Department of Education Studies
Learning English as a second language in the inner circle (ESL) is usually contrasted with learning it as a foreign language in the expanding circle (EFL). The notional landscape of ESL conjures up many positive images about ‘inner-circle pedagogy’, whereas, in fact, our knowledge about ESL activities and tasks is often unspoken, unanalysed and limited. In this paper, the researchers revisit this age-old problem by conducting bottom-up searches of a 154,681-word textbook corpus consisting solely of textbook instructional language. These sections declare task purposes and actions to be done, and are suitable for understanding ESL teaching practices. The study was conducted from an etic perspective of two researchers from the expanding circle. We retrace how we encountered a major impasse during this process, which then prompted a revision of our view of ESL. The Results section presents our corpus findings: There was an imbalance between the four skills, a strong emphasis on grammar, a large number of group/pair work requests and a narrowly-defined approach to literacy training. These findings add details to existing qualitatively-based ESL textbook studies. From expectation to realisation, this research calls for a preparedness in regard to enlarging our current understanding of what counts as ESL pedagogy.
ESL, EAL, ESOL, Textbook pedagogies, Lexical collocations, Corpus linguistics, The four skills, Learning acts, Etic, emic viewpoints
Source Publication Title
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Link to Publisher's Edition
Chan, H., & Cheuk, H. (2020). Revisiting the notion of ESL: A corpus-based analysis of English textbook instructional language. Ampersand, 7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amper.2020.100066