Student and Educator Beliefs on an English as a Lingua Franca Classroom Framework
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The ways in which students use English to communicate has evolved. Many students around the world now use English to communicate as a lingua franca with other non-native speakers. In order to meet the needs of their students and help them achieve their goals, teachers need to be aware of not only how their students are using English but the beliefs about English language learning that they are bringing into the classroom. Further, teachers must be aware of the extent to which their own beliefs are aligned with those of their students. This study of 86 students at four language centers in Malaysia, along with their 18 instructors, investigated the extent to which student beliefs align with an English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) framework, and the degree to which teachers share those beliefs and are aware of them. Students were asked to respond to 15 statements about their beliefs on the role of culture in language learning, frequency of error correction, native-speaker models and interlocutor beliefs. The teacher survey similarly asked teachers to respond to 10 statements about their beliefs and their awareness of student beliefs, while setting up three direct comparisons between what the students believe and what the teachers think their students believe. The study found that teacher beliefs largely seemed supportive of an ELF approach. Student beliefs varied much more significantly, especially when it came to error correction and the pursuit of native-speaker accents, a fact which many teachers appeared not to be aware of. The results indicated a disconnect between the goals the students are setting for themselves, goals which are at odds with an ELF framework, and their teachers’ awareness of those goals.