Globalization, English language policy, and teacher agency: Focus on Asia

M. Obaidul Hamid, Hoa Thi Mai Nguyen

Abstract


This paper focuses on English teachers in Asia in the context of globalization, the global spread of English and the emergence of English as an “Asian language”. It highlights the dilemmas facing these teachers in meeting the growing social demands of English proficiency in a technology-influenced, managerial and neoliberal education environment with limited expertise, skills and policy support. We locate the paper in language policy and planning (LPP) within which the concept of micro-level agency provides a critical lens. We draw on insights from several Asian countries including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan and Vietnam. We argue that while English teachers are found to exercise their agency to meet changing demands of English proficiency, this agency can be seen as the result of what we call “policy dumping” at the macro-level—i.e. education policymakers not paying due attention to the requirements of policy implementation but dumping down policies to educational institutions and English teachers for their implementation. We conclude the paper by suggesting implications for English language policies in Asian countries that respond to globalization and the dominant discourses of English in a globalized world. 


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