EFL Teachers’ Perceptions and Beliefs Regarding English as a Lingua Franca in Colombia

Jhon Eduardo Mosquera Pérez, Flor Angela Torres Hurtado, Daniel Elias Pérez Diaz, Universidad Santo Tomas, Tunja (Colombia)

9:50 am – 10:20 am (Room 235)


With the positioning of English as a global language, it is possible to affirm that English has stopped belonging to what Kachru (1992) regarded as inner circle communities (eg. the United States/England/Australia/Canada) and now it is used as a language for international and intranational contexts and scenarios; be these formal or informal. As a result of these circumstances, within the last few years English has been through constant processes of “indigenization” or “territorialization” (Kachru, 1992), that is, English is being influenced and shaped by other languages, and viceversa. This has not only led to the visibilization and acknowledgement of other varieties of the language worldwide. Further than that, it has gradually contributed to the detachment of “native centered” methods and techniques; elements that for long prompted ideologies such as those known as Mcdonaldization” (Ritzer, 1995), “Americanization” (Phillipson & Skutnabb-Kangas, 1999) and even “linguistic imperialism” (Canagarajah, 1999). Regarding these aspects, Colombia is no exception and nowadays it is possible to observe in the national context, and more explicitly, within the fields of applied linguistics and English language teaching, these two linguistic phenomena have begun to gain momentum.

In general, through this presentation proposal it is our intention to give an account of an exploratory descriptive qualitative study that is being currently implemented with a group of English as a foreign language (EFL) educators from Colombia. Through the implementation of a questionnaire, a narrative, and a semi structured interview as the main data collection instruments, this investigation aimed at exploring and describing the perceptions and beliefs that the aforementioned participants have regarding English as a lingua franca (ELF) in the country, as despite ELF is an area of knowledge that is receiving increasing attention among scholars (as some theoretical and empirical research) within the framework of English language teaching master´s degrees have been carried out, very few studies have explored how in-service EFL perceive this phenomenon.

Preliminary findings obtained from the implementation of the study suggest that even though Colombian EFL teachers acknowledge the existence and importance of English as a lingua franca for the country, and even if they claim recognizing the existence of other varieties of the language, when it comes to their pedagogical practices, they still promote native-centered models. Besides, it has been found that materials and ELT textbooks implemented within the national context is one of the main impediments for the incorporation of other varieties of the language. Therefore, it is recommended that EFL move from material consumers to material designers and incorporate principles of ELF not only into glocally (Kumaravadivelu, 2003) sensitive ELT Materials, but within their overall pedagogical practices as ELF represents an excellent possibility for ELT in the expanding circle (Kachru, 1992).