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November 04, 2007

Surveys- Which English do you teach?

Hello Readers,

In a recent talk given by David Crystal, it was estimated that there are currently approximately 1.5 -2 billion English speakers in the world, which is 1/4- 1/3 of the world's population. Perhaps not surprisingly, only 350-475 million English speakers use English as their first language. Of course, ...

... it should be noted that these numbers can not be very precise, as it's nearly impossible to figure out what constitutes speaking English (how many words must you know in order to speak English? do pidgin or creole versions of English count?). Regardless, these rough estimates give rise to further questions about which English we should be teaching- and are teaching- our students.

This month's question is thus: Which English do you teach?

* British English
* American English
* Canadian English
* Australian English
* Indian English
* A blend of more than one kind of English
* Other (please explain)

I look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to post your answers any comments below.

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

*Looking for other interesting surveys (and their results) about the ESL industry? Click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker hailing from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, worked in China for more than 7 years. During that time, she worked at universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, and did private tutoring as well. Besides teaching, she also worked as a Head teacher, an Education Manager, and a Material Development Manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she also writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing, authors ESL textbooks for publishing houses in China, and is an Editor for Garnet Publishing in Reading, England. Carol holds a BA in Communications from the College of St. Benedict/ St. John's University, and a CELTA, and has just finished her MA TESOL course at Oxford Brookes University. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at November 4, 2007 06:48 AM

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My husband and I teach in Venezuela at a bilingual school, we teach American English in all subjects; math, science, litature, English grammar and social studies. We also do holiday and special school events in American English, such as morning assembly (where the students sing the Venezuelan National song.) We will be going for two years to Costa Rica to teach (in Dec.), using American English. I will be teaching the English litature and computer classes and my husband the math and science classes. Currently we are teaching elementary. My husband 3rd and 4th graders and I teach 5th and 6th graders. And the same age groups in Costa Rica also. We are USA certified teachers as well as TEFL certified teachers.

Posted by: Alicia at November 16, 2007 04:55 PM

What English do you speak?... Good question indeed!
Well, as a non-native speaker, French by nationality; I speak common English. What I mean by 'common' is the language that all English speakers know. I teach young children how to use the language through showing them the structures with all their complexities and provide them with vocabulary to build the language they want, explaining the differences in terms (lift in the UK, elevator in the US) but telling them that most people will understand both terms anyways.
Once students have reached a certain level, idioms come into place and that's where it gets more tricky. It's a bit like teaching proverbs, to get the full meaning is difficult and is often cultural.
I think it is important to explain that there are many Englishes and that they should be aware of the various ways of expressing oneself.
From that perspective, the students can choose what they want to learn. Depending on their purpose for learning the language in the first place.
I don't personally think that accents matter too much as long as they're clear enough to be understood widely.
I have mastered the British accent but can easily copy other accents too, accents don't matter as long as the intonations are correct and the full meaning is understood.

Posted by: Pelagie at December 4, 2007 02:21 AM

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