English as an Academic Language in UAE 25-11-2011 English as an Academic Language in UAE Abstract: The world has seen the expansion of English language ever since the British occupied North America. Throughout the British Empire, English became a language which symbolized power…
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Language education in such states is largely governed by Anglo-American undergraduate academic structures and language books. The general term employed to refer to the teaching of English language as a foreign language is ELT or English Language Teaching. Since the 1950s, ELT has expanded exponentially in order to provide quality English language education not only in Europe but in Asian countries as well. Today, English is a ‘world language’ and therefore the primary concern of ELT professionalism is to not only concentrate on the provision of world class linguistic skills but also to promote other pedagogical aspects of English language. Unfortunately, ELT has a number of political, cultural and social ramifications, some of which pose serious obstacles in the continuation of English language education in some of the prominent Asian countries such as the United Arab Emirates. (Wodak, R., & Corson, D.1997). The research paper concentrates on some of the major political, social and cultural issues surrounding the teaching of English at undergraduate level. Development of ELT: ELT professionalism evolved on the basis of diverse sources. One such source was the development of educational programs focusing on adult foreign language learning throughout the European countries and UAE. Another valuable source in the development of ELT was the exponential growth of anthropological and structural linguistics in the United States of America. Moreover, the influence of anthropological and structural linguistics development has not only been limited to the territorial boundaries of the United States but has also permeated and influenced the educational system of United Arab Emirates. The third most important source in the development of ELT professionalism was the education in British colonial states. An important aspect of ELT development in colonial states was: first, the development was a perfect reflection of the events that happened in the metropolis, and second, it simply failed to address the cultural, political and social educational needs of the inhabitants of the vast British Empire. Thus, the colonized people were more or less treated as puppets loyal to the British officials. However, certain factors posed obstacles in the development of ELT professionalism. One such factor was the development of other European languages such as French. (Wodak, R., & Corson, D.1997). During the time the cold war broke out, Americans used English as an efficient and non-armed way to spread their influence. The federal government allocated a substantial amount of funds to be utilized in the development of English education around the world. The extent of American involvement in the development of English education can be analyzed by the fact that by 1949, more than 40 American agencies were dedicated to spread English education worldwide. Furthermore, US Information Agency together with many foundations such as Ford and Rockefeller played a decisive role in the establishment of TESOL worldwide and also to include diverse resources in the profession of ELT. By the mid 1960’s, Ford and Rockefeller were involved in more than 38 countries to incorporate TESOL as an academic discipline. ELT professionalism basically involves traditional classroom activities including curriculum development, testing methods and teacher training programs.(Wodak, R., & Cors
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