinar on Tuesday 13th June, 1pm-2pm BST. Understand how policy makers, HE professionals, schools, heads of schools, and researchers across the world may benefit from our research to date and learn how to take part in the wider programme as it moves forward.
Download the free book
To download the free book The Future of English: Global Perspectives, click here.
About the author: This is a sponsored post by the British Council Mina Patel is a researcher with the Assessment Research Group at the British Council and one of the authors of The Future of English: Global Perspectives. Her background is in English language teaching and training and, in addition to her experience as a teacher, trainer, materials developer, academic and ELT projects manager, she has extensive experience working with Ministries of Education in East Asia.