If you teach English as a non-native English speaker, then this book may make you feel like someone finally understands your world. Forman's observations at a Thai university, albeit now well over 10 years old, challenge the still dominant pedagogical model that English is best delivered by native speakers.
His teacher-student dialogue examples illustrate the many benefits that professional, bilingual teachers bring, such as ensuring accuracy, time saving and the cultural translation of Western textbooks. For the majority of the world's English language learners, English is taught as a foreign language (EFL), like Spanish, and is delivered by teachers who share a common first language with their students. Forman’s detailed analysis of classroom interactions and subsequent interviews with the Thai university English teachers also illustrates how personal identity can be affected when communicating in a different language – how one can feel less (or more) restricted because of the different cultural norms inherent in another language use. Forman challenges our stereotypes and our use of globalised teaching methods based on the assumption that English plays a much greater role in learners' lives than it actually does in many Asian countries. His review of the relevant literature is particularly comprehensive and current, making it ideal for TESOL students at UTS.
Ross Forman is a Senior Lecturer in UTS’s Language Studies Group. He has been involved in applied linguistics and teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) for the past 25 years and worked as a teacher and trainer in Australia, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.