Teaching English in Asia in Non-Anglo Cultural Contexts: Principles of the ‘Lingua Franca Approach’

  • Andy Kirkpatrick
Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED, volume 1)


The major role that English plays throughout Asia is as a lingua franca. That is to say people throughout Asia primarily use English as a means of communication with each other, rather than with native speakers of English from inner circle countries. This means that multilingual Asians from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds are using English to communicate with each other.

In this chapter, it will be argued that the increasingly important role of English as a lingua franca in the Asian region provides an opportune moment to review radically traditional English language teaching policy, practice and pedagogy. For example, is the native speaker an appropriate teacher in these contexts or is a multilingual teacher with knowledge of Asian cultures a more appropriate teacher? In debating this issue, the following sub-questions will be debated.

If English is being used primarily among Asian multilinguals:
  1. (i)

    what might be sensible and appropriate language learning goals?

  2. (ii)

    should linguistic benchmarks be derived from idealised native speaker norms or from Asian multilinguals?

  3. (iii)

    should a monolingual or multilingual classroom pedagogy be adopted?

  4. (iv)

    which and whose cultures and pragmatic norms should be taught?

  5. (v)

    whose literatures should be introduced and taught?

  6. (vi)

    who might make appropriate English language teachers and what skills/knowledge would such teachers need?


The chapter will conclude by proposing that a new approach to the teaching of English as a lingua franca will help promote more successful English language teaching and learning, while also promoting the status of Asian cultures and languages.


Pedagogy and practice Multilingual pedagogy Cultures in language teaching Multilingual teachers 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Languages and LinguisticsGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia

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