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The Changing Global Economy and the Future of English Teaching

Mark Warschauer
TESOL Quarterly
Vol. 34, No. 3, TESOL in the 21st Century (Autumn, 2000), pp. 511-535
DOI: 10.2307/3587741
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3587741
Page Count: 25
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The Changing Global Economy and the Future of English Teaching
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Abstract

This article analyzes the emergence of a new stage of global capitalism, called informationalism, and its consequences for English language teaching, focusing on three critical issues. First, globalization will result in the further spread of English as an international language and a shift of authority to nonnative speakers and dialects. This change will call into question basic notions of language, culture, context, and the relationship between ESL and EFL. Second, economic and employment trends will change the way English is used. Increasingly, nonnative speakers will need to use the language daily for presentation of complex ideas, international collaboration and negotiation, and location and critical interpretation of rapidly changing information. Finally, new information technologies will transform notions of literacy, making online navigation and research, interpretation and authoring of hypermedia, and synchronous and asynchronous on-line communication critical skills for learners of English. The above changes, taken together, will render ineffective curricula based strictly on syntactic or functional elements or narrowly defined tasks. Rather, project-based learning-incorporating situated practice and critical inquiry, and based on students' own cultural frameworks-will be required if students are to master the complex English literacy and communications skills required by the emerging informational economy and society.

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