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Volume 8 Number 4, Winter 2011, Pages 1-248   

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A Paradigm Shift for English Language Teaching in Asia: From Imposition to Accommodation

    Haixiao WANG and Clifford HILL

For decades, the Western paradigm of English language teaching has occupied a prestigious position in Asia. It is now generally recognized, however, that the varieties as well as the uses of English differ from place to place. Furthermore, language teaching and learning is affected by a host of factors ranging from the macro political and cultural environments of a country or region to the micro perceptions and practices of individual teachers or learners, which calls for different methodologies for different learners or learning situations. By taking a close look at all the local features that affect the choice of the varieties of English to be learned, the content of learning and the approaches to teaching and learning in the Asian context, this article attempts to reveal limitations in the established theories and practices in English language teaching. It calls for a paradigm shift within the Asian region that is responsive not only to indigenous traditions of language learning but also to the increasing use of English as a language of contact between non-native speakers across national boundaries while at the same time continuing to welcome the theories and practices of English language teaching from outside the region.

Keywords: English language teaching, the Asian context, paradigm shift, local needs and traditions