Revisiting language teaching materials in a time of change

Lucilla Lopriore


The purpose of this contribution is to elicit a reflective perspective on the role and function of English language teaching materials traditionally used in the language classroom, in a time of change for English and for the pedagogical principles underlying its teaching. This time of change is represented by the emergence of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF), by the growing diffusion and use of information communication technology (ICT), by approaches to language learning inclusive of content (CLIL),  and by contexts characterised by plurilingualism and multiculturalism  An overview of what traditionally accompanies teachers and learners – from course-books to teachers’ self-produced handouts –  in the teaching-learning process of a language whose current status is undergoing major changes, is first presented. A reflective approach in the teaching of English within a moveable scenario where new language contacts are challenging English traditional standards and its varieties and the role of language for learning has been informing classroom practice, is then offered and implications discussed. This contribution has deliberately chosen to focus only on a few of the numerous research fields and tools that are emerging in the language classroom and within the teaching materials scenarios, such as the notion of authenticity, the use and role of corpora, the function of communicative and mediation strategies, the representation of culture and the emergence of intercultural competence. Implications and practical suggestions for teaching materials follow each of the sections.

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