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A major strategy to improve English:But what do we all mean by ‘English’?

Willans, Fiona (2015) A major strategy to improve English:But what do we all mean by ‘English’? UNSPECIFIED.

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The University of the South Pacific (USP) is co-owned by twelve member countries of a region in which approximately 200 languages are spoken. By nature, its campuses are highly multilingual and, by default, English-a second language for the majority-is the medium of instruction. USP has long been concerned that students’ levels of English are inadequate for tertiary studies, despite their arrival from (officially) English-medium schools. At the same time, it recognises its influence on this cycle, as it trains many of the region’s English teachers. The committee established to address ‘the English problem at USP’ thus ends up strategizing on a much larger scale. Despite the enormity of the issues, progress is expected to meet stringent deadlines and targets. Understandably, such a committee does not welcome questions like “What exactly do we mean by ‘English’ here?” but, when ‘English’ is used as a proxy for so many things - the campus lingua franca; the medium through which subjects are taught; technical control of punctuation and grammar in assessments; a school subject focused predominantly on Literature; genre-specific writing as graduates in the workplace - it is clear that many of its action points will come to life in several different guises. This paper presents a view from within this committee: a composite view as a USP lecturer, a former English teacher in the region, and a researcher of complexity within language-in-education policy.

Item Type: Other
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > School of Language, Arts and Media
Depositing User: Fiona Willans
Date Deposited: 18 May 2016 04:23
Last Modified: 18 May 2016 04:23

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