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A Survey of Swiss English Teachers

A survey of a representative sample of 253 English teachers in Switzerland was conducted by Heather Murray to gather information about their attitudes toward Euro-English. I would like to point out the results of a relevant question relating to teaching materials. Teachers used a five point scale ranging from strongly agree to dont know to strongly disagree. Here is the relevant statement and the results:

Most of the situations in my course book assume that my learners will later be speaking English with native speakers; I think there should be more situations showing non-native speakers communicating with each other. (Murray 2003)

This question was to take a poll of whether teachers think Euro-English situations should be shown in course books. At the moment, lingua franca English is almost never represented in course books. The responses were different from native and non-native English speaking English teachers; native speakers showed weak agreement while non-native speakers showed weak disagreement. When comparing age groups taught, a similar difference appeared, where 60% of teachers of adults agreed while 66% of teachers of teens disagreed, which could lead one to believe that a native speaker model is deemed more important in teaching English to teens than to adults (Murray 2003).

So why do people still insist that we still look to the native speaker of English as the official authority? Many are unhappy with this tradition and are trying to change things. When English is used as a lingua franca in a certain geographical area, over time, some differences emerge. There is thus an immersion of Englishes. There is not one standard monolithic English, but many different emerging Englishes around the world. For example in the English in India or in Switzerland is very different than where Im from in the U.S. in terms of accent, pronunciation, and surely there are different words that are unique to each. But they are using English as a lingua franca in order to communicate meaning. Actually, the differences between Swiss-English and British English or American English arent that big of a deal. There is mostly mutual intelligibility. And in my opinion, that is the most important for communication in the real world. However, if one has to pass a standardized test in English, that is another thing all together. Perhaps the tests need to be changed? I dont think the big (money-making) industries of Cambridge and ETS are going to change very easily.

(To be continued in Unit 2-14)

GUIDELINES FOR WRITING A SUMMARY

 

Instruction:The purpose of a summary is to give the reader, in about 1/3 of the original length of an article/paper, a clear, objective picture of the original paper or article. Most importantly, the summary restates only the main points of a text without giving examples or details, such as dates, numbers or statistics.

There are quite a few skills to be practiced in summary wreiting: note-taking, paraphrasing(using your own words and sentence structure), condensing, etc. Below are some important tips for writing a summary.


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  1. A. What countries is English the first language? Match English-speaking countries with their national flags and capitals.
  2. Act as an interpreter. Translate the description of N-type and P-type- semiconductors given by your group mates from English into Russian.
  3. An Extract from the Late Middle English works criticizing the Church
  4. Ask your friend questions in English about their content. Summarize his/her answers.
  5. Attitudes to NS/NNS English in general
  6. Attitudes towards English as a Lingua Franca
  7. Background: English as the language of publication and instruction
  8. Basic intonation patterns of English
  9. C. Read and answer the questions about the following people who proved their teachers wrong and express your own opinion on each story.
  10. Cambridge English Examinations: Speaking Test
  11. Can you speak English?




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Text 1-14. TEACHING AND LEARNING EURO-ENGLISH IN SWITZERLAND: A BRIEF ANALYSIS AND SOME IDEAS FOR TEACHING | Tips for writing a summary

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