Andy Kirkpatrick is Professor in Linguistics in the Department of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences at Griffith University and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He has lived and worked in many countries in East and Southeast Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Myanmar and Singapore. His research interests include the development of new varieties of English in Asia and the roles of English as a lingua franca in the region, language education policy in Asia and Chinese Rhetoric. He is the author of World Englishes: Implications for ELT and International Communication (CUP) and English as a Lingua Franca in ASEAN: a multilingual model (Hong Kong University Press). He is the editor of the Routledge Handbook of World Englishes. His most recent books are English as an Asian Language: implications for language education, co-edited with Roly Sussex and published by Springer, and Chinese Rhetoric and Writing, co-authored with Xu Zhichang and published by Parlor Press. He is founding and chief editor of the book series Multilingual Education, published by Springer. He is currently co-editing two new handbooks namely, Asian Englishes (Wiley-Blackwell, with Kingsley Bolton as co-editor) and Language Education Policy in Asia (Routledge, with Tony Liddicoat as co-editor).
Using English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) to build English Language Competence and an ASEAN identity
In September 2017, the Australian government announced an initiative entitled the Australia-ASEAN Education Dialogue, quoting, Irina Bolkova. the Director General of UNESCO, as saying,
“A fundamental change is needed in the way we think about education’s role in global development…. Now, more than ever, education has a responsibility to be in gear with 21st century challenges and aspirations, and foster the right types of values and skills that will lead to sustainable and inclusive growth, and peaceful living together”.
The author of this abstract was invited to prepare a position paper concerning the building of English language competency in ASEAN as part of this initiative. This included the adoption of an ELF approach to English language teaching within ASEAN and the replacement of a native speaker model with one of a successful multilingual able to use English in relevant contexts. In this paper, I shall first outline the principles associated with an ELF-approach to ELT and then consider the feasibility of adopting an ELF-approach to English language teaching in East and Southeast Asia. Drawing on contexts from Indonesia, China, Myanmar and Japan, I shall argue that countries characterised by linguistic diversity are more likely to be open to the idea of an ELF-approach. I shall also argue that, following the call made in 2013 by the then Secretary General of ASEAN, Le Luong Minh, for English to be an ‘important and indispensable tool to bring our Community closer together’ the adoption of an ELF approach could facilitate the development of an ASEAN identity.