The Future Of The TESOL Profession

Editors note: This article was first printed and written on The article has been condensed for easier reading.

As part of TESOL International Association’s 50th anniversary, hundreds of participants from around the world came together both online and in-person for the Summit on the Future of the TESOL Profession.

At the summit in Athens, prevailing questions surrounding  TESOL where raised.

Where is the profession of English language teaching headed in the 21st century?

What forces around the world are impacting English and English language education?

How can TESOL professionals be empowered to instigate and sustain innovation and foster positive change within a risk-tolerant culture?

What role can stakeholders in the TESOL profession play in shaping the future of English language educators?

The growth of English as a global common language has also led to an image of linguistic hegemony—the spread of English has come at the expense of linguistic diversity. Yet the TESOL profession, in its mission to teach English, must embrace the opportunity to simultaneously support multilingualism.

In the classroom, learners should be able to use any non-English language structures in order to enable and empower their learning. In the real world, users of English should be able to access any communication strategy they have to get their message across. Culture, context, and linguistic prowess need to be key features in instructional practice. Policy makers should recognize the strength found in a multilingual society and make decisions that reflect this ideal.

English competence has been traditionally defined in reference to “a native or ideal speaker” norm and in terms of the grammar of the language. This definition has been challenged.

The question for the TESOL profession is whether English competence can be defined in such a way that it recognizes the diversity of English, both in use and in user, and can also be used for decision-making purposes.

The TESOL profession is ready to grapple with the misconceptions surrounding a teacher’s language proficiency in the classroom. Schools and universities should consider a teacher’s credentials as the key focal point in hiring decisions.

Variety in teacher accent and syntax should be viewed as a universal asset. Moreover, universities and schools should be working together to build teacher education programs that meet the needs of the learners. These programs should adhere to standards that enrich a teacher candidate’s English language knowledge, skills, and abilities.

In conclusion, the editor feels that there are untapped possibilities for TESOL in a multi-lingual and multi-cultural society such as ours in Singapore.

Here at GIG we look to help all educators, whether you specialise in early-childhood or conduct corporate training in big MNCs. Give us a call today and find out more.