Integrating an ELF pedagogy in a changing world: The case of Greek state schooling

Richard Fay, A Archibald (Editor), A Cogo (Editor), J Jenkins (Editor)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


In this paper, we make a case for a repositioning of English language teaching in the Greek compulsory education system from its traditional foreign language orientation towards one which is both intercultural and multicultural in orientation. We begin by exploring teachers’ awareness of the pedagogical implications of both the increasingly complex global English language phenomenon (i.e. hence the case for the international / intercultural orientation) and the increasing cultural diversity of the Greek societal context as now evident in many schools (i.e. the case for the intranational / multicultural orientation). In particular, we explore the extent to which TESOL practitioners within the state-sector in Greece are aware of any pedagogical implications (and more specifically paradigm possibilities) of: a) the increasingly complex global English language phenomenon (i.e. an international aspect); and b) the increasing cultural diversity of many societal contexts and the implications this may have for the use of English in those contexts (i.e. a multicultural aspect). In our survey, we asked 57 students attending the first year of their MA in TEFL studies which of four characterisations we provided best described how they understood their teaching situation. These options included the traditional TEFL paradigm, as well as the newer internationally-focused and intranational (multiculturally-focused) possibilities. Our research findings appear below: Descriptions Options ‘Best’ (%) ‘2nd closest’ (%) ‘Most appropriate’ (%) 1. ‘International’ 16 22 20 2. ‘Multicultural’ 21 22 34 3. ‘TEFL’ 47 20 33 4. ‘Exam-oriented’ 16 36 13 When asked which of the four descriptions best suits their current, or most recent, teaching situation, our respondents showed a clear preference for the TEFL option (47%). In fact, when combined with the testing variant of it (Option 4), nearly two thirds of the surveyed teachers characterised their practice in terms of the traditional TEFL paradigm. This is to be expected and corresponds to the traditional orientation of the Greek TESOL system as belonging to the expanding circle. Interestingly, when asked which option provided the second closest characterisation of their situation, the testing option takes a clear lead (with 36%), and the combined TEFL score for Options 3 and 4 is still over 50%. This confirms our conviction that our state school teachers are well aware of the need for their learners to sit and pass examinations and of the low status of state schools from this perspective. This picture changes dramatically when we consider their perceptions about the ideal, or most appropriate orientation of their teaching situation. In this case, the testing choice is minimized (13%). Similarly, the traditional TEFL paradigm (Option 3), while still strong, is favoured by one third of our respondents. Instead, the multicultural option dominates (with 34%), whereas the international option maintains its position around the 20% mark. Our conclusion is that not only are the multicultural and international options on teachers’ radars as possibilities, they are also seen to be contenders for the most appropriate way of approaching English teaching in Greek state schools. Informed by the above data, we consider what characteristics an in-service teacher training programme could focus on in order to raise teachers’ awareness of this repositional challenge of moving from a typically “native-speaker/EFL” orientation to a more “non-native speaker/ELF” one which embraces both international and multicultural aspects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLatest trends in ELF research
EditorsA Archibald, A Cogo, J Jenkins
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge Scholars Press
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009
EventThe Second International Conference of English as a Lingua Franca - University of Southampton
Duration: 6 Apr 20098 Apr 2009


ConferenceThe Second International Conference of English as a Lingua Franca
CityUniversity of Southampton


  • English as a lingua franca (ELF), TESOL paradigms, post-EFL, English as an international language, appropriate methodology, multicultural awareness through English


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