Learning from multilingual teachers of English

Swan, A. (2012) Learning from multilingual teachers of English. Ph.D. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.


Download (1MB)


The changing nature of English Language teaching in today’s world, driven by the forces of Globalisation, prompts a number of questions about the roles and identities of English language teachers. Previously acceptable dichotomies, notably ‘native/non-native speaker’ and ‘Centre/Periphery’ are consequently being challenged in studies of who teaches English, where they teach it and what they teach. I embarked on the current study because I felt that the ‘native/non-native’ dichotomy did not adequately describe the knowledge and skills of English teachers I had worked with worldwide.

I developed a qualitative interpretative approach, as befitted the interpersonal nature of the study, and gathered data by recording conversations with fifteen participants from seven countries about their experiences of learning, using and teaching English in their contexts. The rich content they provided enabled me to delve below the oft-quoted dichotomies and uncover qualities rarely acknowledged in multilingual teachers.

The most important features identified in the study concern the diminished importance of the ‘native speaker’ and the concomitant growth in the confidence of the multilingual teacher. My data reveals that this confidence has been acquired through depth of linguistic knowledge, through observance of other cultures, and through resistance to the encroachment of English by finding a place for the language which satisfies the needs of multilingual users without requiring subservience. In discovering these strengths of multilingual teachers, my exploration of their contexts demonstrates the importance of stepping outside the boundaries of one’s own limited environment and appreciating the range and depth of knowledge which individual English teachers are able to draw on to take ownership of their professionalism.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Hudson
Date Deposited: 20 May 2013 15:50
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2016 18:04
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/11891

Actions (login required)

Update Item (CReaTE staff only) Update Item (CReaTE staff only)


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics


Connect with us

Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00