Warschauer, Mark. “The Changing Global Economy and the Future of English Teaching.” TESOL Quarterly 34 3 (2000): 511-35. Print.

  • According to W., his work will investigate the effects of late capitalism (he calls it informationalism – following Castells – but it also goes by post-Fordism, post-industrialism, information economy, etc.) on the teaching of English language.  Specifically he intends to cover three issues:  1) first he claims that the process of globalization will result in the spread and diffusion of English as an international language. This shift will also precipitate grater linguistic authority for nonnative speakers and dialectical speakers of SE resulting in a real erosion of the basic tenants that separate ESL & EFL; 2) The changing nature of the information economy on the economic/employment front with precipitate changes in the ways that the English language gets used.  Nonnative speakers will use the language daily to engage in the “presentation of complex ideas, international collaboration and negotiation, and location and critical interpretation of rapidly changing information” (511); and 3) the transformations in different information technologies will alter what has been conventionally defined as “literacy” so that literacy will now include the navigation of online spaces for research, interpretation and production of new/hypermedia, and synchronous/asynchronous online communication.  Because of all of these developments, the traditional teaching of ESL/EFL – through instruction in syntactic elements or preset, narrowly defined, bounded tasks won’t be relevant anymore.  As such, W. is arguing that curricula need to be realigned for project-based learning – “incorporating situated practice and critical inquiry, and based on students’ own cultural frameworks” – in order for successful English language usage in the techno capitalist information economy[1. Consider the importance of W.’s argument for your own discussion of piratical spaces as literacy acquisition sites for nonnative English speakers.  W. is calling for a curricular shift that reflects your own theories about what constitutes the content of effective English teaching in contemporary international contexts.].
  • W. claims that the English language will go the same way as mass media in the globalized age:  a single international version will proliferate until localized contexts engender changes that allow for a variety of different versions that serve local needs and contexts (but are still beholden to the “centers” of power in the developed North/West) (513).
  • W. argues that bi- and multi-dialecticalism will be important for the increasingly migratory transnational labor force from the developing world (515).  Also, W. claims that a decrease in “correctness” will occur as larger and larger numbers of nonnative speaks of English use it for strategic purposes for intercultural communication in trade, industry, culture, and media (516).
  • W. relies on Reich (1991) and Castells (1993, 1996) to argue that the transition toward symbolic analysts is already under way in developed countries (and increasingly in the developing world).
  • W. charges both “technoinfatuationists” and “technocynicists” with downplaying human agency in human-technology relations.  He claims that technorealists will find a middle line between the celebratory narratives of the infatuationists and the digital-divide narratives of the cynicists for the diffusion of technology to heretofore unreached regions in the developing world (525).  This will include distance education initiatives.
  • Multiliteracies (as articulated by the New London Group):

  • W. claims that the key concept that should motivate TESOL professionals’ pedagogy in the 21st century is agency (530).  This means that languages – English – go from being something to study and master toward something to deploy for strategic use in order to make your way better in the informational world.  In other words, English will be used not only to integrate global networks into local contexts but also to ensure that local identities transform global networks/messages/languages to serve their own, localized needs and desires (530).

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