Globalization, especially in terms of command and control over the

Long Beach, April 7-10, 2011
Language Teaching in a Globalized World: A View from Paris
Lane Igoudin, M.A., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, English/ESL Department , Los Angeles City College
Email: [email protected] | Web:
This presentation summarizes some theories presented at the International Conference on
Language Pedagogy in a Multilingual/ Multicultural World organized by the French Institute of
Languages (PLIDAM/INALCO) and the Centre for Excellence in Language Teaching at
University College London (UCL-CETL), held June 17-19, 2010, in Paris, along with other
current research and the presenter’s own ideas.
From the conference description:
Today, language learning and teaching needs to position itself in relation to an
internationalized context of knowledge, tools for assessing competences that are
adaptable to a globalised world and in relation to societies with diverse cultural
affiliations. The impact of globalization can be seen in:
Political structures (states, national and international institutions)
Social structures (urban life, family and individual stories and trajectories)
Dynamic communications (information and social networks).
In this multidimensional context, characterized by international mobility, mixed affiliations and
social and cultural representations, languages are both technological and social instruments.
I. Language education vs. globalized economy
Place of language in today’s economy as space defined by flows of commodities,
information, and capital
Language as an instrument of control and management of multinational human capital,
supply/demand, business and governmental relationships; global English (A. Pennycook)
Closer relationship between management and pedagogy in today’s economy –
mentoring, training, and learning as part of business organization (New London Group)
Language itself as capital transferable into its financial counterpart (Pierre Bourdieu)
Language learning as investment (Bonnie Norton)
Conversely, lack of language knowledge and/or access to language learning = denial of
opportunity to make an investment and produce capital
Opportunity costs of language education
Is language education always a commodity to be sold, or a right?
Who makes decisions about individual language education? In the U.S.: Parental control
through educational choices for children (Milton Friedman) over public policy;
responsibility passed from the state to the family/individuals
Highly competitive global language education supermarket – including ESL, EFL, and
TESOL (more in Part II)
Role of marketing ‘buzz’ in language education
Globalization of educational perspectives, philosophies, attitudes
Corporatization of schooling institutions vs. academic freedom
ESL: teaching international vs. immigrant students: separate but equal? Turning public
education for profit?
Long Beach, April 7-10, 2011
II. Social spaces vs. language acquisition
Geographic and social mobility within the U.S.
Language as aid or obstacle to mobility
Virtual mobility on the Internet
Internet as language learning space – educational institutions and commercial ventures
Emerging network-based online pedagogy for teaching language (Richard Kern)
Free language learning on the Internet (Los Angeles Times, 12/19/2010)
III. New pedagogic philosophies
Contrasting market economy which produces vastly different social outcomes with a
democratic, equitable view of education
Pluralistic view of education that value the differences students bring to learning (New
London Group) vs. traditional assimilatory, homogenizing approach
Culture and context are not dissociated from learning
Empowerment of the learner through implementing learning environments that are
adjustable to learners’ needs
Learning environment that is not pre-organized, but creates conditions for organization
to avoid rigid curriculum irrelevant to the learners’ evolving needs (J.-P. Narcy-Combs)
Learner as the course designer
Project-oriented learning
Suggested bibliography
Bourdieu, Pierre. (1984). Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. Harvard University
Bourdieu, Pierre. (1991). Language and Symbolic Power. Harvard University Press.
Handbook of Multilingualism and Multiculturalism. (2008). Geneviève Zarate, Danielle Levy, and Claire
Kramsch (Eds.). Paris: Editions des Archives Contemporaines. See Introduction at
Igoudin, Lane. (2010). Towards a Culture-Inclusive Language Pedagogy in Plurilingual Social Contexts.
Paper under review for inclusion in: Kramsch, C., and Zarate, G. (eds.). Plurilingualism and
Pluriculturalism in a Globalised World: Which Pedagogy? PLIDAM 2010 Proceedings.
Available from
Kern, Richard. (2006). Perspectives on Technology in Learning and Teaching Languages. TESOL
Quarterly, 40(1), 183-210. Available from
The New London Group. (1996). A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Designing Social Futures. Harvard
Educational Review, 66(1), 60-92. Available from
Online Language Resources. (2010). Los Angeles Times. 12/19/2010, L5.
Peirce, Bonnie Norton. (1995). Social identity, investment, and language learning. TESOL Quarterly, 29(1), 9-31.
Pennycook, A. (2007). Global Englishes and Transcultural Flows. London and New York: Routledge.
Soja, Edward. (2010). Seeking Spatial Justice. Minneapolis, MN: U. of Minnesota Press.
Wayner, Peter. (2010). Learning a Language From an Expert, on the Web. New York Times. 07/28/2010
Wilson, David McKay. (2010). Casualties of the Twenty-First Century Community College.
Community College Journal. Published by the California Part-time Faculty Association. Fall 2010
(1), p. 1+ Available from
Other papers on the role of the language learners’ identity, culture, motivation, and use of arts in teaching
ESL are available from