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


  • M. Obaidul Hamid The University of Queensland
  • Hoa Thi Mai Nguyen The University of New South Wales


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. 

Author Biography

M. Obaidul Hamid, The University of Queensland

M. Obaidul Hamid is Lecturer in TESOL Education at the University of Queensland, Australia. Previously he worked at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. His research focuses on the policy and practice of TESOL education in developing societies. He is Co-editor of Language planning for medium of instruction in Asia (Routledge, 2014).






General Refereed Papers