© QuiTE  2006
Quality in TESOL Education
The Association for the Promotion of
Abstract, Adrian Holliday
Standards of English and principles of inclusion

Yes, there should be standards of English for English language teacher education; but they must be carefully qualified on political as well as linguistic grounds. Any definition of such standards on the basis of speakerhood would immediately fall into the trap of native-speakerist discrimination. Native-speakerism can be defined as an established belief that ‘native-speaker’ teachers represent a ‘Western culture’ from which spring the ideals both of the English language and of English language teaching methodology. The belief is intensified by unspoken associations with ‘ethnicity’. Who can be recognised as ‘native speaker’ or ‘near native speaker’ is not simply a matter of language. An alternative established belief is that ALL users of English can claim ownership of the language. Any definition of English standards must therefore acknowledge this fact. The issue is complex. Recent suggestions that there can be a non-aligned, international English lingua franca, have themselves been perceived as Centre-driven. Standards must therefore be convincingly de-Centred, and must allow those who consider themselves Periphery to take Centre-stage.

Annual Seminar 2006