To talk about the future of ELT, we need to look at the future in general:
The future is already here. While machines will replace humans in some tasks, they'll also amplify us, enabling us to do things we never dreamed of doing before. We'll enter a new kind of partnership - one that will shed light on the unique comparative advantages of humans: thinking, creativity, spontaneity, adaptability and improvisation. Technology has enabled us to multi-task. We do multiple things at the same time. So, machines don't just replace what we do; they change the nature of what we do. By expanding our capacities, they set new expectations about what is possible and set new performance standards. Our tools change us.
These are the future changes predicted by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies:
For example, the population is increasing in developing countries and decreasing in developed countries. Clearly, this will impact on English language teaching.
In the past, teachers were responsible for their students only. Now they need to consider what is going on in other levels and collaborate with their colleagues.
What is the future of education?
We are working in a global learning economy.
'The globalisation of open learning systems..... will change how educational institutions view their roles and will offer new forms of value in the global learning ecosystem.'
2020 Forecast: 6 major drivers of change
- Altered bodies - experimenting at the intersection of environment and performance.
- Amplified organisation - extended human capacity remakes the organisation.
- Platforms for resilliance - creating flexibility and innovation amid system failures.
- A new civic discourse - rearticulating identity and community in a global society.
- The maker economy - personal fabrication technologies plus open-source principles democratise production and design.
- Pattern recognition - an extremely visible world demands new sensemaking.
The three domains of ELT
- curriculum designers
- materials developers
- teacher trainers
- test developers
- policy specialists
- Has a body of knowledge
- Has a prescribed regime of licensing for members
- Sets a code of ethics and standards
- Has authority
- Has autonomy
- Has power
- Has status and privilege
- Is altruistic and serves the public
- Is a full-time lifelong commitment
- Forms professional associations
- Language skills
- Language knowledge (including grammar and pronunciation)
- Language learning and the learners
- Language policy
- Language use - sociolinguistics
- Teacher development and education
- Curriculum and materials design
- Second language acquisition
- Language policy/standards
- Language learners and learning
- Curricula and teaching materials
- Teacher learning and development
- English as an international language (EIL)
- English as an world language (EWL)
- English as an global language (EGL)
- English as a lingua franca (ELF)
- English as an additional language (EAL)
- English as everyone's language (EEL)
English for young learners (EYL) is a growing area. These students are digital natives and teachers need to adapt to this. Learners often have no interest in activities that don't have the same excitement as a computer game.
We need to introduce varieties of English that teach global/inter-cultural competence. We need to understand who our students will be communicating with.
The six abilities of a competent English teacher
1. Make constant and effective changes
We need to try new practices in order to question our beliefs and perhaps change our behaviour.
- Innovation will drive success
- The qualities and skills that define a successful language professional today may be entirely different by 2020
- Strive to cultivate adaptability and effectiveness
- Resist relying on practices and assumptions merely because they were acceptable in the past
- handheld learning
- classroom technology
- digital textbooks
- digital English - extensive exposure to English input
- net-based teaching
- digital teaching resources
- online learning
- self-paced learning
- one-to-one learning
- handheld learning
- mobile learning
- collaborative learning
- time-shifted learning - any place, any time
- synchronous/asynchronous learning
- blended learning