SHARON HARTLE Teaching English at the Heart of the Expanding Circle 93
SHARON HARTLE Teaching English at the Heart of the Expanding Circle 1. The Italian context Learners of English as an L2, in Italy, and in this case here at the University of Verona, in Northern Italy, are at the heart of Kachru’s (1986) expanding circle. English as an international language is arguably less affected by the political and ethical issues that are at- tached to the use of English in many parts of the world, such as In- dia, parts of Africa and the Far East to name just a few. Although it would be rash to say that the knowledge and use of English in Europe is not connected to these matters, many individuals study English as an L2 either as a requirement for their academic curri- culum, or as a matter of personal or professional choice, in which case the requirements of many are to use English as a Lingua Franca to communicate with other non-native speakers, either in business or social contexts. The questions that face us here, and at this point in time are these: which model of English do we teach them? What makes a ‘variant form’ acceptable and when should we speak of error? These are all basic questions that teachers, materials writers and examination boards working with English as an L2 are asking nowadays. 94 Sharon Hartle 2. Student reactions to EIL Rather than speaking of ‘right and wrong’ at this juncture it may be preferable to speak of ‘acceptable or not acceptable’....
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