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Volume 8 Number 2, Summer 2011, Pages 1-210   

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Teaching Global English with NNS-NNS Online Communication

    I-Chung Ke and Toshihiko Suzuki

The rise of English as a global language implies a paradigm shift for English language teaching. English teachers in non-English-speaking (NNS) countries used to connect electronically with teachers in native-speaking (NS) countries so that their students could mimic or learn from their NS peers. The unequal power relationship between the two classes might have detrimental effects on EFL learners' confidence and identity. When communication breakdowns or miscommunications occurred, native speakers were not expected to make any adjustments; rather, EFL learners had to learn NS norms. On the other hand, in the global English paradigm, though online communication between NNSs may bring equal footings, this format also encounters adversity such as students' desire for NS norms and the suspicion that the exclusion of NS disadvantages NNS in the current linguistic landscape dominated by NS norms. This study reports a NNS-NNS online communication project in which fifty-plus university students from Taiwan and Japan collaborated online to enhance their English learning. Students' perceptions on the roles of English and NS norms as well as their confidence in English are explored from their messages in the discussion forum, questionnaires, and weekly reflections. The advantages and disadvantages of teaching English with NNS-NNS online communications are also discussed.

Keywords: Global English, intercultural communication, online communication, English as a Lingua Franca (ELF), native-speaker norms