Interview with Denchai Prabjandee

Author of Teacher professional development to implement Global Englishes language teaching



1) What is the importance of Global Englishes (GE) for English language teaching (ELT)?

I think GE is very important for ELT because it can prepare learners for the messy world of English use in the 21stcentury. The global spread of English challenges the taken-for-granted assumption about the notion of English, English users, and standard norm. The fact that English users outside the classroom are increasing and becoming more diverse deems appropriate to prepare our learners differently. GE can help our learners become aware of the complexity of English users, possess positive attitudes towards their own English, and treat diverse Englishes with respect. In other words, GE may help our learners survive in the globalized world.


2) What does the research say about GE and future ELT practices?

GE addresses the global spread of English and its impact in ELT. Current research has called for the need to bridge the gap between theory and practice by conducting more classroom level research in order to create a paradigm shift in ELT. Future ELT practices are encouraged to incorporate or implement GE in the classrooms.


3) How did your research work? Can you explain what you did?

In responding to the need to create a paradigm shift in ELT, I think it is necessary to involve teachers. However, prior research has pointed out that teachers held entrenched native speakerism ideology. Therefore, I developed a teacher professional development program to help English teachers in Thailand implement Global Englishes Language Teaching (GELT). The program was designed to be a workshop, aimed to help teachers understand the concept of GELT. In this study, I developed five principles to design GELT activities as follows: 1) revisit the ownership of English, 2) raise awareness about the target interlocutors, 3) challenges native speaker norms, 4) introduce a variety of Englishes, and 5) treat diverse Englishes with respect. The principles were translated into practical activities. A descriptive exploration was used to explore how teachers respond to the GELT activities. Comparison of attitudes towards GELT was performed before and after implementing the professional development.


4) Why did you focus on (research context)?

I use the GELT activities with 38 English teachers in government secondary schools in Thailand. The teachers voluntarily enrolled in the professional development program under a national project, called Teacher Professional Development Coupons, operated by the Ministry of Education. Out of 38 teachers, only four were male and the other 34 were female. The teachers’ ages range from 21 to 59, with an average of 34 years. Upon asking whether they heard the term GELT, all of them reported hearing the term for the first time.


5) Were there any surprising results?

The data analysis revealed that the teachers’ responses to the GELT activities were overwhelmingly positive, yet their attitudes towards GELT were reported minimal change. The findings were not entirely surprising given the fact that teachers in many EFL countries were reported having long-established preferences of native speakerism. However, the findings provide helpful, empirical evidence to support that shifting the ELT paradigm is not easy, yet it is not impossible.


6) What kind of research are you currently working on?

I am currently working on two research projects now. First, I am translating the GELT principles, presented in this study (Prabjandee, 2020), into practical activities. At the end of the year, I will be implementing a teacher professional development to help teachers design GELT activities in the classrooms. Second, I am analyzing attitudinal and conceptual development of master’s degree students who attended a Global Englishes Teacher Education.


7) What sort of research topics should be dealt with in future GE projects?

I think future GE projects should involve more teachers if we want to create the paradigm shift in ELT. Even though the ELT paradigm may not be shifted simply involving teachers and it is a long way to go, starting to equip teachers with knowledge of GE may shake the entrenched traditional ELT paradigm. If the paradigm is shaken, I think we are successful.


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