English Teaching in Multicultural Contexts - An Overview
The impact of massive social phenomena like globalization and migration plays a crucial role in the pedagogic context, which nowadays may also result in the variegated composition of learning environments, quite often represented by multiethnic classes. Since economies and societies need to build the capacity required to operate in a globalized world, education systems are in a state of rapid change and extensive curriculum reforms are taking place. In particular, the multiple role of English, considered not ‘merely’ as a foreign language, seems to emerge as a key notion, and this new scenario evokes the profound changes that concern the people who learn English, their motives for learning it and their communicative needs as learners. Along with the ‘traditional’ didactic concepts of approach, method, procedure and technique, the issue of teaching English in multicultural environments should also include a series of reflections and considerations about the nature and position of the language, the different typologies of students, as well as the political and social implications in the pedagogic activity. Therefore, emphasis ought to shift from ‘what’ to teach to ‘how’ to teach, on the basis of a holistic approach that considers the whole personality and idiosyncratic features of the learner. We deal with certain aspects of the global dimension of English language teaching against the backdrop of the migratory transformations that deeply affect societies and countries, focusing, in particular, on English in the contemporary mixed multiethnic class.