CATESOL 2011, April 7-10, 2011
Language Teaching in a
Globalized World:
A View from Paris
Lane Igoudin
Los Angeles City College
Globalization, especially in terms of command and
control over the transnational flows of money,
credit, and investment, became a catchword to
explain virtually everything that was happening in
the last decades of the 20th century. […] Driving
economic restructuring and shaping the emergent
New Economy was a revolution in information,
communications, and manufacturing technologies.
New technologies facilitated the globalization of
capital, labor, and culture, the concentration of
financial power in global cities, and a radical shift
away from the traditional heavy industry of Fordism
to the production, exchange, and consumption of
- Edward Soja, Seeking Spatial Justice
International Conference on Language Pedagogy in a
Multilingual/Multicultural World
PLIDAM/INALCO + CETL at UCL, Paris, June 2010
The impact of globalization can be seen in:
Political structures (states, national and international
Social structures (urban life, family and individual stories
and trajectories)
Dynamic communications (information and social
In this multidimensional context, characterized by
international mobility, mixed affiliations and social
and cultural representations, languages are both
technological and social instruments.
Language education vs. globalized
Place of language in today’s economy as
space defined by flows of commodities,
information, and capital
 Language as the instrument for management
and control of multinational human capital,
supply/demand, business and governmental
relationships – global English
 Closer relationship between management and
pedagogy in today’s economy – mentoring,
training, and learning as part of business
Language education vs. globalized
Language itself as capital transferable into
its financial counterpart
 Language learning as investment
 Conversely, lack of language knowledge
and/or access to language learning = ?
 Opportunity costs of language education
Language education vs. globalized
Is language education a commodity to be
sold, or a right?
 Parental control through educational choices
for children over public policy; responsibility
passed from the state to the family/individuals
 Highly competitive global language education
supermarket – including ESL, EFL, & TESOL
 Role of marketing ‘buzz’ in language ed.
 Globalization of educational perspectives,
philosophies, attitudes
Corporatization of schooling
institutions vs. academic freedom
At some of the nation’s community colleges, faculty control
over curriculum design is threatened by corporations
that dictate course material for degree-granting training
programs. These programs have become increasingly
common tools for local workforce development
initiatives.* […] In other institutions, faculty members are
asked to adopt a “customer service” approach to
teaching, with instructors pressured to make students
satisfied purchasers of their educational product.
- David M. Wilson in Community College Journal, Fall 2010
What about the publishers’ packages that train for
CASAS, TOEFL, or citizenship tests?
ESL: Teaching international vs. immigrant
students: Separate (funding) but equal?
Case 1: College A opening a campus in China to
boost department budget and course offerings in
Case 2: College B actively recruiting international
students and changing its ESL curriculum to
accommodate their needs, possibly over the needs
of local immigrant students
Case 3: College C asking instructors with lowenrolled classes to justify not canceling based on
international student enrollment
Social spaces vs. language
Geographic and social mobility within the U.S.
Language as aid or obstacle to mobility
Virtual mobility on the Internet
Internet as language learning space – educational
institutions and commercial ventures
Case study 4: An international student from Japan
enrolled in an online ESL course in California has to
move back to Japan for health reasons. Is she
supposed to drop the course, or complete it?
Social spaces vs. language
Emerging network-based online pedagogy
for teaching language
 Free language learning on the Internet
New pedagogic philosophies
Market economy which produces vastly different
social outcomes vs. a democratic, equitable
view of education
Pluralistic view of education that value the
differences students bring to learning vs.
traditional assimilatory, homogenizing approach
Culture and context are related to learning
Empowerment of the learner through learning
environments that are adjustable to learners’
New pedagogic philosophies
Learning environment that is not preorganized, but creates conditions for
organization to avoid rigid curriculum
irrelevant to the learners’ evolving needs
 Learner as the course designer
 Project-oriented learning
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