Kurt Kohn is Emeritus Professor of Applied English Linguistics at the University of Tuebingen (Germany). His professional interests include online intercultural communication and collaboration, English as a lingua franca, lingua franca pedagogy, and foreign language teacher education. Recent articles include “Learner agency and non-native speaker identity in pedagogical lingua franca conversations\" (with P. Hoffstaedter, CALL 2017, 30/5), \"MY English - a social constructivist perspective on ELF\" (JELF 2018, 7/1), and “Towards the reconciliation of ELF and EFL” (In N. Sifakis & N. Tsantila, ELF in EFL Contexts. Multilingual Matters, 2018).
Lingua Franca Pedagogy: Emancipating the Foreign Language Learner
After several decades of communicative language teaching, the need for enabling foreign language learners to develop an emancipated L2 Self seems to be more urgent than ever. Recent calls for ‘reaching out beyond the classroom’, ‘learning in the wild’, or ‘rejecting native speaker dominance’ all have in common that they move learners into the very centre of learning. Why is this justified? And what are the pedagogical implications?
In the light of a social constructivist understanding of communication and learning, I will first talk about ‘acquiring’ intercultural communicative competence in a foreign language, with a special focus on cooperative creativity, ownership, emancipated agency, and mutual rapport building. Acknowledging learners’ responsibility for their own learning opens up fresh perspectives and opportunities for pedagogical innovation beyond a functional communicative approach. Learners need to be allowed pedagogical space for developing their own voice in the foreign language; and they need to be made aware of communicative and communal success as a joint collaborative responsibility of all communication partners involved.
Against this backdrop, I will argue for the need to enable learners of English of different linguacultural background to meet up with each other in intercultural zones of communicative and communal interaction and to use their common English target language as a pedagogical lingua franca. Based on case studies carried out in secondary school settings in the European context, I will demonstrate the communication and collaboration potential of online pedagogical lingua franca exchanges in particular with reference to video conferencing and virtual world environments. I will provide empirical evidence that this potential can be used to significantly strengthen the intercultural and emancipatory quality of foreign language learning.